7 Flat Roofing Challenges for Main Contractors – Why Take a Partnership Approach?



Main contractors face a number of flat roofing challenges. In this article we describe some of the common flat roofing challenges and how our holistic approach working with trusted manufacturers can help main contractors overcome them.

1. Inappropriate Specification

One common issue with flat roofing is that products and systems are mis-specified, whether it be by an architectural practice or elsewhere in the design team. If the system or product is not suitable for the application, all sorts of problems can arise. In addition, some manufacturers will sell the systems that they have available to them, rather than the one that suits your specific project requirements.

SIG Design and Technology are product agnostic and work with flat roofing systems from a wide range of leading flat roof manufacturers. These systems include Single Ply, Hot Melt, Built up roofing felts, liquids and hard metal solutions. We also support green roofing and blue roofing, slate and tile, design and supply. This allows us to select the most appropriate system for your requirements irrespective of the manufacturer preference.

2. Poor Detailing

If a main contractor relies on a manufacturer to design the flat roof, they run the risk of the manufacturer designing for their system rather than for the project. This can be a particular issue with interfaces between product types, where manufacturers may simply not have the expertise required. What a main contractor really needs is a designer who will work with the architect and other suppliers to design a solution that works all around, with appropriate interface details that won’t undermine the integrity of the roof.

We have our own in-house design team that works alongside the architect to identify areas that need addressing well before we start on site. This is backed by our own PI insurance, and we also offer collateral warranties on the designs given. A can-do attitude gives the main contractor peace of mind that their expert team is working towards one goal.

3. Lack of Understanding of the Build Programme

Roofing works usually form part of the critical path for the build programme. However, the installed flat roof can also provide a useful, or even an essential space for the contractor. As a result, the specified solution must allow for the main contractor to utilise the roofing space without the danger of damaging the installed roofing.

SIG Design and Technology’s partnership offering is ideal for situations such as this. We work on your behalf to specify systems that achieve a watertight envelope, are easy to manage on site and provide a finished roofing solution that is protected
and performs as it should. We also offer on-site support with our field technicians; our installation reports can be used to monitor the performance and snagging of the successful roofing contractor.

4. Follow on Trades

The installed roof can be a useful space on site, but this also has implications for follow on trades. Roofing systems need to meet the project requirements but also be robust enough to survive site conditions, rather than test conditions. A good partner works with the main contractor to understand the project programme and supports the correct sequencing of the roofing works to avoid future problems.

We understand what each roofing type and system can cope with on site, and because we are involved with the design we can advise and avoid the number of trades going on to the roof. We also offer toolbox talks to the site team to assist them in managing what can and cannot be done, to ensure a confident, well-performing team.

5. Lack of Communication

Good communications are essential for a smooth running programme, including between main contractor, supplier and roofing contractor. If there is no coordinated approach to the supply of materials and specific site requirements, this can delay works and delay the programme. In a worst case this may result in the roofing contractor being put under pressure to catch up using untrained or subcontracted labour, with all the risks that entails.

Because we take a partnership approach, SIG Design and Technology can support you from the tender process right through to prestart meetings on site. This helps identify potential problems and how we can avoid them. We will also act as a conduit between suitable roofing contractors for the project needs, smoothing communications and letting you get on with the job as planned.

6. Value Engineering Challenges

Value engineering has a part to play in the construction process, but if one is always looking to the cheapest systems without understanding the implications of these decisions, leading to legacy problems and flat roof defects.

SIG Design and Technology offers competitive prices and we accept that these will be market tested to ensure that we are competitive. This gives you cost certainty whilst remaining aggressive at tender stage. Coupled with our expertise and the benefits of a collaborative partnership approach, you and your client get the best of both worlds.

7. Maintenance Challenges

As roofing systems become more complex the risk of misunderstanding each of the specified systems maintenance requirements increases. This ultimately leads to invalidating guarantees, all at a cost to the main contractor.

SIG Design and Technology works to coordinate guarantee and maintenance requirements and documentation, supporting you to fulfil your responsibilities. As your supply chain partner, we can ensure that the process of delivering this essential documentation to your client is simple and painless.

The SIG Design & Technology ServiceFind out how to solve your Flat Roofing Challenges

SIG Design & Technology offer a complete and impartial design and supply service, built around a selection of specialist roofing options including hot melt, single ply, built up roofing and liquids.

We are part of SIG Roofing, a division of SIG PLC, one of Europe’s leading suppliers of products to the construction industry. Our holistic approach sets us apart – let us show you how!

If you would like to discuss how a supply chain partnership might help your work, please get in touch.