in Q2 roofing industry report.

Workloads continued to grow in Q2, 38% of firms reported an increase of workload compared with 20% reporting a decline, which follows on trend from the Q1 review, although there was also a slight fall in enquiries as 29% reported a decrease versus 22% reporting a raise. 

The largest increase in workload by region was in Wales, with all sectors reporting an increase in workload. This performance was not mirrored by North Wales which saw 39% of firms report a decline in comparison with only 20% reporting a rise. Whilst there was a welcome rise in workload, new enquiries on the other hand experienced a large drop over the region, only 10% of contractors with operations in Wales reported an increase. Scotland equally witnessed a drop in enquiries with 54% reporting a drop, and only 2% reporting an increase on last quarter. 

Commercial repair, maintenance and improvement was the strongest in the quarter in terms of future pipeline of work, with 28% of firms registering rising enquiries. Employment levels remained even with equal firms reporting a rise and fall. There was an increase for firms facing difficulty with recruitment, with only 6% reporting finding easier recruitment as opposed to 46% reporting struggles. 

In particular, the skill in shortest supply was Roof slaters and tilers, with 32% of firms reporting a shortage in that particular area, although this is still down from 45% in Q1. There was also a range of firms that listed difficulty acquiring built-up felt roofers, that being the second most scarce with 26% reporting difficulty finding labourers. 

Labour costs continued to rise for the majority, as well as material price inflation. Overall, 8% of firms documented a decrease compared to 45% who documented paying more. Material price inflation however has eased significantly, only 45% reporting an increase in their material costs when compared with 70% last quarter. Late payments continued to be a consistent issue for the industry, only 33% reporting payment within the standard return of 30 days or less. 76% of firms also reported being subject to retention, the average level of retention being 4.3%. This was most prevalent for those undertaking new residential work, of which 90% reported cash retentions. 

Many firms foresee increasing pipelines of work in Q3, despite 39% of firms predicting a fall of workload over the next 12 months. Uncertainty in the housebuilding sector meant that those working in new residential were the least optimistic about the year to come, and by region contractors in Yorkshire and the North East as well as Scotland were most hesitant in their expectations. 

Roofing contractors saw an increase in workload for the second quarter, in comparison with last quarter 38% saw a rise in work, whilst only 20% reported a decline. Workload was also higher than this time last year, with 46% listing an improvement compared to last year. Enquiries declined by 29% whilst 7% less reported an improvement. This points towards a potential softening of workload. 

From the first quarter of 2023 more firms reported a rise in overall workload, 18% more than those who reported the opposite. Roofing contractors experienced a raise in workload across a myriad of sectors, New Residential being the highest with 40% of firms reporting a rise, compared with 16%. The opposite can be found for the Commercial new build sector, which experienced a drop off when compared to previous, with 34% of firms experiencing a decrease, and only 15% reporting a raise on their workload from last quarter.  RM&I however defied the trend of falling enquiries, and 28% reported an increase in enquiries across the sector, compared with 18% that reported a fall in enquiries on the previous quarter.