080 RCI 0717

RCI July 2017

FLAT ROOFING & WATERPROOFING Roof market report By Keith Taylor of AMA Research The overall roofing market is worth around £1.2 billion at manufacturers’ selling prices, having shown steady improvement in recent years. This reflects improvement in volume of new build housing as well as the generally improved performance across the nonresidential construction industry. A key sector within the overall roofing market is the flat roofing sector, worth around 40% of the overall market. Within the flat roofing sector, the performance of the market has been more volatile with 2015 showing a fall in the market for reinforced bitumen membranes (RBMs), reflecting supply issues, and with European bitumen refining capacity falling by around 20%. This led to a sharp drop in the supply of bitumen membranes, in particular imports from Italy and Spain, but in 2016 there was some recovery and the supply of bitumen membranes increased slightly. The chart below illustrates the recent market performance of reinforced bitumen membranes: 080 JULY 2017 RCIMAG.COM Demand for PVC single ply membranes, EPDM sheets and liquid waterproofing systems continued to increase in 2015 and 2016. Indeed, these sectors have supported the wider flat roofing market in the last year or so, with the balance of sales shifting from reinforced bitumen membranes to single ply alternatives. The market for PVC and TPE (Thermoplastic Polyolefin Elastomer) single ply sheets has grown strongly over the last 5-6 years, underpinned by trends and architectural specifications in key areas of application including offices, leisure facilities, retail warehousing and apartment blocks. Whereas RBMs are typically available in only a limited range of colours and can only be laid on flat roofs, single ply membranes are far more versatile, and may be fitted onto curved and other complex shaped roofs in a much larger range of finishes. More recently, there has been an increase in the specification of flat roofs in London, due to a shortage of garden space and concerns about air quality, pollution and rainwater run-off. In the country, planning requirements for large-area industrial and utilities to merge in with surrounding areas has also driven up flat roof installations. In industrial and trading zones, there has been an acceleration in large-area distribution centres for major retailers, in particularly those with an expanding online retail presence. This has been driven by the shift to internet distribution, ‘click and collect’ and other distributed and online retailing alternatives. The huge area of the roofs mean that single ply is often the most feasible option, as it’s better suited than RBMs for installations on metal decking. In the considerably more fragmented private housing sector, the market for flat roofing is largely driven by demand for torch-on RBMs, single layer bitumen felts, EPDM and GRP on extensions, garage conversions and reroofing works. However, with housing and development land shortages in key urban areas, it is likely there could be a swing back towards medium-high rise apartment block construction, which is more likely to favour the use of flat rather than pitched roofs. As in many other specialist sectors of the construction industry, bidding for flat roofing projects has remained highly competitive in a very tough market, with many contractors and sub-contractors putting in low bids to secure work. This has been exacerbated by an escalation in skills shortages in the roofing sector, resulting in higher wages and increasing pressure on margins. A thorough review of the roofing market can be found in the report ‘Roofing Market Report – UK 2017-2021 Analysis’, available at www.amaresearch.co.uk or by contacting AMA Research on 01242 235724 or sales@amaresearch.co.uk 5 4 3 2 1 visit www.icopal.co.uk email ukorders@icopal.com or call 0161 865 4444 �� �� �� �� ��


RCI July 2017
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