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UK’s largest lead survey reveals lack of accreditation knowledge in construction sector Print E-mail

Britain’s largest industry survey of its kind has exposed a lack of accreditation knowledge among those working with lead in the construction industry.

This is one of the key takeaways from the UK-wide survey of more than 250 lead merchants and end users, commissioned by Midland Lead and conducted by Firebrand Insight, an independent research consultancy.

Of the 250 construction professionals surveyed – from roofing, timber and builders merchants, through to specialist lead roofing contractors, roofers and general builders –the results revealed that while some do have product awareness, confusion and misunderstanding around the differences between machine cast lead and rolled lead is widespread.

High quality machine cast lead has a British Board of Agrément 86/1764 accreditation, while high quality rolled sheet has a British Standard 12588.

British Standard (BS), however, tends to have higher awareness than British Board of Agrément (BBA) in the construction industry, leading to the opinion that BS is better than BBA.

Midland Lead Managing Director Boudewijn Tuinenburg says: “The results of the study clearly underscore the need for education in the lead industry, particularly when it comes to accreditation and the differences between machine cast and rolled lead.”

As the only UK company to offer the complete lead range - machine cast, rolled and sandcast – Midland Lead is keen to use the survey results to fill in any information gaps when it comes to quality assurances.

“It’s clear that the lack of a BS accreditation for machine cast lead underpins the perception that machine cast lead is of inferior quality to rolled. However, many in the industry are unaware that machine cast lead can in fact never qualify for BSEN12588, as it is only applicable to lead manufactured through a milling process,” Boudewijn explains.

“While we also supplyBS-accredited rolled lead, our core product is BBA 86/1764 accredited machine cast lead. Our machine cast leadis manufactured through a continuous casting process - following the BS specification of rolled lead. So not only does it conform to the BS rolled lead spec, it also has the added benefits of the BBA quality checks and controls.”

The British Board of Agrément (BBA) certificate is one of the UK’s leading notified bodies offering approval, certification and test services to manufacturers of products and systems supplying the construction industry. Alongside the same standard requirements of the BS, the BBA includes twice annual external surveillance visits and a 3-year review on product quality and service levels, as well as internal quality checks.

In addition, aside from a difference in manufacturing methods,lead sheet made to the BS12588 and BBA 86/1764 specificationsshare many attributes. Both are made using the exact same chemical specification, from 99.95% pure lead, both are made under same tolerance margins, and, while the process to arrive at a predetermined thickness of lead sheet varies, the end result is the same: lead sheet with a consistent thickness that will not vary by more than +/- 5% at any given point.

Both BBA and BS-accredited lead sheet is also accepted by the NHBC, Building Control, architects, designers and engineers, insurers, building associations and all local authorities and government bodies throughout the UK.

Phil Bloomfield, Commercial Director, BBA, adds: “A BBA certificate often relates to an innovative element of manufacture. But innovative process or not, our approval is granted only if a product has a level of performance at least as good as, or better than, that specified by the BS. And that’s the case with Midland Lead’s cast lead.”

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