During a time in which trade shows have been reporting declining attendance and less than stellar results for exhibitors, the 2010 International Roofing Expo (IRE) somewhat bucked the trend in that the trade-show attendance was basically flat from the prior year and seminar attendance was actually up. I am not surprised by either of these statistics as the roofing contractors and other industry professionals who were in attendance at this event were really “into it.” They came seeking new products and better ideas to help them run their roofing businesses.
Educational courses offered at the IRE were well attended because they addressed a number of contractors’ needs as well as timely industry issues. And, as usual when hanging around a few thousand other contractors, there was a lot of great information and insights passed around in the hallways between seminar sessions and other venues up and down Bourbon Street.
It is fascinating to me to hear not only the lectures that take place in the seminars of the IRE but the debates. Many presentations focus on issues that are what you would not consider controversial, but we heard some lively debate on how residential retrofit roofing contractors go about promoting their business, finding leads and presenting not just estimates but proposals. These are just words until you consider the perception of one as “giving a price” and the other as “proposing to provide specific products and services to solve a problem.”
The green revolution in commercial construction and roofing has created a growing number of concerns that generated some very intriguing discussions. The “black vs. white” roof debate rolls on. Unbridled change in low-slope roofing systems, such as adding higher levels of insulation than presently required, may produce unwanted results. New wind-uplift test standards were the subject of much discussion, as was reaching for new ways to measure claims for “green” and “sustainable,” especially in retrofit situations.
I will readily admit to not making the show-floor rounds as well as I would have liked, but there did not seem to be an overabundance of great new and innovative products rolled out this year. There is little doubt when times get tough the research and development dollar is one of the first cut. To be fair, there are some great new tools, systems, and products, and you can find the report on our favorites in our Editor’s Choice feature beginning on page 42.
P.S. For a brief video clip from the IRE show floor, visit our Video Spotlight at www.roofingcontractor.com. For the tech-savvy, you can view the video on your smart phone via this mobile tag. Just download the free app at gettag.mobi and point your phone’s camera at the image above.