How To Create Advocates — Not Adversaries

Everyone we come in contact with can either help us achieve our goals, or create obstacles. The outcome is dependent on how we engage with them. When we are looking to grow our business, we interact with many people in many different roles. How we see them informs how we choose to deal with them. If we are wrong, we can hurt our growth.

Everyone we meet is not a prospect. There, I said it. Moreover, it is really dangerous to assume that everyone is a potential customer. When we believe that everyone we encounter is a possible client, we approach them from that direction. We decide our communication structure based on that belief. The problem with this belief is that most of the people we meet are not potential customers. So, we are instantly alienating people instead of attracting them.

The truth is that no one likes being treated like a “kill.” We are better off not even thinking about our business when we interact with people. That way we are more interested in finding out who they are than we are in telling them about our product or service. It is that curiosity that will help us build relationships.

Consider it this way — throughout our travels we will meet all sorts of people. Some will be colleagues. Others will be referral sources and resources for our connections. Others still will be conduits to our prospective clients. And, of course, some will become clients. That array of possibilities speaks to the value of leading with curiosity and respect.

The more advocates we have in our business, the easier it will be to grow. When you call to speak with a prospect or stop by to see a prospect, everyone you encounter can either help you or hurt you. The gatekeeper can be one of your greatest supporters or they can keep you from getting in to see the prospect. The receptionist can patch you through or keep you out.

The people you meet at networking events can become great resources for you and your business or they can simply be people you meet. The beauty is that you get to choose the result because you choose how you interact.

Let’s break it down.

Networking

When you are networking, you can choose how you approach people. When you decide to be curious about the people you meet you are out of sales brain. That’s good! Being curious allows you to be fully present. You will be listening and learning. You will be determining who you want to continue to build relationships with. And you will be someone other people want to get to know.

What you won’t be doing is selling. You won’t be telling other people about your product or service. You won’t be trying to gain a client. And, you won’t be disregarding people you think aren’t prospective clients.

When you attend networking events looking for clients, you dismiss anyone you think doesn’t look like a prospective client. And when you do that, you miss out on discovering resources and referral partners. It’s a very shortsighted strategy. Remember, you need a variety of connections in your business community in order to be successful.

Prospecting

When you reach out to a person or company to make a connection you are probably not going to speak with the decision maker first. Most likely you will have to go through a receptionist, assistant, or connection. How you interact with them will have a direct impact on your ability to get to the right person.

Their job is to ensure the people they support are not interrupted unnecessarily. You aren’t the only person seeking a conversation. If the gatekeeper let everyone in, the decision maker would never get anything done.

Decide to engage with the initial contact with respect for their responsibilities and workload. Too often salespeople take this blocking personally. However, it has nothing to do with the salesperson. It has to do with the responsibilities the receptionist/assistant/connection has in their role. When salespeople realize they can actually help these folks become allies and advocates, the whole conversation changes. You need that gatekeeper in your corner. So, figure out how you can first be in their corner. How can you help them? Stop seeing them as an adversary. Take the time to build a relationship with them. That’s how you will gain access to the decision maker.

Elsewhere

Wherever you go you are building a reputation. It’s your decision whether that reputation is good or bad. Whenever you interact with people they are creating a view of you and your company. They are deciding whether you are someone they want in their world or not. Realizing you need as many advocates as possible can help you decide how you will interact with everyone. Build the best reputation you can. That reputation should be one of problem solver, helper, giver. The more you show up as someone who is more interested in helping others than in gaining business, the more attractive you will be. And the more business you will gain.

Everyone is not a potential client. Potential clients are not the only people worth speaking to. Other people can directly impact your ability to grow your business. Remembering these things will help frame how you engage as you venture out on your business building journey. Seek to gain advocates. It’s the best way to avoid gaining adversaries.

About the author: Diane Helbig is a leadership and business development advisor helping business owners around the world. She is the author of Lemonade Stand Selling, Expert Insights, and Succeed Without ‘Selling,’ as well as the host of the “Accelerate Your Business Growth” podcast. For more information, visit www.seizethisday.co.

How to Prepare Your Company for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Audit

Although President Trump’s attempts to pass sweeping immigration reform have been largely unsuccessful, since his inauguration there has been a sharp increase in enforcement of current immigration policies in the workplace. One such policy is that employers verify that all employees are authorized to work in the United States. Since 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) requires employers to verify work authorization by reviewing each employee’s identification documents and completing (and retaining) Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (Forms I-9).

Enforcement of IRCA is largely accomplished through the initiation of I-9 audits conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to the National Law Review, in 2018, the number of audits conducted increased by more than 400 percent, from 1,360 in 2017 to 5,981 in 2018.

What Is an ICE Audit?

During an ICE audit, ICE officials are legally permitted to examine Forms I-9 for compliance and determination of fines or other criminal penalties for violations. ICE audits may be initiated based on tips from various sources, but companies are also subject to being randomly selected from a national database of employers.

In most circumstances, an ICE audit begins when an ICE agent arrives at the workplace and delivers a Notice of Inspection (NOI). Upon receipt of a NOI, the company is provided with three days to respond. In some circumstances, with good reason, an extension to respond may be granted. After the three-day period, or any extension, the employer is required to produce for inspection Forms I-9 for all active employees and any employees terminated within the retention period. (Forms I-9 must be retained for certain periods even after an employee is terminated or leaves a position.) ICE officials may arrive on site to conduct an inspection or investigation. While on site, ICE officials cannot enter non-public areas of a building or speak with employees on the premises unless the officers have a warrant or the employer’s consent, unless certain circumstances exist to permit further investigation without a warrant, subpoena, or the employer’s consent.

Preparing for an Audit

The key to preparing for a potential ICE audit is to be proactive. One of the most effective ways for an employer to prepare for an ICE audit is to conduct an independent self-audit to ensure they are in order and in compliance with all requirements. An employer may choose to perform the internal audit or hire counsel to do so. Hiring independent counsel that specializes in this area of the law to perform the audit provides the employer with several benefits. Counsel can walk the employer through the audit process, determine any deficiencies that exist, and prevent the possibility of any deficiencies being covered up by staff members or other employees. Performing self-audits not only gives employers an opportunity to identify errors, omissions, or other deficiencies, but is also evidence of a good faith effort on the part of the employer to make all reasonable efforts to comply with the requirements.

