Professional builders will be well aware that when it comes to having a structurally sound roof that will offer customers longevity, it is vital to select high quality components that are fit for purpose. Richard Price, Technical Director at Catnic focuses here on the importance of builders’ metalwork and the issues to consider when it comes to finding the right product.

Roofing work can certainly be a lucrative area. Whether you are constructing a new roof for an extension or have been called in to repair and renew sections of an existing roof – we all know that customers will pay close attention to the results and will be quick to call a trade professional back should any issues arise. To protect a reputation and achieve that all important word of mouth recommendation – the combination of skills combined with quality components is required.

Although builders’ metalwork might seem like a small element of the overall structure, this group of building components (which provide connections for timber and masonry construction) has an integral role to play in the structural integrity and performance of the final roof. To get the best possible results, take some time to look at the options available at your local builders’ merchant.

Reputable manufacturers should supply a good level of detailed information to check over. For example, wherever possible you should only ever use CE Marked products, as this will mean the manufacturer has declared conformity with all of the legal requirements to achieve CE marking.

There will also be hundreds of different types of builders’ metalwork to choose from – and a product for any scenario. These can include joist hangers, restraint straps, timber engineering hardware, fixings, brackets and clamps as well as truss clips, mono truss clips and girder truss shoes.

Remember that individual products will have been designed and manufactured for the specific purposes shown in the manufacturer’s information and therefore should never be used with other connectors that have not been approved by a qualified designer.

There are several areas to consider when it comes to ensuring products are fit for purpose. Where structural applications are required, consider the type of connection and how critical it is. Then take into account the type of environment where a fastener will be used and in accordance select the most appropriate material and coating.

Careful consideration also needs to be given to the correct combination of fastener and material. For example, when using stainless steel connectors, be sure to use stainless steel fasteners and if opting for galvanised connectors, use components that meet the zinc coating specifications to avoid galvanic corrosion.

For anyone looking for more detailed guidance, BS 52845 Part 1 2013 + A1: 2016, covers the specification of Ancillary Components for Masonry – covering wall ties, tension straps, hangers and brackets. This provides all the necessary information to ensure compliance such as the following depending on product type:

-Required tensile load capacity
-Compressive load capacity
-Displacement under load
-Shear load capacity.

As with all large or small building components, to obtain optimal performance and achieve maximum allowable load, the product has to be correctly installed. Professional builders should always check the manufacturers own guidance on the precise installation of its own products but general best practice advice would include:

-Not overloading or exceeding the product performance
-Installing all fasteners before loading the connection
-Always opt for a nail gun with hole locators for ease of installation
-Masonry supported connectors must be embedded into the correct strength mortar as per British Standards.

Today, there is a comprehensive range of builders’ metalwork available, which can make finding the right product seem like a difficult task. As such, it is always advisable to deal with a trusted manufacturer that can offer a wide range of high quality connectors for timber and masonry, but also the technical support required to ensure products are compliant and truly fit for purpose.

For further hints, tips and best practice advice when it comes to using builders’ metalwork and other construction tasks visit: