Reflecting back over the year at this time always seems to come to the same conclusion – that this has been a hectic year, the busiest ever. I’m sure it probably feels like that for everyone involved in single ply flat roofing.
The SPRA agenda in 2019 has been jam packed. Ranging from our day to day membership work including technical and training to the major events like the 2019 SPRA Conference and Awards at Heythrop Park, back in June. That really was an event to remember and the 2020 SPRA Conference and Awards is shaping to be another unmissable event in next year’s SPRA calendar.
Apart from the major prestigious events like Conference and the SPRA Golf Day there are a range of organisations, work groups and committees that SPRA engages with on our members behalf and this allows SPRA to continually work to influence industry circles at the highest levels, including government.
On the technical side this year has seen the introduction of changes in Approved Document B, relating to fire as well as the publication of the latest review of BS6229:2018 Flat roofs with continuously supported flexible waterproof coverings – code of practice. These two documents have naturally demanded the attention of all involved in flat roofing and in the latter the changes made have enabled a clearer understanding in a more concise document that is easier to read and understand, in my opinion. Importantly this may encourage wider reading of BS6229 and understanding leading to better quality roofing projects overall, surely a good objective and outcome.
In relation to the changes made to Approved Document B, SPRA continues to push with other industry partners for clarification by government on a number of items previously covered in this column and also discussed at SPRA Technical Committee. We recognise the work done by members of both the Technical Committee and SPRA Council for their continued effort in this area. The last two Technical Committee meetings this year, in June and October addressed the issues of clarification required to AD B and informed members of the work ongoing in this respect. It is clear progress is being made and answers to obvious questions on detail seem to be eventually forthcoming. SPRA will continue to push on these issues into 2020 and inform membership accordingly.
Regarding the Technical Committee agenda in 2019; new guidance work was completed this year concerning wind load calculation protocol (Document S11b-19) including a separate guidance document on pull out testing protocol. This work had been ongoing for some time with input from members and external consultants through a Technical Committee specialist work group. To all who contributed in this work, a massive thank you, as SPRA has achieved an industry leading guidance publication to be proud of. In 2020 SPRA intend running one day courses for members and others in the use and practice of the new protocol. Further information will be available on the SPRA website.
Another piece of work, just completed, is the Component Quality Standard for Rainwater Outlets. Members of the Technical Committee also drafted and reviewed this document for the benefit of all and another thank you for this addition to our standards. In 2019 the SPRA Sustainability Group was formed and membership is reflective of all SPRA membership categories. This is a very important development to ensure SPRA is taking account of the increasing issues associated with sustainability and the construction industry.
2020 will no doubt bring many challenges not only in single ply roofing but in the construction industry at large. The post-Grenfell tragedy Hackitt Report and the industry’s response centres on making sure a real difference evolves in construction culture. The focus of the Industry Response Group (IRG) is ensuring competence across all industry, of people, products and systems. This is a far-reaching program with real depth and signs of implementation are expected to be forthcoming during 2020. SPRA participates in working groups WG2 and WG12 of the IRG and again members will be kept informed of the output from these discussions.
Kicking off the new year in January (January 30th), SPRA ,with the LRWA, will jointly run a BBA workshop at Gradient Flat Roofing Training Centre in Burntwood. This will give the opportunity for members to work with the BBA to get information on and discuss important industry issues around certification and standards. Further information on SPRA website.
So 2020 will begin again focussing on the key issues affecting our members and their business and no doubt will continue to be another important year for our industry. Best wishes for the festive season.
Dr Ronan Brunton B.Sc MBA GMICE