Are we about to encounter some new labor challenges in the face of what many describe as a “jobless recovery”? The evidence is gathering that it may well happen. And the roof-contracting industry may be among the first affected.
Are we about to encounter some new labor
challenges in the face of what many describe as a “jobless recovery”? The
evidence is gathering that it may well happen. And the roof-contracting
industry may be among the first affected.
To begin with, if you operate commercial motor vehicles in your roofing
business, public safety officials are poised to increase focus on your
operating authority and your drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration (FMCSA) is set to adopt the Comprehensive Safety Analysis
program (CSA 2010). This program will replace the measuring system that focused
primarily on the carrier and will place a good deal of emphasis on individual
The purpose of CSA 2010 is to improve the safety of commercial motor carriers
and their drivers for the benefit of everyone on the road. The method involves
a scoring system that will allow public safety officials to identify and target
poor performing carriers and drivers. To achieve the safety results sought from
the program, carriers will have to take better care of their equipment and do a
constantly improving job of training their drivers.
Some carriers and some drivers will not survive. The pool may shrink, and the
driver of the future is going to be better trained and should deliver superior
safety performance. The overall cost for drivers is bound to go up and their
availability may go down, at least for the relatively near term. Add to this
the fact that many trucking companies have scaled their operations back, and as
the economy improves, they will need more drivers. Keep an eye on your
commercial motor vehicle drivers with good driving records since their stock
may be rising very soon.
Not concerned because all of your deliveries and trash hauling are outsourced
to vendors? Their hassles are going to transfer right into your business if you
do not line up with suppliers who are prepared to meet the new demands of the
Speaking of your workers who move materials to the job for you, how about those
of you who operate boom trucks and cranes? The rules are changing, and the
demand for better training of operators is heading up. The same will apply for
equipment maintenance and inspections.
Think drivers and boom operators will be the only challenges emerging in the
business? Many of you have already shared stories of difficulties working with
fewer troops. Roofing workers today must be able to handle a wider variety of
system installations than ever before. Add to that the emergence of garden
roofing, solar, and even wind-powered apparatus. And how about your estimators?
For many roofing contractors, the learning curve for geo-estimating has already
been overcome. I think these technologies are real and are moving into the
mainstream of our business. Next up is the move to Building Integrated Modeling
Do not get me wrong. I believe in better maintained equipment. I believe in
operators trained so well they never have a crash or incidence of damage. I
realize advanced building technologies save time, money, and materials. But I
also believe in planning and I believe the game is changing on many levels -
and changing quickly. You simply cannot take these emerging trends for granted.
And remember that includes not only requirements for your equipment and workers
but those being faced by your trading partners as well.