Penrose Roofing

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Penrose Roofing's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Penrose Roofing is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Gordon Penrose, founder
The award-winning roof of Gordon’s
house, redesigned after a fire
Based in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, Penrose Roofing
2014 Ltd is one of the oldest and most respected roofing
contractors in their country. They have delivered over
50 years of roofing contracting services within the public,
private and heritage sectors. After founder Gordon C Penrose
completed his roofing apprenticeship in Scotland in 1960,
he achieved the Advanced Craft City and Guilds of London
Certificate, the second student ever to do so. In 1967, Gordon
and his wife Alice founded Penrose Roofing. The current
managing director, Don Penrose, recently took over from
Gordon, his father, though he still works with the company as a
consultant. Gordon discusses the business here.
Our roofing contracting service has been operating throughout Ireland and mainland
UK offering a complete range of roofing services. My passion for ensuring excellence
within the roofing industry led to my involvement in starting up the first apprenticeship
training programme in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s. I have personally strived to
encourage training and education among our workforce, which has resulted in many
of our apprentices winning both regional and international roofing competitions.
Driving industry standards
For us to be the best, we must recognise, maintain and improve industry standards
in all our work. I personally have a lifetime of experience in roofing, and work
closely with the bodies that represent the industry.
»Founders: Gordon and Alice
»Current managing director:
Don Penrose
»Established in 1967
»Based in Carrickfergus,
Northern Ireland
»Family-run business
»50 years operating within the
roofing industry
Penrose Roofing 2014 Ltd
Highlighting best practice
We became a founding member of
the National Federation of Roofing
Contractors (NFRC) in Northern Ireland,
representing the country at board level
in London. I have personally served as
president for industry-recognised bodies
including the NFRC, the International
Federation for the Roofing Trade (IFD)
and the Institute of Roofing (IoR).
Quality enhances reputation
All of our operatives are registered
according to the Construction Skills
Certification Scheme (CSCS). Our
company believes in ensuring all
employees receive ongoing training
both in health and safety, as well
as theory and practical training in
all types of roofing carried out by
our organisation. The quality of our
workmanship has been recognised
on a regional level, but our first major
UK award was somewhat bittersweet;
after a serious fire at the Penrose
family home, Don and I utilised this
opportunity to redesign the roof. This
redesign led to three coveted awards:
»Redland Pitched Roof Award for Best
Refurbished Roof in UK and Ireland
»Redland Pitched Rood Award for
Best Design in Refurbished Roofs in
UK and Ireland
»Redland Craftsmanship Medal
Our focus on ongoing training has
helped both the organisation and our
operatives to win many other sector-
relevant awards, and as a British
roofing contractor, we are delighted
that a young generation of skilled
construction workers are being trained
in this country to match the highest
standards in the world.
Business challenges
Operating within the roofing industry
for over 50 years has not always
been easy. We have witnessed many
recessions resulting in the loss of
many long-established and reputable
construction and roofing companies.
Our family-run business utilised its solid
foundation of quality workmanship and
excellence to overcome the financial
challenges brought about by each
recession, and, in doing so, retained its
workforce during thesehardships.
A significant contribution to our
successful journey has been our strong
working relationships with building
contractors, architects, development
companies and all related roofing
services providers. These relationships
were of paramount importance during
some challenging recession years.
Memorable roofing projects
Some of the most memorable roofing
projects have included iconic buildings
such as the Guildhall in Derry/
Londonderry, the Customs House in
Belfast, Queen’s University in Belfast,
Roddensvale School in Larne and
Frankfield House in Dublin.
Guildhall – Derry/Londonderry
Originally built in 1890, at a cost of
only £19,000, the building has been
damaged several times over the years,
including a fire which left only the
clock tower and minor hall standing.
It was rebuilt in 1908, and in 1972,
the building was badly damaged by
a bomb which led to a restoration
costing £1.7 million.
Gordon Penrose and
Martyn McAllister at the
International Roofing
Competition in Belfast,
November 2010
As a British
contractor, we
are delighted
that a young
generation of
workers are
being trained
in this country
to match the
standards in
the world
The project consisted of stripping and
reslating the complete building using
existing slates from the 19th and 20th
centuries, with the remainder of the roof
slated using new Penrhyn Celtic slates.
This provided a finished roof covered
with slates from the last three centuries.
Our company was also responsible
for replacing all lead work, repairing
and replacing the copper, upgrading
the complete roof in rigid insulation,
and for timber repairs, which included
appropriate treatment of the wood.
Waterproofing of the complex
workings around the bell tower and
clock mechanism was carried out using
liquid plastics, which is an example
of how modern technology can be
applied to a listed heritage building.
Frankfield House – Dublin
This project involved stripping and re-
tiling this private dwelling in rosemary
plain clay tiles. This house was one of
two built by an architectural practice
for their two senior partners circa 1907.
This project presented training
opportunities for all of our young
apprentices. Details of our efforts
included the installation of mitred hips,
arris hips and purpose-made valley
tiles, which was all made more difficult
by variations in roof pitches alongside
vertical tiling to dormer cheeks and
lead works. It also included pointing of
chimneys and extensive gutter work.
The completed roof was a finalist in
the UK and Ireland Roofing Awards.
Ambitions for the sector
We have a few ambitions for the
future of the roofing sector. The
first is for the industry to become
fully accredited for all trainees and
apprentices, a process that is currently
being driven by the NFRC. They are
also working in partnership with
the IoR to make further professional
qualifications beyond the current
apprenticeship level available.
This joint approach would provide an
individual with a complete roofing
career pathway from trainee to
managerial level, a qualification system
that currently works to significant
success in Europe. Finally, we would like
to see the abolition of retention monies;
many within the industry perceive this
to be an unfair practice as a result of
greater governance brought about by
warranties and insolvency guarantees,
which were initially designed to
provide protection to end users.
Guildhall is an
example of
how modern
technology can
be applied to a
listed heritage
»NFRC Gold Health and Safety
»NFRC Silver Health and Safety
»NFRC Health and Safety
Personality of the Year UK and
Ireland Award
»Finalists in UK and Ireland
Roofing Awards – Roddensvale
School, Larne
»Finalists in UK and Ireland
Roofing Awards – Frankfield
House, Dublin
»NHBC Top 100 Site Awards
»Gold Medal Young European
Roofing Competition –
»Mentors Medal for UK Team
in Young European Roofing
Competition – Birmingham
»Bronze Medal World
Championship – South Africa
»Gold Medal World
Championship – Belfast
»Northern Ireland Skillbuild –
»Northern Ireland Skillbuild –
»Northern Ireland Skillbuild –
»UK Skillbuild – Gold
»UK Skillbuild – Silver
»UK Skillbuild – Bronze
Frankfield House, Dublin

This article was sponsored by Penrose Roofing. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister