Green Roofing – A Growing Market for Roofing Contractors
Green roofs (also known as living roofs) are on the increase, both here in the UK and overseas. This is a result of governments around the world pledging to do their part in reducing emissions and adopting more sustainable practices in order to reduce the negative effects that global warming is having on our planet. According to the London Living Roof Report (2017) the market for green roofs is growing rapidly with some areas now specifying living roofs as part of the planning permission criteria. However, the green roofing industry is facing a challenge as there is an overwhelming need for a certified and skilled workforce to cope with the increase in market demands and ensure high standards within green roofing and comply with new requirements of occupational competency within our buildings.
At present there are only about 1,300 green roof installers in the UK who possess Construction Relation Occupation (CRO) Skills Cards. These are the cards provided to those who work in construction related occupations that are not covered by other CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) cards. The current CRO cards are due to expire this year and there is now a requirement to provide a skills card that reflects this specific trade.
Whilst other occupations are traditionally provided with National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs), these are not available to green roofers, having been withdrawn as a result of the lack of uptake. The lack of uptake is not surprising as the 1 – 2 year long assessment period makes this an expensive process in terms of both time and money. In order to make a specialist green roofing qualification a viable proposition within the roofing industry, it needs to be affordable and require fewer learning hours whilst still covering the vital knowledge and skills necessary for successful installations and maintenance activity.
To this end, the Green Roof Organisation (GRO), with support from the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) has developed the GRO Code, a code of practice which was created to recognise the pest professional expertise in the green roofing sector. The Code is intended to be perceived as a code of best practice and can be used to guide behaviour and practice relating to green roof design, specification, installation and maintenance. It’s the result of unpaid technical cooperation across the green roof industry and represents an opportunity for roofers and horticulturalists to collaborate and share their specific knowledge and expertise to benefit the green roofing market going forward.
This is an ideal opportunity for roofing contractors to specialise in a niche market that is currently on the increase. Any forward thinking roofing contractor wanting to guarantee plenty of business for the future would do well to consider specialising in green roofing just as the market is beginning to develop and become mainstream. Getting in right at the start would put you and your business on the path to becoming one of the green roofing industry’s experienced providers in the coming years.