Employers should prepare to take immediate action to correct any deficiencies a self-audit reveals. Forms I-9 should never be backdated, as that evidences an attempt to willfully and intentionally deceive government officials. Deficiencies should be corrected in a conspicuous manner. Use a different color ink to indicate a correction and have the person making the correction initial it. In addition, the internal audit process should be adequately documented. For example, attach a memorandum to the deficient Form I-9 identifying the deficiency discovered and the steps taken by the employer to correct it.

In addition to performing an internal self-audit, employers should always review or establish sound policies and procedures for completing Forms I-9 and maintaining adequate records. Employers should always exercise due diligence when making employment decisions to ensure that each employee is compliant.

Here are a few quick methods to avoid or reduce exposure:

  • Ensure that there is a Form I-9 on file for every active employee.
  • Ensure all reverifications are completed where an employee’s work authorization has expired and form a schedule for ensuring that reverification is completed timely.
  • Maintain copies of identity and work eligibility documents.

In any event, hiring independent legal counsel will prepare employers for any potential ICE audits and provide employers with an additional layer of protection should the employer receive a NOI. Introducing a systematic approach to records maintenance will make it simpler for internal audits and shield employers from the significant penalties IRCA imposes. Technical violations, those which are inadvertent or procedural, can carry fines between $230 to $2,292 for first-time violators. Fines for knowingly hiring, employing, or continuing to employ unauthorized workers are between $573 to $6,878 for first-time violators and can reach up to $20,130 for the third (or later) violation. In addition to civil penalties imposed for failing to comply with the provisions of IRCA, employers should be aware of potential criminal liability if ICE determines that the employer engaged in a pattern of hiring or recruiting undocumented workers.

Impact on the Construction Industry

In the midst of a nationwide shortage of skilled workers, many contractors are struggling to adhere to federal hiring requirements, exposing many employers to civil fines and criminal charges which would ultimately challenge their ability to survive.

It is important to note that both general contractors and subcontractors bear the same responsibilities when it comes to maintaining Forms I-9 documentation. General contractors should be further aware that they could be held responsible if a subcontractor fails to meet all requirements. Ultimately, liability depends on knowledge. If a general contractor or even a large subcontractor is aware that a lower-tier subcontractor is employing undocumented workers, they can be held liable as well. To prevent any issues regarding knowledge, contractors should always make proper inquiries into hiring and employment practices of subcontractors.

As previously discussed, it is critical that each employer implement and enforce sound employment and employee documentation policies to ensure compliance with all federal requirements. Hiring independent legal counsel can assist with identifying and rectifying any deficiencies which an employer is not even aware exist. Getting out in front of deficiencies is critical to avoid civil or criminal liability should an ICE official come knocking on the door.

About the author: Lindsey E. Powell is an attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC practicing in North Carolina and Georgia. Questions about this article can be directed to her at lpowell@andersonandjones.com. Author credit is also given to Keith A. Boyette, attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC who may be reached at kboyette@andersonandjones.com.

Author’s note: This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

State Sales Taxes Create Administrative Challenges for Contractors

As most of us know, taxes are among the few certainties we can expect in life.

And a look at state laws nationwide indicates that sales and use taxes in particular are having a moment, especially laws imposing sales tax on certain types of real property improvements and services. According to a 2015 publication by tax software provider Avalara, at least 18 states impose a sales tax on at least some services that are considered improvements to real property. These states include Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. States appear to be trending toward collecting sales taxes from end customers on materials, labor, repairs, and services associated with real property improvements.

The impact is not only an increase in construction costs for consumers, but will also push contractors to overcome administrative challenges and to keep their prices competitive in spite of additional tax costs they must impose on customers. As discussed below, this is especially true for contractors who do both taxable and non-taxable improvements. Anyone unsure of how their state’s law applies to their activities should consult with a CPA, tax attorney, or their state’s department of revenue.

What Services Are Taxable in my State?

Generally, most states have long imposed a sales tax on purchases of goods both on consumers and on businesses. The growing trend appears to be that some states are also imposing sales tax on certain services that may or may not be related to taxable goods. In at least a few states, the distinction between capital improvement projects and repair, installation and/or maintenance work is important. Often, contractors who perform work in both categories — work subject to sales tax and work that isn’t — can submit some type of affidavit or other paperwork in order to be excused from sales tax liability or from the responsibility to pass it to others. However, in many cases, the distinctions between taxable and non-taxable services is highly technical and can depend on the circumstances of the transaction in question.

In Florida, the distinction between “tangible personal property” and “real property” determines when contractors must charge sales tax to the end customer. Under the Florida Department of Revenue Rule 12A-1.006, if contractors furnish parts directly to customers, they must charge sales tax to customers both for the parts and for “adjusting, applying, installing, maintaining, remodeling, or repairing” tangible personal property. Section 192.001(11)(d) of the Florida statutes defines tangible personal property as “goods, chattels, and other articles of value … capable of manual possession and whose chief value is intrinsic to the article itself.” The statute defines “real property” to include “land, buildings, fixtures, and all other improvements to land.” Contractors performing labor to install permanent fixtures that constitute “real property” do not have to charge sales tax to their customers; contractors who will eventually charge their customers sales tax are entitled to purchase the materials as tax-exempt.

A Florida Department of Revenue online guide cites permanent carpeting, roofing, tile, and landscaping as example of “real property” improvements that are not subject to sales tax. However, the same guide states that “carpet” constitutes tangible personal property unless it becomes real property; this provision seems potentially confusing and likely requires flooring contractors to impose sales tax on some of their services but not others. Similarly, the guide states that “stepping stones” constitute tangible personal property; it would therefore seem that landscaping contractors are tasked with taxing some of their services but not others, as the guide generally lists landscaping work as a “real property” improvement.

In Ohio, contractors need to understand the legal distinction between “construction contracts,” which are not subject to customer sales tax, and “tangible personal property” contracts, which are. According to the Ohio Department of Revenue, tangible personal property becomes real property when it is permanently installed or affixed upon the real property pursuant to a construction contract. The Department specifically lists carpet, carpeting materials, and landscaping materials as tangible personal property. The Department advises that for transactions that are not construction contracts and that include the sale of tangible personal property (TPP) for sales tax purposes, contractors should present their vendors with a direct pay permit that will allow them to buy the materials tax free, charge customers sales tax, and then pay the sales tax to the state on a monthly basis.

