LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News vol 6 no 3, 1998, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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Brackaflash – an Environmentally Friendly
Lead-Free Roof Flashing System

AT LAST - An innovative flashing system for stepped and horizontal brickwork has been winning markets in Australia and overseas.

Its inventor, Ross Bracher is a veteran builder and understands the problems with lead as a flashing. So it is understandable why Brackaflash is gaining greater acceptance as builders come to recognise its many advantages. Foremost among them is the elimination of lead currently in universal use as roof flashings.

The existing type of lead flashing is used between brickwork and roofs to stop the ingress of water into the building, but lead has several unsatisfactory features relating to efficiency and of course environmental damage. Lead as a roof flashing, due to continuous exposure to the elements, deteriorates with age and eventually cracks (and if 15kg lead is used, this could be only a few years). Subsequent replacement involves expensive removal of brickwork if done correctly.

The Brackaflash system is a breakthrough as the building and construction industry still uses tons and tons of lead each year with the run off going into lakes, rivers, stormwater and also drinking water (especially in country areas). The State and Federal Governments are spending $7 million (source Lead Advisory Service) on advising the building industry and public of the associated dangers of lead, but there has not been an alternative until the environmentally friendly Brackaflash.

The Brackaflash system consists of two parts, a preformed tray which crosses the cavity and extends down the face of the brickwork to which soft zinc flashing is attached. Brackaflash not only eliminates lead but provides a waterproof seal between the brickwork and roof and if ever required the exposed soft zinc flashing can be easily replaced by a few pop rivets.

Metal Roofs are no problems for Brackaflash as the preformed trays can be purchased without the zinc flashing attached so that you can attach the Colorbond colour flashing of your choice and never worry again if there is a need to replace damaged flashings.

Project builders such as Charleston, Wincrest, Clarendon, Michael Hull and North Coast Homes have embraced the opportunity to use the Brackaflash system for its environmental benefits – and the ease to install. It’s lighter and easier to handle and there are considerable savings to be made not only in the area of maintenance but also with the theft of lead on site.

According to Building Industry Connection:

"…temperature variations can cause a 2m length of lead [flashing] to expand by more than 3mm. If this expansion and contraction cannot occur freely, lead may lift and buckle.

"Further movement will then cause bending about the buckle until, ultimately, fatigue occurs and the lead sheet cracks. The thicker the lead, the greater its stiffness and its resistance to buckling."

Being a builder with 43 years experience, Ross Bracher confirms the statement made in Building Industry Connection, that although the Australian standard requires lead sheeting with a 20 kg rating, most builders are using 15 kg, making breakdown and consequent replacement more likely. The Building Code of Australia also requires 20 kg lead flashing, yet builders will continue to use 15 kg while Councils are not policing the requirements. When Ross has asked Council inspectors why it is not policed, the answer is "What do you expect us to do? Carry weights and measures?"

As Ross points out, "Just think how many builders are handling lead then sit down to their lunch and then home to the family with lead dust on their hands and clothing."

Building Industry Connection concludes:

"Soft zinc is a preferred material when flashings need to be dressed reasonably close to the profile of a Colorbond or Zincalume steel roof. Soft zinc, although not as malleable as lead, can be used in most applications where lead might be considered".

For further information call…

PO Box 5, Warners Bay NSW 2282
Phone: (02) 4941 1113 Mobile: 0418 269 991
Fax: (02) 4965 8137

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Last Updated 06 October 2011
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