A trusted provider of malls, a genuine supporter of educational facilities, and a reliable booster of automotive plants, Royal Roofing Co. Inc. of Orion, Mich., clearly understands the importance of properly installing commercial roof systems.

A trusted provider of malls, a genuine supporter of educational facilities, and a reliable booster of automotive plants, Royal Roofing Co. Inc. of Orion, Mich., clearly understands the importance of properly installing commercial roof systems.

Royal Roofing, named the 2008 Commercial Contractor of the Year by Roofing Contractor, has been providing customers with more than a wealth of roofing experience. The Michigan-based contractor has been earning its clients’ trust since 1951 based on its quality of work, breadth of expertise and willingness to tackle any job - no matter how tough.

Royal Roofing is a company that can put anywhere from three to 50 skilled crewmembers on a job. “You’ll enjoy the same fast, thorough service whether it’s a new 100,000-square-foot roof, or a minor repair on a smaller building,” the company’s Web site states. “With us every job is important.”

Roofing Contractor caught up with Royal Roofing President Dan Davis Sr. and Vice President Dan Davis Jr. and learned the company has expanded operations to Illinois, Florida and North Carolina in 2008 with expectations of improving on the $47 million in sales the company did last year.

Royal History

Royal Roofing went up for sale in 1982. At the time of purchase, Royal Roofing was doing less then $1 million in revenue. But with “hard work and valuable employees,” Dan Davis Sr. grew the company to $25 million by 2003. With increased demand from general contractors and the automotive industry, he realized the need for a major expansion.

In 2004, the company purchased C. Davis Roofing Co. C. Davis was a $17 million company with a trained workforce of 70 roofers and sheet metal workers, as well as quality supervision and estimators.

“The merger of these two companies pushed Royal’s sales to a record $32 million in 2004,” said Dan Sr. “As the new century begins Royal Roofing is positioned to accept any challenge the ever-changing business environment might have in store.”

Dan Sr., the company’s president and chief operating officer, has worked tirelessly to get to where he is today after acquiring Royal Roofing 26 years ago.

“I’ve had a passion for roofing since I was 15 years old,” Dan Sr. said. “Just getting things done. The competitiveness of the business drives me. Trust and hard work go hand-in-hand.”

“My father has progressed on the mentality of hard work and honesty,” Dan Davis Jr. noted. “It also helped that he was virtually born on a roof, having grown up as the son of a roofing contractor.”

According to Dan Jr., his father would never take credit for his success; rather he would pass the credit to the employees who helped along the way. “He also believed that givers get, which is why he has gotten so much,” he said. “He has instilled several key values into the company, one of which is that there is no job too tough or out of our league, so to speak.”

The Royal Roofing staff discusses a recent project at the company headquarters in Orion, Mich. Pictured are (from left) Vice President Dan Davis Jr., President Dan Davis Sr., Senior Estimator Jason Bowyer, and Marketing Director Mike LeVans. (Photos by Bobby Alcott, www.bobbyalcott.com.)

A Variety of Roof Systems

Royal Roofing Company is a commercial roofing firm that is not limited in its offerings of roofing products and services. “We consider ourselves subject matter experts in almost every available commercial roofing system and system manufacturer on the market,” Dan Jr. said. “After over 25-plus years of existence, we have had experience with almost all of them.”

Royal Roofing offers up to 25 major systems from a long list of manufacturers, including single-ply, built-up, modified bitumen, sloped, slate, tile, shingles, green and various metal roof systems.

“As might be expected, our core business is the installation of roofing systems on new or existing facilities,” Dan Jr. said. “This is true, but it’s only the beginning of our job portfolio.”

Royal Roofing’s experience and involvement in the industry has helped build and maintain partnerships with numerous industry-leading manufacturers. “Our capabilities and expertise in a wide range of roofing systems are why so many of our clients trust us to be their single-source roofing contractor for all their roofing needs,” Dan Jr. said.

“Our goal is for all clients we work with to have peace of mind that all of their projects will be completed with the quality, expertise and service they demand, while saving them the time, money and hassle of engaging numerous contractors.”

Superintendent David Popko (background) hauls material to Safety Director Roger Lee at the Royal Roofing headquarters.

Recent Projects

Royal Roofing has been involved in a bevy of recent roofing jobs from museums to automotive plants. Here are some of those projects and the facts behind them:

  • Toledo Museum (Toledo, Ohio): On this 31,900-square-foot project, the company tore off the existing built-up roof and replaced it with a Johns Manville four-ply/gravel system. Extensive sheet metal work included 2,300 square feet of 16-ounce copper wall panels, 750 linear feet of 16-ounce copper trim metal perimeter edge, and 290 linear feet of 16-ounce gutters. The biggest challenge was protecting the interior contents of the museum.
  • Ford Cleveland Engine Plant (Cleveland): The company tore off 220,500 square feet of exiting BUR and replaced it with Koppers four-ply pitch/gravel. Challenges included hauling debris 2,500 feet to the dump and completing the work on a tight schedule before the harsh Cleveland winter weather set in.
  • Ford EEB Building (Cleveland): On this 23,000-square-foot job, Royal Roofing tore up the existing BUR and installed a Siplast 20/30 Cold Process Roof System. They also tore off 20,000--square-feet of 80-year-old concrete tile and replaced the roof deck on open framing to install a Berridge 24-gauge colonial-red standing seam roof system. Upon removing the tile, the building’s steel frame and interior were completely exposed.
  • Motor City Casino (Detroit): This new construction project involved four roof areas - the hotel, casino, the old Continental Baking building and the parking deck - that consisted of GAF PVC and Sip-Last modified roof systems. Intricate paver systems were installed on two of the roof areas. Multiple design solutions were needed to adapt to changes in construction and roof design modifications.