New York and North Carolina require contractors and other service providers to charge customers sales taxes on the sales price of “repair, installation, and maintenance” work (commonly referred to as RIM), whereas “capital improvements” are not subject to sales tax. The New York Department of Taxation and Finance’s Publication 862 purports to give guidance to contractors and property owners on New York’s sales tax rules. It explains that “repair” and “maintenance” work — work done to keep real property in good working order, safe, or to restore it to a good and safe condition — is subject to sales tax. Publication 862 cites replacing damaged roof shingles, repairing a broken railing, and replacing a faucet as examples of RIM services that, along with the materials, are subject to sales tax. It goes on to discuss taxable installation services and provides that “freestanding appliances” like washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators are among items that, although installed, do not become a permanent part of the real property under New York law.

North Carolina law similarly sets forth particular activities that constitute RIM services — like “floor refinishing and the installation of carpet, flooring, floor coverings, windows, doors, cabinets, countertops, and other installations where the item being installed may replace a similar existing item … .” The repair or replacement of roofing, gutters, and flashing appears to fall squarely within North Carolina’s definition of RIM services for which contractors must charge their customers sales tax. North Carolina’s law — N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.3(33l) — goes on to say that RIM services that are part of a real property contracts for capital improvements are exempt from the sales tax.

“Capital improvements,” on the other hand, are not subject to sales tax in New York and North Carolina. In New York, whether a project constitutes capital improvement work appears to depend heavily on the particular circumstances; even the method of installation can affect how the work is taxed. For example, some projects that ordinarily would qualify as capital improvements are not considered capital improvements if a commercial tenant installs items as trade fixtures. Whether they are taxable depends on whether the intent is for the improvements to remain permanent. In North Carolina, capital improvements include new construction; work that requires a permit (with some exceptions); installation of equipment or fixtures that is “capitalized and depreciated”; paint or wallpaper not incidental to RIM services; landscaping; and HVAC unit or system installation or replacement.

How Is the Industry Being Impacted?

For many contractors performing RIM or other sales taxable work in one or more of these states, distinguishing which services are and aren’t subject to sales tax is only the first step. Contractors also need to comply with the requirements and, when applicable, take the administrative measures needed in order to avoid what is effectively double payment. When contractors buy goods and materials from wholesalers, they are generally responsible for paying sales tax at that time. Typically, though, the states that impose sales tax on RIM or other similar services don’t require contractors to pay sales tax on materials that will be used in transactions where the end customer will have to pay sales tax. In many states, including North Carolina and Ohio, contractors can submit a form E-595E and potentially be exempt from paying sales tax on goods they will eventually resell and assess taxes upon. But for those contractors who buy goods and materials to be used both for RIM and capital improvements — for example, roofers who perform both new construction and repair work in North Carolina — the logistics of keeping the purchases separate (and keeping two sets of books, essentially) might be too administratively costly to justify the tax savings.

Mike Tenoever is the president and owner of The Century Slate Company, a roofing construction company in Durham, North Carolina, and he also is a member of the Roofing Editorial Board. Tenoever stated that even though the new sales and use tax laws took effect in North Carolina in 2016, some general contractors don’t seem familiar with North Carolina’s affidavit of capital improvement form when he submits it — something that indicates that not everyone is complying with or aware of the new law yet. If that’s the case, then it would appear that contractors who aren’t complying with the law and charging sales tax to end customers would be gaining a competitive edge over contractors who are following the law and charging sales tax on projects that constitute RIM under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.3(33l).

Furthermore, requiring contractors to determine what materials and supplies for which they should pay sales tax versus for which ones to tax customers is burdensome and, at least in Tenoever’s case, has effectively resulted in double tax payment because purchasing capital-improvement materials and RIM materials separately from the same vendors has been too administratively burdensome for his company.

About the author: Caroline Trautman is an attorney with Oak City Law, LLP, based in Durham, North Carolina. Questions about this article can be directed to her at caroline@oakcitylaw.com.

Author’s note: This article does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice on any particular scenario. For specific advice, consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

The Top 40 Products of 2019

The following product roundup features the Top 40 products of the year, as chosen by the readers of Roofing magazine. The products were selected based on the number of reader requests for sales leads through the Reader Action Card in the print issue and the number of clicks on the website, www.RoofingMagazine.com, including those generated through our monthly e-newsletter. The product generating the most leads from each print issue is also featured as our “Roofers’ Choice” product, and the past year’s winners are also included here. If you have a new product you’d like us to consider for a future edition of our Materials & Gadgets section, please email Editor-in-Chief Chris King at chris@roofingmagazine.com.

Water-Repellent Sloping Material Promotes Positive Drainage

Polyglass U.S.A. Inc. launches Polyslope, a water-repellent, fiber-reinforced, cementitious compound designed to address standing water, promote positive drainage, and divert water off the roof. According to the manufacturer, the product is ready to use after adding water and mixing. Polyslope is mixed with 1.2 gallons to 1.3 gallons of water per 50-pound pail. It is easy to screed and paintable after 48 hours. www.Polyglass.us

Roof Vent Designed Specifically for Clothes Dryers

The DryerJack is the first roof termination specifically designed for the demanding needs of venting clothes dryers. Made in the USA of Galvalume and available powder coated in black, brown or white, DryerJacks feature a patented curved damper that meets code requirements and more, according to the company. To safely vent dryers, airflow restriction must be minimized to prevent lint blowback and the fire hazard that creates. A passageway of 21 square inches delivers nearly zero airflow restriction, allowing the dryer to operate at peak performance. www.DryerJack.com

Low-VOC Aerosol Contact Adhesive/Primer Applies Quickly

The new AeroWeb Low-VOC Aerosol Contact Adhesive/Primer from Mule-Hide Products Co. complies with VOC-related regulations in all 50 states. According to the manufacturer, the product delivers aggressive adhesion and a quick drying time while going on as much as 60 percent faster than traditional roller-applied adhesives. It can be used in a wide variety of applications, including adhering standard TPO and standard EPDM membranes to horizontal and vertical surfaces; adhering fleece back membranes to vertical surfaces; enhancing the bond between Mule-Hide F5 Air & Vapor Barrier and various substrates; and priming unexposed asphalt prior to applying Mule-Hide Helix Low-Rise Adhesive for insulation attachment. www.MuleHide.com

