Contractors, as well as participants in the supply chain are collaborating to ensure the highest possible quality of workmanship in the South African roof repair and waterproofing industry. These efforts are being coordinated by the Professional Roof Repair and Waterproofing Association (PRAWA), which has already made significant strides towards introducing compulsory minimum quality standards for the industry and establishing a register of approved roofing repair and waterproofing products for professional teams and their clients.
“Excellent workmanship relies upon both competent ‘roofers’ and the use of quality roof repair and waterproofing materials. We, therefore, recently also welcomed roof repair and waterproofing product manufacturers and suppliers to PRAWA’s panel. As important participants in the value chain, their contribution towards the establishment of compulsory minimum standards and a register of approved products thus far has been invaluable. It complements the important insights that contractors are sharing with us, in terms of what they consider to be best industry practice,” Jeanine de Meyer, Operations Manager of PRAWA, says.
The growth of PRAWA’s membership over a very short period demonstrates the will of all leading industry stakeholders to work together to develop a world-class roof repair and waterproofing industry. Notably, professionals who are not affiliated to specific companies are also applying for membership with the association. These individuals have worked in the industry for many years and, therefore, also have a lot of industry-specific knowledge that they are able to transfer among members.
The measures that are being implemented by PRAWA will safeguard against an influx of unscrupulous contractors in the roof repair and waterproofing industry. These contractors do not have the skills or the experience to undertake roof repair and maintenance. They also use inferior products which further enables them to offer their services at cut-throat and unsustainable rates. This undermines the real value of professional roof repair and waterproofing services. If undertaken correctly, which includes the use of appropriate roof repair and waterproofing products, contractors will be able to confidently guarantee their workmanship for many years. It is standard practice for roof repair and waterproofing contractors to stand by their workmanship for no less than 10 years. There is no other building trade that is expected to guarantee its workmanship for this length of time, and this is indictive of the importance of roofing and waterproofing in the larger building industry.
Homeowners and property owners can incur significant damage due to a leaking roof. It negatively affects the ceiling plaster and paint and can potentially damage electrical fixtures in the roof. This can result in a short circuit if the property has concealed wiring in the roof, potentially also placing lives at risk. Leaking roofs can also lead to dampness on walls and the water can make its way to the foundations of the structure. This can be a costly problem to resolve and, if left unattended, can even compromise the structural integrity of a property. Over-and-above, a leaking roof can also cause major damage to property and valuables inside the structure.
PRAWA members abide by a strict code of conduct, which includes standing behind their work and offering guarantees where applicable. They also undertake to be honest and straightforward in their dealing with clients, submitting reasonable proposals and answering all questions pertaining to them. As members of PRAWA, roof repair and waterproofing contractors also undertake to enter into contracts that are fair and equitable, and that clearly assign responsibility.
Most importantly, being a member of PRAWA provides consumers with follow-up. Consumers who are unsatisfied with the quality of service that they have received from a particular member company can approach PRAWA for help. PRAWA will investigate their concerns and, if a member company is found to be at fault, the association will request that it correct the mistake within a reasonable timeframe. Extensive and frequent discretions by member companies can lead to disciplinary action and even expulsion from the association. Consumers who have not used PRAWA-approved contractors have also received guidance from the association to help resolve sub-standard workmanship.
De Meyer says that PRAWA continues to focus on educating the consumer as to the importance of only using the services of competent contractors but acknowledges that this will take time.
“As we work towards implementing compulsory minimum standards for the industry and a register of approved products, we have urged consumers to be extremely vigilant when appointing roof repair and waterproofing contractors. One way of preventing buyers’ remorse is to first approach us for assistance when deciding on who you should be appointing for your roof repair and waterproofing project. With support from the consumer and industry, we will be able to stamp out bad practice once and for all,” she concludes.