John Patterson, Director and Co-Founder of Opus Waterproofing Solutions, has worked in the roofing industry for all of his working life, having started off his career as a mastic asphalt apprentice some 35 years ago whilst working for BriggsAmasco.

With most of his family with a background in the roofing sector, he has always had a close affinity with the industry and mastic asphalt in particular. Following his four year mastic asphalt apprenticeship, he was seconded over to Permanite Asphalt/IKO as Technical Sales Manager, after which he moved to Langley Waterproofing Solutions as National Sales Manager, playing a key role in setting up a mastic asphalt division. He was Commercial Director at Infallible Asphalt as it was known at the time before setting up roofing contracting firm Opus Waterproofing Solutions in Sevenoaks, Kent with co-Founder Scott Brummitt in 2012.

Despite the company’s young age, Opus Waterproofing Solutions has grown from strength to strength since it was established, with an overall workforce of around 60 people. Contracts are completed nationwide, with a strong focus on projects throughout London, the Home Counties and across the South and South East of England. The company recently celebrated an award win at the 2018 UK Roofing Awards hosted by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC).

Opus Waterproofing Solutions specialises in all waterproofing and surfacing, with a strong emphasis on the application of mastic asphalt systems. Opus joined the Mastic Asphalt Council (MAC) around three years ago and immediately saw the benefits of being a MAC member. John previously worked alongside MAC Director Malcolm Grinstead whilst at BriggsAmasco and Permanite Asphalt/IKO – in fact Malcolm was one of John’s bosses – so the working partnership extends across many years.

“The Mastic Asphalt Council is run by those who are time-served in the industry and the technical back-up support is second to none. As a trade body that has been around for many years, the council is trusted industry-wide and can offer support on any given project. From our experience, this certainly helps us win business for mastic asphalt projects,” John said.

“The roofing sector is changing and for us as a business, mastic asphalt roofing is growing. It’s applied by trades people who have perfected their craft and no other roofing system is applied by such skilled operatives. Mastic asphalt can be applied to almost any roofing surface – including flat roofs, green roofs, balconies and access walkways – and its life expectancy is unparalleled. Given my background as a mastic asphalt apprentice, I can’t help but push the benefits of mastic asphalt systems as there as so many. It’s durable, seamless and offers the optimum AA fire rating.

“For the mastic asphalt sector to grow even further, it’s up to roofing contractors like ourselves to continue to put forward mastic asphalt roofing as a trusted roofing system and to push its many benefits. It can be difficult to get young people into the roofing industry, but it’s important that we continue to do that and to attract youngsters to mastic asphalt apprenticeships. That’s how I started off in the industry and it can be a very  rewarding, lifelong profession,” John continued.

John’s working day generally starts at 7 – 7.30am in the Sevenoaks office. His first task is to plan the day and generally involves planning site visits and pricing work. Although John heads up Opus Waterproofing Systems, he’s still very heavily involved in the commercial side of the business and carries out site visits and prepares quotes himself.

Throughout the course of the day, he’s likely to carry out a number of different site visits with clients. Taking one particular day as an example, he carried out site visits at three schools, of which the projects ranged considerably in value. At these visits John discusses a range of topics directly with the client, such as technical issues, installation of the chosen roofing system, the programme timing and compliance with Health and Safety regulations.

Although John is generally with clients and on projects for the majority of the day, there’s an influx of mobile telephone calls throughout the day and John estimates that he spends at least 30% of his working day on the phone.

Once site visits are completed, John returns to the office about 4pm and often has meetings with Opus Contracts Managers towards the end of the day to review the jobs they are working on. Before the day is out, John plans the following day’s work and reviews what tenders have to be submitted and what site visits need to be carried out the next day. He finally calls it a day at about 6pm and heads off home before the process starts again the following day.

“We’ve carried out some fantastic roofing jobs with mastic asphalt and it is very highly regarded as a quality waterproofing system. Since I first started in the industry, there was been tremendous evolution of mastic asphalt. Today’s modern systems are now manufactured using advanced polymer modified formulations to ensure all the performance characteristics of traditional asphalt systems, with the added benefits of increased flexibility, enhanced handling and sustainability. We’ve carried out all different types of roofing jobs using mastic asphalt, such as the prestigious Harrow School in London, and it offers superb durability and versatility. Long may that continue,” John concluded.

This article featured in the September issue of Roofing Today magazine. To read it in full please visit: