A solid, watertight roof is an essential part of every home. But roofs don’t come cheap, so follow our tips to ensure you hire a reputable roofer to install, maintain or repair it.
Most roofers will be happy to install either slates or tiles, but check their experience if you have a flat roof or other more unusual structure. Find out whether previous customers praise all aspects of a roofer’s work, such as the quality and cost of the work, the time it took to complete and what they were like to deal with.
It is always a good idea to start by asking close friends or local neighbours for recommendations when looking for a roofing company, As you are likely to share the same style of roof. It’s worth finding out whether your roofer or roofing contractor is a member of The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), which is well-regarded in the industry. NFRC contractors undergo rigorous vetting before joining and are subject to checks every three years. They must hold appropriate public, employers’ and third party insurance, comply with health and safety legislation and operate in accordance with the NFRC Code of Practice as well as British and European Standards.
Always ask for estimates or quotes in writing and make sure they include the cost of materials, scaffolding and so on. Be wary of roofing contractors that offer cash or VAT-free deals.
If there is anything on the quote you don’t fully understand or why one contractor recommends/ details something that another contractor hasn’t, talk to them and ask them to explain. Any decent trader will be happy to talk you through the options.
Once you’ve decided which roofing contractor best meets your needs, you need to discuss and agree with them:
- what would happen in the event of prolonged adverse weather
- what will happen in the event of unforeseen extra charges
- whether or not there will be any penalties if the work is finished later than anticipated
- what hours the trader will work during the week, or at weekends if necessary
- what materials will be used, who will supply these, and if they come with a guarantee or not
- whether or not outsourced labour will be used
- how rubbish will be disposed of and whether that is included in the overall cost
- whether or not scaffolding will be needed and if it is included in the overall cost
- what will happen in the event of any work not meeting a satisfactory standard.
It’s always a good idea to set this down in a written contract – it doesn’t need to be complicated, just record what you agree and both sign it. Then you have a record of how you expect the work to proceed, which should protect both you and the trader. This should be standard on all larger jobs, but is recommended even for smaller repairs. Most reputable builders will issue a contract as standard before starting work in any case.
You, as the customer, should establish whether planning permission will be required, although your roofer may well be able to advise you.
You should agree a schedule for payments in advance of work starting. It’s not unusual to be asked for an installment upfront, especially for larger refurbishments or installing a new roof.
The final installment should only be paid when you are satisfied with the work and have received all necessary paperwork relating to it.
You should also be aware that significant work to a roof must either be completed by a contractor who is a member of CompetentRoofer (a competent person scheme for roofing), or you will need to notify your local authority’s building control department before work begins.