078 RCI 0517

RCI May 2017

PITCHED ROOFING Innovation: where the initiative lies Everyone demands innovation – in service, materials, quality and technology – yet the onus seems to fall squarely on manufacturers alone to deliver it. “No problem”, says, David Patrick, head of Innovation in roofing: “Roofing is not quite so staid and roofers are a little quicker to embrace new products and ways of Although we’re in the General Election ‘purdah’ period, and have no certain idea what lays beyond the horizon, it would be fair to say that the current Government and associated agencies marketing at Redland, “as we’re probably best placed to do so” working, especially when they deliver benefits of safety, speed and productivity” have spent the last 18 months or so being both very nosy and noisy when it comes to concerns about housebuilding. Whether concerned with numbers (the spring Housing White Paper); quality and workmanship (More Homes, Fewer Complaints) or sustainability (Each Home Counts). Quiet sub-text Through all of these, a key theme has been that of innovation: from working practices, management and build processes – such as offsite and ‘modern methods of construction’ – through to technology and materials. Not that the Government necessarily suggests how, and from whom, this is to come about – and there’s certainly no suggestion of funding – although a quiet sub-text is that it expects housebuilders to drive it. To be fair to housebuilders, they are behaving in an increasingly innovative fashion. Yes, they may be thought by some to be more focussed on build cost rather than value or building lifetime costs, and may not always be considered the contractors’ friend; but they are keenly trying to improve site practice and are working with manufacturers to inform product development. Main and larger subcontractors are also trying to play their part. However, none are set up nor resourced to deliver improvements or new building products or materials. Inevitably, this will fall to manufacturers who not only have the commercial imperative to compete through research and development – although there will always be those who ‘commodify’ goods and engage in a race to the bottom – but also will have likely as not been founded on an entrepreneurial, inventor-led basis, and so have the instinct, people, equipment and experience to innovate. The key drivers to innovation are legislation and commerciality. Wherever and whenever there is a 078 MAY 2017 RCIMAG.COM regulation change – take BS 5534 in this sector for instance – manufacturers will necessarily adapt and launch new products to meet the requirements. Commerciality and marketability are functions of seeking competitive advantages, continuous improvement and increased sales. In a world of everchanging regulation and legislation and fierce commercial rivalry, innovation should remain ceaseless – for the health of the sector and the health of those supplying it. A good example of this – if we say so ourselves – is the Innofix Clip which delivers both a solution to regulatory requirements and increased efficiency on the roof. Our award-winning Innofix Clip has revolutionised the way roofs are fixed. It was developed in response to the significant changes in BS 5534 and the tool-free clip speeds up the installation of a roof by up to 40%. Designed to last for the lifetime of the roof and supplied in an easy to dispense magazine, the stormproof clip is made from durable, high-grade stainless steel, is maintenance-free and strong enough to be used in all UK exposure zones One of the benefits of working with established manufacturers with a pedigree of product innovation is that, theoretically, their important knowledge – gained over decades – is available almost as an ‘institutional memory’. It’s an example of an area whereby suppliers can offer and combine expertise, advice and training. More communication and information flow up and down the supply chain is the only way to ensure a solutions-based approach to new product development. In our case, further support is available in the form of free CPDs and specification management programmes – such as Redland’s SpecMaster service. Redland is a member of the RIBA CPD Providers Network and has developed CPD seminars designed to help identify potential roofing problems and provide practical solutions. Topics range from Defects in Pitched Roof Coverings and Windloading and the Need to Fix Tiles to Control of Condensation in Pitched Roofs and BS 5534 – The New Standard. Training Innovation can come in training too and we have pioneered the pitched roof element of the Basic Competency Programme (BCP). The BCP certificate – when combined with a Innofix clip Working at Heights CSCS Health & Safety Test pass – entitles both apprentices and ‘old hands’ to apply for the three-year Red ‘Experienced Worker’ CSCS ‘ticket’, allowing them to work on site while looking towards the next level of qualification. The main objective of the BCP is to support roofers without either a full competency or an official roofing qualification in obtaining one; and help them to convert their green CSCS cards to the Blue Skilled Worker CSCS version. It will also help those in other trades, perhaps already holding higher level CSCS cards, to change sector or add to their skill sets. The BCP is endorsed by the CITB, the NFRC CompetentRoofer scheme and CSCS. Crucial to any innovation is the mindset of you – the customer.Talk to manufacturers in the H&V (especially domestic plumbing) markets, and they roll their eyes at the inertia and general reluctance of its trades to adopt new technologies. Roofing is not quite so staid and roofers are a little quicker to embrace new products and ways of working, especially when they deliver benefits of safety, speed and productivity. www.redland.co.uk


RCI May 2017
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