Midlands News and Events


  • UK Roofing Awards 2021 deadline for entries extended by a week

    by Unknown | Jul 23, 2021

     In recognition of the extremely busy time the industry is going through, the deadline for entering a project into the UK Roofing Awards 2021 has been extended by a week to 6 August 2021.

    The criteria to enter an award is for the completion date of the project to have been between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020, but the judges have now clarified that projects whose completion was impacted by the pandemic will still be eligible, so as long as most of the work was undertaken in 2020.

    Projects can be entered if they were completed by a roofing contractor who is a member of one of the following bodies:

    Manufacturers, architects, and specifiers can also submit projects, but they must ensure the contractor is a member of one of the above specified bodies.

    UK Roofing Awards entries

    Entries can be made online at: https://nfrc.awardsplatform.com/

    Commenting on the announcement, NFRC Head of Technical and Training Bob Richardson, who oversees the awards, said:

    We are going through an unprecedented period as an industry. We know how busy roofing contractors are currently, as well as all the additional pressures that are being faced at the moment, from material shortages to price rises to workers having to self-isolate due to being ‘pinged’. That is why we have taken the decision to give extra time for contractors to enter for an award.

    “Nominating a project has never been more straightforward with our new online awards platform—so if you haven’t entered yet, why not make the most of this extra time to enter?  With categories covering virtually all roofing disciplines, there is something in there for everyone.

    I would like to reiterate my thanks to all of the UK Roofing Awards 2021 sponsors who have made these awards possible—Radmat, BMI, SIG Roofing, QANW, Axter, GRO, Horrods, Chandlers, Sika, CUPA PIZARRAS, Marley, EJOT, Recticel Insulation, Fakro, Cromar, Metal Solutions, TN International and Siderise.”

  • Initial rainscreen cladding supervision pilot shows encouraging results

    by Unknown | Jul 08, 2021

    Over the past twelve months, RoofCERT has been working on a CITB-funded project with the objective of providing a 'proof of concept' for an accreditation scheme that has the ability to significantly reduce industry failure rates on inspections by improving quality.

    The first pilot for this project took place at the SPV Group's training centre in Walsall in June, to test the theory that a trained supervisor model could lead to an improvement in the quality and safety of rainscreen cladding installation.

    NFRC Rainscreen pilot June 2021

    A new rainscreen cladding training course was developed as part of the pilot and this has shown initial evidence of an eleven per cent improvement in the knowledge and understanding of the cladding operatives that took part. This provides early positive evidence to support the concept of an accreditation scheme for trained supervisors in this sector.

    Operatives were tested initially through a short multiple-choice knowledge test consisting of 35 questions to assess their current knowledge and understanding of rainscreen cladding. This was then followed by a mixture of classroom and practical training over two and a half days which included behavioural modules in addition to technical instruction. During the training, the trainer assessed each operative and provided feedback on areas where they performed the strongest as well as identifying areas in need of improvement.

    At the end of the training the operatives took a follow-up test to see if their knowledge had improved. Further to this, of the five operatives who took the course, all agreed or strongly agreed that not only did they have a better understanding of rainscreen systems but that the practical training they received had improved their installation skills. All the operatives rated the course five stars out of five and would recommend it to others.

    The assessors will now follow up with SPV at regular intervals, as well as undertaking an on-site assessment to identify any improvements seen as a result of the training, and to see if this training has transferred to other operatives through improved supervision and leadership.

    RoofCERT will look to undertake a number of further pilots with other early adopter cladding companies over the coming weeks to gather further evidence before reporting its findings and recommendations to CITB to be able to progress to the next phase of the project to develop an accreditation scheme for rainscreen cladding supervisors in collaboration with the CITB and other Industry stakeholders.

    Commenting on the pilot, NFRC Group Chief Executive James Talman said:

    "Being able to demonstrate the competency of operatives and supervisors working on all buildings, but particularly high-risk buildings, is critical to improving safety and quality. That is why we are working in collaboration with CITB and the industry to undertake initial pilots on what model would work best in achieving this outcome for the rainscreen cladding industry.

