The Mastic Asphalt Council (MAC) is the trade association for the UK mastic asphalt industry. MAC represents more than 90 companies – including mastic asphalt manufacturers, the contractors responsible for its installation, and associated suppliers of equipment and services.
Top quality products, design and workmanship are fundamental to the Mastic Asphalt Council. MAC membership is only open to those manufacturers and contractors that can satisfy the stringent quality requirements. These strict membership requirements enable MAC to justifiably claim that it represents the UK’s top 70 mastic asphalt contractors, as well as leading manufacturers. Only MAC members can use the MAC logo as a mark of quality and mastic asphalt sold in the UK by MAC’s manufacturing members is manufactured in the UK and not imported.
MAC Director Malcolm Grinstead said: “As a non-profit making independent body, our primary objective is to promote the use of mastic asphalt and to regulate the quality and workmanship standards for its installation. More and more contractors are realising the benefits of becoming a MAC member as end clients demand quality assurance and durability.
“In recent years, there has also been a resurgence of popularity of mastic asphalt amongst the specification market. We provide a technical information service to architects, surveyors and other specifiers, on the design of all types of mastic asphalt installation. As part of this, we produce a series of Technical Guides which can be readily downloaded from the Mastic Asphalt Council website. We also set codes of good practice and promote measures governing the safety of operatives. We encourage high craft skill levels, backed by CITB-approved training schemes, to a minimum of NVQ Level 2,” Malcolm continued.
Mastic asphalt is one of the few construction activities still regarded as a ‘craft trade’ and there are many time-served mastic asphalt roofing applicators working across the country. The skilled work involves ensuring that asphalt is at the correct temperature, and then spreading it using traditional techniques to coat the surface. A thermoplastic material that changes shape when heated, mastic asphalt cures to form a hard, durable, finished product to suit all applications of mastic asphalt.
As mastic asphalt is laid in molten form, it is often confused with other types of waterproofing membrane that require naked flame or torch on application. In reality, there is no naked flame at the point of installation and because mastic asphalt is so highly flame resistant, there is little or no potential of fire risk.
Being a MAC member enhances the reputation of a contractor and gives a badge of quality and assurance that they meet very highest of standards with regards to factors such as trading and credit history, insurance policies and quality of workmanship.
MAC carries out a great deal of work to raise awareness amongst the younger generation about the benefits of learning to apply mastic asphalt and the career opportunities available.
New City College Hackney, formerly Hackney Community College, is currently the national centre for mastic asphalt education and training, and relies upon support from MAC and its members. The mastic asphalt craft is taught by professional tutors and the traditional time-served apprenticeship is now incorporated into national vocational qualifications, leading to a Level 2 qualification.
MAC aims to protect the future of the industry by supporting apprentices through an intensive three year training programme that will ensure they can install mastic asphalt to the highest standards. The craft training programme is said to be one of the most demanding in the construction industry, and includes practical and theoretical training to use mastic asphalt across a wide range of applications.
Students can utilise state-of-the-art facilities at New City College Hackney which include a workshop replicating a real work site and a one-tonne asphalt mixer. Several MAC members have donated plant and raw materials from which apprentices can learn the practical elements of this age-old trade.
Despite the challenges faced in 2020, the year has proved to be highly successful for apprentices studying Mastic Asphalt Construction at New City College Hackney. A number of apprentices have successfully achieved the full national vocational qualifications, namely Oliver Boys of Sussex Asphalte, Zak Such of Rio Asphalt & Paving, Ben Burrows of JPR Roofing & Flooring, Ashley Ellis of NRA Roofing & Flooring and Michael Mason of Bell Asphalt.
Michael Mason is pictured receiving his certificate from his father Terry Mason who is a charge hand spreader at Bell Asphalt. Terry carried out his apprenticeship in 1998 when working for Rock Asphalt and Terry’s Uncle Edward Mason undertook his apprenticeship with Bell Asphalt in 1975. Michael Mason represents the third generation of his family working in the mastic asphalt sector.
One of the many reasons why roofing contractors use mastic asphalt is due to its durability and dependability. The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has officially stated that asphalt roofing is capable of lasting 50-60 years, but MAC has many examples well in excess of this. For instance, mastic asphalt was first laid at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral in 1906 and it provided well over 100 years’ of effective waterproofing before it needed replacement.
Those interested in becoming a member of the Mastic Asphalt Council should contact Malcolm Grinstead on 01273 242778 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org