Contracts managers: managing the safe delivery of roofing projects

Freddie Wade is a contracts manager at Bracknell Roofing's branch in Ringmer, East Sussex
Freddie Wade is a contracts manager at Bracknell Roofing's branch in Ringmer, East Sussex

The press release about my promotion from assistant contracts manager to contracts manager said I am “responsible for managing the delivery of roofing projects in the south coast region for the specialist roof, slate and tile contractor, which works with most of the UK’s largest housebuilders.”

It’s a very involved and demanding role because there’s just so much going on. I’m currently managing nine contracts for new houses and care homes and have a responsibility to ensure that Bracknell Roofing delivers each project on time, on budget, and to a very high standard of workmanship. Equally as important is the priority we place on health and safety management through proactive activity to ensure that our contractors – and other trades – work safely.

What’s involved in the role of contracts manager

Once an order is confirmed and assigned to me, I’m responsible for it from that day until its completion – and some projects, depending on the size of the development, can be upwards of a couple years where there’s hundreds of new builds on a site.

I organise the roofers, order the materials, proactively implement all the health and safety management, conduct invoicing, visit sites, and liaise with site agents and contracts managers from the developers.

Even with the best planning in the world, getting the right skilled labour to the right site on the right day is no mean feat – and, of course, things can change at a moment’s notice for a variety of reasons, from the weather to schedules of work slipping.

I really enjoy giving the toolbox talks that we run on sites because that’s the hands-on part of all our health and safety and RAMS where we can focus on specific aspects of the project to make sure that our roofers and contractors are working safely and to the high standards that we set for ourselves.

There was a time not so long ago when there was a shortage of materials, particularly tiles, but, thankfully, over the last 12 months, there has been a plentiful supply. This has certainly made it easier to get materials and get them delivered to site on a just-in-time basis.

Although I’m office based, I try to maximise the time I spend on-site, so I aim for at least 60% of my working week to be spent visiting all the different projects to see the quality of work being carried out, and ensure that we’re on schedule with the programme of works. Integral to this is ensuring that our health and safety management is being adhered to, promoting a positive safety culture.

The other reason I go to site is to continue those all-important good, positive working relationships with site agents and developers’ contracts mangers. They are under massive pressure to get houses completed as quickly as possible, and the regularity of my visits really helps to continue those relationships.

Favourite part of the job

Given all the things I have to manage on a daily basis, it really is fantastic when everything comes together as it should. But, for me, the best bit is the satisfaction of knowing that everyone who works on a Bracknell Roofing project is working in a safe environment.