Mechanic Bill McBrayer welds a trash hauler inside the warehouse of the Royal Roofing headquarters.

A Full-Service Company

Royal Roofing is a full-service commercial roofing company committed to being with the customer for the life of their roof.

“What might not be a known aspect of Royal is that we employ one of the largest service and repair departments in the state,” Dan Jr. said. “Because Royal is certified to install almost all roofing systems available, we are also authorized and capable to service them; from rubber to standing seam metal, no matter the manufacturer.”

“Furthermore, we’ve recently launched a new service to our list of many roof-related functions; which is the RoofGard - Preventative Maintenance program,” he said. “Preventative maintenance is an arena that we’ve participated in for years with our current customers, but it wasn’t until 2008 that we brought a commercial program to market.”

In addition, the RoofGard program is a comprehensive preventative maintenance program designed to ensure that your warranty obligations are met and to extend the life of any roofing system.

The company provides “everything a building owner or property manager would need and should expect over the life of their roof from a professional commercial roofing contractor,” Dan Jr. said.

Job Safety and New Hires

Before new employees go up on a roof, they must go through safety orientation with Safety Director Roger Lee, who guides employee through the following steps to educate them about safety procedures:

  • View the company training video: “Fall Protection: It’s About Time!”
  • Take a 20-question quiz on fall protection (offered in both English and Spanish).
  • Upon completion of the test, employees receive a “Safety Training Certification Form,” which will go in their file.
  • New hires sign an apprenticeship agreement; once they have served the required probationary apprenticeship, they will start attending apprenticeship school.
  • New hires are instructed on how to properly put on a safety harness and use it in the field.
  • The Royal Roofing Co Inc. Safety Guidelines are reviewed with all new hires and each employee receives a copy of them.

Yard foreman Joe Trombley prepares a Royal Roofing truck with supplies at the company’s 7-acre site in Orion, Mich.

Royal Green

To date, Royal Roofing has completed two Green Roof projects and the company is actively bidding others.

“This is an initiative that we are jumping into with both feet,” Dan Jr. said. “Currently, we are investigating the possibility of becoming LEED approved, having staff take the appropriate test to become certified, and in addition become active members of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), both locally and nationally.”

Initiatives such as green roofing and solar technology are ways in which to generate energy and conserve natural resources, Dan Jr. said. “From Royal Roofing’s standpoint, these initiatives are a very important undertaking in our company,” he said. “Furthermore, we are working to become subject matter experts and want to position ourselves as leading installers for these technologies. If there’s a way to contribute to the future of our planet by way of doing something that we’ve done so well for so many years. It’s a no-brainer.”

Expanding South

Royal Roofing has experienced growth in Michigan; now the company is expanding into other states like Florida and North Carolina. “Royal Roofing Company has been doing more and more work outside the state of Michigan,” Dan Jr. said. “That’s not to say our level of business has decreased within our home state or that we’re turning our focus elsewhere; rather I believe our success and longevity in Michigan is opening new opportunities in other locations.”

After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in construction management, Dan Jr. had the opportunity to work for Gates Incorporated as a project manager in Southwest Florida. In this position he not only was able to gain valuable experience and learn the construction business from a general contractor’s perspective, but he was able to establish invaluable relationships within the Florida market.

“Over the last several years there has been discussion surrounding Royal Roofing Company further expanding outside of Michigan and the Midwest into the southern market; but timing was never quite right, until now,” Dan Jr. said.

Today, Royal Roofing finds itself in Fort Myers, Fla., where Dan Jr. is running Royal Roofing South. “We acquired office and warehouse space and have begun our marketing phase for the southern division of Royal Roofing,” he said. “Our plan is to perform most estimating and accounting activities through the corporate office in Michigan as we become a fully-operational branch in Fort Myers.”

Dan Jr. said the company would move some of its “key players” to Florida over time, noting the southern team is currently working on a 140,000-square-foot facility in Jacksonville, Fla., installing a modified roofing system. “We are progressing satisfactorily,” he said.

Royal Roofing also acquired Davco Roofing & Sheet Metal, a commercial company in Charlotte, N.C., for its “great potential for growth.”

“Our plan is to further expand the company and take advantage of the economic growth occurring in Charlotte and its surrounding areas,” Dan Jr. said. “We also plan to relocate some of our employees from Royal Roofing in Michigan to assist in the growth of Davco. Having multiple branches in various parts of the country has already opened up new doors for the Royal Roofing family. As long as we have the right people in place, we are confident that the growth possibilities are endless.”

For more information about Royal Roofing Co. Inc., call 800-837-8056 or visit www.royal-roofing.com.