The cost of incorrectly allocated defect notifications on our business each year has a double whammy effect financially and in wasted time. The general perception seems to be if there’s a leak from above or a problem is reported at roof level, then it must be down to the roofer. This recurring theme continues regardless of how many times roofing contractors demonstrate otherwise. So why is this?
In my opinion, the internet and social media have a lot to answer for. These days the consumer is surrounded by online opportunities to ‘research’ a topic and there’s no shortage of would-be experts out there peddling their often inaccurate, subjective, self-opinionated ‘wares’ for the world to access. Misinformation like this can adversely affect the consumer’s approach to a complaint and their expected outcomes from it.
Non-issues blown out of proportion
Social media is like a digital grapevine. We’ve come across cases where a consumer is unhappy with their builder and subsequently broadcasts negative messages on social media to other residents, who then start to question things about their own property, causing a snowball effect. Consequently builders and sub-contractors like us end up dealing with non-issues blown out of all proportion, sometimes at financial or relationship cost, or on occasion both.
The knock-on effect for sub-contractors like us working for quality builders is disproportionate and consumer complaints are often not fully validated before allocation to us.
Typical recall ‘issues’
The knock-on effect for sub-contractors like us working for quality builders is disproportionate and consumer complaints are often not fully validated before allocation to us. So, what typical recall issues do we encounter?
We are sometimes called out to issues which should have been allocated to other contractors such as joiners, plumbers and follow-on trades like solar PV fitters and aerial installers. Whilst far from an exhaustive list, issues include: broken roof tiles or slates; dislodged dry-verge starters; damage by other trades dealing with their own defect recalls, bathroom extractors not connected to vents and badly maintained roof drainage systems. But there are other factors such as out of sequence working and products.
Builders are sometimes keen to get the roof on as quickly as possible – to get it dry so that other trades can start on the internal works – but, in some cases, it can mean that vital preceding works like roofline, brick work and joinery work are not always ready, and the resultant effect can compromise roof installation. Some modern construction methods such as timber frame and SIP panel systems can also have a similar effect.
Manufacturers and suppliers failing to deliver key components like ridge block-ends and vent tiles with the roof tiles causes re-visits and increased margin for error
Manufacturers and suppliers failing to deliver key components like ridge block-ends and vent tiles with the roof tiles causes re-visits and increased margin for error, sometimes resulting in products not being entirely fitted to the letter of the manufacturer’s instructions. Issues like excessive breakage of roof tiles during installation has a similar effect. Also, some system components such as dry verge starters could be better in terms of design and robustness.
Whys and wherefores overlooked
Moving the clock forward a few years, if a consumer encounters a related issue with their roof, often the whys and wherefores get overlooked and the focus zones in on who is responsible for repairing or footing the bill, so it is imperative we get it right today both in terms of the work we do and when we do it.
A bone of contention on recalls is where building maintenance companies are used to investigate alleged defects.
A contentious point
A bone of contention on recalls is where building maintenance companies are used to investigate alleged defects. This is a contentious point but in my opinion there can be a basic conflict of interest here because it’s in their commercial interest to find faults – as both a revenue generator and to make themselves look good in the eyes of their clients. This is compounded by the fact that, in my opinion, they are not always necessarily qualified to accurately fault-find on roofs. These types of situations can cause a strain in client relationships
That said, where the NHBC is concerned, the interaction with them on site during original installation is increasingly proactive and ultimately helpful to all parties.
Health and safety
A footnote to the fact that we get called out to fix problems is the perception that we can always make quick running repairs, often by popping up a ladder. This is absolutely not the case. We have very robust health and safety practices in place to ensure the safety of all of our roofers and the public at all times. Quick-fix, short-duration works present additional risks that we should be avoiding, rather than encouraging.