Misleading articles and half truths
Veka UK’s MD Dave Jones responds to recent claims regarding steel reinforcement.
Integrity is one of Veka UK’s core values, and when we see a piece in the media from Anglo European containing information that could mislead and damage our customers, posing as news, it’s important for us to take a stand.
While I’m confident that fabricators and specifiers will be able to spot the inaccuracies for themselves, the problem lies in the fact that there are grey areas of the fenestration industry that aren’t being sufficiently policed.
We welcome competition – it helps to keep us on our toes and raise our game – but we also believe in playing fair and being transparent. Therefore, we have taken this as an opportunity to demystify some of the jargon.
What are we testing? BS 6375 gives guidance on how to apply BS EN 14351. BS 6375 provides advice on the selection of performance characteristics for windows and doors intended for the UK market; it specifies the exposure categories related to test pressure levels for air permeability, watertightness and wind resistance.
This is not a component test and certainly not an isolated test on the performance of steel. Part one provides a classification for the overall product on weathertightness and general guidance on selection and specification.
To match the performance of products from the systems companies named by Anglo European, they must achieve the same level of classification, not simply be tested to the same standard. That may certainly be the case, but we would like the opportunity to see the results and compare.
All Veka UK products are tested to all three parts of BS 6375.
What is the relevance of GZ140EU? Anglo European claims that its products offer two grades of galvanisation. One a European standard (GZ140EU), which is completely irrelevant to the UK market, and the British Standard GZ275UK, which must be achieved to conform to BS 7412 and the quality standards demanded by Veka UK.
We have done several tests in the last six months that show that, at the time of testing, Anglo European Steel did not meet GZ275UK. We are happy to share these results on request.
We invest a great deal of time and money in our product development and this includes our recommended reinforcements. Substitute steel suppliers often cannot supply all geometries required by all systems companies but by using a substitute, quality is most certainly compromised.
If a product uses a component not recommended by Veka, we cannot apply our kitemarks and honour product warranties and guarantees. To put it quite simply, it’s not a Veka window unless it’s got our steel in it.
Any fabricator choosing a substitute component must carry out their own testing and produce their own fabrication manual and calculations. If there are any changes that require additional testing, it will fall to the fabricator to comply with these and absorb the costs incurred.
This will mean that fabricators, specifiers and installers will be at a disadvantage, and should a quality problem arise in the future, this may also damage relationships and reputations. Something that the fenestration industry has worked very hard to repair over the last 30 years.
Of course, we want all our customers to use our steel and benefit from our support and guarantees, but if they choose to find an alternative supplier, we encourage them to ask for proven certification for their own peace of mind. We also suggest that they ask that supplier to support them with design loads, energy calculations and PAS24 as we do for all Veka UK customers.
We are also happy to spot check products for customers to ensure that they are receiving the quality that they have been promised.
Questions to ask:
Check the reinforcement complies with the material requirements given in BS 7412 which include requirements for corrosion resistance of mild steel sections.
Is the reinforcement the exact same gauge and geometry as that tested by the system supplier?
Does the other substitute supplier provide a bespoke reinforcement that is suitable for the chamber of your chosen profile (not a ‘one size fits all’ solution).
At Veka UK we see this as an opportunity for systems companies, fabricators, testing houses and governing bodies to work together to ensure that that the quality of products is sufficiently regulated, and we are proud to stand united with Liniar on this issue.
The imminent changes to the building regulations, driven in part by the Grenfell disaster, will include new standards for product performance and build quality but in the interim period – and for the integrity, safety and future of our industry – we must act now to ensure all suppliers to the fenestration industry provide a veracious account and accurate information.
If by reading this you are concerned, or want to join us in driving change, our door is always open.