Solid Opportunities In Roofing
31 October 2017
Chris Coxon looks at the opportunities provide by the tiled conservatory roofs, and how the first comprehensive approved installer scheme will bring business to its members by giving confidence to consumers.
The conservatory market has changed. Where once homeowners were prepared to invest five figure sums in a garden room for occasional use, they now want to maximise their plots with a room they can use 24/7, 365 days a year.
Ask any conservatory owner how often they use their extra room and you will hear that it is great when the temperature is just so but that it is often freezing in winter or boiling in summer – even with all the windows open. The result? A burgeoning conservatory roof replacement market.
One new solution proving very popular is tiled conservatory roofs – tiles cladding the outside of the roof structure, with solid insulation panels providing massive improvements in thermal efficiency and room comfort. A plastered internal finish then gives a reassuring traditional-build aesthetic to match the rest of the house.
With around four million conservatories already covering Britain, this means plenty of opportunity for existing conservatory retailers and installers, seeking differentiation from their competitors; and those looking to diversify and realise new sales and profit opportunities for their businesses.
However, one of the barriers to growth in the tiled conservatory roof sector is a lack of standards and agreed criteria for installation. This has led to quite variable, at least, quality issues in the market and some highly questionable builds. Anecdotal feedback suggests that – no matter how desirable these systems are – consumer confidence has been restricted by these quality concerns, and aren’t commissioning them as enthusiastically as they might. Homeowners need the confidence and evidence that their chosen installer is going to do a good job.
This inspired the need to develop a ‘quality assured’ vehicle through which consumers could source systems and installers, in the certain knowledge that they will receive professionally-executed installations. Consequently, and working independent accreditation body CERTASS, Eurocell launched Select – the sector’s first comprehensive solid conservatory roof approved installer scheme.
Designed to give scheme members a competitive edge and boost business, Eurocell Select will seek to address homeowners’ fears about product and workmanship quality, encouraging them to engage approved companies to carry out work. The scheme features a two-year workmanship (installation) warranty, an alternative dispute resolution service (ADR) with no annual fees and low per case fee and a comprehensive marketing support package.
Entrance to the scheme includes typical ‘professionalism criteria’, such as meeting the terms set out in competent persons and quality assured installer schemes; and installing Equinox, in compliance with Eurocell product specification and installation guides.
In respect of Equinox itself, the latest enhancement Eurocell has developed for Equinox is next generation SlateSkin, the GRP system providing both swift installation and a realistic slate-effect. It now has ‘multi-course’ tiles built in to each sheet, further reducing the time spent positioning and nailing, with no compromise on build quality or aesthetics.
Its lightweight construction allows the roof pitch to be set anywhere from just 5o to 35o. SlateSkin is the only tile system tested down to a 5o pitch and hence is ideal for lean-to projects, which comprise up to a quarter of all UK conservatories – a significant opportunity for Equinox installers.
Guaranteed for 25 years, the SlateSkin sheet-tiling system is not only durable but also considerably faster to fit than other conservatory tile roofing methods. In fact, it can typically save two operatives a whole day when compared to fitting alternative tile systems. When combined with the Equinox system, it meets the requirements of BS 476 Part 3:2004 for the External Fire Performance of Roofs, the classification for fire penetration.
Traditionally finding suppliers for home improvements has always been a headache for homeowners. Concerns over reliability, quality of work and cowboys all add to the stress, delaying purchases. The powerful combination of Equinox, SlateSkin and Eurocell Select will give them reassurance and far greater confidence in their choice. And for the participating installer, the scheme provides a competitive edge over rivals and, crucially, more sales and profit opportunities in this potentially buzzing arena.