Lafarge Cement calls for tighter mortar controls
Lafarge Cement has called on housebuilders to insist on tighter controls around the use of mortar, following reports late last year that the use of substandard product was causing hundreds of new homes to crumble.
A report by the BBC’s Panorama programme claimed that mortar that did not meet industry standards had led to crumbling on 13 estates in the UK.
Jeremy Lee, commercial director at Lafarge Cement, said: “Mortar performance is a complex issue, with a myriad of factors including weather and correct specification and application having a potential detrimental impact.
“However, this is why it’s critical that all building products, including mortar, meet required industry standards – which according to the NHBC should be one part cement to 5.5 parts sand for most of the UK but for areas that experience extreme weather conditions such as Scotland, it’s recommended that a higher proportion of cement is used to increase durability.”
There are now a number of factory-made mortars which rely on different mix proportions. Commenting following the BBC’s report, a spokesperson for the NHBC said: "It is important that the analyst has all the information relating to the type of mortar used to avoid assumptions being made which may result in the mix proportions being misinterpreted.”
Lee, whose firm produces a range of premixed and ready-to-use mortar products, added: “Building standards are in place for a reason and tighter controls are needed to ensure that the correct products are specified, as well as being mixed and applied properly on-site. From housebuilders to the wider industry, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure that adequate and suitable products are used, through a robust specification process and due diligence during all stages of the construction process.”