The Professional Roof Repair and Waterproofing Association (PRAWA) has issued a call for insurers, contractors and other construction industry stakeholders to commit to using only certified waterproofing and roof repair firms. JJ Conradie, Executive Chair of PRAWA, says that this is only way to ensure that roofing repairs are carried out to the desired standard and use materials suitable for the harsh South African climate.
“PRAWA and the Master Builders Association North are collaborating to fast track the introduction of standards in the roofing and waterproofing industry, overseen by PRAWA as the professional industry body,” he says. “Until the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) puts a standards framework in place, anyone needing roof repairs should ensure they are dealing with a reputable firm. At this stage, the best approach would be to contract with waterproofing or roofing companies which are members of PRAWA or the Master Builders Association, and which are at least governed by a Code of Conduct.”
Poorly trained workers and/ or substandard products are responsible for the high rate of rework needed when it comes to roof repairs. Figures from the insurance industry suggest that around 60% of all roofing repairs need to be redone – an unnecessary drain on the economy. That figure drops to 5% when certified roofing contractors are used.
To improve the standards in the waterproofing and roofing industry, a dual approach is needed. On the one hand, industry players, including suppliers, are encouraged to get themselves certified via PRAWA. A recognition-of-prior-learning process can be used for uncertified but experienced workmen. When training is needed, it is important to use a service provider that is registered with SAQA and the Construction SETA to ensure that the qualification is certified.
“Upskilling a firm’s workforce makes excellent, long-term business sense. Training modules cover slate, tile, iron and flat concrete roofs,” he says. “In that way, individuals can build up their skills over time.”
A complementary “pull” approach should come from those using roofing and waterproofing contractors, including insurers, main contractors and consumers generally. Using certified companies with appropriately skilled employees gives assurance of the quality of the work, and that the correct products for the job are being used.
Because these companies are bound by a professional Code of Conduct through PRAWA or the Master Builders Association (MBA) North, they understand that consequences will follow if their guarantees are not honoured.
“It’s also worth noting that using an uncertified contractor is likely to invalidate insurance claims – policies require the property owner to maintain the roof to an appropriate standard,” Conradie says. “Certified contractors, by contrast, are in a much better position to compete successfully for work.”
Boitumelo Thipe, Marketing and Business Development Manager, MBA North says, “Any industry is only as good as those who operate in it. The Master Builders Association is committed to work alongside PRAWA to raise the standards in an important section of the construction industry. We call on all stakeholders to join us in building a more professional – and thus more profitable – roofing and waterproofing industry.”