Roofers report further growth, but concerns remain over spiralling costs


NEW research has revealed that 43% of roofing contractors expect further growth over the next 12 months, despite 86% experiencing rising material prices in the final quarter of 2021.

The findings were revealed in the latest NFRC/Glenigan State of the Roofing Industry Survey for Q4 2021.

55% of respondents also reported rising labour costs.

The survey also found that, in Q4, a positive net balance of 30% of roofing contractors saw their workloads grow – the fifth consecutive quarter of growth since the survey began. Future enquiries also remain ‘strong’ but down on Q3 levels.

In Scotland, the sector is particularly buoyant with 72% of respondents reporting growing workloads.

Philip Campbell, NFRC’s head of policy and communications, said, “On the face of it, roofing contractors are feeling bullish — most have seen five consecutive quarters of growing workloads, and the pipeline of future enquiries remain robust, and are therefore mostly optimistic that workloads will continue to grow over the year. However, this optimism is dampened by the reality of spiralling cost increases, the likes of which haven’t been seen in recent times.

“What is most concerning is that over a third of roofing contractors haven’t been able to pass these costs on in their tender prices. Many contractors are operating on very tight margins, and their working capital has already been eaten away by things like retentions, late payment and more recently, reverse charge VAT. If these costs continue to rise, the financial health of many firms could be put in jeopardy. Manufacturers and clients must work collaboratively with specialist contractors to ensure these costs are distributed fairly throughout the supply chain and fixed price contracts are honoured.”

Allan Wilén, economics director at Glenigan, added, “Roofing contractors continued to grow their workload during the final quarter of last year, despite the disruption of labour and material shortages. An increase in new enquiries bodes well for the first quarter of 2022 and contractors anticipate a further strengthening in workload over the course of this year.”