Told You So – Roofing Specialists Fighting Back

The ongoing price war in metal roofing has the marketplace continuing under siege from contractors trying to win projects by heavily undercutting prices to clients that have been persuaded the bottom line is all that matters.

Victims in this downward spiral of price versus quality are the traditional roofing contractors that know the cost of doing a job properly and yet are constantly under pressure to take short cuts in order to “win” work. 

An increasing number of specialists are however now turning away from this “work at any price” nightmare scenario and refusing to compromise their standards.

What these traditional roofing contractors are now finding is that those clients that initially shunned them and went for the cheapest price option are now actively seeking them out to go on site and put right all the problems that have been caused in the interim by their “lowest price” first choice.

The penny is gradually starting to drop that as far as traditional metal roofing is concerned, cheapest price today could well be causing problems tomorrow and there is no substitute for the long term value for money provided by an experienced expert.

The outstanding metal roofing companies whose expertise lies in the design and installation of traditional aluminium, copper, zinc, stainless and zinc roofing and cladding are members of the Federation of Traditional Metal Roofing Contractors (FTMRC), an organisation that very much has quality standards as its watchword.

The FTMRC takes its responsibilities to the sector much further than just a contractor “club” and has been at the forefront of a number of initiatives designed to raise the standards of traditional metal roof design and installation.

For a start it requires potential members to put forward projects for vetting which will be inspected at roof level by an experienced member of the FTMRC Council. Even if accepted, the policy of members  providing projects to be vetted continues on a regular basis and anyone failing to maintain the standards required has their membership withdrawn.

The Federation can therefore recommend its members with confidence to any specifier looking for the proper installation of a traditional metal roof and there is an increasing trend of members being asked to go back to site to investigate and put right problems caused by a contractor whose design knowledge, hands on skills and practical experience were simply not good enough.

The irony is FTMRC members have often been involved with tendering for the work in the initial stages and had warned the client / architect that the job simply could not be done correctly at some of the price levels that were being quoted. As a result of these warnings going unheeded the clients face (often considerable) further costs to put right a job that should have been done correctly in the first place. There must be a real temptation to put “I told you so” at the end of the remedial works inspection report.

FTMRC commitment to quality standards extends beyond a responsibility to its membership.

  • There is also a commitment to training the next generation of metal roofers and the Federation has worked closely with its manufacturing associates (which include most of the major European producers) to develop a progressive hard metals training programme, delivered at the LSA National Roof Training facility in Kent.
  • To back this up the Federation has designed and published, with the support of funding from the CITB  a UK Guide to Good Practice in Fully Supported Metal Roofing and Cladding, the first publication of its kind to properly address UK design and installation issues covering aluminium, copper, stainless steel and zinc detailing.
  • Manufacturers are now offering extended warranties for their products if installed by FTMRC members and the Federation is currently examining the parameters which could enable members to offer a 25 year labour and materials warranty for their work, independently insurance backed and administered, but policed by the Federation..
  • The growing authority of the Federation was recognised by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) by authorising the FTMRC to process applications for the new Gold Heritage Skills card in Traditional / Heritage Metal roofing and almost 200 cards are in the process of being issued.

There is a growing recognition:

–       That getting a traditional metal roof designed, set out and installed by someone with the appropriate expertise and experience provides much better value for money in the long term.

–       That not all metal roofing contractors are the same

–       That some simply do not have enough knowledge or skill to do the job properly, regardless of how small or large a project may be.

That sometimes lowest price should be taken as a warning, not an opportunity.

Don’t say we didn’t tell you.