Enquiries back on the rise while firms wrestle with business costs


Workloads and enquiries grew in the final quarter of 2022 for roofing and cladding contractors, according to the latest State of the Roofing Industry survey from NFRC and Glenigan, but firms are still grappling daily with high energy, labour and material prices, skills shortages, and late payments.


The results of the survey indicate that enquiries rose modestly once again for UK roofing contractors after a slight fall in Q3, with a balance (percentage of contractors who reported an increase, minus the percentage who reported decreasing enquiries) of 5% of contractors reporting this.


Workloads have also continued to grow, with 33% of firms seeing a rise in workload on the previous quarter, compared to 14% reporting a decline. On the sector level, workload growth was driven by domestic and commercial repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) work, whilst a balance of 18% of firms operating in the public non-residential new build market reported a fall in workloads.


Employment levels decreased slightly in Q4, with a balance of 2% of firms decreasing direct headcount from Q3, whilst a balance of 1% of firms reduced sub-contracted labour use during the quarter. Despite this slight easing 55% of firms reported finding it harder to recruit suitable labour during Q4. Roof slater and tiler was once again the main role that firms were finding it difficult to recruit for (25%).

Price inflation

Sixty-four percent of firms reported that they paid more for materials during the final quarter of 2022, falling from a balance of 75% during Q3. With the added pressure of wage bills continuing to grow (with increased labour costs reported by a balance of 52% of contractors), the inflated ‘cost of doing business’ has affected tender prices, with a balance of 42% of firms reportedly raising their prices in Q4.

Other findings

In addition, 56% of firms reported that their contractual payment terms were 30 days or less, but only 28% were on average paid within that period. Seventy-seven percent of firms also reported that energy costs in Q4 of 2022 were higher than a year earlier, with the average increase being 84%.


James Talman, CEO of the NFRC, said: “In 2023, firms need support from the government to affordably upskill and grow their workforce. The government’s review of payments and cashflow should also examine measures to ensure firms are paid on time (and without funds being unnecessarily held in retention), to allow firms to unlock the cashflow they need to grow their business and invest in skills.”

Allan Wilen, economic director at Glenigan, added: “Roofing contractors’ workload continued to increase, albeit more slowly, during the final quarter of last year. A rise in enquiries supports firms’ expectations of further growth over the coming year.”

No posts to display