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Who should you use for roofing work at your rental property?

Posted 31/10/2022 by Reeds Rains
Categories: Landlords/Lettings
Person putting two jigsaw pieces together

Although the main roof of your property might only need major work every 30 years or so, you’ll certainly have to make the odd repair every now and then. That might be replacing loose or missing tiles, repairing flashing and render or fixing issues with a roof valley. In terms of flat roofs, although the quality has improved greatly over the last 20 years, if your rental has an older flat roof, it’s likely to have suffered damage from the elements and may well need replacing while you own the property.

Who should be carrying out major roof works?

For any work on the main roof, you should use a professional roofer, rather than a general contractor. Working at a height requires experience and health and safety knowledge, as well as having specific skills related to the roofing work itself. Even for smaller flat roofs, it’s important to use a contractor who’s experienced in this type of work.

What qualifications and skills should a professional roofer have?

Ideally, they should be a member of a trade association, such as NFRC, the UK’s largest roofing trade association, the Institute of Roofing or the Association of Master Roofers. They should be qualified in their area of expertise – e.g. slating and tiling, lead welding, pitched roofing – so should be able to prove that they have completed appropriate training.

Importantly, make sure they have:

  • Insurance, covering any damage caused as a result of their work
  • A valid licence to work on roofing projects
  • A written safety program
  • If it’s a re-roof or major works, do they have a quality assurance program to check the roof afterwards?

What warranties or guarantees should a roofer provide?

For the workmanship, a reputable contractor should be prepared to offer a 25-year guarantee and some companies will even give lifetime warranties.

Roofing materials will come with a standard warranty (usually lasting between 10 and 30 years), but you can get an enhanced warranty from a manufacturer (commonly 50 years) if they supply all the roofing components to form a complete roof system. That means if just one of the components fails, they’ll cover the cost of replacing the entire roof, and this warranty can be transferred to a new homeowner when you sell.

Flat roofs typically offer warranties for between 10 and 25 years, although some manufacturers offer 30 and even 40-year warranties. Bear in mind that if you want a warranty that covers both labour and materials, the contractor you use must be approved by the manufacturer.

Importantly, check that any guarantee provided by a roofing contractor is insurance-backed, so that if they cease trading you’ll still be covered.

Building Regulations

If you’re repairing or re-covering an existing pitched or flat roof, you will need to submit a building control application if:

  • More than 50% of the roof is affected
  • More than 25% of the total ‘building envelope’ is affected
  • You’re carrying out structural alterations
  • Any new roof covering will respond differently in the event of a fire
  • The weight of the roof covering will be increased by 15% or more.

If you’re completely re-roofing, the work will almost certainly require Building Regulations approval.

To be on the safe side, if it’s anything more than minor repairs, we’d recommend you contact your local authority planning department to find out whether you need to seek approval and what their process is.

Where can I find a good roofer?

As always, word of mouth is fairly reliable, and a good roofer should be happy to provide you with local references. You can also search for an NFRC member contractor via their website.

Always get two or three quotes and remember that in addition to the cost of materials and labour for the actual roof work, you’ll also need to factor in the price of scaffolding (in the region of £625 a week) and skip hire (around £250-£300 for a 6-8 yard skip).

The Reeds Rains Content Marketing Team

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