You have been reading here and elsewhere about Title 24. Changes to California's Title 24 recently became effective that require, among other things, significant enhancements to the reflectivity of roof coverings on many building and retrofit projects. I'm oversimplifying here, but the basic objective of the changes is to improve the overall energy efficiency of building systems and to improve air quality. Many other state and municipal building authorities will be watching as they prepare to make changes to codes that could affect your life in the near future. Title 24 has been something of a bellwether in the past, and recent changes may affect building codes all across the land.
The changes in California are having an immediate impact on contractors and building owners alike. For a contractor's perspective, we spoke with Christian Madsen of Madsen Roofing, Sacramento, Calif. He has already noticed a shift toward single-ply and reinforced coatings. At the same time, there seems to be a move away from built-up roofing systems. As for the building owners, Madsen says, "There is a lack of knowledge out there." Roofing contractors are spending a good deal of time educating building owners-and even building officials in some jurisdictions.
In Madsen's opinion, the rules as written in Title 24 are incomplete in many situations, leaving them open to "interpretations" that may vary. Not unlike the case with many new building standards, the lack of robust oversight and inspections can mean trouble for some contractors. It may begin to separate the bids of legitimate contractors seeking to perform at an appropriate level from those of contractors willing to fudge on the standards.
Madsen attributes the lack of clarity in the new Title 24 code to insufficient input from roofing contractors. The same thing happened in 2001 when sweeping changes to the building code were enacted by the City of Chicago. However, in Chicago roofing contractors were able to engage in the process after the changes were made and negotiate a more workable scenario to phase in changes that will not take full effect until 2008. In California, the first opportunity to make changes to Title 24 will not roll around again until 2008.
Herein lies the real "heads up" roofing contractors outside of California can take from Title 24. Engage your state or local building officials now and find out what plans they have for introducing changes to your existing roofing code. If you engage in the process now, you have a chance of making it better. If you ignore it, you can hardly complain when code changes adversely impact your business. Full details on the changes to California's Title 24 are available on the Internet at www.energy.ca.gov/title24 .
Helping to Rebuild the GulfIt was a genuine delight to read the announcement that GAF has loaned its CEO, Bill Collins, to Habitat for Humanity International for six months. Collins is assuming a key leadership role in Habitat's Operation Home Delivery program to aid in the rebuilding of the areas affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. These critical early weeks and months of planning will set the stage for a project that will take years to complete. Collins' passion and leadership skills are exactly what will be required to move this project from the news in the headlines to action on the front lines.
Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based organization that works in partnership with people who can otherwise not afford to own a home. Habitat homeowners pay for their homes by way of "sweat equity" and a no-interest mortgage. Roofing contractors who wish to join in Habitat's efforts to eliminate substandard housing while assisting with disaster recovery may wish to begin by contacting their local Habitat for Humanity affiliate. A listing of local affiliates and more information on Operation Home Delivery is available on the Internet at www.habitat.org.