Pitched roofing supplier Russell Roof Tiles has seen a 15 per cent increase in the number of merchant customers. BMJ asks how.


ollowing recent figures reporting a bounce back in merchant sector growth, pitched roofing supplier Russell Roof Tiles is experiencing a 15 per cent increase in the number of merchant customers.

This growth includes new accounts opened with national chains of builders’ merchants as well as smaller regional groups, specialist roofing merchants as well as independent merchants.

These figures reflect the latest Builders’ Merchants Building Index *(BMBI) which recently reported the value of sales in merchants rose nearly 40 per cent compared to the previous three months. Sales of building materials through merchants bounced back strongly in the three months May to July. In July sales recovered to such an extent that they were just 1.3 per cent below the same time in 2019.

Russell Roof Tiles has always supported its independent and multiple merchant customers helping them with specification and technical support. Over the past 18 months the company has invested in the merchant sector supporting both those who are strong in online sales or in store.

Merchants benefit from Russell Roof Tiles’ investment in online tools such as Tile Estimator which helps identify order volumes required in just two minutes. The customer is then instantly provided with a quote. A Fixing Specification form also pulls together topographical information on the exact location of the project with the wind calculation parameters, using the latest software turning the task into a couple of minutes job and ensuring that a specification fully complies with all the latest standards.

Managing director Andrew Hayward, says: “As the market continues to evolve, even before the onset of the global pandemic, it has been important to us to ensure we continue to support our diverse range of customers. “We have always been dedicated to supporting merchants and we continually look at ways in which we can improve our service. Our expert team is always on hand


to offer advice when required and we have introduced a number of new assets to help merchants. This growth in merchants is already delivering increased volumes of orders in the sector.”

Russell Roof Tiles

supplies products for the top housebuilders, leading social housing and commercial projects. The company produces thousands of tiles every week that are used on roofs across the UK, for all of the UK’s premier housebuilders and developers from three factories in the UK and Scotland.

With three plants totalling 22 acres in Scotland and the Midlands, the firm manufactures around one million roofing products every week. All of its sites halted manufacture in March as did all UK roof tile manufacturing, before that there had been some confusion in terms of

construction sites not knowing if they should be open or closed which meant deliveries were turned away at site.

As the market continues to evolve, even before the onset of the global pandemic, it has been important to us to ensure we continue to support our diverse range of customers.

Most factories resumed manufacturing in May, once measures had been put into place to ensure adherence to government guidelines on social distancing to protect the workforce. Russell Roof Tile’s factories are all now operating at the same levels as pre-Covid. Hayward says: “Once construction sites reopened in June we have been working hard to catch-up. Many sites were halfway through construction and we are supplying pretty much as normal, our output has not been massively affected by social distancing. But it is difficult to plan levels and to predict the future landscape. Like most construction materials manufacturing, roofing has been affected in every way possible. From supply of raw materials used in production, through to packaging, transport, and manpower it has been hard going to get back to something like normal production. We are now at maximum production and have a very healthy order book, and have had to recruit to meet demand.” Russell Roof Tiles is continuing its plan of capital investment to maintain maximum output of both concrete roof tiles and accessories, having recently invested in new machinery to ensure continued supply of its dry fix products. Hayward adds: “Over the past two we have worked hard to support our merchant customers, as an important part of the RRT supply chain. This has included expanding our online tools to ensure merchants can answer customer queries and price up jobs much more efficiently. We will continue to support this important part of our market.” November 2020

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