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Liquid waterproofing sector continues to grow, but challenges for ‘off the shelf’ product testing and certification remain

by Matt Downs

Research undertaken by the Liquid Roofing and Waterproofing Association (LRWA) shows that the liquid applied roofing sector has grown by more than 30% since 2013, making it “the fastest growing part of the flat roofing market”.

Recent figures from the LRWA’s research recorded a 35% growth in its members’ turnover – measured in m2 – for liquid-applied waterproofing in the last four years.

The LRWA also points to a rise in membership which it says reflects sector growth, with an increase from 16 manufacturer members in 2013, to 25 in 2016 – which has reportedly seen the association’s collective turnover grow by 98%.

Despite sector success, the association does add a note of caution with regard to an increase of new products emerging onto the market to meet demand being sold without testing or certification. This, the association points out, creates liability issues for contractors.

Sarah Spink, CEO of the LRWA, explained that she believes this issue will continue into 2018 and potentially increase in severity thanks to Brexit, as the UK leaves the EU and opens up the market to new liquid products imported from across the globe.

She said: “The successes of rapid growth do present its own issues with the influx of new manufacturers and roofing contractors emerging into the market, and it’s important to ensure high standards are still being met.

“In 2018, one of our key targets is to help make contractors more aware when choosing ‘off the shelf products’ sold through distribution networks, which in some cases are imports from overseas. Whilst there are some good liquid products available through distribution networks or builders’ merchants, there has increasingly been issues with many being sold without any testing or certification, and simply do not meet an acceptable standard. Contractors using unproven products bought through a distributor could result in them having more liability than they realise.

“This not only creates a headache for contractors, but poor product performance also devalues the high standards in our industry. It’s important for contractors to remember there is plenty of advice and guidance available from trade associations like the LRWA to help protect them from a potentially very costly roofing or waterproofing project.

“It’s therefore important to seek advice from a trusted trade association like the LRWA before choosing a product, which is the only recognised body in liquid applied membranes to produce compliant technical guidance notes and Codes of Practice. This, alongside our stringent membership criteria for liquid manufacturers and associate members means the highest of standards can continue to be met in the sector.”

Sarah concluded: “Despite these challenges, 2018 looks set to be another positive year for the liquid market. The LRWA is working more collaboratively with other trade bodies in our industry to ensure quality standards remain high, and the increase in demand for liquids can only be a good thing.”

Sarah Spink, CEO of the LRWA, will be presenting the liquid roofing market size findings and offering guidance on liquid waterproofing specification at the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) Forum on 21 March 2018. The event, hosted by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), will be held at its headquarters at Roofing House, 31 Worship Street, London. For more information about the event, email sarah.spink@lrwa.org.uk


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