Roofers concerned about material shortages, data shows

Nearly half of roofing and cladding companies (48%) asked to rank their top three concerns for 2021 topped the list for NFRC material shortages, according to Glenigan

Roof tiles were the most common shortage that roofers reported in the last quarter of 2020. Almost half of the companies had difficulty reaching them (49%).

Roofers also cited wood and battens (17%), slate (14%) and insulation (5%) as other materials that were in short supply.

Bottlenecks have a negative impact on material prices. Three quarters (76%) of companies reported inflationary pressures last year, and two-thirds (65%) of roofers said prices were even higher than in the previous quarter.

Nonetheless, building contractors had a positive end to 2020: two out of five roofers (41%) reported an increase in their workload in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter.

The survey found that:

  • Workload increased across all roofing sectors in the fourth quarter of 2020, with Domestic Repair, Maintenance, and Improvement (RMI) performing the strongest, followed by commercial RMI and public non-residential RMI.
  • With the exception of Northern Ireland, workloads were higher in all UK countries and regions than in the previous quarter. Scotland did the best. 80% of Scottish roofers reported higher activity.
  • The level of employment rose compared to the previous quarter. A 12% net balance of companies reported higher headcount than in the third quarter, but that’s still a 3% year-over-year decrease.
  • Recruiting roofers is becoming increasingly difficult. 45% of companies say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit. The labor shortage was the second highest problem reported for 2021.
  • Roofing companies are optimistic about the coming year. More and more companies expect the workload to increase rather than decrease in 2021.

A robust restoration of the construction

James Talman, CEO of the NFRC, said, “In the past year, manufacturing facilities have been temporarily closed, entire shifts of workers have had to self-isolate, disruption in ports and increased international competition for many products like wood – it’s no wonder that The main concerns of roofers this year are material bottlenecks.

“Despite these challenges, the industry ended the year optimistically with healthy order books and a number of future inquiries across the industry.”

Glenigan’s commercial director Allan Wilen said, “The survey shows a robust recovery in construction in the fourth quarter.

“Roofers reported a sharp increase in workload due to an increase in repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) work, particularly house chores.

“Industry expectations and the rise in new inquiries point to a further increase in workload across the board in 2021.”

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