Sunday, January 15, 2012

Roofing Standards Australia

The Installation Code for Metal Roofing? Where Is It?

Author: Phantom Roofer NSW - The lack of progress in metal roofing standards.

The SAA HB39-1992 (since replaced by the 1997 version) has been the gospel of the roofing industry for all the state building codes and was originally made possible by a joint arrangement of The Victorian Plumbing Industry Board, the Metal Building Products Manufacturers Association Ltd and Standards Australia, in addition with the support of the steel roofing installation industry, the Aluminium Development Council and Masters Plumbers of Australia. Also in addition to this the BCA has published the BCA 96 Volume 2 (since revised) regarding roof drainage, flashings, insulation and cappings that states should be consulted in relation to SAA HB39-1997. Copyright is still owned by Standards Australia and can not be reproduced without payment to ASA.

So to be correct nothing can be quoted from the above publication without consent or payment to ASA and only information can be published (up to 10%) without payment to ASA. They own this information. Yet all briefs regarding roofing & cladding in metal quote this handbook.

Searching legality in NSW regarding enforcement of this handbook revealed some interesting facts:
  1. SAA HB39 1997 has never been cited in NSW legislation to determine compliance with gutter overflow provisions.
  2. Standards Australia withdrew the publication of SAA HB 39 1997 in 2004 but is still available to be purchased. Fair Trading officers will refer to the applicable standard that was in force at the time the work was carried out.
  3. Fair Trading notes that SAA HB39 1997 was referenced in the matter of O'Brien v C J M Rood Services Pty Ltd [2003] NSWCTTT 307 (24 March 2003). It is advised that in this matter the Handbook was incorrectly referred to as an Australian Standard when this is not the case.
So what is this all about:- It's about honesty and regulations that need to followed, adapted, updated (to meet new conditions and factors) and also applicable in a court of law. Yet above items 1,2, and 3 that have been taken from the NSW Parliment in 2008 where obviously this handbook has no substance. Even to the point that in 2004 the Australian Standards Associations have withdrawn the publication as admitted in this article. Why then has it been quoted by every roofing specification since?

The problem is not with the roofing contractors, rollformers, architects, engineers, draftsmen, and purchasers. The fault lays directly with the idiots in Federal Government that struggle to understand that a manufacturing industry requires guidelines, regulations, standards, and basic standards that will result in a superior product that has always been available in metal roofing. So the Australian Standards Association (ASA) has said they withdrew this publication in 2004, are in the process of implementing a new standard of roofing and cladding, yet we wait like lemmings on the cliff face.

Why does this industry (Metal roof & cladding rollformers) put up with the ignorance of government that has ignored every complaint forwarded to since 1970. Why? Because they have done very well in the boom and overcome problems through competition and self regulation.

Now is the time to state that the rollforming industry may only employ in the hundreds of thousands directly, but if you include sales, IT, Logistics, installers, associated manufacturers, builders, and media - then the total is in the millions of employees. The Metal Rollforming Industry employs and looks after millions of Australians that vote, work, buy cars, drink, and generally keep this country going.

Why are we governed by such bodies as ASA and The Australian Government that takes 8 years (and still waiting) to replace this valuable SAA HB39 1997 publication or handbook. The reason is that they are no longer given the money to develop and aid the industry (metal roofing and cladding) because it is being sucked off by more important demands of AGW, the AUTO Industry, Social Inclusion Departments etc etc.

Make a stand as a contractor, manufacturer, reseller, customer, voter and demand that the industry be heard!

Rollfoming Future?
Thanks to the Phantom Roofer of  NSW for this article.

The Roofer

I still have a copy of the 1992 and 1997 versions - yet nothing for 14 years since - what does the government do to gain public, business and general confidence? Do your job ASA and produce a new standard!


  1. Just one addtion - any legal disputes regarding roofing in NSW regarding SAA HB39 1997 will have to be reviewed as ASA have withdrawn this from the regulations in 2004 and only NSW Code of Practice will apply.

    What about other states?

  2. I believe the Aust Standard for roofing and walling (design and installation) is AS1562. Correct me if I am wrong. SW

    1. That is my understanding as well.

      AS1562.1 is called up by the Building Code of Australia (now compiled into the National Construction Certificate)as an approved constuction manual deemed to satisfy the performance requirements of the Building Code.

      There is also an approved construction practice for residential Roofing outlined in the Building Code BCA Volume 2 - Metal sheet roofing deemed to satisfy the performance requirements of the Building Code.

  3. SW,
    Correct - but also only one the many that the old HB 39-1997 used to cover and also still in use by architects and engineers even though it's not an Australian Standard. See the list below (which is only a few of the ones available from AS).

    - AS/NZS 4994 Edge Protection
    - AS 4256 Plastic Roof & Wall cladding
    - AS 1562 Design & installation sheet roof and wall cladding
    - HB 39-1997 Installation Code for metal roof and wall cladding
    - AS 4040 Methods of testing sheet roof & cladding
    - HB 114 Guidelines for design of eaves & box gutters
    - AS/NZS 2179 Specs for metal rainwater goods

    Plus heaps of others on downpipes, brackets etc etc

    What they have to do is produce a recognised handbook that contains all the AS's and republish it like they promised 2 years ago. I will try and put the old ROOFER article in the Old Blogs section - shortly.

  4. Do you need licence to do gutters and gutter guard in nsw?

    1. Anonymous - YES! on the 1st part - Go to the NSW Fair Trading website here:

      It states the following:
      Builders, plumbers and roof plumbers installing guttering systems must be licensed. You can check licence details on the Fair Trading website.

      I would contact them to clarify your installation of gutter guard!