Getting some fibre in your diet

// the building envelope

HA Magazine examines the technical and aesthetic attributes to a comprehensive collection of fibre cement slates available from a manufacturer with a reputation for quality and reliability.

Slate is a roofing material which unites the many architectural styles found around the country, as well as regional differences in building techniques. Indeed it can be found weathering the pitched roofs of everything from centuries old granite cottages in Devon to the pebble-dashed tenements of Glasgow.

It remains a favourite covering for all types of contemporary development: including schools, hospitals and public buildings as well as housing. Yet the fact that it is a natural material which has to be quarried or mined – usually requiring the movement of huge quantities of soil and rock– has a massive influence on its cost.

Which is a reason why modern fibre cement slate products are becoming increasingly popular with social housing providers who are always seeking to control cost while also considering the durability of their stock and the surroundings where their residents have to live.

As a manufacturer whose name is synonymous with the supply of high quality fibre cement, as well as natural slate and other roofing products, Cembrit has been involved in facilitating countless successful new build and refurbishment contracts across the country. 

A spokesperson for Cembrit told HA Magazine: “We are a dedicated manufacturer of fibre cement products and are effectively offering a complete system for fibre cement roof installations, supported by comprehensive technical guidance and on- site support where necessary. We also have our five distribution depots around the country where customers can access advice and in some view displays of the slates.”  

The five varieties within Cembrit’s Fibre Cement range are Jutland, Zealand, Westerland, Moorland and the distinctive Diamond Fibre Cement Slate. All of them are covered by current British Board of Agrement (BBA) Certificates: a vital endorsement of the fibre cement products being fit for purpose, which offers the necessary confidence to specifiers: especially when considering their use in new-build applications.

To assist them further Cembrit also makes available a comprehensive specification design guide covering the use of its Fibre Cement Slate Range: explaining everything from specification and design through to fixing requirements, permissible pitch and exposure conditions to the use of matching ridge vents and other accessories from the range. 

Cembrit’s Fibre Cement Range already enjoys the coveted endorsement of being accepted by Birmingham City Council – the UK’s largest provider of social housing and a client which demands the highest performance standards.  As part of this Birmingham puts roofing and other products through the rigours of its own laboratory tests and extended weathering trials.

Significantly, the Birmingham City Council assessments cover Cembrit’s complete range of Fibre Cement Slates, all of which appear on BCC’s approved list.

As a company with a long track record for its service standards as well as the quality of its very diverse product portfolio, Cembrit is additionally an associate supplier member of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) which represents approximately 60 per cent of the roofing industry by value.

RIBA meanwhile has been recruited to create and host BIM objects for the entire range of fibre cement slate products: simplifying the specification and site management process; and ensuring Cembrit is ready for the Government’s upcoming deadline for adopting BIM across all public sector contracts. 

One stand-out public sector project where Cembrit’s Fibre Cement Slates have been employed is the Princess Lodge Care Centre in Swindon; built on the site of the former Princess Margaret Hospital. The Blue/Black colouration of the Jutland range was considered an ideal complement to the red brickwork elevations, while the ease of cutting and fixing the slates facilitated the completion of the turrets and other roof features atop the multiple bay windows.

For more information on the potential of Cembrit’s Fibre Cement Range visit

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