Metal roofers produce sheet metal parts for roofs and façades of buildings and assemble them. These include drainpipes, windowsills, as well as balcony, façade and roof claddings. Following the specifications of architects and building contractors, they produce construction units of sheet metal e.g. by bending, seaming, cutting and soldering and turn prefabricated sheet metal parts into the appropriate shape. They also produce sheet metal cladding for insulated pipes and containers and install ventilation and air-conditioning systems, solar panels, snow guard and bird control systems, as well as lightning protection systems.
Metal roofers mainly work in workshops and in outdoor construction sites (such as on roofs and façades) of buildings which are used for domestic, communal or commercial purposes. Metal roofers coordinate the tasks to be completed with architects and building contractors. They have the planned cladding of e.g. façades, balconies, roofs and chimneys explained to them on basis of plans and drawings. They make their own suggestions and draw attention to things such as the latest trends in roof design or the benefits and disadvantages of different materials.
When the details of the structure have been determined, metal roofers produce the required construction units in their workshop. They cut and punch sheet metals, shape them by bending, creasing and compressing them, join them by compressing and welding them, thereby bringing the parts into the desired shape. Where they need several copies of certain workpieces, metal roofers produce stencils that enable them to produce identical forms. They examine the finished construction units and treat the surfaces, e.g. by applying anti-corrosion agents. They buy many prefabricated parts such as gutters and pipes from shops so these only need adapting, e.g. by sawing pipes and gutters to the desired length.
Many preparatory activities need to be carried out before metal roofers are able to assemble the parts they have prepared in the workshop on or in the building. After transporting the finished parts to the construction site, work and safety scaffolding needs to be set up, personal fall protection systems installed on buildings and wire ropes and winches set up. In addition, depending on the order, various activities on the brickwork are required such as creating wall slots and openings. Before metal roofers can fit façade or roof cladding, they affix thermal insulation materials. Where sheet metal parts are connected with the brickwork, metal roofers glue or weld joints and junctions, seal pipe connections, and close openings and recesses in the brickwork. They clad pipes using plastic sheathing, for example.
Metal roofers not only make new installations but also repair roof and façade cladding that has become damaged in the course of time and, in this process, fit additional thermal insulation where necessary. In addition, they install ventilation and air-conditioning systems, solar panels, heat exchangers and water pipe systems. The range of tasks also includes the installation of lightning protection systems and roof accessories such as snow guard systems. Metal roofers frequently work manually, using different machinery and hand tools which make their work easier, such as computer-controlled punching and bending machines, grinding machines plus saws and pipe expanders.
Frequently they wear protective clothing during their work, such as protective helmets, protective shoes, ear defenders and dust masks if necessary, as well as safety goggles and protective shields when welding. Metal dust is generated during creasing, sawing or grinding in the workshop or when moving from one construction site to the next. Often machines make a lot of noise, and flue gases and smoke are generated during welding and soldering, which can lead to respiratory complaints.
Metal roofers are exposed to the weather on construction sites indoors and outdoors. To be able to adapt metal installations as best as possible to local circumstances, metal roofers need manual dexterity, good eyes and a thorough approach to work. Work on scaffolding and ladders requires them to work cautiously, have good motor coordination and a head for heights. When metal roofers install heavy workpieces (together with other colleagues) and are forced to adopt certain positions, their work can be physically demanding.
Metal Roofing is an integral part of the construction sector, bringing water tightness, safety and comfort to the inhabitants and users of the buildings and their components.