The issue of falsely marked battens and the importance of third-party accreditation is a long deliberated subject. Being wholly in support of the NHBC decision to use only graded battens on site, I eagerly read Jim Coulsons comments regarding fake batten markings.

Jim’s comments on capacity and industry demand, however, are likely to spark some heated debate. I believe there is more than enough capacity to meet the NHBC requirements for 2012. John Brash alone would meet this demand – our sales of graded battens have trebled in the past four months alone, showing fantastic industry take-up on the NHBC guidance. Crucially, stock availability is still good.

Agreed that if 100% of the industry demanded graded battens from tomorrow then yes, there would be difficulty meeting the demand. But the reality shows this is a gradual transition. Where the NHBC is leading, others such as LABC are following close behind. This will undoubtedly start to filter through the rest of the industry, especially where self-certification schemes are in place, such as ‘competent roofer’.

My question to the industry is this: is it practical to commit to on-site grading? BS 5534 requires each batten to be marked BS 5534; this would need to be done by the operative as they grade, marking each board by hand. This is much more suited to a factory procedure, especially when you factor in the risk from human error alongside the time constraints.

A well set-up factory grading procedure can process and accurately grade over 25,000 battens per day. Increasing demand will drive innovative grading solutions.

Christian Brash

John Brash &?Co