Supplied by PR
This will be another busy year for the Professional Roof Repair and Waterproofing Association (PRAWA) as it continues on its journey to professionalise the industry.
This is being undertaken with the help of PRAWA’s strong membership, which grew significantly in 2022. The association’s members currently consist of “roofers”, as well as manufacturers and suppliers of roofing and waterproofing materials. This is in addition to members of academia and individuals who have a shared interest in helping to arrest the rapid decline of workmanship in the industry over the past few years.
“Our growing membership demonstrates the willingness of stakeholders to collaborate to build a sustainable industry. At the moment, it is riddled with unscrupulous players who do not abide by any standards whatsoever. This is at the expense of property owners who are paying for professional services that they do not receive. It also threatens the very sustainability of the South African roofing and waterproofing industry. This is despite the sector consisting of many skilled and experienced contractors who are passionate about and dedicated to supplying a quality service that can be guaranteed. These companies are supported in the field by manufacturers and suppliers of world class products. It is imperative that stakeholders across the value chain continue to work together using PRAWA as their forum to stamp out poor quality workmanship once and for all,” Jeanine Meyer, Chief Operations Officer of PRAWA, says.
One way of ensuring quality workmanship in the industry is to make it compulsory for “roofers” to issue Certificates of Compliance (CoC) as part of the handover of roof repair and waterproofing work to the client. A CoC will provide evidence that the work was undertaken according to standard and as agreed with the consumer.
Notably, such a system has been very effective in ensuring quality workmanship by plumbers, electricians and fire-safety technicians and continues to play an instrumental role in professionalising these important construction-related trades.
PRAWA has already taken tremendous strides towards launching its own certification system for the roof repair and waterproofing industry.
During 2022, the association consulted widely with roof repair and waterproofing contractors regarding ways in which to implement the certification system. It was agreed that the best way forward would be to first run a trial with the outcome of the process informing the final phases of the development of a unique certification system for “roofers”.
The first pilot project will be launched in Gauteng early this year. Assessments of the work performed by “roofers” participating in the trial will be undertaken by six of the country’s foremost roofing and waterproofing contractors on behalf of PRAWA. These will be based on standards that were established by PRAWA officials in consultation with the industry at large. They are very similar to the codes of professional conduct to which all PRAWA members are bound. These skills are also adequately covered by a formal qualification at a National Qualifications Framework Level that PRAWA helped to develop. The identified contractors will be embarking on obtaining their formal qualification during January 2023.
Workmanship that complies with these parameters will be issued a CoC by the association. It means that the roof repairs and waterproofing performed by their “roofer” will fulfil its intended purpose of, among others, protecting the building, as well as occupants and contents inside from the harsh elements. Notably, this work will also be insurable by the country’s leading insurance providers.
Meanwhile, PRAWA will request that work be redone if it has been found to be ineffective before issuing the contractor with a CoC.
De Meyer says that this is also a sound opportunity to proactively address any shortfalls that may exist in the industry in terms of the correct skills required to undertake professional roof repair and waterproofing services.
“Bear in mind that, until very recently, there was no formal qualification for roof repairs and waterproofing. Knowledge has mainly been passed from one generation to the next in an informal manner. We do not want to punish our members when they inadvertently do something wrong. Instead, PRAWA would like to use this opportunity to sort out any issues that we identify along the way. This is by engaging in a positive manner with contractors with the intention of helping them to improve their services. Certainly, it is also a way of ensuring that our members have kept pace with the latest methods and technologies in the field which continue to improve to provide a better service to the consumer,” she says.
In 2023, PRAWA will also continue developing a register of approved waterproofing and roof repair materials that will support the certification system. This is being undertaken together with suppliers and manufacturers of quality products. PRAWA envisages that this register will be very similar to the one used by the plumbing industry. It provides these professional installers with a quick means of locating products that comply with mandatory standards. This is in addition to being a helpful resource for consumers when buying plumbing materials.
Right in the early phases of developing the certification system, PRAWA consulted extensively with the Institute of Plumbing South Africa and the Plumbing Industry Registration Board. Their important insights have also been incorporated into the proposed certification system for the roof repair and waterproofing industry. Moreover, they have allowed PRAWA to leverage the sophisticated infrastructure that is being used to certify the work performed by plumbers for its own purposes.
Meanwhile, PRAWA will continue to forge strong professional relationships with other relevant associations and institutes moving forward. For example, it is in the throes of entering into a memorandum of understanding with two prominent industry bodies, one of which regulates standards in the building industry, this year.
Materials suppliers and manufacturers, as well as merchants have also expressed interest in working with PRAWA on a range of initiatives that will further help to drive up standards in the industry.
Importantly, PRAWA will also continue to advise property owners on all matters relating to roof repair and waterproofing.
In 2022, PRAWA provided advice on the type of roof repairs and waterproofing that needed to be performed to help consumers make informed decisions. It also referred many property owners to its members for professional waterproofing and roof repair services. Moreover, PRAWA investigated substandard roof repairs and waterproofing workmanship and advised consumers on the corrective action that they needed to take. It even went as far as to represent consumers in disputes with “roofers” in instances where contractors were at fault.
“We have received overwhelming positive feedback from consumers which previously did not have an independent body to help advise them on their roofing and waterproofing needs. Considering the very technical nature of our profession, it is very easy for consumers to make uninformed decisions that could potentially cost them a lot of money in the long run. Without proper knowledge, they are also easily fleeced by unscrupulous operators. This is just one of many ways in which we are helping to protect the consumer and our industry,” De Meyer concludes.