Construction News

Tue November 24 2020

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Roofers' problems are invoices and materials but not demand

30 Oct Roofing contractors are busy but have problems getting paid and getting materials, a trade association survey has found.

The National Federation of Roofing Contractors found that 91% of its members who responded to a survey reported being either ‘busy’ or ‘very busy’. However, 23% reported concerns around payment, with one contractor reporting to have waited four months to be paid by a particular public sector client.

Accessing materials remains a major concern, with 55% of contractors reporting material shortages. These were mostly in concrete roof tiles and timber, but also in membranes, felt, insulation and slate.

Some 277 roofing contractors responded to the survey, representing about 25% of NFRC’s membership.

The survey also found that roofers are mostly back to pre-Covid capacity— 49% of contractors reported operating at full pre-lockdown capacity while 40% were operating at over three-quarters of their capacity.

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Future enquiries also look positive, with 67% of contractors receiving the same number of new enquiries as this time last year and 27% seeing enquiries up on last year more.

NFRC chief executive James Talman said: “This survey confirms what we have all been hearing—roofing contractors are generally busier than ever. A combination of pent-up demand in the summer, combined with government stimulation packages, and people working from home wanting home-upgrades, has meant demand has not been a problem for roofers.

“However, it is shocking that so many roofers are still waiting to be paid, with some reporting waiting on thousands of pounds from their clients. We all know that times are tough for some firms, but that is no reason not to pay your supply chain. I was particularly concerned to see public sector clients listed as being the worst culprits when they should be leading the way.”

He added: “Unsurprisingly to those in the industry, concrete roof tiles and timber were listed as the top material shortage areas. This seems to be due to the incredible amount of demand we have seen in the last quarter combined with the lag seen in production, following lockdown earlier this year. We have been working closely with manufacturers on this issue and will continue to monitor this situation.”

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