Kent Tolley is the current president of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and vice president of Quality Tile Roofing in Boise, Idaho. He analyzed the challenges contractors are currently facing and detailed the association’s efforts to help them in a session titled “NRCA Update: Issues and Opportunities.”
Tolley cited three primary drivers of change at work today: government regulation, building codes and standards, and the green building movement. He urged roofing contractors to join industry associations at the local, regional and national level to help make their voices heard on these issues. “You are your own best advocate,” he said. “We are facing some challenging times, and if we work together we can solve some of these problems.”
“We’re being over-regulated,” he said, pointing to fall protection regulations, crane and derrick rules, and restrictions on the handling of lead paint as a few examples. He pointed to a “regulation avalanche” that includes an IRS and Department of Labor crackdown on the use of independent contractors that should give contractors pause. “If you have someone who works for you and you give them a 1099, OSHA and the IRS can look at that person as an employee, depending on how you handle it,” he said.
He also informed contractors that the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) published its final rule requiring that all employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) must post a notice in the workplace informing employees of their rights. Tolley noted that the document that describes the requirements for putting up the poster is 196 pages long. “The NRLB is generally making it easier for unions to organize,” said Tolley. “NRCA strongly opposed this regulation and filed comments with the board outlining the reasons for opposition.”
One positive development Tolley pointed to on the legislative front is the Roofing Efficiency Jobs Act of 2011, introduced by Congressman Tim Reed of New York. If passed, the bill would drop the depreciation period for commercial roofs to 20 years instead of the current 30 years. “This legislation corrects an inequity in the tax code by aligning the depreciation period closer to the life span of a commercial roof,” Tolley said. “Hopefully it will help building owners to pull the trigger and re-roof.”
Tolley sees continued interest in the role of roofing in the green building movement, but he warned that codes and standards, including the International Green Construction Code, could have huge implications for roofing contractors. For example, it mandates the use of recycled/recyclable materials and has requirements for using materials harvested within 500 miles of the job. It also requires a building be brought up to code when there is a change of ownership or occupancy. “This won’t stimulate a lot of work given the current real estate market,” he said.
He concluded his presentation by urging contractors to attend the International Roofing Expo and 125th NRCA convention Feb. 22-24, 2012 in Orlando, Fla.