The average roof will last about 70 years. Social housing saw its fastest development in the years immediately after the Second World War. It doesn’t take a degree in maths to see there is a potential problem on the horizon.
For many of my customers this is a live issue right now as roofs are now reaching the end of their lives. It’s not the tiles, of course: it’s generally the fixings, the underlay and the battens that actually decay.
The number of different components that go to make up a roofing system is a particular issue. Should a roof fail, who has the liability? Decades ago Redland decided to make it really simple. We do.
A properly installed Redland roof system will be totally reliable. We are so confident of this fact that we will provide a 15-year weathertightness guarantee to back up our products.
It’s a simple proposition, but implementing it requires us to provide a range of different support services to the end customer: specification, training, technical support and warranties as well as the products themselves.
There’s no doubt that there is huge appeal in our 15-year SpecMaster Guarantee. Protecting the assets is the number one priority for a landlord and having a single manufacturer taking on the liability for the roof is a very attractive proposition.
However, designing a pitched roofing system is a complicated process so we will only provide our SpecMaster Guarantee if we have specified the entire system, ensuring all the elements are designed to work together.
Once we’ve written the specification we then also need to make sure the products are installed correctly, so we will visit the site and provide training to any contractors who are using unfamiliar products.
For example, we have specified over 600 roofs for Merton Priory Homes in South London. These use a dry fix system which is important for the provision of ridge-level ventilation. It was quickly clear that the contractor hadn’t used a dry fix system before, which is an obvious risk for us.
Our solution was to set up some training for the contractor at our dedicated training facility to make sure that both the theory and the practice of dry fix was properly explained. We think this is a much more effective than trying to sort out problems on site caused by incorrect installation.
Visiting sites and acting as a sort of second clerk of works to ongoing projects is a large part of my job, but it’s definitely safer if the landlord’s own surveyors are also able to oversee the projects with an informed eye.
With regulations and guidance documents on best roofing practice changing we decided that an effective way to help projects run smoothly would be to provide training to the landlords themselves – so we designed our Roofing Defects Course.
The objective is to help surveyors and contract managers understand the range of products involved in a pitched roof: how and why they are specified and what a correct installation looks like.
One of the first organisations to capitalise on this course was RCT Homes. Faced with several hundred homes potentially needing new roofs, Contracts Manager Jo Yellen was keen to make sure that the organisation’s own people are equipped with up to date information.
“We have enhanced our quality control service following specialist training, taking us through the performance and the application of the Redland products. Our Surveyors oversee the projects to ensure that the correct products and fixing methods are being applied, which in turn protects our guarantee. Our Redland contact Paul Whitelaw carries out site visits as part of the service, but we also benefit greatly by utilising our own in-house expertise to monitor the quality and delivery ourselves.”
On the face of it, it might seem odd that we devote so much effort to providing support to organisations who aren’t actually the people buying our products. I think it is a reflection on how much manufacturers have evolved that we are very happy to do so.
The best from the west
Having produced two consecutive highly-commended finalists in the BMI Redland and Icopal Apprentice of the Year competition, tutor Alan Lander of RoofTrain must be doing something right. RCI met up with him at his Exeter headquarters to find out more.
Building futures for veterans
Can former service personnel help plug the construction skills gap? Total Contractor met up with three finalists from the recent BMI Redland and Icopal Apprentice of the Year competition – all ex-armed forces – to find out.
A soldier’s story
RCI visited a school roof in Somerset to catch up with former serviceman Tom Thompson, Highly Commended in this year’s BMI Redland’s Apprentice of the Year competition.