2015 Editor's Choice: Roofing Contractor Highlights the Roofing Industry's Innovative New Products and Initiatives
A new year always brings out the best in industry manufacturers and professionals. They feel recharged, optimistic and ready to put their annual business strategies into play.
To demonstrate their reinvigorated spirit, most industry players showcase their latest and greatest news and products during the first quarter — at some of the biggest trade shows. Now’s that time of year when the Roofing Contractor editors compare notes and highlight the new products and services that could play an important role in the roofing industry going forward with our Editor’s Choice awards.
The nominees are selected from products released within the past year. The companies featured below, and many others industry wide, debuted worthy products, and we’re recognizing some of the most interesting, innovative and progressive ones out there. Here are our Editor’s Choice honorees for 2015.
Online Ordering Program
ABC Connect is an online program that integrates ABC Supply’s products and pricing with industry software so contractors can build estimates and place orders whenever it’s most convenient.
ABC Supply teamed up with two industry-renowned companies, AccuLynx and EagleView Technologies, which help contractors complete jobs quickly and accurately with their user-friendly software systems. The new pricing integration will be available to ABC Supply customers using AccuLynx or EagleView systems.
“Our customers expressed their desire to access ABC pricing and place orders during off hours or when they’re on a jobsite,” said Kathy Hendricks, executive director of customer connectivity for ABC Supply. “ABC Connect solves that concern by putting the information right at their fingertips no matter where they are, no matter the time of day.”
This is the first offering in an ongoing strategic initiative by ABC Supply. The company intends to implement new information technology services and tools that will connect ABC Supply to its customers. The company will continue to review other construction management software programs for additional opportunities to integrate product and pricing information.
Thermal Imaging System
One of the first fully integrated pocket-sized thermal cameras includes must-have features for building, energy-efficiency and maintenance professionals. The super-slim C2 finds hidden heat patterns that signal energy waste, structural defects, plumbing issues and more. The Lepton-powered C2 includes FLIR’s exclusive MSX real-time image enhancement software, high thermal sensitivity, a wide field of view and fully radiometric imagery for accurate temperature readings to clearly show where problems are and verify the completion of repairs.
App and eFiles
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has extended to its membership an app that allows free access to the association’s electronic publications. It’s chockfull of standards, papers and valuable information to keep members up to date.
Members can download the NRCA app to gain access to the following:
- The NRCA Roofing Manual: Membrane Roof Systems — 2015
- Repair Manual for Low-slope Membrane Roof Systems
- The NRCA Waterproofing Manual
- NRCA Safety Manual
- NRCA Pocket Guide to Safety (English and Spanish)
- NRCA Guidelines for Asphalt Shingle Roof Systems
- NRCA Guidelines for Condensation and Air Leakage Control
- A Roofing Contractor’s Guide to LEED
- LEED v4: Roofing-related Provisions
Additional NRCA publications will be added to the app and automatically updated as revisions are made, ensuring members always have the most current information. Visit the association’s bookstore to view all electronic publications now available free with membership.
Enhanced Technology for EPDM and TPO
At IRE, Firestone Building Products rolled out its Secure Bond™ Technology. Designed to be the next generation in fully adhered roof system application, this technology endeavors to have one of the strongest adhesion coverage across the entire roofing membrane. The manufacturer announced it will offer UltraPly™ TPO SA and RubberGard™ EPDM SA with this new technology.
“Both RubberGard EPDM SA and UltraPly TPO SA with [the] technology can be installed in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, giving contractors the benefit of being able to install a fully adhered system any time of year without letting the weather dictate their schedule,” said Joe Marzahl, product manager for Firestone Building Products.
In addition to extending the installation window, Secure Bond has a self-bonding membrane engineered to stick, eliminating the time needed to apply adhesives and wait for flash off.
The company also announced its RubberGard EPDM Solvent-Free Bonding Adhesive that allows contractors to complete more work in less time, assisting when projects come with manpower, logistics or regulations constraints. The adhesive is an LVOC application with near zero VOCs, and it’s non-hazardous and non-flammable. It doesn’t require mixing, and its wet lay application allows contractors to mate the RubberGard EPDM membrane as soon as the adhesive is applied. Its one-sided application allows for one of the best coverage rates of any EPDM bonding adhesive.
Advances in Membranes
Protective Film for Membranes
Carlisle SynTec Systems recently introduced a new advancement in TPO membrane. Its Sure-Weld TPO with APEEL Protective Film guards the surface of the company’s TPO membrane from scuffs and dirt accumulation during installation, eliminating the need to clean the roof once the project is completed. Durable and easy to remove, this product helps to save time and labor, improve aesthetics and long-term reflectivity and increase customer satisfaction. It’s ideal for re-roofing, re-cover and new construction projects.
Carlisle’s Sure-Weld TPO reinforced membrane is a premium, heat-weldable, single-ply thermoplastic polyolefin sheet designed for both new roof construction and re-roofing applications. Sure-Weld High Slope membrane is formulated with additional flame retardant for higher-slope fire code approvals. Sure-Weld EXTRA is 80 mils thick for significantly higher strength and weatherability.
