Shay Casey, Sales Manager at Sika-Trocal, argued that the roofing industry has undergone massive changes over the past decade, with technology behind its growth.
Now the industry can carry out BIM modelling, digital presentation and even refurbishment surveys using a drone or virtual programmes. Technical advancement has led to a marketplace brimming with new products and systems, with greater choice and increased competition. The introduction of a wide range of new membranes has seen contractors adapt specifications to ensure the most cost-effective installation; an option not available to architects or clients who no longer have the power to uphold the original specification.
Due to the rise of extended payment terms and retentions which have proven a huge burden to buyers and suppliers, roofing contractors must be more financially aware. In addition, firms have also had to adapt to new ways of self-marketing such as social media. A large LinkedIn or Twitter presence can spread positive word of a contractor’s service offering in a matter of seconds.
Other factors that brought change into the roofing industry include the environmental concerns that led to the introduction of green and cool roofs, solar panels and further developments in roof lighting. The Green Guide has led to vast improvements in recycling, manufacturing footprint and roofing performance in terms of thermal values and sustainability.
A hi-tech revelation is virtual reality, available for those with a taste for risk-averse exhilaration. In the coming future, it is likely that virtual reality will also prove useful to the roofing sector, allowing stakeholders involved in a project to visualise how it will look when completed. This will help minimise misunderstandings between parties which can lead to frustrating, costly delays for the client.
The roofing industry will doubtless face many challenges over the coming decade, and as practices and systems change, members will be required to adjust accordingly. With the support of trade associations such as SPRA and NFRC, the future should hold no fear for those involved in the roofing sector.