Unfailing duty of care

Chris Baron, director of Prefix Systems, explains that standards must remain high if you are to succeed.

Over recent years the solid, tiled and insulated roof market has ignited from a sales perspective, which has been great news for those companies involved in the roofing and conservatory markets.

There’s also been considerable opportunity throughout the supply chain, and the market looks set for a sustained period of growth. But, like any market, there are OK products and there are stand-out examples, such as our award-winning WarmRoof.

Like any growing market, new entrants look to come in and add competition, while existing companies will look to evolve and innovate. It’s a proposition that happens in most commercial goods markets. But when it comes to roofs, particularly at our level in the supply chain, we have an unfailing duty of care to installers and ultimately the consumer.

If you consider that a typical solid, tiled roof weighs around two-and-a-half times the weight of a typical glass conservatory roof, and five times that of a polycarbonate roof, then on replacement projects the structural integrity of the base and frames needs to be carefully considered. But is this the job of the installer of the roof supplier?

Typically, both parties have some element of liability. When we launched our WarmRoof back in 2012, it was one of our first full in-house system developments and one that was carried out with important emphasis on structural performance. Seven years later and this roof system has become a firm favourite with the trade.

Our experience in roofing within the home improvement market goes back over 20 years and so this experience and expertise has been carefully harnessed within our product development programme. WarmRoof was developed to be the most configurable roof of its kind and remains so today, which is a major plus for our customers.

WarmRoof is a true 100% warm roof by design and this includes the important areas of the ridge and eaves beam. My concern for the sector is that consumers will start to experience cold spots and condensation from roofs that aren’t 100% warm by design and the sector could find itself in a position with a significant number of product liabilities.

If we are to start competing with the jobbing builder for single storey extensions then a 100% WarmRoof will be a necessity, as will the ability to finish off the roof with any sort of tile, including slate, as we have achieved. Furthermore, we have invested in the very latest off-site construction techniques with new factory processes and procedures, so that our customers have to do little preparation on site, vastly speeding up the installation process.

Given the number of companies that are changing from their current solid, tiled roof supplier, we’ve started to put on regular training days for fitters, surveyors and sales teams. Since WarmRoof can be applied to the most complex of jobs requiring dual height ridges, pitch variations, complex box gutters, we are therefore educating the sector to a degree; just about any conservatory roof can be replaced with a solid, tiled and insulated one.

Product capability, exemplary service and branches serving the entire UK help make Prefix a standout out supplier in the sector but collectively, as an important market segment, we need to ensure that both product and service standards remain high.