If you have a head for heights and are able to understand building plans, this job could suit you.
As a roofer, your work could range from re-slating the roof on a house, to restoring the lead sheets on an old building.
In this job you will need good number skills to work out roofing areas, numbers of tiles/slates needed and prices for quotes. You will also need to work flexibly as part of a team.
It is common to start out as a roofing labourer and then get training on the job. Alternatively, you could do a course in roof slating and tiling first, which would teach you some of the skills you would need. You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship.
• removing or repairing broken tiles or slates (stripping)
• checking that the roof timbers are sound
• measuring and cutting materials to the correct size and shape
• recovering the roof - laying strips of felt onto timbers, then re-fitting rows (courses) of tiles or slates
• cutting and fitting lead flashings around chimney stacks and adjoining walls
• sealing roof joints with mortar, for example on ridges and hips to make jobs watertight.
You might also be trained in more specialist roofing techniques such as leadwork, which involves covering a roof using lead rolls (often seen on churches) and thatching, where you would use natural materials to cover a roof. See the profile for thatcher in the Related Careers section for more details about this role.
Typical employers include roofing companies, building contractors, roofing materials suppliers, local authorities and other public organisations.
With experience, you could become a site manager, technical salesperson or roofing technician, dealing with project planning and costing jobs. You could also set up your own roofing business.
Finding work as a roofing labourer is a common way into this career, as it will give you the on-site experience employers often ask for. Once you are working, your employer may be willing to give you further training in roofing techniques.
You may be able to get into this career by completing an Apprenticeship with a building or roofing company.
Another option is to take a college course in general construction skills or more specific training, such as the Level 2 Diploma in Roof Slating and Tiling. These would teach you some of the skills needed in this job. Employers may still ask for some site experience.
Check with local colleges for course availability and entry requirements.
Training and development
Once working, you employer may encourage you to train for industry qualifications, for example:
• Level 2 Diploma in Built-up Felt Roofing
• Level 2/3 Diploma in Roof Slating and Tiling
• Level 2/3 (NVQ) Roofing Occupations
• Level 2/3 (NVQ) Diploma in Mastic Asphalting (Construction)
• Level 2/3 (NVQ) Diploma in Cladding Occupations (Construction).
Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS)
Many building contractors will want you to have a CSCS card before you can work on their sites. The card is proof of your skills and ability to carry out the job safely. To get your card, you must:
• pass the CITB Health, Safety and Environment test
• prove your occupational competence (by holding appropriate qualifications).
If you are working without qualifications, you may be able to use the On-site Assessment Workshop or Experienced Worker Practical Assessment (EWPA) schemes to gain a qualification and qualify for a CSCS card. See the Assessment Workshop and EWPA websites and contact CSCS in the More information section for details.
• On-site Assessment Workshop
• Experienced Worker Practical Assessment
Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme
The Traditional Building Skills Bursary Scheme aims to address skills shortages within the traditional crafts and built heritage sector by offering bursaries and organising work-based training placements for eligible applicants.
A roofing labourer can earn from 13,000 to 15,000 a year. Once qualified this can rise to between 16,000 and 24,000. Experienced roofers can earn up to 31,000 a year.
Overtime and shift allowances will increase wages, while self-employed roofers set their own rates.