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Great Expectations: An Owner’s Guide to Avoiding Disputes Related to Roof Cladding

Other than on basic social housing the current resurgence of metal-clad roofs on all types of residential buildings has increased the emphasis on aesthetics, durability of materials and quality of workmanship with the visual aspect often being a major feature of the overall design. However, the emphasis can vary with the category and type of residence i.e. freestanding or multifamily and first time, family or downsize homes. Budgetary constraints are an important factor with first time buyers whereas downsize buyers are the most discerning.

Although first time buyers tend to take a short term view when it comes to durability to save on cost the expectations for best quality workmanship remain constant across all types. Whilst there is a core of reputable builders, unfortunately there is a large percentage to whom quality and integrity are not a characteristic, particularly in the less affluent and first time sectors where the installation is often undertaken by unskilled chancers. Another negative factor is the construction is not overseen by an architect with inexperienced owners and owner-builders being taken for a ride.

We are increasingly being contacted by aggrieved owners where the roof cladding has either developed blotches, usually due to touchup of the coating mechanically damaged and/or scratched by following trades after the cladding has been installed (it is amazing how many builders consider the roof cladding as a work surface, it is a waterproof membrane and needs to be treated as such), faded prematurely, invariably due to inferior materials being substituted for those originally specified and which would have carried a performance warranty. Leaking flashings or leaks where paint-on membranes have been substituted for metal flashings together with rusting fasteners are another regular complaint.

In order to avoid acrimonious and stressful disputes we recommend owners consider the following before entering into a contract;

  • Ensure quotations detail the products to be supplied and are as per your specification. Be on your guard for terms such as similar or equivalent and check with the specifier before accepting them. Also ensure that the builder adheres to this requirement if he intends sub-contracting the installation of the cladding or roof structure and cladding.
  • All exposed fasteners are at least Class-3 and preferably Class-4 in polluted and coastal areas or in accordance with the coil manufacture’s warranty conditions.
  • Make it clear (preferably in writing) the workmanship is to be in accordance with cladding industry best practice.
  • Check the contractor is an approved erector of the cladding profiler (manufacturer).
  • Insist that the roof structure will comply with the requirements of either SANS 10243 (timber) or SANS 517 (light steel frame buildings) in addition to SANS 10400 Part-L: Roofs


For additional information and topics pertaining to metal cladding please visit the SAMCRA website.