Home Contractor's Corner Contractors have had to increase tender prices due rising costs, but workloads remain strong according to NFRC’s survey 

Contractors have had to increase tender prices due rising costs, but workloads remain strong according to NFRC’s survey 

by Jennie Ward

As its Q1 2022 survey shows 73% of respondents raised their tender prices as they struggle with material, labour and energy cost rises, NFRC says “it is essential that there is close collaboration between suppliers, contractors and clients to ensure the burden of this inflation is fairly shared.”

The latest State of the Roofing Industry survey from NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) and Glenigan has revealed that a balance of 73 per cent of roofing and cladding contractors raised their tender prices in Q1 of 2022. This is said to be an increase on a balance of 61 per cent in Q4 of 2021.

Consequently, NFRC says clients seeking to have roof work done will be faced with higher prices, as contractors compensate for their costs rising.

The survey of NFRC members also revealed that a balance of 90 per cent of respondents said that material prices had risen compared to Q4 of 2021. This is alongside a balance of 61 per cent of firms reporting that labour costs had increased.

NFRC has also stated that responses related to the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine also indicated that energy costs are placing a burden on contractors, with 18 per cent noting an impact, whilst increased fuel prices were also noted.

Despite these challenges, the survey shows roofers and cladders remained in demand. The survey points to increased enquiries for contractors across the UK, and shows workloads grew for the sixth consecutive quarter since the survey began, in late 2020. NFRC says this continued steady pipeline of work meant that on balance contractors felt optimistic about the next twelve months.

However, the survey also indicated that shortages of both materials and labour are still affecting many contractors, with NFRC saying this is possibly exacerbating price inflation as demand outstrips supply.

The survey shows material shortages eased slightly from Q4 of 2021 but remained a significant challenge, as 29 per cent had difficulty in securing concrete roof tiles, and 26 per cent experienced the same with clay roof tiles. In a period of fresh government incentivisation of energy efficiency measures, the survey shows that one in five (20 per cent) reported that insulation was difficult to obtain – indicating no improvement on Q4.

As skills shortages remain rife across the industry, with the Q1 survey seeing a balance of 59 per cent of contractors reporting a worsened landscape when they sought suitable labour, the survey shows over a third (36 per cent) reported difficulty recruiting slaters and tilers, whilst 22 per cent struggled to bring on built-up felt roofers, and 15 per cent said the same regarding cladders.

James Talman, CEO of NFRC.

James Talman, NFRC CEO, said: “With cost pressures weighing heavily on contractors, it is unsurprising that so many must raise their prices. Clients will need to be aware that work on their roofs will cost more. It is essential that there is close collaboration between suppliers, contractors and clients to ensure the burden of this inflation is fairly shared.”

He added: “Despite these challenges, demand for work has remained strong, meaning contractors are right to remain hopeful in 2022, and accordingly gain confidence to invest in skills.”

Allan Wilén, Economics Director at Glenigan commented on the results of the survey: “Roofing contractors’ workload grew firmly during the first quarter. New enquiries also improved, and firms expect a further strengthening in workload over the next 12 months. The rise in workload and expectations is despite disruption and cost pressures from labour and material shortages.”

The full survey is available here.

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