The Idiots' Guide to Highways Maintenance
Copyright © 2000/16, C.J.Summers
LINES AND ROAD MARKINGS (BS EN SPECIFICATIONS)
Notes for Guidance on the new BS EN
Standards for Road Marking Materials
Only by studying the specifications
listed below will you obtain a
full understanding of how the new specification documents need to be implemented.
and they do need some considerable study.
However if this is the first page you have "hit" a more general
understanding of the road marking process and what is involved will be gained by
the page that refers to the superseded standard
BS 3262 : Hot-applied
thermoplastic road markings, a
much more user friendly document.
It may be a better course
of action to browse that page first, before returning to read the more complex
information on this page.
A quick "picture" guide to the road marking process can be accessed by
BS EN 1871 : 2000 : Road
marking materials - Physical properties
This standard covers paint, cold plastics and thermoplastics.
But, because we deal almost exclusively with thermoplastics I
will refer only to this type of material.
Tests included in this specification for thermoplastics are :-
1) Test method for determining the alkali resistance of materials
2) Test method for determining the chromaticity co-ordinates and
3) Test method for determining the softening point
4) Test method for determining the heat stability
5) Test method for determining the cold impact resistance
6) Test method for determining the indentation value
7) Test method for determining the Tröger wear
All these tests are performance tests, there are no longer any
tests on the composition requirements of the thermoplastic, i.e.
percentage of binder or glass beads.
But there are requirements for the quality of the glass beads,
that will be mentioned later in the text.
BS EN 1436 : 1998 : Road
marking materials - Road marking performance for road users
This standard specifies the various levels of performance that
can be stated in a contract document which will govern the
required quality of the road marking.
It also describes the methods of measuring the various
This is one of the fundamental differences between the new BS EN
standards and the superseded BS 3262.
Using BS 3262, coupled with the authority contract document there
was just one level of quality specified for all road situations.
With the new BS EN standards there are a number of levels of
quality specified for several road marking characteristics.
The road marking characteristics being :-
1) Reflection in daylight or under road lighting, 3 classes of
2) Retroreflection under vehicle headlamp illumination
Classes for dry road markings, 4 classes of performance
Classes for road markings in conditions of wetness, 4 classes of
Classes for road markings in conditions of rain, 4 classes of
Luminance, 5 classes of performance
Chromaticity, co-ordinates to fall within a defined square on the
4) Skid Resistance
Classes of skid resistance, 6 classes of performance
The option is open to us when preparing the contract document for
the authority to specify a minimum level of performance for each
of the road marking characteristics for all road marking
It is interesting to note that in articles I have read in
magazines supported by the road marking industry the authors do
not refer to the failure of a road marking but they refer to it
complying with a lower level of performance.
BS EN 1824 : 1998 : Road
marking materials - Road trials
This standard gives guidance for conducting road trials for road
marking materials intended for use in both permanent and
temporary road marking.
Recommendations are given for test sites, for the application of
road marking materials on the test sites, for the parameters to
be measured, the frequency of the measurements, the method of
measurement, and for the presentation of the results in the form
of a test report.
The nature of the road layout, weather conditions, traffic and
road surface conditions necessary for the trial are all described
in this standard.
There are diagrams detailing the pattern of markings needed to
ensure a fair comparison of different products tested.
There are detailed "notes" included in the standard
that are extremely relevant to the application of road markings,
and I will quote one example.
6 : Application of road marking materials
specification for application
Prior to commencement of the road trials, the participating
parties should agree upon a technical specification for the
application of the road marking material.
NOTE 1 The technical specification for application can include
preparation methods (such as how to melt a thermoplastic
material), what type of application to use (e.g. extrusion of a
thermoplastic material), any particular road marking equipment
required, the pattern of application (e.g. plain or a certain
type of profile), the rate of application to be applied (in grams
per square metre), what drop on materials to add, what rate of
application and the method of use."
I hope you will note there is a lot of sound advice given in this
note, but who is in charge of arranging and supervising all this,
it seems to me it must be the client.
Have we got the time, I think not, but we may have to make time
if we want decent road markings under the new specification.
I have been suggesting for some time that a submitted line or
lines laid by the contractor at the beginning of a contract is a
good idea, the new specification appears to support this idea.
It would seem to me that a trial is necessary to establish a
procedure from the contractor to achieve the levels of
performance you specify from BS EN 1436.
This would seem to me that what we are establishing is a Method
Specification for laying road markings based on performance
The method you establish will be correct while the materials
(thermoplastic and glass beads) you use remain the same.
This means that even if you are sure the method remains constant
you will still need a regime of performance testing to ensure
that the road markings laid conform to the specification in the
Performance testing procedures included in BS EN 1824 include :-
A) Measurement of the number of wheel passages and the percentage
B) Measurement of texture depth by the sand-patch method
C) Determination of rate of application (thermoplastic and glass
D) Determination of drying time
E) Meteorological determinations
F) Determination of wear index
BS EN 1423 : 1998 : Road
marking materials - Glass beads, antiskid aggregates and mixtures
of the two
This standard specifies the requirements for laboratory testing
and qualification procedures for drop on materials, these
materials being glass beads and, if required, antiskid
Glass beads will need to comply with the requirements of the
specification, after testing, for :-
Refractive index of the glass
Glass bead quality (imperfections of bead shape and gas
Surface treatments of the beads, (moisture proof coatings,
floatation coatings, adhesion coatings)
Anti-skid aggregates will need to comply with the requirements of
the specification, after testing, for:-
friability ( strangely there does not appear to be a polished
stone value requirement ) and colour,
The standard describes the methods of test for determining the
above properties of glass beads and antiskid aggregate, and
mixtures of both.
