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RCI December 2017

SECTOR VIEWS 1) Growth of clips It is worth just reminding ourselves of the impact the revised British Standard for slating and tiling BS 5534 has had on the roofing industry since its introduction in 2014. For the first time, it gives clear guidance that all single lap clay and concrete tiles must be mechanically fixed on a roof. As a minimum requirement, all tiles must be nailed and all edge tiles must be twice fixed. Roofers tend not to like having to use clips and prefer instead to nail tiles. With this in mind, Wienerberger has been actively developing its roof tile fixing methods. The new Monkey Grip range of clips for the Calderdale Edge and TLE tiles is a great example of product development designed to help the contractor. The tile clips are supplied with an integral nail and are specially moulded to grip the tile and angled to make striking the nail as easy as possible. The clips are far stronger than previous clips and for many buildings, are all that is necessary to achieve the required wind uplift resistance. For roof perimeter tiles and sites where a nail and clip fixing is required, the new clips ideally complement the single, right hand nail fixing hole on the Calderdale Edge and TLE tiles. 2) The return of renewable energy We see the popularity of solar and renewable technology enhancing in the New Year, as many aim to be self-sufficient, alongside the greater desire for green energy. Earlier this year, on Wednesday June 7th, something remarkable happened in the UK; at midday, the National Grid control room reported a record 19.3 GW output of renewable energy, which, added to nuclear power, was enough to meet more than 50% of total electricity demand. Helped by early summer sunshine and a windy day, solar PV panels generated 7.6 GW and wind farms 9.5 GW of electricity; the remainder made up of 2 GW from renewable biomass and a small amount from hydro-electricity generation. For the first time ever, renewable energy and solar power together produced more electricity than gas and coal-fired power stations combined. There are many reasons why installing solar PV panels on a roof is a good idea, and there are also opportunities for the roofer to ‘upsell’ additional high value technologies alongside the solar system itself, such as remote monitoring systems and battery storage. 3) Interlocking tiles A trend we see escalating in 2018 is 036 DECEMBER 2017 RCIMAG.COM that of interlocking tiles. The Wienerberger New Gen range covers most tile profiles; Cassius for large format interlocking flat tiles, 20/20 for interlocking plain tiles and Olympus for pantiles. There are also slate-alternative New Gen clay tiles in Rivius and Balmoral. The evolution of the W iener be rger ‘New Generation’ cla y tile range is an interest ing st ory. Trad it ional clay tiles, being ‘fixe d gauge’ , can be dif fi cult to set out to full cou rses , particularly on relatively short rafter leng ths. Concrete ti les, w hich ar e generall y copies of t raditional cl a y tile shapes, do not have a fixed gauge du e to their manufacturing pr oc ess a nd are t he refore much easier to install. The gr eat trick Wienerb erger has achieved with its New Gen tiles is to copy the way concrete tiles are installed. In short , New Gen clay tiles are c opies of concre te tiles, which are in turn , copies of tr aditional cla y tiles! This a ll results in faster inst allation times a nd , combined with moder n, high -speed manufacturi ng techniques, means that New Gen clay t iles are highly cost effective in terms of both u nit an d labour costs, resulting in o verall savings for bo th t he roof er and client. John Mercer, Wienerberger, technical manager www.wienerberger.co.uk Sarah Harding, Marley Eternit, marketing director www.marleyeternit.co.uk Simon Smith, Bracknell Roofing, divisional director www.bracknellroofing.com Where do I start when reflecting on 2017? Continued acute shortages in core material supply, rising material costs, skills shortages and legislative changes – which are compounding the construction skills shortage – are all issues we have faced in 2017. Contending with all of the above has been tough – especially the materials shortage because that’s probably had the biggest single impact right across our business. The volatility – and I use that word advisedly – of supply lead times has led to delays on site, and juggling the deployment of our roofing teams to respond to changes is really challenging. We’ve also seen increased capital outlay to support our administrative and purchasing teams in dealing with constantly changing build programmes. Where materials are concerned, we’ve experienced a double whammy because costs have risen too. We’ve seen large price hikes in lead, timber batten, insulation, imported goods and, latterly, UKproduced roof tiles. It’s no wonder that we have started using the political term the ‘squeezed middle’ because our costs have increased and yet we have had sustained pressure on us by housebuilders to hold our prices. All that being said, 2017 has been a good year for us, and I’ve got nothing but praise for the team at Bracknell Roofing who have rolled up their sleeves, coped with the issues that have come their way and have still managed to increase revenue, as well as seeing movement in the order book and enquiries. That’s because there is increasing demand, particularly in new housing – and we have been well placed to capitalise on those opportunities. What should we expect in 2018? It’s anyone’s guess, but there are signs that housebuilders are building to demand more than they were 12 months ago, when they were building to targets to capitalise on the growth of the market. In addition, there’s the spectre of Brexit, which alongside rising inflation and interest rates, will potentially affect consumer confidence. The UK housing shortfall and political pressure will continue to challenge performance in the new housing sector. On balance, we expect another year of solid growth which is probably something most sectors of the industry would welcome given the issues we’ve experienced in 2017. 2017 has been a positive year for the roofing industry, mainly driven by the new build sector, and with housing taking centre stage in the Budget, this growth looks set to continue in 2018. However, next year won’t be without its challenges – there is still an air of uncertainty with the Brexit deadline looming in 2019 and an ongoing skills shortage which could impact on the industry’s ability to deliver the amount of new homes needed. We expect to see continuing focus on the safety of building materials next year, as the Government publishes its review of Building Regulations and fire safety in spring 2018. There is also likely to be ongoing scrutiny of both the quality of roofing products and workmanship. The introduction of the new Dry Fix Standard BS 8612 will bring greater transparency and expose the huge differences in the quality of components used in dry fix systems, something we have been concerned about for many years. Whilst this won’t have the same impact on contractors that BS 5534 did, it does mean they need to make sure the systems they use comply with the new British Standard. The increasing focus on the quality and safety of building materials in 2018 means contractors must have full confidence that all roofing products they are using are secure, durable and meet the necessary standards. One way of getting this peace of mind is to form supply partnerships with trusted manufacturers who can provide the assurance of safe and compliant roof systems, backed up by full technical support and warranties. As the industry works towards the ambitious housebuilding targets set out in the Budget, establishing a closer working relationship throughout the supply chain will be a critical factor in delivering the building materials and labour required over the coming years. “Where materials are concerned, we’ve experienced a double whammy because costs have risen too”


RCI December 2017
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