Five hundred roofers, installers and local contractors around the country were asked about how effectively they utilise modern technology

One in five of tradespeople are concerned that the way they are currently working is outdated and ten per cent admit that they barely use any technology as part of their daily work.

The findings come from a new survey by Dakea, a leading manufacturer of high-quality, affordable roof windows that are built for the trade, which questioned 500 roofers, installers and local contractors around the country about how effectively they utilise modern technology.

A quarter of the respondents said that they believe the entire trade industry needs to be better at adopting tech in the workplace and a further 20% acknowledged that they don’t use technology effectively in their day-to-day job. With the pressures caused by COVID-19 forcing new approaches to work, these results have highlighted that some tradespeople might struggle to replace face-to-face activity with digital alternatives.

However, there are those in the trade who are embracing the advantages that technology can bring. The two main business benefits that tradespeople said they got out of such modern working methods included achieving time savings (47%) as well as financial gains (37%).

Some 29% tradespeople said that they actively keep up with the latest advances, with the most popular reasons for using technology being:

  • Browsing merchant/manufacturers websites (66%)
  • Purchasing products (61%)
  • Completing finances (40%)
  • Online training/webinars (34%)
  • Admin (31%)
  • Accessing loyalty schemes (26%)

Undertaken as part of Dakea’s ‘Trade Matters’ campaign, the survey identifies the areas where the trade industry needs the most support in order to help the everyday life and businesses of roof window installers in the UK.

To make sure that tradespeople can get to grips with the technology they need to know, Dakea has created a selection of free guides that includes advice on the websites, apps, tools and tech that can help them save time, learn new skills and drum up business opportunities.

The guides are of real relevance right now, with many tradespeople having used the lockdown period to learn new skills (31%), catch up on admin (31%) or update social media profiles and reviews so that they can better generate business at a later date (26%).

Mhairi McDougall, Country Manager UK and Ireland at Dakea, said: “With the current pressures on the construction industry forcing trade professionals to work in new and innovative ways, it’s imperative that they have the skills required to work faster, quicker, better and safer.

“Technology is at the heart of this, as by understanding what’s out there and how it works, installers and local contractors can make a real difference to their day-to-day work in a number of ways. Just one example of this is the amount of time that can be saved by embracing digital advances, whether it’s avoiding the need to travel to the customer by having a video call, using software to simplify financial admin tasks or using social media sites to attract leads.”

Dakea discussed the survey’s findings with a group of builders and installers to see what they thought about the opportunities provided by new technology.

Roofer Mark Trinder said: “If you’ve got a five-storey building it could take £20,000 just to put a scaffold up to inspect the roof, however with a drone you can do it straight away. You might not see everything but, for example, you could fly a drone up to see if there is simply a broken tile and if there is, then it would save you the time and effort of putting the scaffolding up.”