Waterproofing Membrane Is Solvent Free

Chem Link launches NOVALINK WM, a waterproofing membrane available in two- or five-gallon pails. NOVALINK WM is a cold-applied, single-component waterproofing membrane that cures by exposure to atmospheric and substrate moisture to form a continuous, tough, reinforced elastic seal. It is solvent-free and compliant with all known environmental and OSHA requirements, allowing its use in confined spaces with standard personal protection equipment. www.ChemLink.com

Structural Acoustical Roof Decks Reduce Noise Levels

Tectum Structural Acoustical Roof Deck solutions from Armstrong Building Solutions provide predictable noise absorption, durability, and sustainability to meet building design needs. Composite roof deck options provide R-values up to 44. By providing noise absorption up to 0.80, the panels often eliminate the need for additional acoustical treatments, providing faster and easier installations than standard steel roof decks. According to the manufacturer, Tectum Roof Decks are an ideal noise reduction solution for large, high traffic, exposed structure spaces such as auditoriums, gymnasiums, arenas, pools, ice arenas and multi-use facilities. www.ArmstrongBuildingSolutions.com

High-Temperature, Self-Adhered Underlayment

Boral Roofing offers its MetalSeal Underlayment, a high-temperature, self-adhered underlayment designed especially for metal roofing but suitable for any roof material in any climate. According to the company, Boral MetalSeal is easy to install and eliminates the need for an excessive number of nails, reducing installation time and cost. The high-strength woven polyester surface remains intact under high foot traffic and provides UV resistance up to six months. It comes in 216-square-foot rolls for a net two squares. www.BoralRoof.com

Vent Secured Roofing System

Carlisle SynTec Systems introduces the VacuSeal Vent Secured Roofing System, which uses special vents that harness the power of the wind to lock roof membranes in place. According to the manufacturer, VacuSeal systems are quick and easy to install and save cost and labor by substantially reducing the amount of glue, ballast, or fasteners a project requires. According to the company, there are no cold-weather limitations for installation and no VOCs or odors. The system is UL certified with uplift certification at 195 psf negative pressure. www.CarlisleSynTec.com

Extended-Length Aluminum Retrofit Drain

Marathon Roofing Productsnow offers an extended version of its Aluminator Retrofit Drain that is 22 inches long. According to the company, the Aluminator Drain is constructed of heavy-duty spun aluminum body, aluminum ring/dome and the ProSeal seal designed to prevent water backup issues. The Aluminator also has the option to be PVC or TPO coated for direct hot-air welding to PVC or TPO membranes. www.MarathonDrains.com

Versatile All-Weather Roof Flashing

New Seal-Fast Repair Hero roof flashing from Mule-Hide Products Co. is an all-system, all-weather maintenance and repair product. The solvent-based, fiber-reinforced terpolymer sealant adheres to all roof substrates, including asphalt, modified bitumen, metal, TPO, EPDM, PVC, Kynar, concrete, Elvaloy/PVC, Hypalon (CSPE) and polyisobutylene (PIB). According to the manufacturer, Repair Hero can be applied to dry or wet surfaces and under water. It can be used in any weather and in any ambient temperature. Repair Hero complies with VOC-related regulations in all 50 states and does not need to be mixed or stirred before use. www.MuleHide.com

Bulk Material Warmer Protects Temperature-Sensitive Products

Powerblanket Hot Boxes are designed to efficiently heat temperature-sensitive materials such as roofing materials, paints, chemicals, epoxies, resins, equipment, and pallets of any material. Easily assembled, taken apart, and moved from job to job, hot boxes are ideal for cold-weather storage and freeze protection, as well as transporting, jobsite heating, remote location use, and winter roofing projects. According to the manufacturer, the Hot Box can protect critical, temperature-sensitive materials and extend the roofing season and limit downtime to maximize profits. It is safe to leave on overnight for immediate use the next day. www.Powerblanket.com

Silicone-Infused Elastomeric Roof Coating

Nationwide Protective Coatings Mfrs. Inc. introduces PERMASIL, a new silicone-infused bright white elastomeric acrylic, ceramic insulating, waterproofing protective roof coating. The water-based, energy-saving formula is designed to beautify, protect and extend the life of roofing surfaces. Silicone technology adds extra waterproofing protection by sheeting off water from the dried coating surface. According to the manufacturer, the product is easy to apply and comes with a 15-year warranty. www.NationwideCoatings.com

Rooftop Walkway System Features Integrated Safety Railing

Kee Safety Inc. introduces Kee Walk with Guardrail, an OSHA-compliant rooftop walkway system with an integrated safety railing. Designed to provide a secure, anti-slip walking surface on all roof types including metal profile and standing seam roofs, Kee Walk with Guardrail accommodates steps, traverses, and sloped roofs with pitches up to 35 degrees, according to the company. Kee Walk with Guardrail helps to eliminate potential fall hazards by presenting a clear demarcation route for personnel accessing the roof. The corrosion-resistant walkway-railing system is compatible with other Kee Safety fall protection products to deliver a complete rooftop safety solution, according to the company. www.KeeSafety.com 

Self-Adhering, High-Temperature Roofing Underlayment

MFM Building Products unveils a high-temperature roofing underlayment, Premium HT Tile & Metal. This self-adhering roofing underlayment is composed of a high-grade, reinforced polyester fabric laminated to a high-temperature asphalt adhesive system. This premium product also has a fiberglass-reinforced core for extreme durability. Product features a 3-inch (7 cm) selvedge edge to ensure a secure, monolithic seal. The surface fabric offers excellent foot traction and for stacking tiles during construction. UV exposure is 180 days. Premium HT Tile & Metal will withstand the high temperatures created by metal and tile roofing with a high temperature rating of 250°F (121°C). www.MFMbp.com

PVC Pressure-Sensitive Cover Strip Eliminates Need for PVC-Coated Metal

Carlisle SynTec Systems introduces Sure-Flex PVC Pressure-Sensitive (PS) Cover Strip, a groundbreaking new product designed to help contractors save time, labor, and money. Carlisle’s new PVC PS Cover Strip is used for stripping-in flat metal edging and eliminates the need for costly PVC-coated metal or two-piece clip-on edge metal. PVC PS Cover Strip is compatible with a variety of metal finishes and is quick and easy to install; no welding is required. Simply apply PVC Step 1 Activator, followed by PVC Step 2 Primer, then install the PVC PS Cover Strip. www.CarlisleSynTec.com

