What you need to know about BS 13700:2021 – Wind Speed Calculator New Release

BS 13700:2021 – New Release 2021

The British Standard 13700:2021 specifies design, testing, maintenance, and inspection of counterweighted roof guardrails. With the advent of a new regulation that governs the installation of freestanding permanent railings, a new standard for freestanding railings was established in July 2021.

Is the new standard (BS 13700:2021) relevant to you?

We’ve answered some questions you might have about the new law. We hope they are helpful.

BS13700:2021-Windspeed calculator_Manual_Safesite_UK

1. Why is BS 13700:2021 necessary? Why was it needed?

The BS 13700:2021 standard is the first to provide guidance regarding permanent edge protection that can last the lifetime of a facility (instead of only being used temporarily).

A specific standard has never existed for permanent freestanding guardrail systems. Guidance was taken from standards that discussed temporary guardrails.

Originally, it was thought that freestanding railings would only be used temporarily when the initial standards were set up. In spite of its benefits, freestanding guardrails are now being installed permanently due to their benefits (most notably the fact that they don’t penetrate the roof).

Therefore, there is no doubt that there has been confusion regarding which standard applies to permanent counterbalanced edge protection that is not physically attached to a building. As a result, BS 13700:2021 was created to eliminate current ambiguity.

With the new standard, manufacturers, designers, duty holders and recertification technicians will have clarity and consistency, ensuring that these safety-critical edge protection systems are designed, installed, inspected, and maintained to the highest standard.

2. What’s in the new standard? When was it released?

What’s in the new standard:

  • Test methods and manufacturing requirements for permanent freestanding guardrails
  • Requirements for recertification of each system and frequency
  • Information on the wind calculation required for each system.
  • The new standard released in July 2021.

3. Does the new standard replace EN 13374?

No. The European Standard EN 13374 is specific to temporary guardrails. Freestanding guardrails are referred to as permanent solutions in the new standard.

Read more about EN 13374 here

4. Until BS 13700, what standards were used to describe permanent freestanding guardrail?

Before, a combination of standards was used when talking about permanent freestanding guardrails. This is because a specific standard for freestanding roof edge protection does not exist.

The following standards have served as guidelines in the past for these systems:

  • A temporary roof edge protection standard, rather than permanent rails, is EN 13374. This standard is no longer relevant for permanent systems due to the following reasons:

This standard does not specify the correct height of 1100mm for permanent productsThis standard does not specify a wind loading that is appropriate for all sites (such as the ones in North London).

  • The 2005 Work at Height Regulations require those who have a duty of care to carry out work at height safely by implementing a Risk Assessment.

5. What if I already have guardrail on my roof? Does it work with the new standard?

The system may not be compliant with BS 13700: 2021 if it was installed prior to July 2021. To ensure compliance with the new standard, all systems installed prior to this date should be retrospectively reviewed.

In accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, you should contact a qualified supplier to inspect the system. BS 13700: 2021 must be used for any permanent freestanding guardrail system installed after July 2021. Make sure you check with your supplier.

6. What If my roof’s freestanding guardrail system is not compliant with the new standard. Is it my fault?

A customer must first inform their supplier what the intended use of the system will be (will it be used as roof guardrail or around machinery?), as well as if it is a permanent or temporary solution. Based on this, it will determine what standards need to be followed.

When it comes to guardrails for roof edges, they will likely need to comply with BS 13700, particularly the annual recertification and recommended retrospective wind speed calculations.

It’s a good idea to contact your supplier and ask for an annual recertification to BS 13700 to make sure your system is up to date; you might need to upgrade it.

As a building owner, Safety Manager, etc., you would be responsible for getting the system checked for compliance if the guardrail was installed before the new standard came about. Safesite offers inspection and recertification services – more information is available upon request! Contact Now

7. How will my existing freestanding guardrail system be inspected?

Checks will be made during the inspection, including:

  • Details about the systems
  • Modifications made to the system or missing components
  • The correct height
  • It was set up according to the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual
  • whether all fixtures were present
  • Any component that has been damaged or corroded should be inspected.
  • The Technical File should be developed.

8. How do System technical files work?

Technical files are evidence-based documents that the System Designer produces for the duty holder.

The duty holder must keep the document for the lifetime of the building and include it in the health & safety file defined in the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015.

The file includes the system design and layout, design calculations, and wind speed calculations to permit assessment and verification of compatibility, safety, and operational suitability.

System capabilities include:

Pass – All recommendations were met, so it remains in service.

Conditionally pass – The parts comply with the recommendations of a previous standard and do not immediately pose a safety concern. The system will remain in service, but a report and recommendations will be given to the duty holder, along with a completion date.

Conditionally fail – The system meets the recommendations of a previous standard. However, it presents an immediate safety concern (which can be improved). The system is taken offline, but a report and recommendations will be given to the duty holder with a timeline for completion. In order to return the system to service, it will need to be inspected again.

Fail – The system does not comply with a previous standard and is therefore unsafe. If the system cannot be improved or repaired, the roof area will be closed to access routes and marked ‘Do not enter.

9. Safesite KeeGuard complies with this new standard?

We will ensure that your new KeeGuard roof edge protection system complies with BS13700: 2021. We will provide all instructions and documentation (including a site-specific wind speed calculation), as well as support throughout the entire project.


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