The market for flat roofing has shown some slight improvement over the last two years, having grown by around 3.5% to reach around 28m m2 in 2014, in terms of area of waterproofing membranes fitted. Some flat roofing products - e.g. PVC single ply membranes and liquid roofing systems - have fared better than others, due to factors such as greater ease and speed of installation, lower cost and wider ranges of colour finishes available to specifiers.
Since 2012, key areas of growth in demand have included commercial offices, schools, leisure facilities, warehouses and infrastructure buildings. However, maintenance and repair work is also a key area of activity. Basic repair work by jobbing builders, using traditional bitumen felts, as opposed to higher performing reinforced bitumen membranes (RBMs) is a significant factor in the market and will have helped to sustain the market in recent years.
Waterproofing membranes are the most extensively used product on flat roofing works as they are used on all applications from basic repairs to complete new installations. Bitumen products have the largest share although these range from basic, single layer felts used on garage roofs to higher performance, triple layered reinforced bitumen membranes (RBMs) used on large newbuild developments.
The supply of waterproofing membranes is concentrated among relatively few suppliers, which are also key suppliers of vapour control layers, and the supply of insulation products is also limited to a relatively small number of UK manufacturers. While there is significant production of bitumen membranes and felts in the UK, import levels are significant, in particular within the single membrane and liquid waterproofing sectors.
Distribution is largely split between the specialist roofing merchants and general builders’ merchants, typically supplying smaller contractors and general builders, and also direct sales to contractors working on large projects. The contracting sector is polarised between a large number of very small, local firms and a relatively small number of national and large regional businesses.
Over the medium term, to 2019, it forecast that demand will increase owing to growth in the development of key new build markets, notably industrial buildings and commercial offices, internet warehousing, free schools & city academies, university buildings and leisure facilities.
In the industrial sector, it is anticipated that there will be a surge in growth in advanced manufacturing and R&D, with universities and property developers pushing forward with developments in Enterprise Zones, where there is a focus on building factories and research facilities.
“Contractors output in the education sector is also expected to grow, mainly due to greater capital commitments among universities and Free schools and also Academies” said Keith Taylor, Director of AMA Research. “Budget reductions in public sector capital programmes will impact on the market, however, with the public sector schools and healthcare sub-sectors mainly affected”.
The ‘Flat Roofing Market Report – UK 2015-2019 Analysis’ report is published by AMA Research, a leading provider of market research and consultancy services within the construction and home improvement markets. The report is available now and can be ordered online at www.amaresearch.co.uk/Flat_Roofing_15.html or by calling 01242 235724.