What makes a good roofer?< Back to Blog

A short while ago, we published our article on the skills and qualities required in anyone wishing to pursue a career in bricklaying. This week, we turn our attention to the roofing trade and ask the same question: what makes a good roofer?

Let’s start with a brief overview of what a roofer actually does.

Generally speaking, there are two categories of roofing work – pitched or sloped roofing (usually requiring slating or tiling) and flat-roofing (using a variety of roofing materials such as waterproof bitumen layers, felt sheets, fibre glass, organic sedum, synthetic rubber etc). Some tradespeople choose to specialise in techniques like thatching or leadwork.

Taking flat-roofing as our example, roofers can be involved in a wide range of everyday tasks – measuring, cutting and fitting the roofing materials; removing broken materials and carrying out repairs; installing rainwater goods and flashing; finishing off joints to make sure they’re watertight; and generally doing everything required to keep the roof structurally sound and the building it covers warm and dry!

While some will enter the trade through an apprenticeship, most trainees will start out as a roofing labourer, picking up their skills and roofing techniques through on-the-job training.

Like most jobs in construction, trainee roofers need to pass a health and safety assessment to qualify for a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card and might also need to complete an NVQ or similar qualification. Construction Skills and City & Guilds have an approved list of NVQ diplomas for roofers.

So, what are the personal qualities required for the job:

Head for heights – It’s pretty obvious really, but as a roofer, you’ll spend a lot of time working at height. Health and safety processes and precautions will keep you safe from falls but, if the sight of a skyscraper sends your head into a spin, then maybe this isn’t the job for you!

Hardiness – With the exception of extremely cold temperature, roofers work outside in all weathers. You need to be prepared to weather the elements and ready to build up some muscle!

Good with the hands – Roofing work is highly practical and hands-on, requiring good hand-eye coordination, grip and dexterity.

Mental aptitude – Alongside the practical work, roofers are required to understand building plans, carry out measurements, participate in health and safety assessments and more. Basic math skills are important and it could be helpful to have GCSE level English and Maths.

Flexibility – Most roofers will work a 40-hour week but this can vary. Bad weather can disrupt roofing work in winter, so it can be the case that you’ll need to work longer hours during the summer months. Being flexible to these changing working patterns is crucial.

Teamwork – Most roofing jobs require you to work well as a coordinated team. Show support for your colleagues and the job will be done more efficiently.

Attitude – Getting the roofing work completed is often a critical part of any building project – allowing the interior work to progress within watertight conditions. The trade needs people who are reliable and can commit to the job. As the techniques and materials used in roofing are continually evolving, it also needs people who are not afraid to keep learning and adapt their skills.

Going into roofing might not be for everyone but it is a skilled job that rewards workers with a good income and several progression routes (e.g. becoming a foreman, area supervisor, roofing director, health and safety advisor or small business owner).

Sheriff Construction often has openings for trainee and experienced flat-roofers. If you’re interested in joining the team, get in touch.