Expert for Roofing Products

Paul Owen

Commercial Director - Distribution Division


Paul Owen

Paul has many years’ experience of working in the home improvement and roofing sectors. He joined roofing in September 2000 as Area Sales Manager for Marley Waterproofing. In his new role he was responsible for roof surveys and generating flat roofing specifications for bituminous membranes and insulation. This later expanded to include specification of liquid applied waterproofing and single ply membrane, before his promotion to Key Account Management.

In 2006 Marley Waterproofing was acquired by the IKO Group. This led to Paul’s role developing into Commercial Management of the Roofing Distribution team, incorporating sales into national and independent roofing distributers. With the builders’ merchant sector progressing strongly in roofing, and following an internal change at Board level, Paul was offered the opportunity to head up the newly created Distribution Division, which includes sales to merchants, roofing distributers, and retail.

IKO Group

The brands in IKO Group have been global leaders in waterproofing and roofing products for over 100 years. The UK division was established 10 years ago after the successful acquisition and integration of the leading roofing and waterproofing brands, Ruberoid, Permanite, Marley Waterproofing, SpectraROOF and Hyload.

The company is growing in a number of very different markets including asphalt road surfacing; mastic asphalt paving; highways bridge expansion joints; car park systems; flood defence systems; PIR insulation; damp proofing and tanking membranes; single ply membranes; flashing, roof shingles and liquid protection – to name just a few.

IKO has three manufacturing plants in the UK, based in Wigan (Bituminous), Chesterfield (Polymeric Single Ply and Structural Waterproofing) and Grangemill (Hot Melt and Mastic Asphalt).

IKO has achieved the following standards for all three of its UK plants: ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management and BES 6001 for responsible sourcing of construction products.

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IKO PLC Comment: Q1 2019

Paul Owen, Commercial Director Distribution IKO PLC is BMBI’s Expert for Roofing Products.

The first three months of the year were very strong for the roofing sector with Q1 2019 sales significantly exceeding Q1 2018. But we had the ‘Beast from the East’ in Q1 2018 and with many days lost to bad weather in February and March 2018, the benchmark for year-on-year growth was always going to be a soft comparison. Taking that into account, activity levels were still above expectations – and above Q1 2017 too. Our increasingly optimistic roofing sector reports full order books, and there is a genuine buzz about the industry.

Investment in training is a continuing focus in the industry to ensure there is a large enough skilled workforce to meet continuing high demand levels. Contractors are keen to make sure that their workforce is up to speed, with traditional roofing applications and new manufacturer systems using liquid applied or self-adhesive membrane technology.

There are regional variations with regions outside the South East performing better than London. The Construction Products Association (CPA) forecasts an overall 0.4% fall in industry output, yet some sectors seem to have better prospects for 2019 than others. The infrastructure sector is forecast to perform positively while retail and offices are expected to face a significant decline in workloads.

When viewed in the round however, the uncertainty that surrounds the ‘will we or won’t we’ debate that continues to rage in Westminster seems to have passed roofers by. They are just busy getting on with the job. That isn’t to say that the roofing community is oblivious to the potential for disruption, but as we enter quarter two and wait for the Brexit bubble to burst, enquiry levels and order books remain quite strong.

To quote John F. Kennedy: “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”

Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.