Social media sent Stormseal to New Zealand, to solve a serious problem

Shane Blakely has worked in construction, roofing and asbestos removal ever since 1984, so he’s seen some… stuff. When he saw Stormseal for the first time – on social media – he thought it looked ‘amazing’.

Shane lives in Christchurch, New Zealand (NZ), where he runs Roofpro. He called his friend – an old colleague now living in Queensland, Australia – who’d posted online about Stormseal, to learn more.

‘My mate swore by it, said it was a great product. I trust him as a straight talker, and I thought Stormseal could solve a big problem in my industry, so I decided to follow it up,’ said Shane.

Shane contacted Matthew Lennox, Founder and Managing Director of Stormseal Industries, based in Sydney. They discussed similarities and differences in the Australian and NZ roofing and insurance industries, and Matt answered Shane’s questions about Stormseal and lined up installer training for him.

‘Because of COVID, I had to do the training online, at home,’ said Shane. ‘Matt sent me a Stormseal kit, and I built my own little roof frame to practise installing it. I used my laptop and smartphone to show the trainer what I was doing, and they coached me through the whole process over the course of a day. They did a great job in difficult circumstances.

‘Using Stormseal myself, seeing how it went taut and fitted perfectly to the frame when heated, and feeling just how strong it was, I realised that it was an even better product than it had looked online.’

Shane sees big opportunities to use Stormseal to improve customer experience and grow his business, firstly in asbestos removal/re-roofing, and secondly in roof repairs after severe storms or earthquakes.

‘Old asbestos insulation is a huge problem in NZ, just like in Australia and elsewhere. In NZ, the asbestos removal and the roof replacement are usually supplied by different contractors. Between the removal and rebuild, there’s a gap while an independent assessor verifies that the asbestos has been cleaned out,’ explained Shane.

There’s also a gap in responsibility for weatherproofing the property.

‘If the asbestos remover doesn’t quote for it, and the roofer doesn’t quote for it, then the property may be left unprotected from weather until the asbestos removal is certified. This gap has grown with COVID impacting supply chains for roofing materials, leaving properties without roofs for longer,’ Shane said.

‘If someone takes responsibility for it, they’ll usually attach polythene plastic or a tarpaulin, but neither method is weatherproof. In Christchurch, we often get strong north-easterly winds off the mountains, followed by a southerly change that brings rain. The wind rips off the plastic or tarp and then the rain wrecks your ceiling.

‘Stormseal is the solution. Uniquely, Roofpro manages the whole process: we’ll remove the asbestos, we’ll protect the property until it’s certified, and then we’ll rebuild the roof. By offering the whole package and using premium-quality Stormseal, we have a cost-effective service that’s highly competitive and gives our customers total peace of mind.’

‘Next, we need to get the message through to NZ insurers that they should stop using tarps to protect damaged properties and switch to Stormseal, if they want to reduce their costs and keep their policy-holders happy.’

Meanwhile, Shane has put his little training roof to good use. ‘I’ve parked my mower under it to protect it from rain, and the dog shelters under it too. Stormseal is totally weatherproof, it’s lasting well, and the dog loves it!’