    "We are pleased that the initial evidence from this pilot is positive. All the operatives who took part saw a demonstrable increase in their knowledge of rainscreen cladding as a result of the training, as well as an improvement in their practical skills. We will now undertake further pilots to keep testing and refining this model and ensure we have robust data before we pass on our findings and recommendations to the CITB.

    "We would like to thank everyone who made this pilot possible, in particular, SPV Group who hosted and provided the operatives for the day, Keith Wiltshire who led the training supported by the Siderise technical team and Academy Consultancy & Design, as well as Ash & Lacy Construction, CY Associates, EJOT, FixFast, Fixing Point Rockwool and Siderise for providing materials."

    Kate Whatley, Commercial Director of SPV Group said:

    "SPV were delighted to support the delivery of the rainscreen supervisors pilot training course in our training centre and also place five of our valued supervisors on the course. With much of our work involving large scale building envelope schemes and being involved with many of the building safety fund projects, this course was excellent at ensuring that our supervisor's knowledge was fully up-to-date with all current regulations and guidance.

    "We were honoured to be part of the pilot and to be able to help shape the course to ensure it is fit for purpose and ready to be rolled out to the industry. Our supervisors all commented how interesting and useful the course was and learnt a lot over the two days training. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this course to those in the cladding sector."

    Steve Walker, Head of Training and Development Strategy for CITB, said:

    "CITB is supporting the development of a new competence scheme for building cladding. We are working with the industry to agree how its competence models can keep pace with changes in the sector, increasing qualification take-up and delivering a more professional sector for the future."

  • Roofing industry reports a positive start to 2021 but skill shortages cause headache for contractors

    by Unknown | May 05, 2021

    State of the Roofing Industry - Q1 2021 key indicators

    Roofing contractors reported a significant growth in workloads during the first quarter of 2021 but were hampered by recruitment difficulties and continued material shortages and price rises, according to the Q1 State of the Roofing Industry survey produced by Glenigan for NFRC.

    Over half of roofing contractors surveyed reported a rise in workloads (51 per cent) in the first three months of the year, with only 11 per cent reporting a decline. This trend is set to continue, with a balance of 35 per cent of firms reporting a rise in enquiries and a balance of 47 per cent expecting growth over the next year.

    Growing workloads meant that a net balance of 8 per cent of firms grew their direct headcount on the previous quarter, and 17 per cent took on more sub-contractors. However, over half (56 per cent) of contractors reported recruitment difficulties. Roles that were hardest to fill included roof slaters and tilers (39 per cent), felters (33 per cent), and specialist slaters (29 per cent) and tilers (22 per cent).

    Material shortages also exacerbated over the quarter, with over two thirds (68 per cent) reporting a deterioration. In particular, concrete roof tiles remained the top shortage area closely followed by timber battens, insulation, slate, and clay tiles. Shortages, as well as the rising prices of raw materials, has meant 89 per cent of respondents reported price inflation.

    The survey also found:

    • All sectors of the roofing industry saw growth in Q1 2021, with the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement and new build residential sectors showing the strongest growth;
    • Northern roofing contractors, those in London, and the Southern Counties and those who operate nationwide saw the sharpest rise in workloads. Scotland and Wales both saw falls in those reporting rising workloads, following a busy end to 2020;
    • Government spending on public sector construction projects is expected to drive positive workloads for roofing contractors over the next year, with 70 per cent of contractors in this sector predicting growth over the next twelve months—far above any other sector;
    • Payment continues to be slow—whilst 62 per cent of roofing firms have contractual payment terms of 30 days or less, only 42 per cent were paid within that period, on average.

    Commenting on the report, NFRC Chief Executive James Talman said:

    The roofing industry continued to perform well in the first quarter of this year, with roofers reporting that workloads, enquiries and employment were all up. The residential sector is doing particularly well, driven by the strong new build housing market, and homeowners continuing to spend their extra disposable income on upgrading and replacing their roofs

    However, there are simply not enough roofers to deliver the amount of demand we are seeing. One in every two roofing contractors are currently struggling to find skilled operatives. This is exacerbating the other challenges roofing contractors are also facing, such as finding materials and managing their cashflow.

    “If the government want our industry to help put roofs on 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s, retrofit 27 million properties and build brand new schools, hospitals and prisons, then it needs to work with us to help to train, develop and upskill the next generation of roofers.”

    Commenting on the survey findings, Glenigan’s Economics Director Allan Wilen said:

    “The construction recovery strengthened further during the first quarter, with roofing contractors reporting rising workloads. Repair, maintenance and improvement work and new house construction have been the best performing areas. Roofing contractors anticipate that the recovery in workload will be sustained over the next twelve months as the UK economy is unlocked, with new enquiries pointing to a broad-based rise in activity. However, shortages of skilled labour and materials will be a potential brake on the pace of the recovery.”

  • NFRC launches new app to digitalise health and safety passport

    by Unknown | Apr 22, 2021

    NFRC has launched a brand-new app focused on health and safety for NFRC members and their operatives. The app fully digitalises the popular ‘Health & Safety Passport’, which previously had been a printed booklet that operatives could carry with them on site. This will mean operatives will now have access to all the health and safety information they need from their smartphone.

    iPhone 12 Pro NFRC Members app

    As part of the launch, the passport’s content has been fully updated to include recent changes in legislation and guidance and new sections giving advice and information on mental health and Covid-19. The app is future-proofed to allow NFRC to remotely update information as and when it is required, so operatives always have the latest information when they open the app.

    As a Member Benefit, the app will only be available for NFRC Members and their operatives, and any roofing operatives who have not received their log-in details are encouraged to contact the NFRC Helpdesk.

    Commenting on the launch of the app, NFRC Head of Technical and Training, Bob Richardson said:

    “This app provides an important day-to-day reminder for operatives, even when there is no phone signal, on the safe working practices that must be considered an essential part of all site working. It contains a wealth of information, from working at height to fire safety to Covid-safe guidelines, complimenting site-specific health and safety documentation.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of being agile and getting critical information and updates out to the industry quickly. Through this innovative new app, we will be able to update the health and safety passport in real-time, rather than reprinting and distributing thousands of booklets every time health and safety legislation changes. Contractors can therefore be assured that the information their operatives have is the most up-to-date.

    We hope that this is just the beginning and if the app proves popular, we will be able to expand the content to include other NFRC technical guidance and in time other areas of NFRC activity

    NFRC Members and their operatives can download the app by clicking the following links:

    iOS: https://apple.co/2Qf7cN7

    Android: https://bit.ly/3gwuAQS

  • NFRC member accident rate 13 times lower than national average new data shows

    by Unknown | Mar 31, 2021

    NFRC’s Annual Accident Statistics for 2019/20 show that members of the federation reported 73 accidents in the 2019/20 financial year, out of 23,300 employees and labour-only subcontractors.

    This equates to an accident rate of 0.317%—13 times lower than the national average. NFRC members also reported zero fatalities for the fifth year in the row.

    NFRC Accident Statistics Report 2021

    The top five accidents reported by NFRC members mirrored the most common accidents across construction as reported by the HSE:

      1. Slips, trips, or falls on the same level (26)
      2. Falls from height (18)
      3. Injured whilst handling, lifting or carrying a load (14)
      4. Hit by a moving object-flying or falling (3)
      5. Contact with moving machinery (3)

    The most cited reason for slips and trips, was that scaffold platforms and work areas were obstructed with materials and waste.

    Commenting on the statistics, NFRC Head of Technical and Training, Bob Richardson said:

    These statistics are a testament to the hard work our members have put into implementing healthy and safe working practices—in a year when they have also faced a global pandemic. The numbers speak for themselves, and this should give clients, homeowners, and specifiers confidence that when they use an NFRC member, they will do the job safely.

    He added:

    However, we should not rest on our laurels, and 73 accidents is still 73 too many. We must aim for zero-harm as an industry—to do this we need look to improve operatives risk perception, promote understanding of health and safety, and raise awareness of consequences.

    He concluded:

    The most common accidents mirror construction as a whole, which indicates we’re not inventing new ways to injure ourselves, but just repeating the same mistakes and violations. The most cited accident reported being slips, trips and falls. If contractors take simple measures such as keeping storage and work areas tidy, having a system in place to manage waste, and making sure everyone knows what they have to do, we can hope that 2022’s figures come back even lower ”

Midlands Regional Events