All Sure-Weld TPO membranes include OctaGuard XT™, a state-of-the-art weathering package. The technology enables Sure-Weld TPO to withstand the extreme weatherability testing that’s intended to simulate exposure to severe climates.
Physical properties of the membrane are enhanced by a strong polyester fabric that is encapsulated between the TPO-based top and bottom plies. The combination of the fabric and TPO plies provides high breaking and tearing strength, as well as excellent puncture resistance. The relatively smooth surface of the membrane produces a total surface fusion weld that results in a consistent, watertight, monolithic roof assembly. The membrane is environmentally friendly and safe to install.
EPD for Single-Ply PVC Membranes
Duro-Last has published an environmental product declaration (EPD) for its 40-, 50- and 60-mil single-ply PVC roofing membranes. Certified by global public health organization NSF International, the EPD reports environmental impact data that assists building contractors, architects and designers in making more informed purchasing decisions.
The manufacturer contributed to the development of the roofing industry’s generic PVC membrane EPD, which was published in August 2014. This document was the result of collaboration among PVC roofing membrane manufacturers and the Chemical Films and Fabrics Association. The release of the product-specific EPD for Duro-Last’s singly-ply PVC roofing membranes represents the next important step in developing objective and transparent environmental data on its products.
EPDs are increasingly used across many industries to enable product manufacturers to bring transparent environmental data to customers. An EPD’s specifications are established by a product category rule, which is created by a committee of interested stakeholders and defines how to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) for a product group.
NSF International certified EPDs for Duro-Last’s PVC roofing membranes are available for download at NSF International’s website.
Property Drone Consortium
EagleView Technology Corp. is leading the formation of the Property Drone Consortium. Chaired by EagleView President and CEO Chris Barrow, the consortium represents a collaboration among insurance carriers, construction industry leaders and supporting enterprises that have agreed to work together. They primarily will promote research, development and the establishment of regulations for the use of unmanned aerial system technology across the insurance and construction industries.
As an independent, third-party technology provider and industry innovator in the capture of aerial imagery, the company has agreed to provide its research and development expertise and patented technologies to the consortium.
“With [more than] 20 years of developing aerial solutions that capture property information, EagleView believes it can utilize patented Pictometry image technologies to further the safe, efficient and scalable use of drone technology for property data collection,” Barrow said. “We believe this, coupled with the expertise of the charter members in property conditions, claims and underwriting disciplines, will enable the consortium to provide strong and stable information and education to drive regulatory change and development of the usage of drones for data collection throughout the insurance and construction industries. With numerous carriers and providers of key industry services already committed, this technology initiative will have far-reaching benefits for all involved.”
Rishi Daga, EagleView’s executive vice president of commercial sales, said the consortium can play an integral role in the future of drones in the industry.
“There are many vehicles that can be used to enable the capture of aerial imagery and data,” he explained. “As the regulatory landscape evolves, we believe this consortium will be critical to the process by ensuring that additional data and proven research results are presented in support of sound decision making, for both the insurance and construction industries.”
Women in Roofing
The Midwest Roofing Contractor Association (MRCA) launched the Women in Roofing (WinR) initiative at its 65th annual conference in Dallas. The launch of WinR includes a leadership board of leading professional women who will forward the goals of the new group for mentoring, networking and education.
Visualized by current women roofing professionals, the organization will focus on networking for women within the industry with an emphasis on mentoring for incoming young women, professionals and business owners. With an increasing number of women owned roofing companies and women in C-suite positions for roofing publications, technology, distribution and manufacturing companies, the time is right to create a support structure that will not only mentor but provide ongoing education for career success in the industry.
Lightning Alert System
The iStrike™ alerting service by HailWATCH delivers real-time lightning alerts directly to mobile phones via text message or email. Users can organize their coverage into three separate radiuses and customize when they’re notified about approaching lightning events. Users also have complete control of how often they are updated during active events and can set an all-clear message to let them know when lightning has completely cleared the area.
The company has created a stand-alone siren/strobe remote access system (RAS) that’s cellular and can be solar powered if required. The setup is quick and the system alert is the same as the company’s text alerting, so complete control is done via an online account.
Tie Down Engineering’s RoofZone division has introduced its new RZ Guardrail system. This product is both a portable and permanent fall safety guardrail system solution. It’s ideal for the protection of employees and visitors to the jobsite.
The beauty of the RZ Guardrail is its ease of installing and disassembling in the field. The company states that it’s one of the easiest and quickest systems to erect and dismantle without tools. It’s lightweight yet durable frames allow for easy transport to and from the jobsite. The guardrails come in three sizes of 6-, 8- and 10-foot lengths, and the rail height is 42 inches. Each guardrail comes with an instruction manual holder.
Tie Down Engineering received a first-place award for the guardrail system and base at this year’s IRE.
Common Problems, New Solutions
IKO recently added an asphalt shingle to its line-up called Dynasty. Director of Marketing Carol Perkins said just as the name reflects, this is one of the most ambitious and advanced shingles ever added to the company’s production roster.
