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A VIEW FROM THE HILL - POLITICAL NEWS: Regulatory & Tax Reform Update

Posted By Western States Roofing Contractors Association, Monday, May 21, 2018

Regulatory and Tax Reform Update

By: Craig Brightup, The Brightup Group LLC

When President Trump took office, he signed Executive Orders 13771 and 13777 to cut federal regulations.  EO 13771 says no new rules can be issued without cutting two existing regulations, and EO 13777 put White House monitors in the agencies to enforce deregulation efforts.  As a result, the 2017 Federal Register contained 61,308 pages of regulatory actions, which is the lowest count since 1993 and a 36% drop from 95,894 pages in 2016, the highest level ever recorded.

Unfortunately, one of the rules finalized under President Obama that went into effect under President Trump is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) silica rule.  However, the federal government’s Spring Regulatory Agenda was released in May and an OSHA entry announces it will publish a Request for Information (RFI) to revise the construction silica standard’s Table 1 engineering controls.  

Though publication of the RFI in the Federal Register is probably a few months down the road, OSHA’s commitment to do an RFI could ultimately lead to a reopening of the rule.  This positive development is a result of negotiations with the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, which is also working with OSHA to develop a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the rule’s complex set of requirements. 

OSHA also appears not to be aggressively enforcing the rule while negotiations are ongoing, at least in Fed-OSHA states, and hopefully President Trump’s pick to head the agency, Scott Mugno, will soon be confirmed by the Senate in order to be involved in the RFI before it’s published.

On the tax reform front, it bears repeating that IRC Sec. 179’s new expensing provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are a big victory for the roofing industry and WSRCA members.  In fact, WSRCA members can have their cake and eat it, too!   

Sec. 179 allows businesses to purchase needed equipment and write-off the full amount, or a major portion of it, on their taxes for that year.  Qualifying property includes certain vehicles and virtually all construction equipment and machinery.  But, an even bigger breakthrough for the roofing industry and its customers is that Sec. 179 qualified property now includes improvements to nonresidential roofs!

The new limit on the total amount of Sec. 179 property a business can purchase each year before the deduction is totally phased-out is $2.5 million, and the annual limit for the deduction is now $1 million.  As such, a roofing contractor can use Sec. 179 to buy qualifying business equipment and then sell a commercial roof to a property owner who can write-off up to $1 million in the year the roof is purchased.  And the $1 million annual deduction and $2.5 million maximum business investment limits are permanent and indexed for annual inflation starting in 2019.

Also, don’t forget the IRC Sec. 168(k) Bonus Depreciation Deduction, which has been raised to 100 percent for qualifying property.  This generally covers property with a depreciable tax life of 20 years or less and the IRS is expected to clarify eligibility for full bonus depreciation in June.

The Western Roofing Expo will also take place in June, and I look forward to seeing you at the Legislative Luncheon on Monday, June 11, where I’ll be joined once again by NRCA CEO Reid Ribble to discuss these and other industry issues. 


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Travel Time Compensation

Posted By Trent Cotney, Cotney Construction Law, LLP, Friday, April 27, 2018
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2018

Almost all your employees travel for their job, whether it is to your office, to a jobsite, to make sales, etc. Therefore, it is important that as the employer, you understand what travel time is compensable – meaning, when must travel time be paid time and count toward overtime.

Travel between home and work is not compensable, as long as it is within the “normal commuting area.” This is true whether the employee works at a fixed location (e.g., office) or different jobsites. If you require employees to report at a meeting place to receive instructions or pick up tools, travel between the meeting place and the jobsite is compensable. Travel between jobsites during the workday is compensable. When determining if travel time is compensable, it makes no difference if the employee is driving a company vehicle or a personal vehicle.

There are many strategies for reducing the payroll cost of travel time. For instance, you can pay employees a lower payrate for drive time than worksite time. You can also institute a written policy establishing a broad scope of what is considered the employee’s “normal commuting area” and limiting paid travel time to drivers rather than passengers. Moreover, some of your employees (e.g., outside sales) may be exempt from certain wages laws and not entitled to paid travel time. It is important to consult with a labor and employment attorney to reduce your payroll expenses and protect against potential wage and hour liability.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation. Regulations and laws may vary depending on your location. Consult with a licensed attorney in your area if you wish to obtain legal advice and/or counsel for a particular legal issue.

About the Author: Benjamin Briggs is an attorney in the Tampa office of Cotney Construction Law.  He specializes in labor and employment matters. Cotney Construction Law advocates for the roofing industry, serves as General Counsel of FRSA, TARC, RT3, TRI, and NWIR. For more information, contact the author at 866-303-5868 or go to


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Posted By WSRCA, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Western Roofing Expo 2018

Roofing Education Conference

WSRCA knows that you as a roofing or waterproofing contractor need to stay on top of the latest technical developments in the industry — and that's no easy feat! OSHA compliance, product issues, and best business practices are just a few of today's concerns. WSRCA has put together an amazing line-up of premium educational workshops for you - the roofing contractor - to succeed in today's competitive business environment. Earn CEU's, educate your company, and get a leg up on thecompetition!

Presented by: the Western States Roofing Contractors Association


Follow WSRCA on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google +



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Good News for the H-2B Guest Worker Program

Posted By Western States Roofing Contractors Association, Monday, April 9, 2018

As relayed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, there’s good news for contractors that use the H-2B seasonal worker program in the omnibus bill (Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, H.R. 1625) that was signed by the President last week: (The H-2B program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.)
The omnibus bill contains H-2B language that gives the Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) the discretion to raise the H-2B cap for the remainder of FY18.  This language mirrors language that the Chamber and other business coalitions succeeded in obtaining in the FY17 omnibus bill.  As in the FY17 bill, the DHS Secretary, in consultation with the Labor Secretary, could allow for a total of 129,547 H-2B workers in the U.S. for this fiscal year.  Business coalitions including the Chamber will work with DHS to help implement this desperately-needed cap relief more quickly than last year and hopefully DHS will also provide more than 15,000 additional visas to H-2B employers this fiscal year.
In addition to the H-2B cap relief provisions, the omnibus appropriations bill provides other meaningful provisions that impact H-2B employers: 

  • The bill still prevents the executive branch from enforcing the corresponding employment and 3/4 guarantee provisions that were included in the 2015 Interim Final Rule (IFR) issued by the Obama Administration. 
  • The ability of H-2B employers to use private wage surveys for the purpose of meeting the program’s requirements is maintained, and;
  • The bill continues to provide H-2B workers with a 10 month work season.

Fiscal Year 2018 ends Sept. 30 and contractors who use the H-2B program are encouraged to be prepared to utilize the higher cap as soon as it’s implemented.


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Posted By Western States Roofing Contractors Association, Monday, March 12, 2018
Updated: Monday, March 12, 2018


By: Brian P. Chamberlain — Carlisle Construction Materials



In today’s market we find significant focus from building owners on sustainable and durable roof installation. To accomplish this goal, building owners look to designers to specify durable products, supply qualified installers, and have material manufacturers offer long-term warranties. The first two conditions can be controlled and monitored to make sure that the installation is verified to have the proposed quality. The roofing warranty is looked upon by building owners and specifiers as a way to get a guarantee that these first two conditions are met. It’s very similar to an architect specifying a white membrane roof with the expectation, without any true consideration, that white membrane will help save energy associated to the operation of the building and in turn reduce the carbon footprint of the building. Unfortunately, without fully understanding how geography plays a major role in energy performance, the specifier may not design the roofing system to offer true energy performance and inadvertently increase other concerns. Studies have shown white membrane roofs need to be designed according to the building location geographically 1 . With the same consideration, it should be understood that warranties are tools to assist in selling of roofing manufacturer’s products and may not be an indicator of durability.


Samir K. Ibrahim, “Sustainable Roof Design: More than a Black-and-White Issue”, RCI - Building Envelope Technology Symposium, San Diego, CA, 2009


To understand this fully, we need to review how roofing material manufacturers promote warranties and then review the fine print of what they are covering within the language of the warranty.



The basic premise of a long-term warranty can be seen by how a manufacturer’s specification promotes sustainable assemblies. One of the first products we find typically required for longer term warranties is thicker membrane. Where shorter term warranties allow the use of thinner membrane such as 45-mil thick, longer term warranties are published with thicker membranes such as 90-mil thick. There is significant data to show that thicker membranes are superior to thinner membranes. For comparison, Figure 1 shows the results of a Federal Puncture Test with non-reinforced EPDM. The EPDM membrane with a 90-mil thickness has a 60% increase in puncture resistance over a 45-mil membrane.


Figure 1


Another indication of durability can be found by testing roofing materials within the Xenon Arc Weathering Test (ASTM G 155). In Figure 2 the results for a reinforced TPO membrane can be seen based on kJ/mÇ. The 80-mil thick reinforced TPO has 42% greater weatherability than a 45-mil thick reinforced TPO.


Figure 2


These results can be then compared to the proposed building location based on expected radiant exposure to determine the minimum design consideration. But just like building codes, to offer a durable long lasting assembly, the designer should go above the minimum. In most cases, the designer will find this parameter already required by the roofing materials manufacturer.


Figure 3

As membrane thickness is promoted by manufacturers through longer term warranties, other components of the roof assembly are promoted above the typical shorter term warranties. The splicing of EPDM membranes are specified to be either wider seams with tapes or factory applied tapes, while thermoplastic membrane assemblies promote overlayment of the seams with additional welded products. Longer term warranties promote factory manufactured flashings, such as pipe seals and premade curb flashings. Multiple layers and thickness of insulation are important to reduce energy costs in the long term and performance of the building. A single layer of insulation may assist in the initial sale of the assembly, but the typical gap left behind with energy loss could be significant over the long term as shown in Figure 4.


Figure 4


As technology improves products, they are promoted for longer term warranties. New insulation facers have been developed that offer moisture, mold, and wind uplift resistance. Figure 5 shows the typical uplift results between a fiber board, a standard black paper facer on polyisocyanurate, and a fiberglass coated facer on polyisocyanurate.


Figure 5


Manufacturers try to take into account foot traffic and unusual weather conditions that a roof assembly may experience over a long term warranty, so their roofing specifications include cover boards or higher compressive strength insulation to offer additional durability.


Besides warranties promoting thicker membranes, superior cover boards/insulations, and pre-fabricated accessories, there are incentives that can be included within the warranty, such as accidental puncture coverage, hail coverage, and reflective stability, if promoted enhancements by the manufacturer are specified. Some warranties will include other components, such as skylights, photovoltaic arrays, walking decks, and garden roof materials. In the case of the photovoltaic arrays, walking decks, and garden roofs, a membrane roof assembly’s components are specified to handle these additional uses of a roof area. If specified properly the manufacturer can include overburden removal and replacement within the warranty coverage, giving the owner the peace of mind that if a leak should occur, the investigation will not cost him anything additional.




Warranties also promote higher wind speed coverage and often incorporate cover boards, higher compressive strength insulation, and higher fastening density of the insulation to deal with long term performance. At times the specifier will find that the metal edging, which is the first line of defense against any wind storm, must be pre-manufactured and has been tested following the criteria within the ANSI/SPRI ES-1 and exceeds the International Building Code (IBC) standards. In higher wind locations, “Storm Strips” (a row of securement around the perimeter) might be suggested with the consideration to minimize storm damage.


For mechanically fastened assemblies, longer term warranties are available by specifying reduced spacing between rows of securement to increase uplift performance and fatigue on the roofing membrane. When special wind conditions are necessary for a warranty, an air barrier may be installed below the insulation on a steel deck to assist mitigating the interior pressure from the uplift, adding to the overall performance from wind.



This effort by a manufacturer to specify thicker membrane, better insulation, durable accessories, and incentives for additional coverage with a longer-term warranty increases the manufacturer’s reputation to the building owner in a positive manner. The building owner in turn assumes that the manufacturer’s warranty is an indicator of responsibility by the manufacturer and the relative life expectancy of the roof system. Unfortunately, warranties are used more as a marketing tool to assist in selling of roofing materials so even though a long-term warranty is preferable, the owner needs to review and understand what the warranty is actually offering as coverage.


After researching numerous published warranties and the phrases within, some warranties with equal duration do not match up with coverage. How many times have we heard, “Your 20-warranty requires additional components unlike your competitor? Isn’t all 20-year warranties the same?” Though the length of the warranty could be important, how each warranty is worded for coverage could be different allowing one roofing manufacturer more flexibility to deviate from the published specification by substituting lower performing products to have a more competitive advantage. To make sure the roofing installation has the same quality installation from either manufacturer, it becomes necessary for a building owner to understand what a warranty covers beyond the duration.


Once a building owner is convinced to read what is within a warranty, it can be difficult for the building owner to interpret the language. One of the reasons this is a problem is because warranties are written by the membrane manufacturer’s lawyer. The lawyer’s goal is to limit the liability of the membrane manufacturer. To make sense of what the building owner is actually receiving as coverage within a warranty, we need to focus on specific parts within a typical warranty.


Warranties are most often broken down into two parts. The first part is what the warranty covers which is typically referenced as the “roofing system”, defined as membrane, insulation, fasteners, flashing, and whatever additional components the manufacturer sells associated with the project. In my research I have found that the definition of “roofing system” can be altered. In one warranty the definition of the “roof system” was limited to just the roofing membrane without referring to any other associated purchased materials. Even though the warranty is titled Roof System Warranty the coverage only included the membrane, which is very similar to a material warranty. Though there is nothing wrong with a manufacturer defining a roofing system this way it can be misleading.


As mentioned, the first part also lists what else may be included under the coverage of the warranty. Sometimes a manufacturer does not sell a specific product required for the assembly, but is unwilling to lose the sale of their assembly, so they list these products on the warranty so as not to be excluded from the sale. This offers the flexibility necessary to keep the manufacturer in the prospect of winning the project. At the same time, they may list products that they do not cover, or the opposite simply not list such products at all, leaving the building owner with a potential hole in his expected coverage. An example would be a membrane manufacturer has the ability to sell all the components of an architecturally specified installation except for the asphalt required for insulation attachment. In this case, the manufacture may be willing to take the responsibility for the asphalt by listing this component on the warranty. If the manufacture does not want to cover the performance of the asphalt he may still offer the warranty, but list the asphalt as excluded from the coverage. Or the manufacturer will offer his warranty, but simply not mention the asphalt at all within the warrantable components. Again, none of the above is wrong, but it does reinforce the need for a building owner to read and understand the warranty coverage.


The second part is most often called “Terms, Condition, & Limitations” of the warranty. This section of the warranty can include numerous phrases that should be looked at closely to understand what is being offered. In this section, the membrane manufacturer offers details on how he will assist in paying for repairs. Some of the most common phrases have been “pro-rated”, “limited to original cost”, and “no-dollar limit” financial coverage. “Pro-rated” starts off with the original cost of the installation and then that amount is reduced a percentage each year based on the duration of the warranty. “Limited to original cost” limits the manufacturer’s financial responsibility to the initial cost excluding any inflation that could happen over the long term. “No-dollar limit” is the original cost with the inclusion of inflation. To see the difference between the two, Figure 6 shows an example of a 25-year pro-rated warranty versus a 20-year no-dollar limit warranty. Even though the duration of the longer warranty is 5 years, upon a catastrophic failure occurring at the 14th year the replacement cost to building owner is more than the original cost of the roof system. In this case, duration did not equal coverage.


Figure 6


In addition to how the warranty payment will be handled, the second section of the warranty includes the wind coverage. Wind speed coverage is a moving target. Historically, roofing system warranties did not offer this type of coverage. When it was thought to assist in the sales of the roofing system, warranties began to use words such as “Gale Force Winds”. The definition of this term can be found on Figure 7, a portion of the Beaufort Wind Scale.


Figure 7


Referring to Figure 7 one might be surprised to see that there are four different “Gale” type winds. The term “Gale Force Winds” referenced in some warranties is considered to be defined by the manufacturer as “Fresh Gale”, offering coverage up to 39-46 mph wind. Though the industry accepted this concept, owners demanded to know what the exact wind speed number might be, so some warranties started to actually list the wind speed as “not to exceed 55 mph”, which we can see on Figure 7 is “Strong Gale” wind coverage. When longer term warranties were introduced, they included an option of possible higher wind coverage, so 72 mph was offered, which is one mile per hour short of a hurricane.


With the introduction of wind coverage, building owners and specifiers have become confused about how this might relate to building codes 2. The bottom line is that they have no relationship to each other. The International Building Code does not require a wind warranty on roofs, only that they meet the allowable uplift pressures determined and calculated by using the ASCE 7. In this same respect other components such as structural walls, decking, etc. must also meet this calculated pressure, but none offer wind speed warranty coverage. Since this is the case, a warranty wind speed is not based on ASCE 7 or the ANSI/FM 4474 uplift rating test. Warranty wind speeds are typically based upon the manufacturer’s installation experience and the demands of the market.


Marty Gilson & Brian Chamberlain “Roofing Warranty Wind Speed Coverage versus Local Building Codes, Local Wind Speeds, and FM Global: Solving the Mystery,” Northern Illinois CSI Link, May 2007.


In an attempt to reduce misunderstanding roofing manufacturers can offer warranty wind speed coverage in miles per hour that equal the local wind speeds as published by the ASCE 7. It is important to remember that the ASCE 7 is referenced under the Performance or Quality Assurance section of a bidding specification, while the warranty wind speed needs to be listed in miles per hour in the Warranty section. If the requested wind speed coverage is not in the Warranty section, the contractor will bid the project at the minimum wind speed warrant coverage offer by the manufacturer. Typically when this is discovered, the roofing system has been installed and may no longer qualify for the higher wind speed warranty.


