Is Your cast Stone Up To Standard?

According to the UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA), there are around 160 cast stone manufacturers in Britain. Most operate without adequate quality assurance or testing regimes, and may not be working to proper standards.

Yet, as with any building material performing a critical job, it's vital you can trust the manufacturer.

Specify or use cast stone from producers without adequate quality assurance or testing regimes, and who do not work to proper standards, and you could risk problems associated with poor product performance and site handling, leading to costly remedial action or claims. Among the questions you'll need to ask your cast stone supplier are: what tests do they carry out and can you see the results? Do they have proper batching and curing facilities? Can you visit the factory? Will they cut you loose once you've taken delivery of their product? You may think it's a hassle if you do all this, but you could be in big trouble if you don't.

The NHBC says your starting point should be to ensure your cast stone is produced to the relevant British Standard BS 1217 or, better still, the higher standard adopted by UKCSA members. The message is clear: whatever the product, make sure it conforms to the appropriate standard - and the higher the standard the better.

The UKCSA is the guardian of quality in the sector and represents the leading manufacturers. The association sets high performance standards, and members must go through a strict vetting procedure. These standards are supported by rigorous testing and quality control.

"There's no reason at all why specifiers must take a chance on the quality of their cast stone," says Andy Cotton, UKCSA chairman. "Our logo and customer charter are a guarantee that the customer is getting the best cast stone available, and superior back-up."

A key difference between UKCSA members and other cast stone manufacturers is in the compressive strength of the products. The minimum standard required of UKCSA members is 40% higher than that demanded by both BS1217, and that indicated in the new European standard.

In other words, UKCSA members produce the strongest cast stone available. That means the customer can count on outstanding durability, better site handling and better buildability.

UKCSA members also take service seriously: design and technical advice, proper packaging and reliable delivery, often tailored to individual building programmes.

To help you specify cast stone correctly, the UK Cast Stone Association (UKCSA) has produce a new generic specification which is available to download UKCSA Specification.

The National House-Builder Council (NHBC) recommends: 'When specifying or using cast stone ensure it is produced to BS1217 or, better still, the higher standard adopted by UKCSA members.'

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