Roofing industry reports a positive start to 2021

Roofers reported a significant increase in workloads in the first quarter of 2021, but were hampered by recruitment difficulties and persistent material shortages and price increases, according to Glenigan’s first-quarter survey of the state of the roofing industry for NFRC.

Over half of the roofers surveyed reported an increase in workload (51 percent) in the first three months of the year, with only 11 percent recording a decrease. This trend will continue. A balance of 35 percent of companies reports an increase in inquiries and a balance of 47 percent expects growth in the next year.

Growing workloads meant that a net balance of 8 percent of companies increased their number of direct employees compared to the previous quarter and took on 17 percent more subcontractors. However, over half (56 percent) of contractors reported recruiting difficulties. The most difficult roles to fill were roof lanterns and tiles (39 percent), felt (33 percent), as well as special splitters (29 percent) and tiles (22 percent).

The material shortage also worsened in the quarter. Over two thirds (68 percent) reported deterioration. Concrete roof tiles in particular remained the largest shortage area, closely followed by wooden battens, insulation, slate and clay tiles. Due to bottlenecks and rising raw material prices, 89 percent of those surveyed indicated price inflation.

The survey also found:

  • All sectors of the roofing industry grew in the first quarter of 2021, with the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement and new housing sectors showing the strongest growth.
  • Roofers in the North, London and Southern Counties and companies across the country saw the largest increases in workloads. Workload declines in Scotland and Wales after a busy end of 2020.
  • Government spending on public sector construction projects is expected to result in a positive workload for roofers over the next year. 70 percent of contractors in this sector forecast growth in the next twelve months – well above any other sector.
  • Payment is still sluggish – while 62 percent of roofers have contractual terms of payment of 30 days or less, an average of only 42 percent were paid within this period.

James Talman, Chief Executive of the NFRC, said, “The roofing industry continued to do well in the first quarter of this year. Roofers reported that the workload, inquiries and employment increased. The housing sector is doing particularly well, driven by the strong new build market, and homeowners continue to spend their extra disposable income on modernizing and replacing their roofs.

“However, there are simply not enough roofers to meet the demand that we are seeing. Every second roofer currently has problems finding qualified employees. This exacerbates the other challenges that roofers also face, such as: B. Finding materials and managing their cash flow.

“If the government wants our industry to roof 300,000 new homes a year, retrofit 27 million homes, and build brand new schools, hospitals, and prisons by the mid-2020s, it must work with us to help with education and development Train the next generation of roofers. “

Glenigan’s commercial director Allan Wilen said the recovery in construction continued to strengthen in the first quarter, and roofers reported increasing workloads.

“Repair, maintenance, improvement, and new house construction were the best performing areas,” he continued. “Roofers expect the workload to recover over the next twelve months as the UK economy opens up. New research suggests a widespread increase in activity.

“However, the shortage of skilled labor and materials may slow the pace of recovery.”

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