Values are nominal design 3-second gust wind speeds in miles per hour (m/s) at 33-ft (10m) above ground for Exposure “C” category


Figure 8


Though manufacturers include higher wind speed coverage if requested, the wording of their standard coverage can be worded to limit their liability, while at the same time offering the illusion that they are covering more. An example of this would be not listing the miles per hour in the warranty but using words like Gale Force Winds (39-46 mph). Another example would be calling out wind coverage up to “Beaufort Scale #8” (39-46 mph). In both cases, the miles per hour coverage is hidden by words and must be clarified.


Besides wording, where the wind speed is measured can be creative. Most warranties are measured at “Ground Wind Speed”, which is 33-ft or 10 meters from the ground surface, the same height at which airports measure wind speed. Some warranties have the phrase “Rooftop Wind Speed". The higher the roof area, the greater the wind speed, so if you are considering wind speed coverage, ground wind speed offers better coverage on a higher building. As an example, if the building is 30 to 40 feet high there is practically no difference in the coverage, but it can make a huge difference on high rise roof areas. In Figure 9, a 300 ft high roof area with a rooftop wind speed of 80 mph, the ground wind speed would be 55 mph, while a ground wind speed of 80 mph would actually cover winds up to 118 mph for the same building.


Figure 9



The examples that follow are sample warranty wording that was discovered on different membrane manufacturer’s website samples.


In one manufacturer’s 30-year System Warranty, the financial liability of the manufacturer was “limited to the original cost”, so if the roof system cost $100,000 that would be the maximum the manufacturer would pay, not including inflation. In addition, it was listed in the warranty that the owner pays for two inspections every five years in addition to any cost for repairs required by the manufacturer. This warranty did not list any wind speed coverage, so we can assume that if the roof system is damaged by any wind greater than zero, it is not covered under the warranty. And finally this warranty was “non-transferable”. Though most schools and government buildings typically will never transfer ownership, a warehouse or office building could change hands within the 30-year duration of the warranty, leaving the new building owner with no coverage at all.


A 25-year warranty sample found on the web began by stating that this warranty only covered the membrane. If deterioration of the membrane was discovered, the manufacturer’s responsibility is to ship and replace “defective” membrane. The cost to the manufacturer was limited not to exceed the original cost of the membrane and shipping to the building site. Though it did offer wind coverage up to a full gale force winds (46 mph?) it was clear that it did not include any failure of the substrate under the membrane or failure of any other roofing components. How would wind cause the deterioration of the membrane? As a final note, the membrane manufacturer stated it would not cover the workmanship by the installer.


Another long term warranty (20-year) requires the building owner to schedule inspections with the manufacturer after 2, 5, 10, and 15 years at the owner’s expense. It did publish wind speed coverage less than 73 mph, which the Beaufort Wind Scale defines as being the lowest miles per hour for a hurricane. This warranty again was “nontransferable” and the coverage was “pro-rated”, so a $100,000 roof installation would loss coverage year after year.


One manufacturer published their warranty including similar language (“nontransferable” and “limited to the original cost”), but this 20-year warranty offer wind coverage with “gales excluded”. Returning back to the Beaufort Wind Scale, we see that gale force winds begin at 32 mph, so in reality, this warranty only offered coverage up to

31 mph.


Though there are many more warranty versions, this last one I offer is called a 20-year System Warranty and for the first 10 years has coverage is very similar to a “nodollar-limit” system warranty. But in the body of the warranty it states that after 10 years, the warranty becomes a “pro-rated” material warranty (labor not included) and lists the actual percentage of coverage. The Figure 10 below gives you an idea of financial assistance offered by the manufacturer, assuming the original installation cost $100,000.-.


20 Year Warranty % Coverage Cost of Installation $100,000.-

1st – 10th Year 100% Total System $100,000.-

11th Year 80% of Material $12,000.-

12th Year 60% of Material $9,000.-

13th Year 40% of Material $6,000.-

14th – 20th Year 30% of Material $4,500.-




When assisting a building owner in the design of the roofing system to achieve the goal of durability, knowing the type of wording to look for in the warranty can be invaluable. Here are a few phrases that may be encountered:


• System Warranty: Where a Material Warranty will only cover the sheet good of the roofing system, a System Warranty typically is defined as covering all products installed offered by the manufacturer and includes the labor to install the referenced materials.


• Is the warranty transferable to a new owner upon the sale of the building or is there a limitation and stipulation that should be reviewed based on the owner’s plans for the future?


• Wording within the warranty may require the building owner to pay for periodic inspection by the roofing material manufacturer, including any costs associated to repairs found necessary during those inspections.


• A notation of maintenance required by the building owner, if not performed by the building owner could void the warranty. Though the above are some of the terms that should be reviewed closely below is some of the more favorable language that should be included.


• The warranty offers “full coverage” that includes labor to install and repair if necessary and material costs.


• “No Dollar Limit”, so if a catastrophic problem occurs and it is at the fault of the roof system, replacement of the roof system will cost the building owner nothing.


• The warranty should be “transferable” and there should be clarification of the cost and inspection requirements.


• Look for “wind coverage”, which should be listed in miles per hour and where the wind speed is measured should be specified.


• Depending on the building owner’s needs, possible additional coverage, such as hail, accidental puncture, or reflectivity should be included. This type of coverage is available but is not typically included in standard warranties. The building owner must have these needs referenced in the warranty section of the building specification.


In conclusion, the assemblies specified in association with a long term warranty do offer durable options for the building owner. They promote thicker membranes, stronger substrates, and better combined assemblies to match the length of the warranty and expectations of the building owner. Unfortunately, the published warranties need to be reviewed closely to make sure they match what is being offered.


One way a specifier could assist the building owner would be to review the warranty section of the proposed architectural specification to make sure some of favorable phrases listed earlier are incorporated in this section. Another would be to require a sample copy of the proposed warranty to be included with all bidding documents, so coverage can be reviewed along with cost. If anything within warranty wording seems amiss based on the building owner’s needs, clarification can be requested in writing from the manufacturer to clear up any confusion.


Keep in mind, if one manufacturer’s coverage is different than his competition, he can offer an assembly based on his warranty liability, the result could be a more cost competitive system with the building owner unaware of the potentially loss of warranty coverage. With this information, the specifier can guide the building owner away from using warranties as design criteria and focus on quality materials, proper assemblies, and verifiable workmanship.




Karen Warseck, “Roofing Warranties: Always Read the Fine Print,” Building Operating Management, February 2008.


Chuck Marvin, “Roof Warranties Moving Past Clichés,” Interface, April 2011.


Samir K. Ibrahim, “Inside the NDL,” PowerPoint Presentation, February 2006.


NRCA, “Roofing Warranties,”


Republished with permission.


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Three Ways Construction Companies Can Keep Their Best Employees

Posted By Trent Cotney, Cotney Construction Law, LLP, Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The labor shortage within the construction industry has left roofing companies competing for qualified workers while trying to retain existing talent. Because your employees are a significant investment, especially when considering the time and money it costs to train them, it is important to develop a plan to keep your best workers. In this article, our construction lawyers list three ways roofing companies can retain their best workers.


A key to developing and retaining great workers is to create a work culture that recognizes and rewards employees for their contributions and loyalty. Ideally, your employees will soon come to view employment with your company as a career rather than “just a job.” To do that, your team members must be able to see a path to growth and advancement within your company. Employees are more likely to stay when they know there is an opportunity to both become better at their job and advance to the next level. To the extent possible, companies should strive to promote from within, which rewards deserving employees and motivates the other employees to earn similar promotions. Companies also benefit from establishing a program that publicly recognizes high-performing or long-tenured employees. Almost everyone appreciates being recognized for his or her contributions; and when a company takes the time to publicly thank deserving employees, that can go a long way in fostering morale and loyalty at little or no cost to the company.


Ultimately, people work for a company – any company – to be compensated for their work. Companies should start by offering employees fair compensation and benefits, and create a plan that includes compensation incentives for those who stay with the company and work hard. These incentives can include any combination of raises, bonuses, accrued vacation time (even if unpaid), accrued paid time off, and even potential stock options. Ideally, employees who have been with the company for some time will view their time with the company as an investment that is beginning to deliver dividends, whereas taking a job with another company would be starting over from the ground level. It is one thing to offer competitive pay, but structuring compensation so that employees understand they are in line for increased pay and benefits by remaining with your company can go a long way toward retaining those employees.


