BS 7533 - Your Favourite Standard

It’s been a long and winding road, with all sorts of rumble strips, speed bumps, cul-de-sacs and diversions along the way but, after almost a decade, the allegedly final draft for the revamped British Standard covering the specification and installation of modular paving is out for public consultation. If anyone recalls the previous draft, they’ll be reading what follows with some trepidation – it wasn’t the finest hour for the oversight committee, and was quickly, and unceremoniously, removed!

BS 7533 is a highly respected set of documents, as evidence by the number of standards issued by other countries in temperate maritime climates that bear an uncanny resemblance to the British original, which speaks volumes about the logical, consistent and well-considered approach to paving adopted by that early BS committee.

But with a chunky 13 sub-sections, there is, almost inevitably, some repetition and, if you are not a BSI member, it could cost you over £2,500 to acquire all the parts.

 BS 7533 - all 13 parts

BS 7533 - all 13 parts

All British Standards are regularly reviewed to ensure they reflect the latest developments, up-to-date research, new products and best practice, so a ‘reconsideration’ of the Standard was no great surprise, but the decision to simplify everything into just three sections – design, specification and installation – was wholly new thinking.

So: the new standard will comprise Part 101, which looks at design considerations, such as sub-bases, laying courses, build-ups in general and so forth. It is this part that is now deemed fit for public consultation.

Part 102, which remains nebulous and unseen by anyone outside the committee, will cover the actual installation, and then, eventually, Part 103 will focus on sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and permeable paving.

As should be expected, there has been a huge dollop of politicking involved in what has been produced so far. Concrete manufacturers don’t want stone suppliers getting any advantage, and clay paving is feeling overlooked, and those that don’t provide kerbs are not interested in that aspect….and on it goes. With the notable exception of one person from Interlay, the trade body for paving installers, there has been precious little input from those of us that actually lay the paving – as ever, it’s been more or less left to those that make it, those that sell it, and those that lock themselves away in a university lab to think about it. There’s summat seriously wrong with that set-up!

Anyway, the aforementioned Part 101 is out for public consultation and I urge everyone to at least have a skim read through it. This document WILL affect how we are able to make a living for the next 20-30 years. The consultation period closes on March 27th, so time is tight. The committee boldly claim they have ironed-out nearly all “issues” by means of internal consultation, but with no working paving installers on that committee, how can they be sure?

Whatever your role in the paving trade, you have valuable experience that should be brought to bear on a document that is going to dictate our working environment for decades to come.

Take some control:         Read the draft:          Have your say!