Who Can You Trust?
How does an architect know which contractor to use to install the metal roof that they have spent days / weeks designing and detailing to perfectly suit a project, especially if it’s a new client or maybe even a new area of business?
Perhaps for the sake of the financial security of the project and personal peace of mind, one of the large industrial contractors should be the first consideration, especially in view of the extremely competitive pricing offered. However, even using the largest contractors is sometimes no safeguard, as recent company failings have proved – maybe their pricing policy is too competitive for their own good?
Perhaps the easy route would be to just take the cheapest option, after all, it would save the client some money and all roofing contractors are the same, (aren’t they?).
And whilst saving money on labour, what about considering cheaper materials as alternatives to traditional metal roofing – after all, the manufacturers claim their metal substitute products are just as good as the real thing?
Well actually all roofing contractors are not the same and as far as roofing materials are concerned, why go for a cheap substitute when the real thing, properly installed, will outperform any so called “just as good” alternative?
Prioritising long term value for money over cut price expediency results in an installation that the architect and client can be proud of for a very long time.
The various roof metals in aluminium, copper, steel and zinc are made to European Standards and have proven performance records that far outlast what may initially appear to be cheap alternatives, but when measured over the lifespan of the building are anything but.
When it comes to choosing a roofing contractor, most have their own areas of expertise and many produce impressive company portfolios of their previous work. But there is nothing like getting the quality standards in design and workmanship checked out by an expert – and that’s where a member of the FTMRC has a distinct advantage over the rest.
From the outset, to become a Federation member, a contractor has to submit TEN projects where they have been responsible for supplying and installing the roof metal (i.e. not just a labour-only sub contractor). From these ten the appointed FTMRC Vetting Officer (usually a member of Council) will select three sites to visit and carry out a rooftop inspection of the standard of design, layout and workmanship.
Once a contractor is approved for membership, this on site vetting procedure is continued at least every two years, to ensure standards are maintained and provide peace of mind for contractor, architect and client.
Of course when tendering for work FTMRC members may be undercut on price, it goes with the territory. But if the undercutting is excessive and by a non member, it must surely beg the question as to what short cuts are being taken to achieve any margin on the job – a margin which is critical for the future survival of any contractor.
So when it comes to the question of who the architect can trust to deliver, the Federation member certainly won’t be allowed to make short cuts and their price is set accordingly, providing reassurance that the job will be done properly.
On another note, the pressure continues for anyone involved in UK construction as the country struggles to get out of recession and it is the specialist sub contractor at the end of the payment chain that is finding survival particularly difficult.
Fighting their corner for quality standards against cut price competition, even when they succeed in winning tenders, specialists are immediately under pressure to keep costs to
a minimum and save money.
Even a successful conclusion to a project brings its own problems. A job well done should provide plaudits all round for designer, main contractor and specialist sub contractor,
but often the sub contractor is left with retention money outstanding that they are forced to wait six months and more to receive.
The pressures on cash flow caused by retentions have long been resented by the sub contractor, who see it as the main contractor using the sub contractor’s money to ease their own cash flow pressures.
There are alternatives to retentions and as Chairman of the FTMRC, I support the non retention policy which is increasingly being adopted by our members following the campaign by the National Specialist Contractor Confederation.
In my view, anything which frees the cash currently withheld without justification under the archaic and out dated retentions tradition must be good for the industry in general and for the specialist roofing contractor in particular.
Chairman - FTMRC