Stay safe this summer

For the majority of Brits, talking about the weather is a Great British pastime; it’s part of our social culture and a true trait for anyone that lives within the UK! For roofing professionals, it’s much more than that, whether you’re exposed to freezing and wet conditions or the scorching summer sun, the weather can have a significant impact on your business operations. Here we outline the challenges that the unpredictable British weather has on the roofing industry.

Over the past year, it’s safe to say that we’ve experienced some extreme dips and turns in the weather. While 2019 has remained somewhat mild, last year saw the “Beast from the East” hit the country hard. Fast-forward a couple of months and we were facing what was claimed to be the hottest summer on record, with temperatures reaching as high as 30°C. Although we haven’t experienced extreme temperatures we have been battered by wind and storms, making it difficult for roofing contractors when it comes to getting the job done.

The extremes within the British weather cause a multitude of problems especially to those whose occupations are largely spent outside. As you will know, seasons also have a big impact on work trends throughout the year, with the popularity of certain materials fluctuating depending on their suitability to be laid dependent on the weather. For example, throughout the summer, fibreglass material sales generally increase around 30-50%, showing how it’s important to ensure you carefully plan when you need to purchase stock. And although winter seems like a bad time for roofers, there are still opportunities in the marketplace. In the rainy season, while its not always practical to be taking on big jobs, your customers may start to notice leaking from heavy downpours. This gives roofers the opportunity to install plastic guttering or carry out maintenance work, which may compensate for any loss of earnings.

Roofing is generally a high-risk profession and British weather at its worst can make for a dangerous place to work. Should the conditions of the weather not be taken into consideration, there are some serious risks that could be introduced. So as a roofing professional, it’s essential to keep an eye on the cold temperatures in the winter, but also the heat and humidity the summer may bring.

Cold, high winds and wet conditions are two of the main ingredients for a recipe of disaster. The cold can generally affect one’s behaviour and in extreme cases, there’s the possible risk of frostbite or hypothermia. To keep warm, layer up and increase your intake of warm and sugary food and drink to maintain energy levels and good blood circulation.

For non-roofers it may seem the dream to work outdoors in the summer months, however as many know it’s not always as fun as it seems. The higher temperatures can take just as much of a toll on roofers as the cold. Dehydration, sunstroke and dizziness are likely occurrences, so ensure you’re drinking plenty of fluids and wearing protective SPF. Avoid the temptation to remove PPE as a means of cooling down, it’s there for a reason!

Typically, late summer and autumn are classed as the peak season. The weather is more predictable, generally drier and allows for comfortable work outdoors, without the risk of being exposed to high UV levels or a sudden downpour of rain. Comfortable conditions mean higher levels of productivity and therefore quicker completion of jobs.

Evidently, there’s a lot of issues around the unpredictably of the British weather, particularly when you’re working at height. In addition to the above, it’s important to take more breaks when necessary, ensure you have adequate facilities for warming up or cooling down, keep constant communication with everyone on site and work with a buddy wherever possible. Above all, assessing whether the work can be delayed and re-scheduled for when the weather improves is key. Safety first!