New Roof Coating Products

EPDM Coatings announces the addition of several new products to its roof coating line, including its 97 percent volume solid EnergyMax, Bonding Primers, Rust Inhibitors and Clear-Coat specifically designed for coating skylights, brick and stucco. EPDM Coatings provides its customers worldwide with a full range of products, including many that have been ASTM tested and CRRC rated, Miami-Dade approved, as well as NSF approved for potable water applications. The company offers solutions for almost all types of roofs, including built-up, modified bitumen, metal, concrete, TPO, EPDM and foam. Also, for roofs on a budget, one base coat of the aromatic polyurethane can fix most leaks, and the application can be completed after a year to get the full benefits of a system. www.EPDMcoatings.net

Modified Bitumen Membranes Feature Highly Reflective Granules

Soprema unveils a new-generation of SOPRALENE SG and ELASTOPHENE SG modified bitumen cap sheets enhanced with 3M Highly Reflective Granules. These new-generation granulate-surfaced cap sheets bring improved durability and an even brighter white appearance to the market. Moving forward, the new 3M ultrareflective granule will be integrated into Soprema SG products to create solutions that provide the solar reflective index (SRI) ratings needed to comprehensively meet the highest U.S. and Canadian reflectivity requirements while providing the proven protection factor of multi-ply SBS-modified bitumen systems. The new lightweight cap sheets also feature robust opacity, protecting the asphaltic layer and extending the life span of the rooftop. www.Soprema.us

Porcelain Roofing Tile Replicates Slate, Timber and Clay

Daltile launches its Perennial Porcelain Roofing Tile, which is available in six colors and designs to replicate the look of slate, timber, and clay. According to the manufacturer, Perennial Porcelain Roofing Tiles are easy to install and the low overall weight of Daltile’s Perennial Porcelain Roof System adds to the speed of installation. Daltile utilizes its patented, cutting-edge digital printing process, Reveal Imaging, to produce Perennial’s tile designs. Made in the U.S.A., Daltile’s Perennial tiles offer all of the inherent advantages of porcelain tile: resiliency, longevity, resistance to frost, high breaking strength, imperviousness to water, 110 mph wind rating, Class A fire rating (fire resistant), Class IV hail impact rating, and walkability. www.Daltile.com/roofing

Ladder Personal Fall Arrest Systems Comply With OSHA Regulations

Design Components Inc. offers both rigid rail and cable grab style ladder Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS). This is in response to the OSHA requirements that went into effect on November 19, 2018. OSHA regulations now require that all fixed ladders over 24 feet be equipped with a PFAS. Design Components offers a variety of fall arrest systems that meet the new OSHA and existing ANSI standards. These systems are customizable and are packaged together to include the needed accessories, including the attachment hardware, trolleys, cable grabs, and deluxe body harnesses. www.DesignComponents.com

Sealer Designed Specifically for Metal Roof Applications

Drop-Stop sealer was specifically designed for application to metal roofs and problem areas such as gutters and expansion joints. According to the manufacturer, Dynamic Fastener, Drop-Stop can easily be applied over sloped, contoured surfaces and will give long-lasting, colorful protection. Made from select synthetic rubbers, Drop-Stop is applied as effortlessly as heavy-bodied paints and stretches and recovers to bridge roof joints in which thermal movement can be expected. With 1,500 PSI tensile strength and 600 percent elongation capabilities, the product can singlehandedly tackle most metal repairs. White Drop-Stop is stocked in 20-ounce sausage packs, 1-gallon pails, 5-gallon buckets and 55-gallon drums. www.DynamicFastener.com

Redesigned Strut Support Provides Improved Performance

Green Link Engineering offers its redesigned KnuckleHead Strut Support, which provides improved performance and more visually appealing aesthetics. The new design features a sleeker look with ribs flanking each side of the head. The new strut head features a 1 1/8-inch deep cavity for holding a standard steel strut. When mechanically fastening the strut into place, bolts or screws pass through the side of the head into the metal strut. The new design features a flat surface, instead of the previous curved design, resulting in easier installation and a tighter fit between screw and head. With shear strength of up to 275 psi, Green Link Adhesive/Sealant can replace mechanical fasteners making for easier installation. www.GreenLinkEngineering.com

Capped Skylight Conversion Kit

Kingspan Light + Air offers the Skyco Skylights Capped Conversion Kit, which converts old capless skylights to a more trusted capped system. With the kit, commercial roofers receive a universal fitting Polycarbonate dome, a custom-sized aluminum cap, and Tek Screw with EPDM gaskets. According to the company, using a cap around the perimeter of the polycarbonate dome creates a leak-free seal and eliminates cracking. The custom-fitted aluminum cap is fastened to the skylight frame with Tek-Screws instead of drilling through the plastic dome. Penetrating the dome with screws is a major cause for cracking. www.SkycoSkylights.com

Multi-Width Composite Shake Tiles Resemble Traditional Cedar

DaVinci Roofscapes has added a fourth shake profile to its composite roofing product offering: DaVinci Select Shake. Created with the authentic look of real cedar shake taken from natural wood profiles, the multi-width DaVinci Select Shake tiles resemble a traditional cedar shake look. Available in 8-inch and 10-inch widths, each DaVinci Select Shake tile is 22 inches long and has a 5/8-inch thickness. The 10-inch wide pieces have a simulated keyway to give the appearance of 4-inch and 6-inch width shakes placed together. The unique tile design of DaVinci Select Shake allows for faster installation than previous DaVinci single- and multi-width products. www.DaVinciRoofscapes.com

Polyiso Cover Board Offers Grade 1 Compressive Strength

Johns Manville introduces its ProtectoR HD High Density Polyiso Cover Board. According to the manufacturer, it provides excellent protection and can save time and expense for contractors. With a closed-cell polyiso foam core and inorganic coated glass facers, this high-density cover board has a Grade 1 compressive strength and an R-value of 2.5. The product offers excellent resistance to moisture, hail, wind uplift and puncture, plus its light weight makes it easy to handle. www.JM.com

