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Flat Roofing

Supplier support: helping contractors to win more work

by Jennie Ward

Correct product selection and installation for a happy client, working alongside other trades, meeting the regulations and still working profitably can, at times, feel like a juggling act for the contractor. Danny Cole, Sales Director at Flex-R, discusses how suppliers can offer a helping hand.

Despite a lot of uncertainty last year, the roofing market is currently booming. Demand for RMI has reached unprecedented levels and with commercial projects now getting back on track it’s unsurprising that installers are expecting workloads to increase even further.
There are plenty of opportunities for roofing contractors and this is where knowledgeable suppliers can help. After all, a quality roof is more than just the products that go into it – and contractors should rely on their support and services throughout the process to win new contracts!

Ask the questions!
The key to any project is getting both the specification and product choice right from the outset. You need to ask the right questions, or it could lead to misunderstandings later.
Start with the basics; is this a new build or refurbishment project? What deck and substrate are you working off and what condition are they in? Water damage due to water ingress could have serious budget implications if it isn’t picked up during the inspection.
Will your membrane meet the performance requirements of the area? Does the roof meet buildings standards? Do you need to interface with other building elements? Will the building be occupied during works?

Tender Process
Projects can vary dramatically in size, scope and complexity and you should look to create a specification based on project-specific information. While they’re useful, don’t just rely on suppliers and manufacturers’ standard specification documents on their websites – one size doesn’t fit all!

Product selection shouldn’t be about the cheapest product simply to win the bid. The tender process should be about getting value for money for your client by choosing a system that meets the suitability, longevity, and performance requirements of the project. Also consider the overall build process, for example, using insulation on a Cut-To-Fall scheme may be more expensive up front but will result in a quicker installation providing significant labour-saving costs.

Can your supplier support you at pre-start meetings? This will provide an opportunity to discuss the requirements of the project with your client and make sure every aspect is covered. For example, what is the minimum design fall for the flat roof? what are the minimum upstand height requirements? or will the membrane interface with other building elements? They should have the technical knowledge to design a system that meets the relevant standards as required by current legislation.

When bidding for work, make sure they know about your firm’s credentials on similar successful projects. Don’t forget to include details about the training and monitoring of your installers and other back-up that your supplier will provide.

Members of Flex-R’s Specialist Registered Installers (SRI) scheme have access to a range of premium roofing products, training and guarantees that cover both the labour and the product.

SPRA Awards Flex-R Cwm Mawr work in progress.

On-site works
On-site there are many factors that can delay the build progress and you want to limit these as much as possible. Large commercial projects can involve different contractors and suppliers and communication is essential to avoiding problems. If the project involves multiple installation stages you will need to plan accordingly, co-ordinate with other trades on-site and co-ordinate deliveries.

Your supplier should help you throughout this process. You should also have access to technical support who can answer queries over the phone or visit on-site to overcome problems. To maintain high standards of workmanship Flex-R offer support, on-site and over the phone, to help contractors overcome any challenges during the project. We can also provide a system warranty that covers both the labour and the product.

Lastly, don’t forget the importance of training! You may have worked with flat roof membranes for years but the same type of product from a different manufacturer may require a different installation process. Product training teaches you to do the job right first time, whether you are new to installing membranes or have been working on the roof for years.

With so many different systems available to the roofing contractor and only one opportunity to get it right, it is very important to ensure that the design is correct first time. Make sure the training doesn’t stop in the classroom, your supplier should also support the installation process out in a real-world environment. We provide contractors with ongoing support, on-site and over the phone, to overcome any challenges during the project.

If you’re looking for help with your next project, speak to us at Flex-R. We work with contractors and clients throughout the entire process from design and specification to purchase, delivery and installation.


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