Richard Nugent has never seen a regulatory environment this tough on business owners. Nugent, the chief executive officer of Nations Roof LLC, headquartered in Lithia Springs, Ga., and the current president of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), updated Best of Success attendees on industry trends and the association’s initiatives in a presentation titled “NRCA Update.” He outlined key problem areas for contractors to watch and pointed to a sea of regulations as the biggest concern facing contractors today.
Nugent noted that the average age of America’s skilled workforce is rising, and that will have an impact on the bottom line. “That will affect everyone’s workers’ comp rate in this room,” he said.
Another societal trend that can spell disaster is texting or talking on the phone while driving. “Distracted driving is gigantic,” he said. “You have to do something about it. If you can get on a plane and be out of touch for two or three hours, you can be out of touch in the car. You can’t allow it.”
He also urged attendees to be on the lookout for problems with lightweight structural concrete decks. “I’m not talking about lightweight insulating concrete, and I’m not talking about structural concrete; I’m talking about lightweight structural concrete,” he said. “It never dries out. The deck looks dry, feels dry, but it never really dries. If you have this type of deck, you have to understand why the roof failed. That’s your tipoff.”
Nugent detailed the NRCA’s efforts to prevent passage of federal regulations that pose undue burdens on the roofing industry and change existing regulations that threaten to make jobsites less safe. These include the recently passed guidelines on residential fall protection and the proposed rule on silica. “Silica is something that NRCA is trying to educate OSHA on,” he said, “OSHA is on track to put silica regulations in the code. If these regulations are put in place, I don’t know what you can do on a new construction job.”
Nugent cited the importance of NRCA and ROOFPAC in making sure roofing industry has a voice in Washington. “There is only one language government speaks, and it’s money,” he said. “We’re fighting the battle every day.”
He urged contractors to participate in politics at the local level. “There’s no reason we can’t be involved,” he said. “Go see your congressman. Go see your local politicians. Tell them how hard it is to be in business.”
“If we’re not involved, we don’t have a voice,” he concluded. “We want a seat at the table.”