The Roofing Contractor team recently returned from this year’s International Roofing Expo (IRE) in Las Vegas. One thing we all took away from this year’s event was the clear change in the outlook of exhibitors and attendees from the past several years. Not only were there significantly more people in attendance at the trade show and educational events, but their mood was decidedly upbeat. Do not get me wrong. Nobody I spoke with was singing “Happy Days Are Here Again,” as some continue to struggle in their business. But the optimism in the air was real, as if a cloud was being lifted.
There are a number of other things popping that have made this first quarter one of the most intriguing in recent memory. Not subtle things - game changers.
A hot topic around the roofing industry continues to be changes in the warranties offered on asphalt shingles. The buzz was precipitated by GAF’s announcement that their entire line of mid-to-upper range of asphalt shingle products would come with a limited lifetime warranty effective at the first of this year.
My initial thinking was moving a broad group of products to a limited lifetime warranty would effectively take the warranty discussion off the table. This leaves room for contractors to focus on other key aspects of the value proposition, such as total system components, ventilation, colors, styles, and the quality of the contractor providing the installation. This is a game changer indeed.
We are going to cover a number of other new products, systems, and initiatives next month in the “Editor’s Choice” feature, so be sure to secure your copy of the April issue.
Attending not only the IRE but several other roofing and construction industry events recently, I cannot help but take note of the speed at which technologies being built for and offered to roofing contractors are being ramped up. It seems that aerial roof measurement is close to hitting the proverbial “tipping point” as it is being embraced by a broad cross-section of contractors, large and small alike. There was so much interest in a seminar on social media marketing at the IRE attendees could scarcely find a seat. One of the most interesting (and for me educational) seminars there was the session on Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design Construction.
Everything emerging in the roofing industry is not about exciting new trends but some are going to present new challenges and opportunities. OSHA recently rescinded the slide-guard rule over the objections of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). This issue of Roofing Contractor features a guest column by Robert Apel giving you a concise rundown on the topic. Our safety editor, Chip Macdonald, weighs in with a rundown on the OSHA regulations and a summary of technological advances in fall protection over the last decade. You really need to read up on this, especially if you routinely work on steep roofs.
OSHA has changed and is expected to continue increasing enforcement and will take advantage of an improved (for OSHA) system of levying and collecting on fines. There should be no doubt that any trade in the construction industry working at height has a target painted on it these days. The NRCA has initiated court action to compel OSHA to replace the slide-guard option. We will keep you posted on that and other breaking news here and online at www.roofingcontractor.com.