Use surveys, interviews, and an “open door” policy to hear from your staff and identify their needs. Performing exit interviews with employees who choose to leave can help identify possible areas of improvement and limit future losses.  Similarly, it is important to learn why employees choose to remain with your company, and what it takes to keep them with your company. This entire process can be invaluable toward developing a successful retention plan, as it helps the company identify what its employees value most, what the company is doing well, and where improvement may be needed. Emphasizing employee feedback also helps your workforce believe that the company values their opinions and wants to consider their interests when making business decisions.  


Trent Cotney is an advocate for the roofing industry, General Counsel of FRSA, TARC, RT3, WCRCA, and PBCRSMA, and Board Certified in Construction Law by the Florida Bar. For more information, contact the author at 813-579- 3278 or go to

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.


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A View From the Hill - Political News: Tax Bill Victory for the Roofing Industry

Posted By Western States Roofing Contractors Association, Monday, January 29, 2018

by Craig Brightup, The Brightup Group LLC


When President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) on Dec. 22, 2017, it ushered in the most significant federal tax reform since 1986. It also marked a huge policy victory for the roofing industry and WSRCA members by way of enhanced IRC Sec. 179 expensing.


The Sec. 179 expensing provision (deduction) is intended to primarily help small businesses purchase needed equipment and write-off the full amount on their taxes for the current year, which is a good thing for roofing contractors. Effective this year, qualifying 179 property includes most business equipment, such as computers and certain vehicles, and construction equipment and machinery purchases qualify. But the big breakthrough for the roofing industry and its customers is that Sec. 179 qualified property now includes improvements to nonresidential roofs!


The new limit on the total amount of Sec. 179 property a business can purchase each year before a phase-out begins is $2.5 million (up from $2 million), and the annual limit for the deduction itself has been raised to $1 million (from $500,000). This means that a property owner can write-off up to $1 million in the year that a commercial roof is purchased. Also, the $1 million annual deduction and $2.5 million maximum business investment limits are now permanent and indexed for annual inflation starting in 2019.


This victory culminates more than a decade of work to shorten the 39-year tax depreciation schedule for commercial roofs, which started in 2003 when then-Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) introduced the Realistic Roofing Tax Treatment Act. NRCA led this effort and it’s a great example of why it’s crucial to have strong industry presence in Washington, DC.


Another option for WSRCA members is the IRC Sec. 168(k) Bonus Depreciation Deduction, which has been raised to 100 percent for qualifying new and used property acquired and placed in service after Sept. 27, 2017, and before Jan. 1, 2023. Property with a depreciable tax life of 20 years or less generally qualifies and includes machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, computers and computer software, and vehicles used primarily in business (with a dollar cap on business cars and trucks that have a loaded vehicle weight of 6,000 lbs. or less).


On a broader scale, the tax rate for C corporations (the corporate tax rate) has been cut from 35 to 21 percent. Also, pass-through entities organized as S corporations, partnerships, LLCs and sole proprietorships get a 20 percent deduction on taxable income up to $157,000 or $315,000 if filing jointly (that’s phased-out at $207,500 or $415,000, respectively). Many contractors use the pass-through structure and pay their business taxes as individual returns, so it helps that the top individual rate has now been lowered from 39 to 37 percent. Please note, however, that the tax rules for pass-through entities are complicated and companies organized as such are encouraged to consult with tax experts about their status.


Finally, for contractors that are family businesses, the new tax code doubles the estate tax exemption so that estates of up to $11 million (or $22 million for couples) are now exempt from taxation. And though the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) continues to cover individuals, the exemption and phase-out amounts have been sharply increased.


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Five Must Have Workplace Policies for Roofing Contractors

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 13, 2017

Five Must Have Workplace Policies for Roofing Contractors

By enforcing practical workplace policies, employers can decrease potential legal challenges.

Courtesy of: Roofing Contractor Magazine, Richard Alaniz


Today’s employers have an increasingly regulated and overly litigious landscape to navigate in managing their workplace. The continued growth of federal, state, and even local regulatory protections for employees, coupled with an overabundance of lawyers, has made virtually every workplace decision a potential lawsuit.

Most large employers have experienced, professional human resource staffs to enforce comprehensive and up-to-date employment policies usually contained in an employee handbook. They also often have the support of in-house or outside legal counsel to help with the more difficult decisions. But what about the small-or medium-sized employers who generally don’t have a human resources department and where most decisions regarding employees are made by the owner or plant manager? While some guidance and best practices are often available through their industry or business associations, their potential exposure to legal challenges on employee-related decisions remains significant. However, by implementing or updating as needed, and consistently enforcing five practical and well-known workplace policies, most employers can dramatically decrease the potential that a workplace decision involving an employee will result in a successful legal challenge. These policies should ideally be contained in a more comprehensive employee handbook if possible. The five “must have” policies and how they provide protection are discussed below.


1. No Harassment Policy

Under federal law, Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act, the American With Disabilities Act as amended, and the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, as well as related state laws, harassment based upon a protected status is unlawful. Sexual harassment, the type that’s received the greatest attention, is based upon gender and is equally unlawful. The law is now well-established that it’s applicable to same-sex harassment as well. Bullying is clearly another form of harassment, and with the ubiquitous presence and use of social media, has also become a common workplace problem. If based upon a protected status, bullying goes from workplace misconduct to unlawful discrimination.

Without an all-encompassing no harassment policy that’s posted or otherwise widely disseminated, an employer will find it difficult to defend against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or similar state agency discrimination charges and possible lawsuits alleging unlawful harassment. In fact, the first document requested by investigating agencies in such a case is a copy of the employer’s no harassment policy. Having such a policy in place and consistently enforcing it will help provide a reasonable defense against some of the most frequent claims made in today’s workplace. Lack of a policy may lend support to a prima facie case of discriminatory harassment.


2. Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

One of the most fundamental of all employment policies is the one assuring all applicants and employees that any decisions affecting them will be made without regard to race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation, as well as any other protected status. All job advertising should and generally does include such a statement. It should also appear on the face of any employment application utilized. In short, equal opportunity should be second-nature for anyone in management making any decision that affects an employee. And no company is too small to have such a policy.


3. Complaint Policy and Procedure

Employee problems and concerns are endemic to the workplace, irrespective of size or specific industry. Having a well-known and structured process through which employees can have their concerns fairly addressed, and hopefully resolved, will help avoid potentially more serious repercussions. Too often business owners, especially of smaller companies, rely upon the fact that they have an open door policy permitting employees to raise any concerns or complaints directly with them. Sometimes the practical effect of such a policy results in what some experts have called “hiding behind the open door.” Employees are sometimes reluctant to enter the manager’s office for fear of the consequences. Perhaps they will be found to be at fault. Or even if not, that nothing can be done about their problem. While the door may be open, it may not be used.

If employees are provided a formal, structured process whereby they can verbally or in writing bring an issue of concern to management, they’ll use it. Ideally, it should start with taking the matter to the employee’s own supervisor, and escalate it up the management ranks as needed until the matter is fully addressed. Employees should also be free to raise the matter with anyone in management with whom they are comfortable. Sometimes the problem is one involving their own supervisor. Some employees may be more open in speaking to someone of their own gender. The goal of the process is to solve the problem irrespective of how the issue is brought to the attention of management. The complaint and all actions taken to address it should be well-documented.


4. Progressive Discipline Policy

Virtually all employee disciplinary actions, especially involving termination, are subject to being second-guessed by some governmental agency or lawyer. This often occurs in the context of a formal charge or complaint filed with a state or federal agency. Whether it’s an agency investigation or a lawsuit, the most commonly asked questions are whether the employee was on notice of their unacceptable performance or conduct, and whether they were subjected to escalating discipline when they failed to improve. An employer’s inability to demonstrate such steps through a well-publicized and consistently applied policy of progressive discipline will likely find that their action, especially a termination, will be ruled to be improper. Frequently, the penalty is reinstatement and back pay for the employee involved.

The most common progressive discipline policies are comprised of a four step process. A verbal warning escalates to a written warning, which then goes to a final warning, sometimes including a three day suspension. Every step in the process should be well documented. The process finally culminates in termination. It’s generally a good practice to “suspend pending termination” to provide the opportunity to review the entire disciplinary record and related documentation before taking that last critical step. Consistency in applying progressive discipline is crucial. Exceptions will undermine the policy and jeopardize the action taken.


5. Absence and Tardiness Control Policy

As mundane and routine as an absence control policy sounds, it’s unfortunately one of the most frequently relied upon employment policies to support a termination decision. It’s also a policy that many employers, especially small ones, are lacking, at least in a written form. While leave policies mandated by either federal or state government continue to proliferate, regular employee attendance at work remains a significant problem for many employers. Some might point to the work/life balance that reportedly is so important, especially to millennials, as a reason. However, attendance problems cut across all age groups of employees as well as all types of workplaces.

Most attendance policies involve a set number of points or instances of either tardiness, absence or both within a set time period that, when exceeded, results in escalating disciplinary action, including termination. Without a policy that’s uniformly enforced and well-documented, an employer may be unable to show that a termination was in fact for excessive absences rather than because of a protected status as alleged by a disgruntled employee.

By having in place and consistently applying the five common sense policies cited, an employer will be well prepared to effectively address and perhaps even avoid the vast majority of workplace issues that arise. When employees know that policies are in place that are intended to assure fair treatment for all employees, it’s surprising how few problems actually develop.




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50 Shades of Confused...Taking the Grey Out of Lien Waivers, Joint Checks and Other Instruments of Profit

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 13, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017

50 Shades of Confused...Taking the Grey Out of Lien Waivers, Joint Checks and Other Instruments of Profit

Contributing Author: Thea Dudley, VP Financial Services - SRS Distribution, Inc.


Joint checks, contracts, mechanics liens and the infamous lien waiver, all supposed to make business more efficient, easier and straight forward have become so complex you need a law degree and three hours to get through one of them.  If you joined me this past summer, you spent time at the seminar of the same name at the Expo, you already know these are all pet peeves and hot buttons for me. 

The very forms and tools that are there to grease the wheels of your business and make your life less complicated, have basically taken over your day.  Sadly, most contractors do not take the necessary time to insure those tools are not working against them…until it is too late and they are faced with countless hours trying to figure out how to undo the damage inflicted by their lack of attention to detail. 

Let’s take the torture out of some of the tools and make them profitable to your business again.

Joint checks:

The definition of a check joint is:  A check issued by one party (Payor) and made payable to two parties as co-payees.  That is the technical side of the joint check.  Funny thing about joint checks that rarely get mentioned at the beginning, they only work if the check gets issued and there is not standard joint check form to keep the playing field level.  There are no specific statutory laws regarding how a joint check has to read or what is required.  Since they are contractual in nature they are subject to contract law.  

So what exactly is a joint check?

1.     It is an enforceable contract

2.     It is a creature of contract

3.     It creates a tri-party relationship

4.     It identifies all the players (parties involved)

5.     It defines the relationship of all the parties


Which leads us to what it is not:

1.     It is not a security interest

2.     It Is not a guarantee for payment

3.     Not governed by statute

4.     Not effective if the check isn’t written


How so you make sure it is profitable and not painful? 

With joint checks, it is all in the wording. How the items are phrased.  Does the wording obligate the payor to one of the payees or merely give permission (to be used if the payor decides to). What’s left out?   What is not addressed in the document?   What is the enforcement of it (what do you need to do to get paid), how is the check issued/delivered?  What happens to your payment in the case of a dispute between the payor and your customer?  Is there a clause regarding a limited power of attorney for you to use to process your payment.  What are you giving up?  Lien rights, bond rights, suit rights   What are they asking you to include?  Blanket indemnity clause, warranty beyond your scope of work, asking you to have an obligation to a larger contact.


What are the three biggest joint check mistakes I commonly see?

1.   Not reading the agreement before signing it.  Everyone always seems surprised at this one but if I had a dollar for every customer who asked me for help with a joint check agreement after the fact-who had to admit they did not read it, I would be working on a tan in Belize.

2.  Trusting others to follow through. Your money is your responsibility.  Hold people accountable, be able to state what their obligations are if you need to.

3.  Not having a relationship with the check cutter.  You should know who you are dealing with, have had at least one conversation with them.  Not an email or text but a verbal conversation.  Know someone by name who you can reach out to for help if you need to.  Make friends with where your money is coming from.


To avoid mistakes, keep these tips in mind:

1.  Watch the wording of the agreement.  If you don’t understand something or it’s not clear in the wording, ask for clarification, or cross it out & rewrite it.  My rule of thumb in reading any document is this:  If I don’t understand it & you can’t explain it, it doesn’t need to be in there.  Cross it out. 

2.  Read the agreement.  The whole agreement.  All the way.  Don’t skim it.  It is not War & Peace.  It should be a simple, one pager.   Understand what you are agreeing to. 

3. Don’t give up stuff you don’t want to give up like lien, bond and remedy rights.

4. Don’t agree to crazy add on’s.  This is a simple document on how payment is going to be executed & to whom.  It is not an extension of your contract.  



I want to point out one really important thing about any document.  The company/person presenting the document is usually who it is in favor of.  It is the nature of the beast. 

It starts out as a simple form then people start getting creative and before you know it, it is crazy long and has all kinds of weird stuff in it.


Mechanics Liens:

Everyone in this industry uses the phrase “lien rights”, but the majority don’t know exactly what that means or how to approach it to really capitalize on it.  Just so everyone is on the same page a mechanics lien is a security interest in the property for the benefit of those who have supplied materials or labor that improve that property.   A mechanics lien basically clouds the title so the lien has to be dealt with in some fashion before the property can change hands. 


I am a HUGE advocate of securing lien rights whenever possible.  Yes, I know, you don’t want to have a supplier secure them because you are afraid of what your customer will think.  Yep, it is much better to give up a way to get paid then have someone think ill of you. 


Without securing your lien rights, you can only sue the company you're contracted with (your customer).   But if I secure lien rights, I can bless everyone with my attention.  For all intents and purposes, it locks up the property, your lien has to be dealt with in some fashion, whether it is bonded around, paid, sold subject to, or foreclosed.  A lien gives you security in the property.  Suddenly, you’re important!  


Moral is:  If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy.  My issue of non-payment is now everyone’s issue.  I have just significantly increased my odds of getting paid. 


Lien waivers:

Let’s get the definition out of the way:  A lien waiver is a legally binding document from contractor, sub-contractor, material supplier or other party to the construction process stating they have received payment and waive any future lien rights to the property reference therein. 


Simple, straightforward?  Let’s talk about the painful, the unbelievable and the pleasurable.  There are four types of lien waivers:


1.     Conditional Progress (Releases all claim rights to file a lien once payment has been made and cleared the bank)

2.     Conditional Final (see above)

3.     Unconditional Progress (see below)

4.     Unconditional Final (Generally releases all rights to place a lien on the property. 

It is immaterial if the payment check has been returned or stopped.  Only use this release when you are positive all your work is done and the check has cleared the bank.)


The first two are safer for you, the second two are safer for the owner.  So why do you care?  You want to get paid!  You don’t want to give up rights you didn’t intend to.  If you sign a waiver without getting paid you most likely just gave up your right to any legal recourse. 


DO NOT sign an unconditional waiver without having been paid and the payment has cleared the bank.  Give a conditional if you have to give something.  If you are being asked to sign an unconditional or the customer is stating they will take their business elsewhere, it will come down to a business decision. 




To quote the words of the late Robin Williams, “Carpe Per Diem—Seize the check”!!  What else do you need to know about the much asked for but seldom understood lien waiver?  Plenty! 


Did you know? 

1.     A nationwide standard lien waiver form does not exist. 

2.     Terms & conditions are often included in the waiver – things like indemnity, guarantees of work, liability, warranty, etc.

3.     12 of 50 states at this time has some sort of language/requirements in their statutes regarding waivers.  Things that have to be on the form, right down to the font size. 


How painful can it be?  How many of you have received a lien waiver that you absolutely did not understand.  It was like a Shakespeare play.  Did you take time to read it?  I have received tons of waivers over the years and what some companies stick in there is mindboggling.  And frankly, entertaining.  Waivers asking for certification of work being properly performed, indemnity, subordination of lien rights to a third party, personal liability for the signing party, waiving rights to retainage or change orders, demanding an unconditional before work is complete and payment is issued, waiving rights to make claims for change orders, extra work, disputed items or retainage. 


There is a short list but it gives you an idea of what I am talking about.  So a document that was supposed to be a simple straightforward “Yes, we got paid, I am not going to lien your property” has become a catch all liability wish list.  Any language in the waiver that puts restraints and liability on your company is unacceptable.  Limit the language to the amount of money received and the date it is through. 

I promised you pleasure so where is it says you? Language on the wavier should be fair and reasonable.  In other words, KISS—Keep it simple stupid.  Keep in mind what the document is.  It is simply a waiver for payment through a fixed date.   Nothing more, nothing less.   It doesn’t ask for the meaning of life and indemnification of the world.  It only purpose is to acknowledge the receipt & clearance of payment through a set date on a specific project. 


To tie it up:

1.      Limit the number of people in your company with are authorized to sign off on a lien waiver. 

2.     Have a standard company lien waivers, approved by your attorney, you can use in place of what you receive.

3.     Use conditional lien waivers until payment has cleared the bank. 



If business was a game, contracts would be the rules of the game.  It is another place where money leaks out of your profitability.  Bottom line on contracts:  read them – the whole thing - boring as they are.  Make a highlighter pen your friend.  I mark all kinds of stuff up. That contact is not an ancient sacred text.  You will not remember what you saw that bugged you.  High light it.   Have an addendum if you would prefer, just like you would for lien waivers or joint checks, that outlines what you are agreeing to and make sure it supercedes any other contract. 



