KP Roofing a “very much a whanau business” thriving in Auckland market

The KP Roofing team.

It’s “very much a whanau business” that has thrived during its establishment period in the competitive Auckland market, to the degree that Sam Puketapu’s family company, KP Roofing, is looking to expand.

Sam’s had more than 20 years in the Auckland roofing industry after starting fresh out of school at the age of 16, and winding up with six years – the last two spent in the office – with Rightline Roofing, which ceased trading sometime after Sam left to start his own company.

“With my experience, especially with Rightline behind me, I thought I’d like to have a go on my own, and KP Roofing’s been going for three years now,” Sam says. “I felt I had acquired the knowledge, and I also had a couple of guys who were keen to help me out.”

Those couple of guys included his wife Tash looking after the books, while her younger brother, Dylan Kidd, and later her little sister, Chelsea Wilson, joined Sam on the KP rooftops along with close family friend Waikaretu. And they’re flat out.

“It slowed in September – I’m not sure why – but then it picked up again, and we’re at full stretch well into the New Year.”

In December, KP Roofing roofed an upmarket new-build designer home in Warkworth, and Sam viewed the plum job as a test of whether the main contractor thought his young company was worth the punt.

“It had to be bang-on,” Sam says. It was, and RF Roofing’s reputation was enhanced as a result.

“I want to get a yard and give more people the opportunity to work in this industry, and especially to keep that sense of whanau, which I think can be the key to a successful Maori business.”

When the company started up in 2020, its initial projects were heavy on re-roofing and light on new-builds: the first job was re-roofing an old villa in the inner-city suburb of Sandringham.

Now, it’s the other way around with the whanau company getting a succession of sub-contracts for housing new-builds in subdivisions, such as at Long Bay and north of Auckland, fleshed out by their own private projects.

As well as the standard timber-framed new homes, KP Roofing is doing an increasing number of steel-framed houses for nationwide home-builder Golden Homes, a leader in the adoption of steel in place of timber for residential buildings.

Another big company that KP Roofing sub-contracts to, for both re-roofs and new builds, is Aspect Roofing, a respected 20-year player in the Auckland market.

Most of the company’s roofing is with T-rib profile steel, usually coloured, but it’s also called on to lay considerable areas of zincalume and, occasionally, even some original old corrugated iron.

Having established such a strong client and reputational base, Sam is looking to expand KP Roofing, and has some clear goals in sight. “I want to get a yard and give more people the opportunity to work in this industry, and especially to keep that sense of whanau, which I think can be the key to a successful Maori business,” he says.

Sam also thinks that the whanau concept can help the business when faced with the challenge of finding new staff to expand despite what seems like a prolonged labour shortage.

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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