Following reports of damage to homes, train stations and schools, as Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice wreak havoc across the UK, the roofing trade association NFRC (National Federation of Roofing Contractors) is advising homeowners of correct steps to take if their roof is damaged as a result of extreme weather, and to not attempt repairs themselves.
Homeowners should always enlist a professional to safely inspect and remedy damage to their roof, which carries many risks such as working at height. Finding a reliable and bone fide contractor can be challenging, and NFRC recommends using a company that is regularly audited and complies with a strict code of practice, and is a member of a trade federation like NFRC. This gives the homeowners peace of mind and ensures proper repairs will be undertaken.
By using an NFRC member, you can be reassured that the roofing contractor has:
- A good trading record and financial stability
- Satisfactory insurance cover
- Committed to compliance with relevant health and safety, British and European Standards as well as the NFRC Code of Practice
- Been vetted and regularly inspected by an NFRC Inspector.
Find an approved roofing contractor using the online NFRC member search. There are NFRC contractors operating across every region of the UK.
When considering having repairs done, NFRC recommends:
1. Familiarise yourself with common roofing terms
Roofing is full of weird and wonderful terms and this can be confusing at times. For example, do you know the difference between a ridge and a verge? Or where the valley on a roof is? Do you know what flashing is and why it’s needed? Whilst it’s not necessary to be a roofing expert, it’s useful to have a basic understanding of the different terms, to help you make the right choice and not be taken advantage of.
The NFRC Homeowner’s guide to roof work offers an introduction to basic roofing elements and designs.
2. Understand the design of your roof
Roofs come in all shapes and sizes and can often be complex in order to improve the look of a building both internally and externally. For example a vaulted ceiling can create a focal point inside a home. However, in the UK the most common roof designs are:
- Gable design
- Hip design
- Hip and valley
Do you know which design your roof has?
3. Know what materials you want to use
The type of materials used for any roofing work will depend on whether your roof is pitched or flat. Pitched roofs tend to be covered with roof tiles of varying shapes, sizes and materials, the most common being:
- Interlocking roof tiles
- Plain tiles
Homeowners should be aware that there is a shortage of some roofing products—shortages of concrete and clay roof tiles were reported by almost a third (32 per cent) of roofing contractors in a survey undertaken by NFRC for the final quarter of 2021.
So, if you need to have tiles replacing, make sure you talk to your roofing contractor as soon as possible.
If you are having work done to a flat roof, there are a lot of different waterproofing materials and systems to choose from including;
- Torch-on felt
- Single ply
- Mastic asphalt
- Liquid applied.
4. Work out if your project comes under building regulations
Homeowners are legally responsible for ensuring that any structural or alteration work undertaken on their property complies with building regulations—so it’s important you find out if any roof work is covered by this before undertaking a project. If you are having more than 50 per cent of your roof replaced or renewed then you must upgrade the roof to the current minimum energy efficiency standard, and notify your Local Authority 48 hours before the work commences.
However, if you use a roofing contractor who is part of the NFRC Competent Person Scheme (CPS) they will be able self-certify the work, saving you the hassle and cost of a local building control inspection. Find more about NFRC Competent Person Scheme for roofing.
5. Do your research to find a quality roofing contractor
Sadly, finding a quality roofing contractor can be a minefield and there are many cowboy roofers out there who can do a poor job and leave homeowners in the lurch. To protect yourself:
- Always get three quotes for any work
- Always get a quote in writing, that covers what work is included and not included
- Don’t just go for the cheapest option
- Ask if the contractor has insurance and what this covers
- If you don’t understand anything, ask them to clarify
- Ask them if they are registered with a trade body like NFRC.
Philip Campbell, NFRC’s Head of Policy and Communications, said:
“As Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice threaten homes across the UK, it’s vital that homeowners are aware of the action that they need to take to ensure their roof is properly repaired safely if there is damage. The Homeowners’ guide is a valuable tool in ensuring you understand the work that needs to be undertaken and that you get the right contractor.
“Our data for the 2019/20 financial year showed that NFRC members have an accident rate 13 times lower than the national average. NFRC members also reported zero fatalities for the fifth year in the row in 2019/20. This shows how important it is to use a contractor who is properly vetted and will work safely and to the correct standards on your home. Contractors should only continue work when the weather conditions mean it is safe to do so.”