What are you and your trusty highlighter pen looking for?  Plenty.  A quick rundown of the killer clauses:


1.     Contingency payment:  This provides that the GC is under no obligation to pay the sub any $$ until and unless the GC gets paid by the owner.  Otherwise known as pay when or pay if clauses

2.     No damages for disruption – basically means that while the sub is not entitled to a claim for delay damages, the sub can have an extension of time.  They read something like this:  Sub agrees to waive all claims & shall receive no compensation for delays, hindrances, disruption or interference with it’s’ work.  So yes, everything is your fault.

3.     Agree to work when not getting paid:  If you can afford it awesome.  If not, you will want progress payments.  ALWAYS reserve the right to walk off the job and stop the work if you are not getting paid.

4.     Indemnification:  I hate this one.  This is just a contractual method of dumping legal liability from one party to another.  Under this jewel, one party agrees to step into another’s place and accept legal liability for that party’s actions- usually including that party’s negligence or wrongful acts.  Nope, I am only responsible for my own company’s stupid, not yours and the entire jobs. 

5.     Additional insured:  this is a sneaky little way to “back door” the indemnification by having the sub add the GC and other contractors as “additional insureds” on their liability insurance.  If there is a claim, your insurance premiums go up.

6.     No waivers by reference incorporation:  Another sneaky way to tie you up.  This would be lien waivers, payment waivers, or reference tying you to the original contract between the owner and GC.

7.     Dispute resolution:  Make sure you are not agreeing to something crazy.  Like the architect being the arbitrator, judge and jury.  Look for mediation vs. arbitration and how and who chooses the mediator or arbitrator.  Binding or non-binding.  You want it to be fair. 


If you take away nothing else from this article remember these three things.  READ everything you are asked to sign.  Ask, if you don’t understand it, doesn’t make sense or you don’t agree.  Men are terrible at this, ya’ll are always afraid people will think you are not smart.  Be smart enough to know what you don’t know.  Get your own forms so you have them when you need them.  You can find tons of them on the internet, something for everyone.  Get someone in your office to be the expert of these.  Your profit is your responsibility so stop trusting other’s to be responsible for it.  



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Crashing the Glass Ceiling - Women are Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Roofing Industry

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 6, 2017

Crashing The Glass Ceiling

Women are Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Roofing Industry


Courtesy of: Roofing Contractor Magazine

Roofing is an overwhelmingly male occupation. Whether contractor or crew, the guys who work in roofing are just that: guys.

Women in roofing are so rare they’re almost non-existent. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has done some informal surveys, said 2015-16 President Lindy Ryan, and found that somewhere between two and 10 percent of roofing employees are women. National construction statistics, which include roofing contracting as part of the building occupations category, put the number of hard-hatted women at less than 10 percent.

But the number of women in roofing is increasing, and through organizations such as National Women in Roofing (NWiR), which boasts 500 members, they are finding their voice in the industry. From the manufacturing plant to roofing company management positions, women are gradually becoming more visible.

Like their male counterparts, women come to roofing from different backgrounds and with a range of goals and ambitions.


Diverse Influences

Ryan, the first woman in history to lead NRCA and a founding member of NWiR, has more than 25 years of construction management experience. Now a senior vice president at Tecta America Corporation, a nationwide commercial roofing contractor, in Sanford, FL, she once owned her own construction business and holds a Florida roofing contractors license.

Considered a trailblazer, she describes herself as “old school.”

She still lives in the town where she grew up – Orange City, Fla. – and has a cat named Jake. Her mom grew up there, too.

“I went to the same elementary school that she went to,” Ryan said, “and I graduated from the same high school that my mom graduated from, 21 years later. I've lived there my entire life except for my time in college, which was in Orlando at the University of Central Florida.”

Her parents were major influences in her career. “My dad gave me confidence that I could do anything,” she said. “My mom taught me to believe in myself. They have always been my biggest supporters.”

After graduating in 1980 with a degree in business, Ryan went on to obtain her real estate license and later her broker’s license. In 1997, she became a state certified roofing contractor. She started at Tecta America in 2005 after the company bought her construction business, General Works LLC.

During her time in the construction and roofing industry, she has been active in the NRCA, serving on a number of committees, including technical operations and government relations. Also interested in legal issues related to roofing, Ryan is a supporter of ROOFPAC, the NRCA’s political action committee, and a former president of the National Roofing Legal Resource Center.

On the other hand, Missy Miller, plant manager at the Atlas Roofing manufacturing facility in Hampton, GA, grew up around construction supplies.

“My dad had a hardware and lumber company growing up (in Florence, AL),” she said. “I actually remember running across the tops of the Atlas shingles he stored under his sheds when I was little.”

Her other influences include her coaches – “I played a lot of sports growing up and have always thrived in team and individual competition,” she said – and her grandfather, a former chemical engineer for the TVA who always tried to help her with her homework.

In college, she studied chemical engineering because, she said, “I was always good in science and math. I wanted to do something challenging in school, so I chose chemical engineering from the beginning. I remember my sister trying to talk me out of it, but for some reason I had made my mind up.”

Miller, who has been with Atlas since June 2014, began her career at a company that made fabrics for automobile seats and decorative upholstery. She next moved on to a sheetrock plant and then to Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, where she was a quality manager and later a quality and process engineer for the glass mat operations. Glass mat is a primary component of asphalt shingles and Atlas was one of her customers.

“Just about every manufacturing process has a chemical component,” said Miller, whose specialty is process engineering, or finding ways to improve the manufacturing process.

At Atlas, she directs the operation of the plant with an eye toward making quality products in the most cost-effective way possible.

Like Miller, Brooke Ivey has roofing in the blood and like Ryan, is still part of the area where she grew up. She started working summers at her father’s company, Ben Hill Renovations in Douglasville, Ga., when she was in middle school. Later, the job helped her save up for her first car.

Now residential coordinator/marketing for the company, she never planned to make roofing a career.

“I went to college as an early childhood education major,” she said. But she loved working at Ben Hill while she was in school, helping the accountant enter accounts payable in the ledgers, doing filing and answering the phones. Then she began helping with marketing and designing the company’s business literature.

“That’s when I decided to change my major to business marketing, she said. “I kept working part time until I graduated and then I worked there full time after college. I've been there ever since. Now, I have gained more responsibilities and co-manage the residential department and hope to take over once my dad retires.”


One Of The Guys

Being a woman in a man’s field, Ivey not only had gender dynamics to deal with, she also had family issues.

“First I had to earn all the guys’ respect and prove to them I was there for the long haul,” she said. “I had an added challenge being the owner's daughter. We all know what comes with that.

“Now 10 years later, I don't run into that so much. We have a great, solid team and we all work together great – though sometimes people on the phone are surprised to speak with a younger woman.”

For Miller, who went into manufacturing immediately after college, dealing with the guys was difficult. She soon learned to adjust.

“I had to learn to take emotion out of the equation and stick to the facts and data,” she said.

“I believe that women have a harder time gaining credibility, whether real or imagined. I have worked in places where women were treated as inferior and where women were treated as equals. It is hard for me personally as I still feel like I have to prove myself sometimes, but I am very blessed to work with the group I do now. Atlas has been nothing but supportive, and that has been invaluable to me.”

Ryan’s experience, though positive and rewarding, still entailed some lessons.

“I’m thankful and blessed to have spent my career with so many smart, visionary men,” she said. “Have there been challenges? Sure. They were part of the learning experience. I had to learn how to be strong enough and not become a witch.

“Primarily, men want to work with people who are strong, have an opinion and conviction, but are not difficult. I don’t believe I face any challenges that men don’t face.  We’re all in this together.”


A Path For Others To Follow

Figuring out how to stand toe-to-toe with the guys is crucial for women who want a successful career in a male-dominated field. Knowing one’s worth and contribution to the company may be equally important.

“Learn where you can contribute and make a difference,” Miller advised women coming up on the manufacturing side.

“It wasn’t until about four years into being a manufacturing engineer that I learned that I could really save the company a lot of money and that I was good at the process details. I was able to gain confidence and step into new roles and thrive. Do not be afraid to speak up and also ask a lot of questions.”

Men actually like working with women, Ryan said. “Women think differently, and that difference can sometimes be a game changer.”

For their part, women need to be genuine, she said, as well as team players who should seek out or build a good team to work with. Also, she said, “be prepared, learn as much as you can, be pleasant, laugh, look and act the part, don’t second-guess yourself and believe in yourself.”

Finally, Ivey’s counsel is brief and to the point – and underpins any other career-building suggestions for women or men: if you want to make a go of it, stick with it.


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Dry, Safe & Secure - Home Gets New Metal Roof to Ward of Elements in Reno, Nevada

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Dry, Safe & Secure

Home Gets New Metal Roof to Ward of Elements in Reno, Nevada


Courtesy of: Western Roofing Magazine, Marcus Dodson

Homeowners who get over 50 years of service life out of a wood shake residential roof are getting their money’s worth. That’s what happened recently in Northern Nevada. During the last few years of roof life there were problems: curling, missing shingles after a wind, and then the inevitable leaks began. It was clearly time for a new roof.

