Home Flat Roofing Total Talk: “The market here is very ready for this product”

Total Talk: “The market here is very ready for this product”

Total Contractor puts the questions to Pete Hollingworth, who was recently appointed Commercial Manager – Europe on behalf of GP (Georgia-Pacific) Gypsum LLC, responsible for developing the customer and technical support for DensDeck Roof Boards. We discuss Pete’s plans for the role, why he feels the flat roofing sector innovates faster than most sectors in construction, and how he plans to make the name DensDeck synonymous with the application of roof boards…

Above: Pete Hollingworth: “Standards governing how the building envelope performs are getting stricter so the industry needs to find ways to improve the resiliency of flat roofs.”

In March 2023, Pete Hollingworth took up the role of Commercial Manager – Europe on behalf of GP (Georgia-Pacific) Gypsum LLC and is now responsible for developing the customer and technical support for DensDeck Roof Boards.
Pete brings a wealth of strategic and sector experience to Georgia-Pacific. He previously worked at Sika as Business Unit Manager for Roofing & Flooring. Prior to that, he held a variety of strategic and sales roles including Head of Business Support at Salesforce.com for the EMEA region. Pete joins from Aggregate Industries where he was Managing Director for Concrete Products.

David Neal, President of GP Gypsum LLC said: “This is an exciting time for Georgia-Pacific as we expand into the European market with our premium line of DensDeck Roof Board products. With Pete’s efforts, we will enhance local representation and technical support, ensuring exceptional customer service. Our aim is to become the preferred choice for contractors and architects by prioritising quality, innovation, and solidifying our position as a preferred solution in Europe and beyond.”

We caught up with Pete to find out more about his new role, and what he hopes to achieve…

“In terms of innovation, I feel that the flat roofing sector moves at a faster pace than some of the other areas of construction”

TC: So Pete, what brings you back to the flat roof sector?
PH: Two things really. The people in it, and the enjoyment that I get from working in it. Working with the people in the industry is a huge part of the enjoyment; that and the innovation that the flat roofing sector offers.

In terms of innovation, I feel that the flat roofing sector moves at a faster pace than some of the other areas of construction. There are always new organisations and people who are developing new ideas and working to improve how we do things.

There’s a real focus on workmanship and tradition, and people take great pride in what they do. You only need to look at the industry awards to see that, and social media posts where contractors post their work.

We’re already a member of the Single Ply Roofing Association (SPRA) and I’m keen to work with other industry bodies.

The LRWA, for example, are doing fantastic things for the industry. I’m also a Fellow of the Institute of Roofing (IoR) and am looking forward to working again with some former colleagues.

Essentially, the flat roofing industry has a good solid base of governance, standards and ethics that everyone wants to uphold, while also focusing on how the industry can improve and innovate.

Above: DensDeck Roof Boards being installed on IKEA Bangalore.

“I think the timing is right and the market here is very ready for this product, there is a real requirement for it”

TC: What excites you about DensDeck Roof Board?
PH: DensDeck Roof Board is a well established and highly regarded product that has been adding to the resiliency of flat roofs in America and Canada for a long time. We’ve already done a lot of projects in Europe, and I think we’re at the point where the product will start to be much more widely used.

I think the timing is right and the market here is very ready for this product, there is a real requirement for it.
Three factors are driving this. Firstly, stricter legislation and greater awareness of fire risk and how, as an industry, we need to ensure that roofs are designed to mitigate that risk as much as possible.

Secondly, how we use flat roofs is changing; energy efficiency regulations have significantly increased the use of photovoltaic panels. This, in turn, increases the loading placed on the roof and the foot traffic required for maintenance, both of which can damage insulation and the waterproof membrane and also, unfortunately, the fire risk.

And that’s where DensDeck Roof Board comes in. It will add to the resiliency of any flat roof build-up. Not only does it help to mitigate the effect of fire from PV panels, but it also improves acoustic performance, provides additional dimensional stability to the roof system, and improves the resiliency of the waterproofing membrane against damage.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the product is available. We have stock on the ground in mainland Europe, so we can meet the demand of our customers and get it on site in a matter of days.

In my opinion, every roof is mission critical and deserves to have DensDeck Roof Board as part of the system.

“We are increasing the level of support that customers need right now on a local level, so the product can flourish in the UK and European markets”

TC: What will you bring to the role from your previous positions?
PH: Commercial energy and drive. In my head, I tend to think of myself as a salesperson, but the more recent roles I’ve had are about setting strategy and market direction. I’ve run businesses, built capability and delivered projects.

This has given me the ability to understand what’s needed on the ground and look at the bigger picture to develop the market strategy.

That’s what I’ll be doing on behalf of Georgia-Pacific; building the capability to support the growth of DensDeck Roof Board.

We know that a combination of time differences, language barriers and local regulations and standards can create additional hurdles for our customers. So over the next few months, I’ll be looking to add two people to the commercial team locally in Germany and Spain, and one to the technical team to support customers on behalf of Georgia-Pacific.

We are increasing the level of support that customers need right now on a local level, so the product can flourish in the UK and European markets.

“I want ours to be the name that’s synonymous with the application, so when someone says they need a roof board or a cover board, I want them to say they need DensDeck”

TC: What do you want to achieve as Commercial Manager – Europe?
PH: In America, a large proportion of roofs that have additional performance requirements – whether that’s enhanced fire resistance, improved acoustics, or more durability – use a DensDeck Roof Board to achieve that performance. My goal is to replicate that in the UK and Europe.

I want ours to be the name that’s synonymous with the application, so when someone says they need a roof board or a cover board, I want them to say they need DensDeck.

It might sound ambitious, but I think it’s absolutely achievable. Standards governing how the building envelope performs are getting stricter so the industry needs to find ways to improve the resiliency of flat roofs. Installing a DensDeck Roof Board gives all types of flat roof build-ups the enhanced performance needed to deliver that resiliency. In my opinion, it would be difficult to justify not using one.

I see our task as supporting waterproofing system manufacturers and roofing contractors while bringing the benefits of DensDeck Roof Board to the specifiers, be they architectural, client or contractor.

I get excited about meeting people and getting involved in projects. I’ve missed that and I’m excited to get back to it.

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