Not all roofing products are equal and it is important to know that there are risks associated with accepting alternative products to those that have been specified.
This is according to Dennis White, director of the Southern African Metal Cladding and Roofing Association (SAMCRA), who warns that it is no longer safe to specify products by their generic names and then assume all products will automatically be manufactured to the same tolerances and standards, plus have the same durability and performance characteristics.

“In addition to the range of building products traditionally available in the local market, we now have a myriad of imported goods from which to choose,” he points out.

“Unlike the traditional products that have already proved their suitability in the local environment, how certain are we that the new products will do the same? Sadly, with the emphasis on price, durability and performance are often disregarded to the detriment of the end-user.”

Valid testing
White recommends procuring products that have been tested in accordance with an internationally recognised standard, such as those published by the South African Bureau for Standards (SABS) or ISO. These standards specify the composition and quality of materials together with restrictive tolerances such as thickness, colour fastness, ultraviolet (UV) protection and strength.

“However, it is important to establish that test certificates have been issued by a South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) accredited institution because unfortunately, an increasing number of unscrupulous entrepreneurs proffer counterfeit or dubious documentation,” he states.

Compliant tolerances
“Purchasers further need to exercise caution when buying noncompliant products, particularly if they are cheaper. In the absence of proof of compliance with a recognised standard it is important to establish the components used, for example the grade of base metal, type and thickness of protective coatings and more, as well as the dimensional tolerances,” White continues.

He explains that a thickness tolerance of between 2% and 5% is acceptable, whereas the geometric tolerance for profiled cladding is 2%. Since the structural performance of cladding products is largely dependent on their geometric dimensions, it is important to establish that the geometry is a precise match.

Also essential to keep in mind is that internationally, indelible markings, commonly referred to as branding, are used to confirm the quality of products. These markings consist of the manufacturer’s brand name, type of material and thickness of base metal and coatings, plus batch number and date of manufacture together with other relevant details.

“Whilst the geometrical dimensions of cladding are easy to check, the balance of constituents can only be reliably confirmed in a laboratory. The growing incidence of counterfeit documents pertaining to quality and composition of materials is a cause for concern,” White cautions.

“In my opinion, insisting that only branded materials are supplied is the most reliable and practical way of ensuring that you are getting the cladding material you specified. It eliminates onsite paper trails, plus it is almost impossible to counterfeit,” he advises.

Full thanks and acknowledgment are given to Dennis White and SAMCRA for the information provided.

Get what you specified:
–    Look past price.
–    Procure properly tested products.
–    Establish dimensional tolerances.
–    Beware of counterfeit documents.
–    Check the branding.

Caption Main Image:
It is no longer safe to specify products by their generic names and then assume all products will automatically be manufactured to the same tolerances and standards plus have the same durability and performance characteristics.