Roofing and cladding contractors face business survival fears over cost pressures


NEW research has found that 71% of roofing and cladding contractors fear for the survival of their business due to price inflation and soaring costs.

The figure was revealed in the latest quarterly State of the Roofing Industry survey from NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) and Glenigan.

In the face of businesses being forced to spend more on materials, labour and energy – and with clients tightening their purse strings – NFRC is now calling on government to work with industry to ease the burden.

The survey indicated that 81% of contractors had put their prices up since the same time last year.

NFRC is advising clients and businesses to have an ‘open conversation’ about prices and other challenges. The trade body said a roofing contractor may not be able to give the same price as a month ago, because supply chain costs have swallowed up’ the original profit.

The organisation is urging government to offer support on energy costs. Respondents to the survey noted rising fuel prices as a common cause for concern.

NFRC added that reducing VAT on roof work would also make things cheaper for homeowners and reduce what roofers need to charge. This has already been introduced on solar panels and insulation, but not to larger renovation projects.

James Talman, NFRC CEO, said, “Whilst workloads grew in Q2, we may see this begin to level out in the second half of 2022, as client purse strings tighten. Businesses are facing inflationary pressures that force them to raise costs, and roofing and cladding firms are dealing with rising material prices, skills shortages, and expensive fuel, in an industry where cashflow is already a notorious problem for many businesses.

“All this comes before the impact of the major uplift of gas prices in the autumn. The construction industry showed real collaboration during the pandemic—the industry needs to continue to display that in overcoming this challenge, especially for those who can least afford it.”

Allan Wilén, economics director at Glenigan, added, “Overall roofing contractors’ workload continued to increase during the second quarter. Although contractors anticipate further rise in industry workload over the next 12 months, a stabilisation in new enquiries points to a slowing in the pace of growth. The squeeze on household incomes appears to have cooled domestic RM&I workload and enquiries. In contrast commercial and public non-residential prospects remain strong.”