Transcript: Just the Job - roofer

Dallas: Hi, I’m Dallas, I’m from Matamata and I’m interested in finding out about roofing.

Clinton: There’s always going to be the need for a roof over your head. It might be a tiled or a steel roof for your home. Or a long run corrugated steel roof for you place of work. It’s the job of a roofer to keep out the weather and make it look good.

Clinton: Dallas has headed to COMAG, a roofing firm based in Matamata.

Chris: Gidday mate, I’m Chris.

Dallas: Gidday, I’m Dallas.

Clinton: Chris Henderson, operations manager and a director, will be checking out Dallas’ "head for heights" at two roofing jobs currently on his books.

Chris: So you're ready for a hard day's work?

Dallas: Yeah mate. Bring it on.

Chris: It was only 10 or 15 years ago there was no such thing as a roofing, you know, solely a roofer, it used to be plumbers did everything. It’s become a lot more of a specialist trade like a lot of trades have. There’s a lot more technical stuff that some of our roofers do today that plumbers wouldn’t have a clue how to do. Once you’ve been doing it for a while, anyone can pretty much lay iron – it’s the finishing of jobs and the flashings and getting it looking good and being weather tight and staying that way, sort of 20 or 25 years and beyond.

Clinton: The tin tiles of this house have served it well for 40 years or more but they’ve done their dash and they have to go.

Chris: What we do here is we’ll take an area of old tiles off, leave it for the builders and we’ll go away and take another area of tiles off and then we’ll come back and roof the first part while they work on the second part.

Chris: So Wade is one of our apprentices, he’s been with us for about a year and a half, he’s going to show you – he’s up there working already so we’ll introduce you to him and get into it.

Alright Wade, this is Dallas, he’s going to try his hand at roofing – I’ll hand him over to you and we’ll get into some work.

Wade: Ok Dallas, we’re going to start off taking this hip off, this is the main area we’re going to work on at the moment.

Chris: You’ve got to be good with heights – obviously at interview stage that’s one of the main questions that gets asked – have you been at heights before, because some people do get the "freeze bug"…

Wade: Just start on the lap down here.

Chris: …you’re going to have to be pretty nimble and work at heights quite comfortably.

Wade: And before you drop it off, just yell "clear!", to make sure no one’s down there so it doesn’t hit them.

Dallas: Clear!

Clinton: This sheet of steel has to be cut to neatly fit along a valley on the roof.

Chris: Alright, so grab your tape out, put the end of your tape over that end…

…so come out four metres one hundred and ninety, get your pencil out, and put a mark there.

I’d say 90% of roofs these days are iron, simply because of the speed that I can go on. It looks good and because of the speed it’s going on it’s probably more cost effective than some of the other options.

Chris: So we use a couple of main materials – one’s Endura, so these are the base materials of the Colorsteel that we use these days, most of the countryside would be Endura, and then you get Max, which is for more severe marine sort of conditions, so where salt spray will come off the ocean and areas like that.

Clinton: Roofers may have to replace poor or rotting timbers, add insulation and line with building paper, before a new steel roof is fitted.

Wade: Ok Dallas, so now we’ve checked that sheet on and screwed it in, we’re going to mark our curtains, so you’re going to put your hand like that, make sure you’ve got a fair idea of the middle.

Chris: To start with, from a young guy's perspective, is to work well with a team, it’s a good part about this job is that you have a good team around you and, you know, it’s not a one man job.

Clinton: And the roof is looking good, something Dallas can be proud of.

Visiting the site today is Team Leader Sarah Williams from Skills, the multi-industry training organisation.

Sarah: So we have a number of strands depending on the kind of work that you’re going to be doing in the industry, so metal roofing, wall cutting, concrete roof tiles etc.

So the apprentice will come when he finished the qualification – or she finished the qualification – they will come out of it with a Level 4 certificate which is very well regarded and will stand them in good stead in the industry. It also stands them in good stead with regards to pay parity and pay within the organisation – a lot of employers now base their pay rates around qualified apprentices.

Clinton: Chris from COMAG, who recently gained a Roofer of the Year accolade, is rightly proud of some of his more difficult jobs. This, the Kaimai Cheese Factory, had a very steep roof with many safety issues to be addressed.

Chris: There’s definitely lots of curves and angles and sort of little tight corners that was involved with that, and then curved sheets and curved flashings are always a challenge, so yeah.

Clinton: Using roofing steel to clad the walls of industrial buildings is a roofer’s job too.

Chris: Horizontal cladding is sort of a feature thing for a building so it helps a building stand out and look pretty “out there”, so yeah, cladding is definitely a big part of roofing.

Clinton: There’s a wide range of products and finishes for both domestic and industrial needs. Dallas has headed to Tauranga manufacturers, Steel and Tube, to learn more.

Clinton: Huge coils of zinc and aluminium-coated steel are lifted onto a machine which presses it into the shape or profile that’s required. The length is accurately measured to each customer’s requirement.

Chris: Right so here’s some of the coils that is commonly used in roofing and wall cladding for some buildings. There’s plenty of colours to choose from for the clients – there’s actually 26 primary colours, which is, you know, quite a few more nowadays than what used to be on the market.

Clinton: Corrugate, the traditional profile, is still widely used, but there’s many others, this is a five rib design. Time to head to another job…

…this one, a new McDonald's outlet in Hamilton.

The building is now well under way. The gutters are being lined with Butynol, a synthetic rubber membrane. It’s another example of a roofer’s job.

The flashings, which is the work around the penetrations, are being made.

Chris: Dallas, this is Eifion, he’s running this job, so I’ll hand you over to him and…

Eifion: Dallas, how’re ya going?

Dallas: Gidday Eifion, you alright?

Eifion: Yeah, good mate. We’re going to flash this penetration over here behind you, so if you want to grab those flashings there, I’ll meet you over there and we’ll start from there, eh?

So what we’re going to do here, we’re going to notch out the bottom of this flashing, basically the same as what’s happened up the top there.

It’s always a good challenge, doing what we’re doing here, because you’re always constantly learning and there’s never a day that’s the same really. And then tomorrow, we could be doing a house with a lot of hips and valleys and everything like that.

And so you basically, the sky’s the limit really, because you’re always going up and up.

Now we’ll place this flashing down here…

…what we’re going to do is tab these corners around here for this flashing to come down through. So we’ve got our folding pliers right on that line, and push down on a hard surface and up…

…so what you’ll find is your corners will try and dig in a bit…

Chris: The best thing about the job is the variety, also the travel – you’re not stuck in the same place, or even the same town for too long, and also training nowadays, just training the young fellas and watching them grow, watching them come from pretty much being at school and a few years later being a tradesman and know what they’re doing themselves and that’s pretty rewarding.

Clinton: Well done Dallas, job done.

Chris: Yeah, nah, he’s done pretty well. He’s shown plenty of interest which is always good – it’s always good to have a bit of passion about what you do so yeah, I’d look seriously at employing him.

Dallas: Of course at the start it’s always going to be hard but I’ve enjoyed roofing, there’s still a lot to learn but I’m willing to give it a go.

Clinton: The Skills Organisation manages industry training for all roofing apprenticeships. You have to get a job first. There are no specific entry requirements but you need to be fit and have a good head for heights. The New Zealand National Certificate in Roofing (Level 4) covers all types of roofing: metal roofing and wall cladding, tiling, membranes and shingles. A growing population means job prospects are good.

Updated 12 Sep 2016