The Reno, Nevada, homeowners did some research. Since the Reno/Tahoe area had been prone to lightning-caused fires in recent years, they needed a Class A roof. Freeze/thaw is also a concern in this climate, and they further wanted a roofing system that would help keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. After looking into tile and fiberglass laminated shingles, they chose to go in a different direction. Decra® Villa Tile was chosen for it's classic beauty, elegance, and architectural detail of an old world Italian tile.

Steve Gubera, regional manager Pacific Northwest for Decra, said, "It is always a compliment when Decra is chosen by homeowners who have looked at many different roofing products. I feel the Decra Villa Tile was a great choice for this project not only for its appearance, but also for its performance. The location of the project is at the base of the Sierra Mountains, which gets extreme wind and weather.

Decra has nearly 60 years of experience with performance in extreme weather conditions all over the world." Decra panels are structural grade steel, with a minimum tensile strength of 52 KSI. They are rigid enough to tolerate reasonable loads, while allowing profile designs without the risks of cracking or significant elastic recovery. The Decra Roofing Systems' design allows for roofing panels that contain numerous protective layers. Each of these layers serves the dual function of protection or adhesion for the next processing step.

The multi-layer steel panels are topped off with ceramic-coated granules and an overglaze. D&D Roofing & Sheetmetal, Sparks, Nevada, was the roofing contractor selected for this project. Rich Borden of D&D Roofing stated that, “Our crews like working with Decra. The quality of the material is consistently good and the interlocking panels go down smoothly. Homeowners really like the Decra product line. The realistic look and depth of the panels complement custom and high-end projects.” D&D chose to get a Premium Report from EagleView® Technologies.

"The reports from EagleView make it easier for our estimators and speed up the time it takes to get our bid to the homeowner. With the report, we get aerial imagery, a 3D diagram of the roof, and accurate measurements of ridges, valleys, eaves, as well as the area," explained Borden. While not required, the homeowners elected to have the panels installed on battens, further increasing the airflow. The system also does not require a roof tear-off, but the homeowners chose to do so. New plywood decking was installed where needed, followed by Feltex® synthetic underlayment, with CertainTeed® Winterguard(TM) HT peel and stick underlayment at the eaves and valleys. Next, the wood battens were applied, followed by the Decra metal roof panels and bird stops. The 6,500 sq.ft. roof also had two small skylights and one large skylight that had to be custom built. New gutters all around completed the project.

The Villa Tile profile that was selected for this project mimics a tile roof look, but is a fraction of the weight. The design of the Villa Tile reduces heated air entering an attic space. The barrels are 3-1/4" high, providing an offset from the roof deck, which contributes to the continuous airflow across the deck and helps to pull the heated air away from the attic. Less heated air in the attic equates to less stress on the cooling system, and lower energy consumption. In addition to being energy efficient, each panel is made from steel, which is durable and has upwards of 25% post-consumer recycled steel content. The Villa Tile installation was straightforward, with clean edges, smart elements, and natural color variations. The steel-coated panels look like clay tile from the street, but weigh much less than other roofing materials.

They are Class 4 impact resistant, freeze/thaw resistant, and steel is a non-combustible, Class A rated material. "Decra Villa Tile has no exposed fasteners, and comes with a Lifetime Limited warranty as well as a 120 mph wind warranty so the roof should be able to withstand anything Mother Nature throws at it. From an environmental point of view, steel is the most recycled product in the world. Decra is also compatible with water recovery systems due to the fact that nothing harmful washes off the roof as the product ages," stated Gubera. With this hidden fastener system, the panels are low maintenance and walkable.

While originally scheduled to be finished within a couple weeks, the project took almost two months to complete. This was due to weather delays and the need to fabricate the large custom skylight. Despite the delays, the homeowners remained content with the quality and progress of the work. They are pleased with the look and security of their new roof and now have one less thing to worry about the next time severe weather hits Northern Nevada.


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Budgeting Time - Know How To Get What You Need

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Budgeting Time

Know How To Get What You Need



Courtesy of: Western Roofing Magazine, Heidi Ellsworth


(Editor's Note:  Heidi J. Ellsworth, a graduate of the University of Portland, has been 

working in the roofing industry since 1993.  Having held positions with EagleView® 

Technology Corporation, Carlisle Construction Materials, Eco-Star™, and Malarkey 

Roofing Products®, Ellsworth is now the founder of the roofing-focused marketing 

firm, HJE Consulting Group.)

At the end of every summer there is that one morning when you can smell fall in the air.  It can be a sad moment that heralds the end of a summer of roofing success.  For me, it also signifies budget time.  Fall is the time to begin preparing for the new year.  As a roofing contractor, there are many things that you should be doing to prepare.

The first is to make sure that you review your current year-to-date financials.  How have you done with marketing this year?  Are you over or under budget?  Do you have a budget?  Tracking dollars that are spent on marketing is very important.

Let’s start with those who may not have a marketing budget.  As we move towards the new year, it is important to identify what has been spent on marketing to help build a new year budget.  This is going to include everything you do to brand and market your company to the public.  Categories may include: printing and collateral production, for items such as truck magnets, door hangers, etc.; memberships for associations and civic groups; home shows, such as exhibit space and graphics production; subscriptions for email software and other services; freelancers for website creation/maintenance, graphic design, and writing; technology costs for websites, social media, and customer relationship management; and digital and traditional advertising, such as ad words, television, and radio.  Once you have looked at the past, take the time to look at the future.  Gather your leadership team and talk about the new year and what you hope to accomplish.  By reviewing future goals, you can start creating an overall budget to support those plans.

As the marketing budget comes together, there may be an overall concern on how you are going to make this work.  There are many ways to creatively fund your marketing budget for overall success.  Right now, as you are working on your marketing budget, so are your manufacturers and distributors.  They are looking at certified contractor programs, reward programs, and business building opportunities.  Fall is the best time to get with them to sign up for next year’s promotions.

If you are already signed up, do not forget to take advantage of your year-end rewards.  Every major manufacturer has programs for business building support but many do not ask for it or follow-up with the paperwork.  It is worth the time to look at what type of marketing tools and services are provided.  In fact, it is not just at the end of the year when these are available.  Your marketing budget can be supplemented all year long by using manufacturer services, discounts, and opportunities.

Talk to your suppliers about cooperative advertising programs that will contribute dollars toward marketing initiatives that include their logo.  There are different guidelines for what is covered and there might be reporting required, but this is free marketing money.  In many cooperative programs, contractors earn dollars based on material purchases or warranties sold.  These same programs will often see those dollars expire at the end of the year.  

There are also manufacturers that will design and provide co-branded materials for you to use in presentations and marketing efforts.  They may offer technology to support your needs, including search engine optimization services, website support, sales apps, and much more.  All you need to do is ask your sales representative and they can give you details of their program.  

Finally, be sure to look to all your local vendors for the best value, which is not necessarily always the best price.  Marketing and advertising can be expensive, but there are many ways to supplement what you are doing with value ads.  Value ads include free extras that can help promote your message and brand further than traditional advertising.  An example would be if you advertise with TV or radio, they might also be able to do video production, events, and sponsorships.  They should also have an active web and social media presence where they can highlight your company.  Look at what other advertisers are doing and ask for the same.

Budgeting is critical for marketing success.  Take the time to think about what you want and how you are going to accomplish it.  I find that working on a marketing plan first, setting goals, and really determining the brand and culture of your company makes the budgeting process much easier.  So, take the time now to look back at the year and forward to 2018.  Working with your leadership team, mentors, and advisors to develop a strong marketing plan and budget now will mean additional success in the year to come.


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A Historic Reroofing Project

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

A Historic Reroofing Project

Restoration of 120-Year-Old Steep Roof in Belvedere, California


Courtesy of: Western Roofing Magazine, Michael Russo

It took a wise property owner and a trusted contractor to complete a highly complex reroof while honoring the memory of one of California’s most successful turn-of- the-century architects. In 1898, Albert Farr designed a single building of two-story cottages in Belvedere, California, with a dramatic 18:12 roof pitch reminiscent of the grand English manor houses of the time. Farr designed what was dubbed The Farr Cottages before he reached 30, but according to architectural historian Bradley Wiedmaier, never received the full credit he deserved.

There’s little doubt Farr would have appreciated the care and concern shown to the cottages built directly off the San Francisco Bay when it came time to reroof them. He may also have looked on the scaffolding system built by Ken Cooper Roofing, San Rafael, California, as an engineering marvel in his time. President Ken Cooper spent three years cultivating this 114-squares reroof before it went out to bid. Along with their reputation, Cooper’s detailed presentation of the cost, job layout, and completion date earned him this prestigious project. Keenly aware of the building’s condition, the client acted quickly when 20-year-old fiber cement shakes began blowing off the roof.