The method of sampling is also covered in this standard.
BS EN 1424 : 1998 : Road
marking materials - Premix glass beads
This standard specifies the requirements for laboratory testing
and qualification procedures for the premixed glass beads used in
The requirements taken into consideration in this standard are :-
Refractive index of the glass
Quality (imperfections of bead shape and gas inclusions)
Some of the requirements of BS EN 1424 are similar to those of
EN 1423 and there is common ground between the two
specifications, however there is a notable difference between the
two specifications with regard to the grading of the beads.
There is a difference between the grading requirements for
drop-on glass beads and the grading requirement for premix glass
The issue of glass beads is further complicated by the fact that
"For a period of 5 years after the date of publication of
the European Standard existing national standards granulometries
can be used."
In this country that means glass beads to the grading
BS 6088 : Solid glass beads
for use with road marking compounds and other industrial uses
This usually equates to Class A and Class B beads being used for
road markings and Class C beads being used for industrial
Class B beads normally being used as the drop on bead.
Class A beads (incorporated in the thermoplastic) are a
"bolder" (larger) bead than the medium graded bead of
BS EN 1423 ( there is no large graded bead category ), and it is
my opinion is likely to give a higher retroreflectivity to a road
However it would be argued that this observation was irrelevant
in the new way of doing things as with a performance
specification a minimum retroreflectivity would be stated in the
contract and it would be up to the contractor to achieve this.
But then, some would argue why do we have a specification for
glass beads at all, there must be a reason.
It is quite simple to take a sample of glass beads and have them
Development, for Road Marking
The following drafts are not to be regarded as British Standards.
The drafts are meant to be used on a provisional basis so that
information and experience of its practical application may be
They may eventually, after feedback has taken place, become
DD ENV 13459-1 : 1999 : Road
marking materials Quality control Part 1 : Sampling from storage
This part specifies methods to obtain representative samples of
road marking materials for testing and gives the appropriate test
methods, i.e. it does not include the test methods themselves but
gives reference to the BS EN standard that contains the relevant
DD ENV 13459-2 : 1999 : Road
marking materials Quality control Part 2 : Guidelines for
preparing quality plans for materials application
Performance of road markings depends not only on the quality of
the road markings used, but also on the quality of the
Achieving an appropriate quality for the application process
requires the preparation of a quality plan.
This European Pre-standard provides guidance for the preparation
of quality plans for the application of road markings.
I do not like accepting Q.A. procedures as proof that a process
or material will be of the required quality, because the Q.A.
procedure is rarely adhered to in practice.
However this pre-standard does contain a wealth of common sense
procedures for ensuring a quality product if only they were
actually put into practice by the contractor.
This pre-standard is well worth a browse.
It might also be appropriate to require a Quality Plan to be
submitted from the road marking contractors as part of the
contract document, at least we would know how the contractor was
supposed to be working, and could be monitored.
This requirement could be part of a Best Value submission.
DD ENV 13459-3 : 1999 : Road
marking materials Quality control Part 3 : Performance in use
This European Standard describes methods for the quality control
of road marking performance for road users, and for the geometry
of road markings.
The pre-standard suggests statistical methods of obtaining a
representative assessment of the quality of the road markings.
The statistical methods in this document seem unduly complex, and
I feel most highways maintenance staff would have to spend some
time studying the procedures before they were understood, and
that includes me.
TRL REPORT 121 -
Laboratory testing of road-marking materials
is a report on procedures being developed for the laboratory
testing of road marking materials to replace the on site trials.
The performance tests described in this report ensure each
product being subject to exactly the same testing regime, and
without the vagaries of site layout, laying conditions and
weather affecting the results.
The testing regime is being developed to include laboratory tests
Erosion (Wear Index),
Rate of spreading of laid line,
Skid Resistance Value,
The report contains very useful information on the above
characteristics, and is recommended reading.
Sector Schemes for Quality Management in Highway Works No.7,
Application of Road Marking Materials and Road Studs to Road
Published by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service on behalf
of the Sector Scheme Advisory Committee for Application of Road
Marking Materials and Road Studs to Road Surfaces
UKAS, 21 - 47 High Street, Feltham, Middlesex, TW13 4UN
Tel. 020 8917 8418 : Fax. 020 8917 8400 : Website www.ukas.com
Those participating in the development of the sector scheme are
BM TRADA Ltd., - BSI Quality Assurance, - CSS, - DETR-Central
Transport Group (CTG), DETR-Highways Agency (HA), - Lloyd's
Register Quality Assurance Ltd., - Local Government Management
Board (LGMB), - NQA Ltd., - Premier Assements Ltd., - Road Safety
Markings Association (RSMA), - SGS Yarsley ICS Ltd., - Society of
Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS)
Reference to all
Sector Scheme Documents for Highway Works can be found on the
following website, and can be purchased from the site.
United Kingdom Accreditation Service --------> www.ukas.com
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