Roofer National Occupational Analysis (NOA)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this National Occupational Analysis (NOA) as the national standard for the occupation of Roofer.

Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Couvreur/couvreuse

NOC: 7291

Designation Year: 1981

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Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Roofer

Use this self-assessment tool (PDF, 874 KB) to rate your own understanding and experience with the tasks of the trade that are on the Red Seal examination.

General Information


“Roofer” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA). This analysis covers tasks performed by roofers whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:




























Roofers install, repair and replace flat and sloped roofs. They work with membrane roofing systems that consist of a variety of materials with different application methods. They also install, replace and repair shingles, slate, shakes, roofing tiles, sheet metal and other preformed sheeting on sloped roofs.

Before the work begins, roofers may inspect existing roof systems and determine the extent and procedure for repair of the substrate or removal and replacement of roofing materials. Some roofers may be involved in the estimating of material and installation costs.

As part of the job preparation, roofers may set up scaffolding to provide safe access to the work area and may install fall protection systems. They also weatherproof, waterproof and damp-proof roofing surfaces, foundation walls, floor slabs and bridge decks. They install roofing accessories such as sheet metal flashings, roof vent flashings, anchor bolt flashings, drain inserts and clamps.

Roofers may be employed by roofing companies, general contractors or they may be self-employed. They may work on all types of roofs or may specialize in the flat or low sloped roofs of commercial and industrial buildings or on the steep sloped roofs found in most residential buildings.

Key attributes for people in this trade are mechanical aptitude, manual dexterity and the ability to work as a team. Roofers work primarily outdoors and work may be seasonal. The work environment is exposed and may vary from extreme cold to extreme heat. Roofing is physically demanding work and requires considerable effort in lifting, climbing, bending, kneeling and balancing on high, sloped and sometimes slippery surfaces.

Roofers work in conjunction with other tradespeople in the construction trades. With additional training, roofers may transfer their skills to related occupations such as carpenter or sheet metal worker. With experience, they may advance to positions such as supervisors, contractors or inspectors.

Occupational Observations

There are increased requirements on the use of fall arrest and restraint equipment to ensure worker safety. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators and hand and eye protection is becoming more important. Employees are often required to participate in the development and implementation of safety procedures and company policies; and to attend safety training.

Due to the concern over fires, more emphasis is being placed on training on the use of open flame. Roofers are increasingly using mechanically fastened and peel-and-stick membranes. There is an increase in concern about chemical fumes entering buildings. This has resulted in more communication with owners, contractors and tenants.

Refuse material is often required to be separated and recycled especially with regard to wood, metals and other materials generated by roofer trade projects.

Roofers are using more automated equipment to move materials and install roofing systems.

A roofers’ job is becoming much more complex with the introduction of new roof membranes and more sophisticated roof designs. As a result, there is a need for continuous training and upgrading of skills to ensure proper installation.

Increasing numbers of roof projections such as cell towers and photo-voltaics mean that roofers spend more time detailing and accommodating these features.

There is also an urban trend towards producing more decorative roofs, ensuring that architectural design and structure, as well as membranes, panels and siding match.

The demand for vegetative and sustainable roofing is on the rise in urban centres to replenish lost natural resources such as water and plants and reduce the carbon footprint. There is greater uptake of “Green Construction” practices with regard to rooftop reflectivity and rooftop landscaping. Roofer training increasingly aims to instill working knowledge of scientific and technological concepts associated with energy-conservation and environmentally responsible trade practices.

Organizations such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) are promoting green building alternatives.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

Tools are available online or for order.

The essential skills profile for the roofer trade indicates that the most important essential skills are document use, oral communication and problem solving.

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills.

Roofers read instructions on work orders as well as application and installation instructions for roofing products and materials. They read information sheets to learn about new products and materials. They also need to refer to blueprints and specifications to complete roofing jobs.

Roofers reference documents such as work orders, plans and specifications and site specific safety plans that are required for construction, alteration and repairs. They identify the location and orientation of parts in assembly drawings of equipment. Roofers read Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) documentation to obtain and follow safe handling and application procedures.

Roofers may write in logbooks and on contract forms and work orders to describe the work that needs to be done. They may fill out maintenance and inspection reports. They are required to complete safety documents according to jurisdictional regulations.

Roofers measure the length, width and height of roof surfaces so they can order the correct amount of materials to complete a roofing job. They also use drawings to calculate material requirements. Roofers use numeracy skills to determine the layout of shingles. They may use thermometers to measure the temperature of roofing materials and working environments to ensure conditions are appropriate for application of the materials.

Roofers communicate with colleagues, other trade workers, manufacturers and supervisors to discuss and review job and safety requirements. They speak to customers to explain procedures used for application and disposal of roofing material. They may also use specialized communication such as hand signals to communicate with crane or hoist operators when moving material and equipment.

Roofers use problem solving skills to address oversights and discrepancies on the job site. They assess roof conditions and consult with supervisors and clients to adjust the scope of a roofing job. They must anticipate changes in weather to prevent damage to an existing roofing structure and to roofing material. Roofers use decision making skills to decide the start and end of work considering factors such as weather and the availability of supplies and labour. They use critical thinking skills to judge the quality of finished roofing jobs. They also test to make sure roofing materials are sealed and have adhered properly.

Most roofers work collaboratively on teams to complete roofing projects. They discuss safety, work processes, installation improvements and quality control.

Roofers may use email to communicate with others in the industry. They may also use the internet to look up product and safety information.

Roofers are continuously learning in order to keep abreast of new roofing products, application procedures and safety precautions. They take WHMIS and provincial construction safety courses, as well as other safety-related courses to stay current. Manufacturers sometimes provide training on their products. Roofers may also learn from manuals and newsletters.


The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special acknowledgement is extended by HRSDC and the CCDA to the following representatives from the trade.

  • Ron Boschetti - Saskatchewan
  • Gary Bye - Alberta
  • Gil Edwards - British Columbia
  • Bryce Jordan - Ontario
  • Darren McCallum - Manitoba
  • Gerald Phillippo - Nova Scotia
  • Roger Sové - British Columbia
  • Marek Szmaj - Alberta

This analysis was prepared by the Labour Market Integration Directorate of HRSDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the National Occupational Analysis (NOA) development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division. The host jurisdiction of Saskatchewan also participated in the development of this NOA.

Comments or questions about NOAs may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9