The shingles had absorbed moisture and had begun to fall apart under the high winds and heavy rains that commonly come off the San Francisco Bay in midwinter. Estimating the job alone had to be a nightmare, as the work encompassed 94 roof facets that forced Cooper’s six-man crew to start the job 94 times. “We were probably getting 300 sq.ft. of shingles, hip, ridge, and flashing installed on a good day,” says operations manager Kyle Cooper. Prior to this, Kyle constructed an elaborate, multilevel scaffolding system that enveloped the entire building at the eave line and even extended into the Bay at high tide.

The five-unit building sports five docks leading to the water. With all of the tenants occupying their residential suites during reroofing, the early job planning centered on the safety of the tenants and Ken Cooper Roofing’s crew. Pedestrian canopies were set up all around the building to allow pedestrian traffic and tenants safe access to their units. Three strategically located ramps led to dump trucks at curbside, which allowed the roofing crew to efficiently dispose of roofing waste. As luck would have it, the property owner had recently supplied its tenants with exotic Ipe wood decking.

So, Ken Cooper Roofing installed a protective board over all deck areas before setting up the scaffolding to avoid scratching the costly material underneath. The contractor went to bid without knowing the full condition of the plywood deck. But thanks to the client’s decisive action to reroof in a timely fashion, the plywood was still in good condition. However, the condition of the existing copper valleys and flashings was less desirable. Nail penetrations through the materials convinced Ken to replace all the copper flashings. “As the project includes a GAF Golden Pledge® Limited Warranty, we wanted to construct a new flashing system from scratch,” says Ken Cooper, president, Ken Cooper Roofing.

“The copper pipe flashings and copper valleys were probably the toughest to produce due to the 18:12 pitch.” GAF WeatherWatch® Leak Barrier was installed where roofs are most prone to leakage. These vulnerable areas include valleys, dormers, plumbing vents, wall flashings, pipe penetrations, and chimneys. The Farr Cottages also had a number of copper roof vents dispersed throughout the field of the roof. These were removed and the penetration holes covered with new plywood. Next, the contractor installed 415' of continuous 9" Cobra® Exhaust Vents at the ridges to allow greater ventilation performance.

Finally, GAF Pro-Start® Eave/Rake Starter Strip Shingles were installed at the eave and rake edges for added protection against wind-drive rain. The company says it was rewarding to be selected to reroof such a high-profile project, and Ken Cooper Roofing has already received several calls for roof estimates in Belvedere. “It was also special that a family-owned business like ours was chosen by such a well-regarded local developer," concludes Cooper.


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Roofing Companies Form Asphalt Underlayment Council

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Roofing Companies Form Asphalt Underlayment Council


Courtesy of: Roofing Magazine

Four roofing companies—CarlisleGardner-GibsonMaryland Paper and Mid-States Asphalt—have formed the Asphalt Underlayment Council (AUC), a new industry association developed to cultivate the long-term success of underlayment products for building envelope applications for both residential and commercial structures.

This new group’s Interim Executive Council was instrumental in identifying the need for an industry council that supports the standardization of underlayment product quality, performance and integrity. Current AUC members include Owens CorningPolyglass USAMule-Hide ManufacturingGMC Roofing & Building PaperGAP RoofingWarrior Roofing Manufacturingand GAF

“With the introduction of new types of roofing underlayment products, it was felt that an industry group was needed to monitor, administer and contribute to product standards,” noted AUC Executive Director Michelle Miller.

Because standards and requirements for roof repair, reroofing, roof recovering and replacement often lack clarification within the definition of underlayment, AUC’s inaugural technical committee will focus on code classifications and industry regulations.

“The pathways to code compliance vary depending on the product type,” said John Woestman, AUC’s technical director. “The continuous influx of newly designed products and ever-evolving regulations requires a strong knowledge base with deep understanding of the codes prevalent in this industry.”

Bringing regulatory issues to light through educational initiatives and industry outreach will be accomplished through raising awareness and advocacy. AUC will actively assist in the development of building codes to ensure the high performance of roofing systems in the future.

“We will work directly with installers and contractors who may not be aware of the various product categories that are occurring in the underlayment industry,” said Robert Almon, AUC Interim Executive Council member. “Understanding the nuances of underlayment as well as discerning codes and comprehending code compliance are vital. With our combined historical experience, AUC is in a prime position to ensure all the issues surrounding underlayment are addressed through a range of resources from an engaged council, committees and membership to a vibrant website that will be launched soon, growing media outreach, literature development and ongoing educational opportunities.”

The group welcomes roofing underlayment firms to join AUC to work to make these important initiatives viable and sustainable. To learn more about the Asphalt Underlayment Council or to ask about membership, email or call (847) 686-2243.


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Common Financial Mistakes Roofing Contractors Make

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Common Financial Mistakes Roofing Contractors Make

As a contractor, you call all the plays, make all the decisions and drive the business.


Courtesy of: Roofing Contractor Magazine, Monroe Porter

It’s funny how some things have changed in the last 40 years regarding contractors but much hasn’t. When I started consulting in 1976, the biggest single problem contractors had was not knowing their numbers and having poor financial information. That’s still true today. The vast majority of contractors who join our networking groups have a poor understanding of where they make and lose money. In many cases, some simple evaluations quickly identify weak areas. Dependent on the business’s size, the contractor can suddenly make 30-75k more profit per year. Here are some of the more common financial mistakes we see contractors making.

Poor Financial Records

Many small to mid-size contractors let their accountants keep all their financial records off-site. They’re processing payroll, making tax deposits, etc. but the contractor’s on-site records aren’t updated or usable on a monthly basis. I always chuckle when I ask a contractor how they’re doing and the reply is, “Not sure, haven’t gotten my books back from my accountant.” Accounting is merely scorekeeping. It would be absurd to ask the basketball coach at halftime how the team is doing and have him reply, “I’m not sure, I have to talk to the scorekeeper.” As a contractor, you call all the plays, make all the decisions and drive the business, and you need good financial information to make those decisions.

Failure to Close Out Monthly Financials

Bookkeepers see the financials as balanced when the checkbook balances. The month is balanced when all jobs are closed and jobs in progress are calculated. It’s not uncommon for a contractor to show huge month-to-month swings regarding profitability. Usually this is a sign of poor monthly closeouts. A quick check on this is to compare your raw cost of field labor to total sales. If your labor normally runs about 25 percent of sales and this month it’s 50 percent of sales, you either have big losses or sales that weren’t billed into this month. If your labor is normally 25 percent and this month it’s 10 percent, you either have a big winning job or, more likely, last month’s sales carried over into this month.

Poor Wealth Distribution

Even financially successful contractors make mistakes. Too many contractors fail to diversify and build financial wealth outside the business. Even if you have a nice business facility that’s valuable, it’s still real estate that’s tied to the business. Many contractors believe they’ll sell their business and use the money for retirement; rarely is this the case. Even if you sell your business, you’ll probably have to help finance the sale, particularly if it’s to internal employees or family members. You also face the challenge of getting your equity out of the business. The bigger the business, the larger the equity, the greater the challenge.

Try to maximize retirement and build wealth outside the business. Consider hiring a certified financial planner to help you diversify your wealth. When hiring a financial planner, always ask how they’re paid for their services. Some stock brokers and insurance agents claim to be financial planners but are biased toward their own products. 

Confusing Cash with Profits

Cash can be an emotional and misleading indicator of business success. When we were kids, having cash let us go to the movies or buy something — thereby making us feel good. Cash shortages in the business creates stress as we have to make payroll and having cash makes us feel safe. Unfortunately, cash isn’t a good measurement of profits.

For example, when business slows in the fall, you might have lots of cash as you’re collecting money for jobs you just finished and don’t have as much money going out on new jobs. Cash is flowing in but the business might actually be unprofitable that month. The opposite happens in the spring, when you’re outlaying cash to start work and haven’t gotten paid for it yet. Cash is a little like pulling a trailer. It will follow you and come in just fine as long as you’re charging enough, getting jobs done on time and working for people who will pay you. 

Cash is a business tool that helps keep the wheels of the business oiled. It’s not a profit measurement. With this in mind, make sure all your financial statements are run accrual and not in cash. If your accountant does your taxes in cash, that’s okay but don’t use cash statements to evaluate your business profitability. Cash statements don’t include bills you haven’t paid and accounts receivable. In others words, it doesn’t include what you owe others and what others owe you, so cash results can be very misleading. Most accounting software has a simple button to push that offers the option of running a cash versus an accrual statement.

These are just a few of the financial problems contractors encounter. If you’d like to discuss your own situation, please feel free to reach me via the contact information below. There’s no charge to answer a few questions over the phone.


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