Can roofing lead the construction industry out of lockdown?

After the construction industry’s time out earlier this year due to the still on-going Covid-19 pandemic, we’re all looking for ways to continue safely and efficiently and hopefully make up for lost time.

As it’s come to light that limiting virus transmission as much as possible hinges on staying a safe distance from other people in well ventilated environments, it’s arguable that roofing might be able to be up and running, if not already so, sooner than other aspects of construction. This is due to the facts that roofing takes place outdoors and is fairly secluded, with no social interaction necessary throughout.

So, with roofing leading the way out of lockdown, the next question is, how do we ensure we maintain safe conditions throughout a project and hopefully catch up on everything we couldn’t do in April at the same time?

One solution: larger roofing boards. MEDITE SMARTPLY has recently developed three hero products for roofing: SMARTPLY ULTIMA OSB4, SMARTPLY MAX OSB3 and SMARTPLY MAX FR OSB3, which is fire-rated.

All lightweight, structurally sound panels, they are specialised in that they are able to be made longer and wider; ideal for covering extensive meterage in shorter spaces of time, allowing projects to progress faster even with fewer workers on site.

SMARTPLY ULTIMA is an extremely high-performance engineered wood panel (OSB4) suitable for the most demanding structural applications. It is a cost-effective alternative in humid and high-load structural applications when compared to a similar performing exterior structural plywood.

While SMARTPLY ULTIMA is able to be manufactured up to a maximum thickness of 40mm, all three boards are available in large panels of up to 2.8m wide by 7.5m long, using state of the art ContiRoll® technology—the continuous pressing of wood strands. This makes each board ideal not only for quality traditional building on the double, but for uses within offsite building too.

SMARTPLY MAX is a strong, versatile board suitable for structural use in humid conditions (service Class 1 and 2), ideal for applications as diverse as roofing, flooring, hoarding and wall sheathing.

SMARTPLY MAX FR has all the same properties as its sister board SMARTPLY MAX, but with an added fire rating. Ideal for use where strength, moisture resistance and Euroclass C flame retardance are paramount, this OSB3 panel complies with the European reaction to fire class C-s2 d0, and BFL-s1.

Fire protection has always been paramount in any construction project, at any given time. However, it’s arguable that now more than ever, when the industry is having to operate with fewer hands on deck, that the need to ensure buildings are as safe as possible when it comes to reaction to fire is even greater.

In efforts to ensure this, SMARTPLY MAX FR is treated during the manufacturing process with fire retardant technology before pressing, making fire performance integral to each board.

This stands in contrast to the post-manufacture treatment of most plywood, for example, and other engineered wood panels which are only coated on the surface with fire protection treatment after manufacture. During this process, the centre of the board is often not treated at all resulting in a product that may not be totally reliable should it be cut or machined, exposing the interior of the board.

Finally, there are two other considerations to in keeping with current construction methods of working towards healthier environments, all SMARTPLY boards across the range are manufactured using no added formaldehyde as standard, using FSC® certified Irish timber.

Let’s do the right thing: help the roofing industry help the wider construction industry by bringing up productivity as safely as possible, with larger, sustainable, quality timber panels.

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