By John Mercer, Technical Manager at Sandtoft, a Wienerberger brand
With the publication of the latest version of BS 5534, industry awareness of the need to comply with this Standard has raised considerably, it is inevitable, therefore, that the number of projects requiring fixing calculations will continue to increase also.
As it is the roof tile manufacturers generally provide advice on roof tile fixing, their options are to either increase the number of people who handle such enquiries, or provide on-line tools for their customers to access and obtain instant results.
The method of calculating the necessary fixings for a project is relatively complex, with a considerable amount of information required to calculate the theoretical windload for any given building and location. The theoretical wind load must be determined for the particular building and its location, which is then compared to the wind uplift resistance of a tile or slate and its fixings. Therefore, to achieve this quickly and easily for many projects, the only practical way is through the use of software. For example, Wienerberger’s calculation system uses the site postcode to determine various topographical information, such as distance from sea, height above sea level and proximity to slopes etc. This means the enquirer only need provide some simple and straightforward information; ie postcode, tile type, roof pitch, and building dimensions, in order for a fixing calculation to be calculated.
On-line solutions can make the process much faster for the user; rather than sending an enquiry by email and then waiting for a response, an on-line system will give an instant answer.
Wienerberger has recently launched such a system that uses pre-determined common roof shapes. Available on the company website at www.wienerberger.co.uk, or directly at www.roofspec.co.uk, QuantSpec is ideal for anyone wishing to obtain an instant quantity estimate for relatively straightforward projects, such as home extensions or even detached homes etc.
In summary, it is probably true to say that the construction supply companies could learn a thing or two from other industries when it comes to on-line software, but I am sure we will be catching up in the not too distant future!