COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects on industries of all kinds—and that includes the roofing industry. From the start, roofers and others in the industry have struggled to produce supplies, and some of these challenges are ongoing. That is compounded by the fact that roofing is a hands-on job that often requires close contact among workers. Roofing businesses have had to adopt new safety precautions in order to help safeguard their employees.
What impacts is the industry still struggling with? Learn more below!
The Initial Impacts of the Pandemic
Impacts started early. As soon as April 2020, the National Roofing Contractors Association was reporting that most roofing contractors in the U.S. were suffering the effects of the pandemic. This included material delays, canceled jobs, delays on inspections, and even layoffs. As many as 52% of respondents to an NRCA survey reported that they were experiencing significant to very significant effects and that those effects were growing.
But those were the early phases of COVID-19. Things have continued to evolve since then. As 2020’s hurricane season struck, new difficulties emerged, like pandemic-fueled materials shortages in storm-damaged areas. In Alabama, one contractor reported difficulties securing even the basics, like shingles and roofing nails.
The situation has continued to evolve—and even today, contractors are still reporting difficulties.
COVID-19 and the Roofing Industry Today
By summer 2020, survey results from the Associated General Contractors of America noted that construction companies were seeing a second wave of effects on their businesses due to the pandemic. As of December 2020, three-quarters of survey respondents reported they’d experienced canceled or delayed jobs, which was up from 60% in August 2020, and 32% in June 2020.
As of February 2021, roofers were still reporting roofing shortages, particularly where asphalt shingles were concerned. As a result of COVID-19, production fell behind. Sellers were reporting that access to stock could be as much as a month out or more. That in and of itself had an unusual effect on the roofing industry because homeowners had a new choice to make between shingle and metal roofing, this time not based on looks or durability, but how quickly the roof needed to be covered. As all of this was happening, prices rose, though not so severely as they sometimes do during storm season.
Changes to the Way Work is Done
Amid rising prices, roofing shortages, and delayed and canceled jobs, contractors have also had to change aspects of their jobs in order to safeguard themselves against COVID-19—especially in the aftermath of major storms when demand is high and the risk of exposure to the virus goes up, too. Virtual communications with homeowners have been growing in popularity, as have touch-free orders, pickups, and deliveries. Estimating is often done contact-free with estimating tools providing a way to factor costs and send estimates remotely.
Effects of the pandemic differ from one area to the next, but in many regions, roofers are still seeing delays, high prices, supply shortages, and canceled jobs. However, as the pandemic recedes, it is expected that roofing supplies will become more available—and hopefully, costs should go down, too.