“The innovative feature of this new shingle’s advanced design is the addition of the ArmourZone. It’s an enlarged nailing area that makes installation faster, easier and much more accurate,” she said. “The addition of a tear-resistant, reinforced woven band within the ArmourZone provides fastening strength over a greater surface area of the shingle, helping to resist pull-through.”
Two nailing lines, 1¼ inches apart, guide installers to Dynasty shingles’ wider nailing surface for correct nail placement. When nails are applied in this special area, their fastening power ensures the shingles will perform as they should against high wind and inclement weather.
Other features include IKO’s tough, Fastlock modified bitumen sealant. It’s formulated to be thick and aggressive to form a strong bond. Algae Block ceramic copper-coated granules provide built-in algae resistance, too.
Perkins said that homeowners will appreciate the deep shadow bands and dimensional profile of the shingles.
Progressive Pipe Flashing
Attendees at IRE were jazzed over the Ultimate Pipe Flashing product line and set record booth attendance for Lifetime Tool and Building Products, reports Roger Cline, founder of the business located in Winchester, Va.
“The booth attendance was inspiring,” Cline said. “More and more contractors stopped by and told their success stories of how using the Ultimate Pipe Flashing had helped them gain sales and allowed them to upsell their offering against lower-priced competition.”
The product was developed by Cline and his team in an effort to fill the void in long service-life flashings for roof-penetrating vent pipes. The team specified only quality materials, like 24-gauge Kynar-coated steel and high-purity compression-molded silicone, both known for excellent long-term resistance to UV, ozone and weathering. In addition, the novel design allows the flashing to accommodate most roof pitches from flat to very steep. The precision engineered seal geometry along with its proprietary compression collar ensures lifetime success. Additionally, the company offers a full line of black PVC sleeves for retrofitting cast iron and copper pipe.
Disposable Dumpster Bag
The simplicity of Waste Management’s Bagster® Dumpster in a Bag® is brilliant. The “bag” can hold up to 3,300 pounds of debris like a dumpster would, and it’s also conveniently sold at most major home-improvement retailers. A popular waste-removal solution for professional contractors, the Bagster offers a cost-effective, on-demand alternative for projects that don’t require a full-sized dumpster. The product can hold 3 cubic yards of waste and debris, and at a price well below dumpster rental in many areas.
Contractors can use the bag for as long as needed to complete a project. When the job is finished, collection can be scheduled and paid for online or via phone. A local WM team will collect the bag within three business days. Collection costs vary depending on service area but start as low as $95.
Concrete Roof Deck Panel
USG Corp. unveiled its latest roofing innovation, Securock® Brand Concrete Roof Deck Panel, at IRE. The product is a durable, structural panel that can be combined with other noncombustible materials to create a one- and two-hour fire-rated roof-ceiling assembly. This product introduces a new category within the company’s roofing portfolio.
Designed with great uplift ratings, and to carry gravity and lateral loads, Securock panels are mechanically fastened to cold-formed steel joists or framing members, and roof membranes or insulation attach directly over the panels, designed for fast and easy installation. The panel also meets the criteria of ASTM E136-04 for use in all types of noncombustible construction.
Hiring and Marketing
Hispanic Hiring Kit
A known industry advocate on immigrant workplace reform and rights, Ricardo Gonzalez of Bilingual America has partnered with the MRCA on a new program. The Hispanic Hiring Kit provides employers with tips and methods for recruiting the Latino workforce.
This kit includes several audio CDs where Gonzalez outlines how to attract Hispanic workers with a culturally relevant and professional message. Contents of the kit include:
- Spanish and English language posters
- Internal recruiting poster
- Ads for newspaper/magazine placement
- Tri-Fold brochures
- Letters to community leaders and clergy
- Social media training session
- Opportunity Axis PowerPoint slides
In addition, the kit also includes applications, interview questions, assessment for employees and leaders, guide to legal/illegal interview questions, overview on work visas, five online course licenses and around two dozen mini-courses.
Surefire Social’s national-to-local marketing depends upon its cloud-based Local Adaptive Marketing Platform, purpose-built to maximize ROI in delivering innovative, high-quality and cost-effective marketing under all packages and services. That’s the message this Virginia-based company wants to convey to roofing contractors throughout the country.
Its certified coaches and account managers depend upon the platform to choreograph enterprise-grade marketing strategies for national brands and independent businesses alike, at the national level through to each individual local dealer, affiliate, franchisee or contractor.
Three components make up the platform: the Brand Amplification Platform, the Client Engagement Platform and the Coaching Services Platform. These platforms are optimized to adapt quickly as best practices evolve. They leverage robust, cost-effective open source components and are designed to take advantage of the state-of-the-art for delivering to clients — through integrating and amplifying best-of-breed capabilities whether they are proprietary to Surefire Social or developed by other organizations.
It’s great to see so many companies developing the most durable, energy-efficient and advanced products on the market. With continued focus and investment in research and development, we’re excited to see the potentially game-changing innovations in the works for 2016.