Home Pitched Roofing Q&A: Supply chain relationships and the digital age

Q&A: Supply chain relationships and the digital age

by Jennie Ward

Total Contractor puts the questions to Andy Punter, Production Manager at Yeoman Rainguard, discussing installer support, the benefits of different materials for rainwater systems, challenges and opportunities within the sector and much more…

Andy Punter, Production Manager at Yeoman Rainguard.

Total Contractor: Can you tell us a bit about Yeoman Rainguard and your offering…
Andy Punter: We have over 50 years of experience in the manufacture, supply and installation of rainwater systems in a choice of materials and styles.

What sort of projects do your rainwater systems get used on?
Because of our varied range of gutters and downpipes – Aluminium, Cast Iron, GRP & Copper – we can cater for most styles of projects from new build commercial buildings, self- build/renovation projects to heritage restoration.

You offer systems in a range of materials – Aluminium, GRP, Cast Iron, copper – what are the considerations installers should make when utilising these different systems, and what sort of projects do they lend themselves to?

Clients should consider style of the building envelope, whether the environment has a part to play, such as heavy rainfall areas, if the building is listed or not and what the waterflow from the roof would be. Our different materials can help to accommodate aesthetic choices. Our Aluminium gutters and downpipes are a great versatile product lending themselves to modern contemporary deigns as well as offering a more traditional feel for renovations etc. Cast Iron is a number one choice for listed or heritage projects but more recently our GRP products have been accepted as an alternative.

Copper can come into its own on timber clad buildings and also due to the materials’ naturally occurring biocides is a good system for those wanting to harvest rainwater.

You operate across a number of markets, which are performing well currently?
The private self-build and renovating sector is doing exceptionally well at the moment. Due to the pandemic people have been able to invest money – which may ordinarily be used for leisure and holidays – into their properties with lockdown giving them time to plan.

The perception is sometimes that metal systems are only utilised on higher-end projects, is this the case?
Definitely not – our Aluminium systems can offer budget conscious options. This should also be coupled with the fact that our systems have durable, long and maintenance-free life cycles which over time save time and money on repainting, repair and replacement of gutters and downpipes.

As part of your Aluminium fascia and soffits range, you recently introduced the Squareline range – what are some of the benefits of this range and what sort of projects does it lend itself to?
These easy to install fascia and soffits are aimed mainly at the modern new build homes, offering a nice clean finish which is pleasing to the eye, again with the advantage of a durable, long lifecycle that requires no repainting.

What are some of the most common mistakes when it comes to specification and installation of roofline and rainwater systems, and how do you help overcome these?
Unfortunately, it is the installation of the joint clips on gutters. We have shored up our written fixing instructions, detailing spacing and process, with an animated video which visualises the process making it easier to understand. Our installation videos can be found on both YouTube and our website.

How do you view the relationship between manufacturer and installer – have installers’ requirements changed with regards to technical support in recent years?
Many installers have embraced the digital age wanting to use the web to search “how to’s” and search for advice. Providing installation guides online was a major breakthrough.

What sort of services can you offer installers in terms of support?
We have a raft of services that can help, from online and paper format of information such as fixing instructions, through to the provision of samples and the ability to produce bespoke units that can help design-out potential problems. Not forgetting the wealth of experience held within the Rainguard technical team, being only a phone call or message away.

When it comes to certification and standards, what are the key things an installer should look for when working with rainwater systems?
Look for quality of material and finish (to BS/EN Standards) of product to ensure a high standard of durability and function. Ensure when installing gutters and downpipes to follow the supplier’s/manufacturer’s fixing instructions, a tried a tested method, using recommended fixings and sealants to ensure optimum function and longevity, and also to validate any warranty offered.

Lead times are crucial to installers and projects – there are challenges across the board in terms of product availability, is this something you are experiencing and what would your advice be to those within the supply chain?
We’ve followed the curve closely and are ahead of it as far as materials and stock is concerned. We are still able to offer Aluminium gutters and downpipes in standard black finish off the shelf for quick delivery times. Our range of colour options can be delivered within 10 days from order. Having a close relationship with suppliers has helped us to manage our own supply chain.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.
GRP Settle 125 x 100 mm Lead Effect downpipe connecting to original material on Saint Patricks Cathedral.

Can you tell us about some of the more interesting projects your products have been used on…
We have great expertise in supply and advising on rainwater systems for heritage and listed buildings, with one of the most memorable being Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin (above and left).

Yeoman Rainguard lead effect GRP rainwater pipes, clips and hoppers were used to replace damaged rainwater systems on this most historic of buildings.

The present building dates from 1220 and the Cathedral is today the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, serving as a popular architectural and historical tourist attraction, as well as place of worship.

Yeoman Rainguard GRP was specified for this particular project as we were able to match the design of the existing pipes and hoppers by producing moulds from which GRP replicas were supplied.

Showcasing our bespoke capabilities to the best, tooling and development was undertaken to manufacture a special replacement Hopper to match those already in place, along with GRP lead effect 100 x 125mm GRP pipes in 1.8m lengths finished in Yeoman Rainguard lead effect.

We’re experiencing more severe weather patterns, how does this impact product development, design and planning for rainwater system projects?
Yeoman Rainguard can help work through flow rate calculations from roofs enabling certain deep flow and larger downpipes to be specified where necessary. Again, our bespoke manufacturing options can help adapt designs to accommodate flow rate levels.

Is there still room for innovation in the rainwater systems sector – and if so, what sort of issues will it address? Will it be aesthetics, speed of installation, longevity, capacity?
At Rainguard we constantly carry out product research and development to enable our system to remain relevant to the ever-changing market, making us one of the market leaders in the design and manufacture of stylish yet highly functional rainwater systems.

It’s been a challenging couple of years with regards to Brexit, Covid and supply of raw materials and products, but are there reasons to be positive moving forward?
Definitely – forward thinking has allowed us to ring fence our material supplies and there is still a thirst in the homebuilding and renovating sector which is a major player in helping the continuation of business growth.

What should customers look out for from Yeoman Rainguard in the coming months?
We pride ourselves on being able to deliver products quicker than our competitors. The new Squareline Aluminium Fascia has certainly been received well in the market and hopefully we will be able to offer the addition of the new Squareline coping system to this range soon.


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