Roofing and cladding contractors report rising workloads, but challenges persist


NEW research has found that workloads and enquiries grew in the final quarter of 2022 for UK roofing and cladding contractors.

The findings were revealed in the latest State of the Roofing Industry survey from NFRC and Glenigan.

Despite this positive news, firms reported that they are still grappling with high energy, labour and material prices, as well as skills shortages and late payments.

The survey results indicate that enquiries rose ‘modestly’ after a slight fall in Q3, with a balance of 5% of contractors reporting this.

Workloads have also continued to grow, with 33% of businesses seeing a rise in workloads on the previous quarter, compared to just 14% reporting a decline.

Growth was driven by domestic and commercial repair, maintenance and improvement work, whilst a balance of 18% of firms operating in the public non-residential new build market reported a fall in workloads.

Employment levels decreased slightly in Q4. 55% of firms reported finding it harder to recruit suitable labour. Roof slater and tiler was again the main role that firms were finding it difficult to recruit for.

A balance of 64% of respondents said they paid more for materials during the final quarter of 2022, falling from a balance of 75% during Q3. A balance of 42% of firms raised their prices.

56% reported their contractual payment terms were 30 days or less, but only 28% of firms were, on average, paid within that period. 

James Talman, NFRC CEO, said, “In 2023, firms need support from government to affordably upskill and grow their workforce. The government’s review of payments and cashflow should also examine measures to ensure firms are paid on time (and without funds being unnecessarily held in retention), to allow firms to unlock the cashflow they need to grow their business and invest in skills.”

Allan Wilen, economic director at Glenigan, added, “Roofing contractors’ workload continued to increase, albeit more slowly, during the final quarter of last year. A rise in enquiries supports firms’ expectations of further growth over the coming year.”