Attachment Protects Standing Seam Roofs From Retractable Lanyards

SeamSAFE, a provider of fall protection for standing seam roofers, offers its Retractable Lanyard Disks, which fit over SeamSAFE anchors to help protect standing seam roofs from damage caused by dragging or dropping retractable lanyards during roofing projects. The disks serve as a shield to minimize the potential for roof scrapes and surface indentations. The Retractable Lanyard Disk is one of three new attachments designed to extend the utility and versatility of the company’s safety anchors. The other new accessories are SeamSAFE’s ladder attachment and toe board attachment. www.SeamSafe.com

Redesigned Cap Nailer Features Enhanced Magazine

National Nail introduces the newly-enhanced STINGER CN100B Cap Nailer with an innovative design that improves performance with an improved cap magazine for added durability. Lightweight at 4.9 pounds, STINGER’s CN100B features easy loading, upgraded tool life, and utilizes full, 1-inch collated plastic caps; it is capable of firing 200 caps/200 nails before reloading. The Electro Galvanized ring shank nails are 1-inch by .083-inch full round head nails. The unit also includes an installed belt hook, trigger with bumpfire and sequential modes, and durable carrying case. www.StingerWorld.com

Measuring Tape Specially Designed for Applying Architectural Shingles

The Roofers Tape is specially designed for installing 5-5/8-inch architectural shingles. Crew members can mark and layout the roof quickly and accurately without mistakes using the Red Points and Red Arrows as a guide, minimizing waste and saving money. All measurements of 5-5/8 intervals are marked on the 25-foot Roofers Tape. The 5-5/8 layout reveal complies with factory recommended installation, especially with wind damage. The Black Points are also included for marking short vertical starter lines or bond lines on standard three-tab shingles 6 inches before any even 3 feet. www.TheRoofersTape.com

EPDM Membrane Designed to Reduce Installation Time

Firestone Building Products Company LLC (FSBP) introduces FullForce EPDM. According to the manufacturer, FullForce EPDM can be installed more than four times faster than standard adhered EPDM and in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing contractors to complete more jobs throughout the entire roofing season. The membrane is fully coated from seam to seam with Firestone’s factory-applied Secure Bond pressure-sensitive adhesive. With no seam tape, FullForce can be installed more quickly than traditional EPDM. Additionally, the solution is ideal for occupied buildings, as it contains zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs). www.FirestoneBPCO.com

TW Seam Tape Offers Added Protection for Roof Decks

TAMKO’s TW Seam Tape is used to close sheathing gaps on the roof deck and help keep water from entering the home. TW Seam Tape is a flexible, self-adhering SBS-modified bitumen membrane with a polymer film on the surface and a removable treated release film on the adhesive side. It is applied to all roof deck joints and seams after the roof deck installation, before the underlayment is applied. It is designed for application on a variety of surfaces, including OSB and plywood. It has a textured, skid-resistant surface and comes in 4-inch rolls, with each roll covering 61 linear feet. www.TAMKO.com

Upgraded Adhesive Dispenser Helps Increase Productivity

OMG’s PaceCart 3, the exclusive equipment for dispensing OlyBond500 Insulation Adhesives, offers more robust and faster pumps to help enhance rooftop productivity with the capacity to dispense enough OlyBond500 to apply up to 120 squares of insulation per hour – twice as fast as before. In addition, the PaceCart 3 includes several other features that help improve jobsite productivity including an easy-to-use, ergonomically designed manifold and a simplified electrical system with an easy-to-read voltage meter so contractors know when power is insufficient. Color-coded adhesive trays help prevent cross contamination of Part 1 and Part 2 components. www.OMGRoofing.com

New Line of Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifelines

Malta Dynamics introduces its Edgehog Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifelines. According to the manufacturer, the Edgehog line meets ANSI standard Z359.14-2014 for a worker capacity range of 130-310 lbs. Boasting a compact and lightweight design, the Class A Edgehog Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifelines feature durable housing, a quick-action braking system, an integral shock absorber and a swivel top connection point. The Edgehog units contain shock packs on the end. When the cable becomes isolated over an edge during a fall, the shock pack engages to reduce arresting forces. This puts less force on the worker who has fallen and also doesn’t damage the cable. www.MaltaDynamics.com

Pipe-Style Snow Guards Designed for Tile Roofing

The three-pipe PP235LS from Alpine SnowGuards is height adjustable to 39 degrees to accommodate varying roof pitches. The bracket is available in aluminum mill-finish, powder coated aluminum and brass. The PP235 system’s base plate is sized to match your tile, and is also available in aluminum and brass. The image pictured here is the PP235LS three-pipe height-adjustable system for Ludowici Spanish Tile. www.AlpineSnowguards.com

Skylight Automation System Provides Natural Ventilation

VELUX offers VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO help ensure a healthier indoor climate by automatically opening the skylights to air out the house. Smart sensor technology monitors CO2, humidity and temperature in the home, while the system also connects to online weather forecasts. It automatically opens the skylights if fresh air is needed inside and automates blinds to help control indoor temperature. Homeowners can also use the VELUX ACTIVE smartphone app to control their skylights even if they are away from the house. www.WhySkylights.com

Nine-Foot Self-Retracting Lifelines

FallTech introduces its DuraTech Personal Leading Edge line of single and twin 9-foot self-retracting lifelines (SLRs). According to the manufacturer, the new products were tested to meet ensure they meet ANSI leading edge standards to help protect against sharp edge hazards. Their innovative design features a lightweight and impact-resistant nylon polymer housing and proprietary integrated dorsal connector that provides a quick and straightforward push-button attachment. SLRs are calibrated for typical walking speeds and are available in single and twin-leg configurations with steel and aluminum snap hook, rebar hook, and carabiner lifeline connector options. www.FallTech.com

Advanced Polymers for the Manufacturing of TPO Membranes

Dow’s portfolio of materials for roofing membranes features advanced polymers for thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) systems. These proven solutions can help manufacturers develop custom-tailored formulations that fit specific designs, production processes, and end-use requirements. With several advantages over incumbent materials, ENGAGE TR Polyolefin Elastomers (POEs) represent the company’s current state-of-the-art for TPO-based membrane formulations. According to the manufacturer, ENGAGE TR POEs offer an ethylene-based solution that has inherently better longevity, and can be formulated to produce membranes with significantly improved flexibility and broad welding window. The unique design of ENGAGE TR also allows increased filler loading, which can, in turn, be used to improve fire performance. www.Dow.com

