The roofing sector has seen many developments of late. This comes in a period where the market is showing a good recovery from the post-2008 era. In fact, many experts state that although BREXIT had some impact on the industry in general, there seem to be lots of optimism in the sector.
Like other contractors, roofers have to keep up with the changes in order to remain relevant in the industry. This means acquiring newer skills, coming up with better innovations, and using the latest technologies.
One area that seems to receive lots of interest is the “Green” roof sector. Consumers, as well as industry experts, are vouching for more energy efficient and non-polluting solutions to their roofing problems. Gone are the days when asbestos was the main materials. Nowadays you will hardly come across any asbestos roof.
Instead, what you get are roofing materials made from recycled and renewable materials. They provide better cooling, which reduces the reliance of heating, and cooling systems, don’t emit any toxic compounds and also don’t have any negative effects on the people, pets, and the environment.
Another form of “Green roof” is the creation of gardens and greenhouses on the rooftop. This is particularly noticeable on flat roofs and the main goal is to create a biodiversity surrounding that enhances the ambiance in the roof. Plants, as we know, have good insulation properties that if used right will help conserve energy and power. It also creates a natural habitat for wildlife including birds and butterflies.
According to a report by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), more and more contractors are embracing this new ideology. They will train their employees on the basic principles and ensure to stick to the regulations of the Green Roof Code of practice (GRO).
Nevertheless, Britain seems to be lagging behind in comparison to its neighbors like the Scandinavian Countries and German where the green roofs contribute to about 10% of the roofs. London leads lead the pack of cities adopting green roofs and accounts for approximately 42% of the green roofs in Britain. Other regions, nevertheless, are slowly but steadily picking up the pace.
Another area that has contractors and the industry in general concerned is the widening skill gap. There are more older people in the industry compared to the younger people. And with many of the senior people retiring, the industry faces a shortage of skills. This problem is further worsened by the boom in the construction industry that requires more contractors.
Statistics show that the industry requires about 44,430 new recruitments every year and the number will increase to over 46,000 by end of 2018. The supply, however, is far less meaning that the shortage will continue to be felt. Due to the looming shortage, some contractors are opting to seek services from beyond the borders.
A survey carried out back in 2014 by The Federation of Master Builders indicated that 20% of service seekers faced challenges when recruiting for skilled labor. The reason was that there was a shortage in seasoned bookers including roofers. The ones they found were not very skilled and lacked the desired hands-on-experience.
The skills gap is also evidenced by the rising day wages where in some regions; a skilled person can earn over £250 daily. This is similar to some leading white-collar jobs.
While the high prices are good for the industry, the shortage of skilled roofers isn’t.
The Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI says that the demand for subcontractors is in an all-time high. This is pushing the wage rate higher and at the same time putting pressure on the few available contractors.
Sadly, the end user, who is the service seeker, has to dig deeper into the pocket to get the service. Some, who find the prices a bit too much, may be forced to seek shoddy services from less-experienced or incompetent contractors. This may look economical in the short run but may ruin the good reputation of the existing contractors.
It is, therefore, necessary to come up with long-lasting solutions. A good approach is trying to market the sector and offer incentives for the younger generation. Many leading firms are playing an active role in not only marketing the roofing sector but also taking part in recruiting and training young people. The number of apprenticeships has increased to narrow down the gap.