Paul Reed, Chief Operating Officer at Marley, says whilst the roofing sector has issues to contend with around labour availability, short-term price and supply issues, and continuing financial uncertainty, there are still clear opportunities for those supplying and installing roofs in 2021…
The roofing industry has faced unprecedented challenges this year – from lockdowns, to furlough and the implementation of important Covid-secure measures, both on site and in manufacturing. This has inevitably had an impact on product availability and efficiency of labour.
Yet, the roofing sector has proved itself to be remarkably resilient and flexible, adapting to changes in working practices and fluctuations in demand. This has allowed it to capitalise on the opportunities presented by a robust domestic refurbishment sector and the more recent pick up in house building and social housing re-roofing.
As we head into 2021, we continue to operate in an uncertain market, with potential impacts from reduced household incomes, decreased government capital expenditure and lower levels of consumer confidence. Yet, at the same time, low rates of borrowing and house price growth are positive factors. Indeed, one of the UK’s largest housebuilders is now reporting that sites are operating at near normal capacity and forecasting that completions in 2021 will reach between 85-90% of 2019 levels.
Whilst Brexit concerns have been overshadowed by Covid-19 this year, the end of the transition period is imminent and there is still uncertainty about trade deals. Although challenges exist from labour availability, as well as short-term price and supply issues, the roofing industry is well placed with a largely UK-based supply chain, from raw materials through to installed roofs. Focus on sourcing local, British-made products will also provide some stability.
Despite the continuing financial uncertainty, there are clear opportunities for those supplying and installing roofs in 2021. As we build toward the 2025 Future Homes Standard, the renewed focus on sustainability offers roofing contractors the chance to diversify and add extra revenue streams. Renewable technologies have a critical role to play in the UK’s aim to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and integrated solar will become a growing feature of UK roofscapes, driven by potential regulation changes, energy saving grants and product innovation.
At Marley, we are helping contractors to add value to projects by extending our established roof system to incorporate integrated solar panels, making it a ‘one-stop shop’ for designing and installing everything above the roof trusses. This is an ideal opportunity for contractors who wish to add MCS accreditation to their portfolio of services, significantly increasing their income potential for each roof constructed.