Shingle Line Available in Six New Cool Colors

IKO expands its Cambridge Cool Colors shingle line with six new colors that have an increased Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of 20-plus, exceeding California’s Title 24 minimum standard by 25 percent. The expansion of this line offers three distinct color blends ranging from COOL PLUS, COOL and Natural COOL. The COOL PLUS color selection includes the darker options of Weatherwood, Harvard Slate, Dual Brown and Graphite Black. COOL shingles are available in SRI 20-plus in the medium color blends Canyon Oak and Sand Dune. The original color range, NATURAL COOL, has an SRI of 16-plus with an added benefit of Dual Grey also being algae resistant and Arctic White having the highest SRI of 23-plus. www.IKO.com

New Fluid-Applied Membrane Restoration System

Garland’s first ever fluid-applied seamless membrane, LiquiTec, is designed to form a virtually impenetrable surface over aged modified bitumen, metal and single-ply roof systems, adding years of waterproofing protection. LiquiTec is an aliphatic polyurea coating system with a tightly bonded molecular structure that provides strength and durability similar to truck bed liners. The product is built to protect roof surfaces from damage caused by hail, foot traffic, wind scour and other impact. According to the manufacturer, LiquiTec fully and partially reinforced systems exhibit extremely high tensile strength and remain flexible at temperatures down to -60°F (-51°C), which helps keep the coating from cracking or becoming brittle to ensure a complete watertight seal and long-term waterproofing protection. www.Garlandco.com

Ladder Extension System Helps Provide Safe Access to Rooftops

The Safe-T Ladder Extension System from Dynamic Fastener easily attaches to most standard extension ladders and allows for safe and easy access to rooftops. According to the manufacturer, it requires no tools, drilling, or bolting to install, and once installed, it provides two offsetting handrails that offer a point of walk-through to step on or off the ladder. This item will allow workers to comply with OSHA standard 1926.1053(b), which states, “When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least 3 feet above the upper landing surface to which the ladder is used to gain access.” www.DynamicFastener.com

HDPE Step Flashing Offers Two Color Options

NuStep Flashing launches its innovative step flashing manufactured from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The patented product was specifically designed to provide a faster, easier, and safer way for crews to install step flashing. According to the company, it is 75 percent lighter than traditional metal flashing with a pliability that is easier and safer to work with. Each piece of flashing has two color options. NuStep Flashing is manufactured in the U.S.A. and every production run goes through extensive testing using the ASTM process for impact, tensile, puncture resistance and UV exposure. NuStep Flashing has been recognized and certified by the International Code Council and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. www.NuStepFlashing.com

Cut-Resistant Gloves Designed to Help Prevent Jobsite Injuries

PrimeSource Building Products introduces a new range of cut-resistant gloves under its GRX brand. According to the manufacturer, the new range will provide better cut protection and more durability, without sacrificing comfort or dexterity. The 700 Series features PalmWick Breathable Palm Technology, which allows the hand to breathe on the palm side of the glove. The 600 Series features the ExaGrip Latex Palm, which combines best in class durability and grip. The new cut-resistant technology meets ANSI standards and comes in a range of ANSI A-2 (500 grams to cut) for light to medium cut protection, all the way up to ANSI A-6 (6,000 grams to cut) for extreme cut hazards on the job. www.PrimeSourceBP.com

Concrete Tile Lines Available in New Suite of Colors

Boral Roofing LLC unveils the Vista Collection. The new concrete roof tile options include five new varied neutral shades introduced to meet specific architectural, lifestyle and color trends emerging within the state of Texas. The new suite of hues is available with two of Boral Roofing’s most popular tile styles in the region – Saxony Country Slate and Shake. The shades include Charcoal Brown Blend, Chestnut Burnt, Dark Bordeaux, Weathered Cedar and Weathered Greige. The collection launch is a direct result of extensive research conducted into consumer lifestyle and home design trends happening within the state. The concrete tile offers a Class A fire rating. www.BoralRoof.com

FEMA’s New Mitigation Program Could Mean Good News for the Construction Industry

Photo: EPDM Roofing Association (ERA)

It’s hard to find bipartisan agreement on anything in Washington these days. But the Disaster Recovery and Reform Act (DRRA) sailed through the Senate and was signed by President Trump two days later, on October 5, 2018. At the time the bill was signed, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said, “We’ll never be able to eliminate all risks, but this enables us to take action now so that individuals and communities will be better positioned to recover more quickly when disasters do occur.”

FEMA had put forward the ideas contained in the new law in its draft National Mitigation Investment Strategy released earlier in 2018. According to the FEMA draft, the final investment strategy was to be grounded in three fundamental principles:

  1. Catalyze private and non­profit sector mitigation investments and innovation;
  2. Improve collaboration between the federal government and state, local, tribal and territorial governments, respecting local expertise in mitigation investing; and
  3. Make informed decisions based on data including lifetime costs and risks.

The investment strategy’s overarching goal, according to FEMA, would be to improve the coordination and effectiveness of “mitigation investments,” defined as risk management actions taken to avoid, reduce, or transfer risks from natural hazards, including severe weather. The final DRRA legislation closely adhered to this plan.

Since the DRRA passed more than a year ago, the folks at FEMA, who will administer the provisions of the bill, have been figuring out how to get the millions of dollars authorized by the new legislation to the people who could make good use of that money. But one thing is for sure: when the money starts to flow, it could be very good news for the construction industry in general and roofers in particular.

Simply put, the new legislation marks a clear change in the federal approach to dealing with the damage caused by increasingly frequent natural and man-made disasters. As 2019 draws to a close, the United States has been buffeted by firestorms, hail, drought, tornadoes, and Hurricanes Michael and Florence. While the damage is still being totaled, it will run into the billions. The not-so-subtle message in the DRRA from FEMA: the agency is telling us not to expect to be bailed out by the federal government and instead is putting their money into helping people prepare for these disasters. In other words, FEMA wants to change the focus from response to resilience, and break the cycle of what they are calling “disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.”

How did this change in approach come about? Clearly the current approach is unsustainable. Waiting until a structure is damaged by a cataclysmic event and then rebuilding it to the same standards has only resulted in more damaged structures. The DRRR legislation itself authorizes the creation of the National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Mitigation fund, using a percentage of what might have been spent on disaster relief. FEMA is still crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on its new plan to channel money through the states for individual projects, now called the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (or BRIC) Program.

