These will help clarify what you’re carrying out in the best terms and safest way. To see value for money and a fixed roof at the end of the day.
Therefore, here are the key top ten tips you need to know. You can apply these to almost every situation you come across.
And to make it even easier here's a quick video summarising these:
After decades of experience, these are fine-tuned to the reality of roofing work being carried out, and a helpful checklist to go through for any instruction:
1. A Visual Inspection
Looking at the roof is essential, particularly with an experienced roofer who often spots problems such as gaps in flashings and missing mortar in joints.
However, the problem is access, with being so high up.
Hopefully, a quick look on a ladder will help, with less demanding access provisions like scaffolds and cherry pickers being needed for such a quick inspection.
You can also use technology nowadays, for example, drones with camera pictures or even a look on Google Earth to see a broad-brush look at the roof from a bird’s eye perspective.
2. Correct Compliance
Contractors generally need to tick these boxes nowadays, particularly with higher-risk activities like roofers working at height.
A good roofer will know this and provide the correct documentation, ensuring it fits the job's reality, not just a standard template.
In terms of what’s needed, there are three main types.
Firstly, insurance cover, including public liability for the total amount and in the correct name.
Secondly, accreditation with a professional roofing scheme like the Confederation of Roofing Contractors and The Institute of Roofing has already gone through pre-selection safety criteria with the accreditation body. There can also be general contractors, like Safe Contractor and CHAS.
Thirdly, suitable Health & Safety documentation, whether a formula policy for the company for larger jobs or basic Risk Assessments to cover the task at hand.
3. Applied Risk Assessments
These are part and parcel of the above compliance point but worth a separate mention.
This is the essential way the roofer will identify the real-life risks of each instruction and manage them. This keeps them and others safe and defends any claims and accidents.
Typically these are discussed with the client and documented, even through a separate note and email. Examples of the issues to identify are dealing with unforeseen weather conditions, working at height and helping things like safety rails, and how an area is corded off from others.
4. Clear Explanation
Communication is critical, and not only knowing precisely the roof problem and cure but then clearly explaining it.
On one extreme, this needs to be technical to specify what’s required, although, on the other, it needs to help explain things in layman's terms.
Maybe there’s a sudden roof leak from the high winds in a different direction, moving water into areas it would not usually go. Or how water manages to travel under flat roof areas and parapet walls.
Everyone can then understand what needs doing and when.
5. Independent Advice
As roofing contractors, we always prefer an independent consultant to be involved. That way, they can help validate the specification and works at hand.
This might be a Building Surveyor or Project Manager who knows the broader perspective issues or a specialist roofing consultant who can help compare the proposal with other tenders.
Even a suitable Property Manager and Managing Agent of more significant multi-let properties can help us all get a clear direction.
6. Longer-Term Issues
It’s always important to think long-term with roof areas, even if a quick patch is only done now. Use the opportunity whilst on the roof to check out what’s needed in more extended terms.
Money might have to be saved for a future replacement, and there may be issues developing with alterations or ventilation with different heating systems within the property to consider.
Of course, get this fully explained with detailed inspections and reports of what’s needed and guarantees of completed work.
7. Fixed Basis
This can save confusion and costs afterwards – simply communicating the job at the stated price.
Ideally, this is a fixed quote, with a detailed breakdown of what this includes, for example, access arrangements and materials.
Even where there are uncertainties, clearly state what these are and maybe even place them in a contingency. For example, rising material costs and delayed work extended hire costs of access equipment and managing sudden extreme weather conditions.
8. Going the Extra Mile
Not only is this good practice anyway for businesses but extremely helpful for roofing services where there may not be an easy or quick opportunity to get back on the roof and look at other things again soon.
So, while the roofer is already on the roof after all the cost and difficulty in arranging access, maybe they can address other issues such as clearing gutters, re-setting ridge tiles and coping stones on parapet walls, or carefully inspecting flat roof areas.
9. Other Considerations
All the little extras to a successful roof job must be accounted for.
Access is apparent in the form of this, such as a cherry picker or scaffold, and hire arrangements, storage, and how it will be delivered and erected.
You might also need to look inside the property and loft areas or upper rooms needing access and photo taking.
10. Logging Results
This is a good habit anyway with contractors, but particularly with a roofer, where it’s not easy for others to always go back on the roof and inspect things afterwards.
However, as the saying goes, a picture says a thousand words. Therefore, good photos by the roofer, both close-up and broader perspective, are critical before and after the work.
Also, carefully listing and noting what the works were is helpful, including any consequences of relaying tiles further up the roof and addressing issues on neighbouring properties.
The Top Ten Roofing Tips
Therefore, as you look to embark on a roof repair or replacement, these top ten tips are essential to go down and make sure you have everything covered quickly.
Don’t be afraid to take the time to do this with a roofer – something we always like to do with our customers to ensure everyone is covered.
Not only the client and end-user, and ourselves, the contractor, but also any other third parties such as main contractors, managing agents, and other professional advisors.
Need any more help applying these? Contact us to chat more.