RANZ Roofing Excellence Winner 2023

Shaun Harris started his roofing career at 17, straight out of school, with Calder Stewart Roofing. He quickly learnt the trade of roofing and was soon a foreman running his own jobs and supervising labour. Even at that young age, he showed maturity beyond his years with his positive ‘can-do’ attitude, his willingness to do the best for his customers, and his personal motivation to individually improve himself, remembers Keith Ivey, Managing Director at CS Roofing Southland. “Shaun is a very motivated person who wants to be the best he can be, not only for himself but also for his family. I cannot speak highly enough of the attributes he brings to this company,” says Ivey. “In my long experience in the roofing industry [43 years], he would be the most complete package I have come across in terms of his abilities to install roofs, train installers, liaise with clients, supervise and manage projects, and maintain high standards of health and safety at all times – all in a courteous manner with dealing with everyone involved.”

It’s clear that during his 20 years at CS Roofing Southland, Shaun has become an invaluable asset to the company, not only as an excellent practitioner of roofing but also as a mentor and role model to the younger employees. It’s these ‘additional’ qualities, over and above being a damn good roofer, which made him a standout choice for this year’s Roofing Excellence Award. His commitment to the team and the company was further reinforced in April this year when he became a 25% shareholder in CS Roofing Southland Ltd and a Director of the company. Shaun’s career, rising through the ranks, is a perfect example to show young trainee roofers the pathway that can be achieved by hard work, getting qualified, and being personally motivated – starting roofing at the age of 17 to now being a director and a shareholder of a roofing company at the age of 38. “Over time, Shaun will increase his shareholding to the point that he will own the company,” says Keith Ivey. “His wife Kirsty, who runs her own beauty business, is currently working two days a week at CS Roofing Southland, learning the admin side of the business under the tutelage of our Business Manager Vicki Templeton. As their shareholding in the business increases, Kirsty will increase her involvement,” says Ivey.

“Their oldest son, 14-year-old Dekan, works in the workshop after school and in the school holidays. When he is old enough, Dekan says he wants to learn the roofing trade from his father. So this becomes the future of the next generation of roofers; the complete and perfect pathway of roofing that Shaun has worked for and achieved, and what RANZ has worked for as well.”


RANZ Judge’s Comments
“This award is for ‘roofing excellence’, not just excellence in roofing. It’s a given that the recipient is very good at their trade, so we, as judges, were looking for all the other stuff that goes with the craft… like mentoring, work ethic, upskilling, enthusiasm, etc. It’s the big picture. “For me, one of Shaun’s big wins is that he doesn’t have tunnel vision on the future of roofing or products. He had a world view. Most of our roofers can’t see past corrugated iron. Yes, it’s quintessentially New Zealand, but that’s it. Our craft is vastly bigger than that.

The other aspect about Shaun is that he has continually moved forward, taking on new and harder roles – always improving, both personally and professionally,”

RANZ Vice-President, Paul Stanley-Boden


Ten minutes with Shaun

We caught up with Shaun shortly after the awards and asked him a few questions about himself, the roofing industry, and any advice he had for young roofers. Here’s what he had to say…

What motivates you?
I love doing the job I do, to be fair. I’ve been roofing pretty much since I left school at 17. It’s the only job I’ve had, and I’ve never not enjoyed coming to work. I always strive to do a good job, so that motivates me.

Why did you pick roofing as a career?
It was luck, to be honest. I was working part-time in a supermarket as a leading hand, but I wanted to get a trade behind me. I wasn’t particularly looking at roofing, but I saw this advert in the Saturday morning paper for a roofing job at Calder Stewart. I thought, I wouldn’t mind giving that a go, so I took my CV into Keith [Ivey] and had an interview. I liked what Keith had to offer – but to be fair, I didn’t have a lot to offer [him]. I’d
never held a hammer in my life, but Keith said, we can train you, and it went from there. I grew a passion for it and liked the challenge of working things out for myself.

You’ve worked your way up from being on the tools to becoming a Company Director. Clearly, you’ve learnt a lot in your 20 years of roofing. What’s left to learn?
Probably business skills and business management. I have a good grasp on the trade, but my next step would be to get experience running the day-to-day side of the business, which I’m getting stuck into right now.

What makes a good roofer?
You’ve got to have passion for the job. If you haven’t got passion for the job you do, then you’re not going to produce the best work. You also need good attention to detail.

What’s the best roof you’ve worked on?
That would have to be the new Murihiku Marae project in Invercargill that we’ve just finished, using the Dimond Tricore roofing system. The roof is shaped to replicate a whale’s tail. It was the first Tricore job we’d done, so one of the challenges was learning the new system – how it works around penetrations and skylights, which had never been done before. So we had to work with Dimond’s technical team on those details.

Health-and-safety comes across as a big priority for you. How do you ensure you keep your teams as safe as possible?
We always assess a site and have everything in place before our team steps foot on a job – whether we need safety catch-nets, a fully decked scaffold, or just full edge protection. On the bigger jobs, we’ll do a complete site-specific safety plan. With the smaller jobs, we’ll do a JSA [Job Safety Analysis], which I’m about to go out and do now. We’ll then run through the job with the team to think about the task at hand, the possible hazards, and what’s put in place to help with those hazards. To be fair, we train our guys not to take risks.

Talking about training, a repeated message from this year’s conference is that roofing will need to train its way out of the current skills shortage. How do you manage your day-to-day, on-site training?
Generally, we run teams of three – a qualified guy, an intermediate guy, who’s maybe halfway through their apprenticeship, and a trainee. So there are three tiers of experience, with the qualified roofer in charge, but with everyone learning from each other. We also have a module in the workshop, but, to be fair, we don’t get a hell of a lot of time on it – just simple stuff, like barge ends, skylights and ridging junctions. A lot of the skills and techniques are site trained because it’s not always the bog-standard junctions you come across on site.

What’s the single piece of advice you would give a young roofer?
Stick at it. Roofing’s a great trade, with plenty of passionate people putting their hands up, wanting to help you. You’ve just got to be willing to learn and be ready to push through the hard times. Down here, winter is really tough on our guys because you can get three months of severe weather – and that can bring down morale. But you’ve got to stick with it because when the weather’s good, it’s bloody good.

Thanks, Shaun. Congratulations once again on being awarded the 2023 RANZ Roofing Excellence Award.


Find out more about a career in roofing here. Check out details on all the RANZ Award 2023 winners here