Roof failure alert over substandard timber battens

The alarm has been raised after large volumes of the fake battens were reported to be in circulation in the UK.

The National Roofing Contractor Association warned that these non-compliant battens should not be installed because they could potentially cause roof failures and accidents.

This risk of accidents increases when the falsely marked BS 5534 roof battens are being used as an alternative to a roof ladder, and are taking the additional live load of the operative installing the roof, or an operative conducting repairs, months or years down the line.

A spokesman for the NFRC said appearance of these battens was thought to be due, at least in part, to the high demand for treated timber, compounded by the shortages created by conflict in Ukraine, Brexit, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also warned using inferior battens in construction raised quality assurance issues for the whole roof system because they could have a negative impact on the longevity of the roof.

Present regulations state that battens must be a minimum size of 50 mm x 25 mm (maximum span 600 mm) or 38 mm x 25 mm (maximum span 450 mm) and meet the grading requirements specified in BS 5534.

Identifying compliant battens

BS 5334 states that all graded battens should be marked with the following:

  • Suppliers’ details
  • Batten size
  • Species
  • Relevant Standard (in this case BS 5534)
  • Third-party certification.
  • All battens should be individually marked

NFRC is chairing a working group on the issue, made up of contractors, manufacturers and merchants.

Any further information on the issue can be shared by contacting the NFRC Technical team via [email protected]

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