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BS 7533-101 What Does It Mean For You?

22/02/2022 - News

The Future of Domestic Paving Begins…………BS 7533-101

August 2021 saw the beginning of the end of a decades old question – which British Standard Specification really applies to domestic landscaping projects involving paving? For many years, landscapers were aware of the old BS 7533 which was frequently quoted as being the Bible for the paving industry – even though we were aware that it only sometimes/maybe/I think was actually correct. The ‘old’ BS 7533 Part 4 was often quoted as being the nearest thing to a real standard, as the words were written to describe ‘pavements’, being the only or nearest written description landscapers had to a real specification.

beautiful patio made with porcelain paving tiles

For decades, or so it seemed, those responsible for producing British Standards appeared to be way behind the times, and in many respects, this was true – but only because the explosion in different types of paving products, more and more ‘man-made’, which did not comply with the old-style methods of describing the various stages of producing design specification due to a wide range of complex issues, especially regarding the thickness of the ‘new’ materials.

Whilst attempting to produce new Standards, the thickness of materials – especially the new porcelain products – were dangerously close to being ‘Tiles’ which would or could have meant them coming under the old/current BS 5385 (Wall and floor tiling). Under these standards, tiles are classified as being between 6mm and 16mm, anything thicker being classed as paving. Porcelain neatly crosses the boundaries, being available (generally) between 10mm and 20mm, and there are many architects, surveyors and specifiers who erroneously nominate BS  5385 when talking about paving projects, calling paving slabs ‘tiles’. (In my work as a dispute expert witness, I still come across this problem)

beautiful courtyard garden with stables, garages and house on three sides

Explaining the New British Standard For Domestic Paving

The new British Standard BS 7533-101 is the first of three sections. 101 is designated as the ‘Design’ Section, which includes specifying what to build. It is the planning or design element of a project. 

The next section – BS7533-102 will deal with the specification regarding the actual installation of a project, and will hopefully be available during 2022. Another section – BS7533-103 will deal with permeable paving installations, but may be a while yet before being published.

So, let us celebrate the new BS7533-101 as being the first step towards ending the prickly questions surrounding domestic landscaping projects involving paving.

Where To Find More Details

I would thoroughly recommend all designers and specifiers to learn all about the new Standard, and have a look at BS5385 while you are at it. Get to know clearly the difference between a tile and a slab, which require very different laying techniques.

You can download the British Standard from here


Head on over to the Landscape Library where you will find a range of easily digested and very informative articles on the subject

Alan Sargent FCIHort MPGCA
Landscape Library Limited