Subcontracting a roofing work can be a really tough job but all the hassles can be worth it with the high profit that comes with a job well done. Roofers can face challenges that are too risky like heights and unpleasant weather conditions. Some others are having trouble managing the bulk of job orders they get while some others are having difficulties filling in their labor pool. But no matter what issues arise while doing roofing projects, proper crew management, communication, and sufficient crew safety training can always save the day.
To know what challenges you need to face in your roofing subcontractor job we listed down some of the biggest challenges faced by roofing professionals here in the US. We also have some tips that will help you tackle the challenges head-on.
The trades and construction industries are always faced with this problem. All the skilled laborers seem to have shied away from the construction sites. The 2017 Construction Survey and Business Outlook mentioned that around 73% of firms involved in construction works needed to increase their labor pool and that includes roof tradesmen.
Like we’ve been discussing in the past, one of the biggest reasons why the trades and construction industries are having difficulties hiring new people is because of the lack of technology. The young generation is greatly attracted by innovations and for that reason, they go to fields where they are exposed to digital and robotic technologies. In fact, only 3% of the young adults aged 18 to 25-year-old are interested in the construction trades field. Firms will then grow problematic because as their existing skilled workers grow old, no younger batch are being trained to take on the positions they will soon be leaving behind. The result? There will come a day when the roofing industry will have no skilled worker left to do the job.
This is why the industry is continuously developing technologies intended for construction and trades works. Robots are already being utilized by big construction firms. Automation and digital visualization are already possible through BIM and subcontractor scheduling software. Augmented reality and artificial intelligence are already being used to make construction works smarter.
If you need to hire newbies, be sure to give them complete training so they can gain positive experience at the site and choose to stick with their job.
While there is a shortage of labor in the roofing trades industry, the booming construction works require a lot of roofing jobs. Following this, many businessmen and professionals are looking into venturing into this trade. And if you check, every state has a hundred to over a hundred roofers advertising their work.
So in order to beat your competitors and win more roofing bids, you have to find your edge over them. Employing the latest technologies to streamline your processes can attract clients. Using subcontractor scheduling software like Pro Crew Schedule can make it easier to communicate and collaborate with your clients, hence giving them the confidence that a transparent partnership will exist.
Ensuring that your crew members are trained well for their job is another way you can step up in the competition. Some firms are too busy that they fail to provide regular training to their crew members. But if you make sure that everyone in your team is updated with the latest trends and processes in your field, that will be a big advantage for you in winning projects.
Don’t forget to step up your marketing strategies too. Let clients find you by using social media for your promotion. Regularly post your accomplishments so that clients will have a reference for your work. Use other digital marketing strategies too like SEO to boost your online presence and reach your target audience.
As we mentioned earlier, a lot of construction projects in the commercial and residential fields need roofing subcontractors. With the high demand for work and too few crew members, it can be very hectic for your workers. You can make it a little less stressful for them by automating some processes like reporting and updating project files through a subcontractor scheduling software. This way, they can time out straight from their phones, hence eliminating the need to travel from the site to the office just to clock out. You can also give them the option to send their reports from their home. This gives them more time to replenish their energy and come back to work the next day full of vigor. Additionally, studies showed that those who are able to have a good work-life balance are more productive at the site.
Weather is the number one enemy of roofers. Extreme weather conditions make it difficult for them to install roofs properly, hence leading to rework or delayed delivery of projects. This is why roofers need to learn the right timing for installation works. Otherwise, it can lead to accidents or substandard work.
Another way that weather is making the lives of roofers difficult is inflicting damage to the roof. Grave storms and hurricanes can lead to the total destruction of roofs, hence putting roofers in a tight spot. Although this means another bang for the buck for some subcontractors, for others it could mean free repair and maintenance when they offered such during their installation.
And speaking of maintenance works, here are the most common roof issues tackled by roofing subcontractors all-year-round:
Roof shingles are very popular these days in most commercial and residential construction projects because of the aesthetics they provide. However, over time they can weaken because of too much exposure to rain, UV rays, and the wind. Owners of the building will then contact their original roofers to repair missing or damaged shingles. When neglected they can fall off one by one so roofers need to tackle the issue immediately.
Leaks are a major and common problem faced by roofers and they need to be fixed as soon as they are reported to them Otherwise, it can lead to bigger damages to properties and valuables kept inside the premise. It can be difficult to identify the cause of leaks, though. These days, some roofers are already using infrared to identify holes or damages where water is passing through. Schedule inspections when the weather is fine and so as with the repair to ensure that the roof is watertight.
When water keeps on collecting on the roof that means that there is a problem with the drainage. For slanted roofs, check the gutters to see that it is free of any debris before check if the water drains properly. If not, then work straight on the down spout. This should be repaired at once as it can cause water stains on the ceiling, which can damage it too eventually.
Strong winds can cause several damages to the roof. It can tear out roofing materials or it can carry objects that can puncture the roof. Most of the times, flashing and sealant are damaged, leaving some parts of the roof exposed. And this is common in the US. That’s why numerous roofers offer regular checks to see to it that the sealant they placed is still intact and serving its purpose.
It can’t be avoided. Broken branches of trees can cause grave damage to the roof. Big, hanging branches can totally wreck a roof and there’s nothing that roofers can do when it’s prohibited to cut down the tree that’s rubbing through the roof. And even if it’s not a stormy day, branches can still wear off the protective layer of the roof.
Lack of maintenance works
Flat roofs have a standard lifespan of 30-years. But this is when regular maintenance works are done. Without maintenance, they deteriorate so easily. This is why roofing subcontractors who include maintenance and inspection works with their installation project get an advantage over others. These works will help extend a roof’s lifespan, hence saving the building owner from costly repairs or replacement.
Poor roof installation
There are still some roofing subcontractors who can’t deliver satisfactory work because they are either cramming, using low-quality materials, inexperienced, or just careless. Leaks and other damages then arise because of the faulty installation. But the worst effect of this is the building’s structural integrity being placed at risk, hence resulting to costly building repairs. Roofers can even face legal problems when the building’s safety is compromised.
Too much foot traffic
Commercial buildings with flat roofs can have excessive foot traffic. Same with regular roofs that need HVAC checks and skylight installations too often. These other trade works can cause rips and tears to the roof like sagging that often impacts the roof’s support beams. Eventually, this can cause the roof to collapse. So regular roof maintenance works are required too.
Knowing what possible problems that lie ahead can help prepare roofing subcontractors for the worst that may happen during their work to prevent any accidents, errors, and delays. Challenges faced by roofing subcontractors vary from recruiting skillful crew members, staying ahead of the competition, unfavorable weather conditions, worker’s well-being, and the problematic issues that need the immediate attention of roofing subcontractors. All these can be handled well, though, by a subcontractor who’s equipped with the right tools and technology, keen to his and his team’s work, and able to manage his crew members well so they can perform effectively and efficiently even though they’re unsupervised at the site.