Why is it taking more than a year for FEMA to put the BRIC program into place? As with all things in Washington, especially when they deal with money and how it will be spent, this is a complex process. The ink was barely dry on the president’s signature when FEMA solicited input on how to structure the new program, and help states find their way through the red tape to actually secure funding. The call for input was distributed far and wide through webinars, regional and state workshops and national conferences.

As of mid-summer, FEMA received more that 5,000 comments. Clearly a lot of people are watching this program very carefully. FEMA is expected to have the details of the new program worked out by early 2020. At the same time, it will offer technical support that will describe how to apply for the available funds.

Prepare for Changes Now

For many in the construction industry, and for roofers specifically, the time to prepare for the availability of the new funds is now. The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) is a research facility supported by the insurance industry that evaluates residential and commercial construction materials under extreme conditions.

As the president of IBHS recently noted, “The roof is your first line of defense against anything Mother Nature inflicts… and during a bad storm your roof endures fierce pressure from wind, rain, and flying debris.” Now, instead of being in a reactive, unpredictable cycle of cleaning up after natural disasters, roofers can plan to incorporate resilience into their roofing systems and, hopefully, access some of the new federal money to support their efforts, or the efforts of their customers.

Resilience — the ability of a structure to withstand devastating natural and man-made disasters and rebound quickly to normal operating functions — is an idea whose time has come. Prior to passage of the DRRA 46, industry groups urged FEMA “to support the inclusion of enhanced building codes and greater federal funding for resilient construction in the pending legislation.” Since then, industry organizations including BOMA, EESI, the AIA have devoted resources to clarifying what is meant by resilience and how the construction industry can respond to the related challenges.

Among the roofing industry, the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) has created a microsite (http://epdmtheresilientroof.org) to serve as a resource for builders. The association has also issued an annual report called “Building Resilience: The Roofing Perspective.” The report, which will be updated yearly, contains specific guidance on creating a resilient roofing system, and includes science-based data on the resilient qualities of EPDM roofing membrane.

FEMA is poised to issue the specifics of the BRIC program that will set out a pathway to access federal funds. The roofing industry has the tools it needs to take advantage of this new mitigation-based federal approach to disaster management. The convergence of these two powerful forces should mean more business for roofers, and a more resilient built environment across the country.

About the Author: Louisa Hart is the director of communications for the Washington-based EPDM Roofing Association (ERA). For more information, visit www.epdmroofs.org.

Mediation, Litigation, and Arbitration … Oh My!

It’s a rare situation in this day and age that a construction contract or subcontract does not contain a dispute resolution clause, particularly the industry form contracts (such as the AIA, ConsensusDocs, and EJCDC). A contract may prescribe mediation, arbitration, or a combination of mediation and litigation or mediation and arbitration. Because parties are free to draft their own contracts, such provisions are generally enforceable. But what does all of it mean?

Mediation

First, mediation, though understood as a form of alternate dispute resolution, does not provide an ultimate decision maker. Rather, mediation is a settlement conference wherein the parties engage a neutral third party, the mediator, and meet (often in person) to present their respective cases. The mediator typically hears presentations regarding the facts of the case and assists the parties in understanding each side’s position and respective strengths and weaknesses to facilitate settlement. The mediator’s fee, generally calculated on an hourly basis, is split evenly between the parties (absent an agreement to the contrary). Importantly, the mediator has no authority to decide the case or compel a settlement or any particular outcome. In that sense, mediation only resolves the dispute if everyone voluntarily agrees to a settlement. That is why dispute resolution provisions sometimes use a combination of mediation and either arbitration or litigation to achieve a final resolution. If a voluntary settlement is not reached at mediation, an impasse results, and the parties should proceed as required by the contract.

Litigation

Litigation is initiated by the filing of a complaint in the appropriate jurisdiction and venue (which may be governed by the dispute resolution provision or other provisions in the contract). The parties are usually entitled to bring in additional parties who may be needed for a complete resolution of the issues. The litigation will proceed through a process of discovery, wherein parties exchange information and documentation related to the dispute, following strict rules of civil procedure and evidence. Eventually, a lawsuit will be tried either to a judge or jury who will render a verdict, which is reduced to an order or judgment. Any party that is unhappy with a verdict typically has the right of appeal.

Be advised that engaging in litigation doesn’t always mean that you won’t encounter alternative dispute resolution. For instance, North Carolina statutorily requires that all Civil Superior Court cases (typically involving actions for damages exceeding $25,000) be ordered to mediation before trial. Also, most Federal District Courts require parties to consider mediation or refer, and sometimes order, cases to mediation.

Arbitration

Arbitration is similar to a lawsuit but does not involve the court. Most dispute resolution provisions will designate a third-party association — often the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or JAMS — to act as the administrator of the arbitration. Arbitration is generally initiated with a demand by one party, after which an administrator is assigned to facilitate the process. Parties typically choose the arbitrator (or a panel of arbitrators) from a list provided by the administrator based on the subject matter of the dispute. Construction arbitrators are typically construction lawyers or other professionals with extensive experience in construction. The rules of evidence and procedure are relaxed in arbitration allowing the parties, with the assistance of the arbitrator and the administrator, to create their own scheduling, deadlines, procedures and rules for discovery and motions. Eventually, the dispute will be heard by the arbitrator(s), and there is no right to a jury. The arbitrator(s) will render an award which is only appealable in limited, and extraordinary, circumstances such as fraud or bias.

Arbitration is intended to be more efficient and inexpensive than litigation, but that’s not always the case. First, using a third-party administrator (AAA or JAMS) typically involves significantly higher filing fees than courts. Arbitration filing fees are determined on a sliding scale depending on the amount sought in the demand for arbitration. Also, unlike litigation, the parties must compensate the arbitrator(s) for the time spent in arbitration on an hourly basis. Because construction arbitrators are highly experienced construction professionals, their hourly rates are commensurate with those of construction attorneys.

Because arbitration is the product of an agreement to submit disputes to arbitration, only parties who are subject to an agreement to arbitrate (either the dispute resolution provision in a contract or a separate agreement) may be compelled to arbitrate. This can sometimes make arbitration inefficient. For instance, where a general contractor initiates arbitration against a roofing contractor, the roofing contractor may attribute the actual cause of the dispute to a lower-tier subcontractor or supplier. However, if that lower-tier subcontractor or supplier is not subject to an agreement to arbitrate, there is no mechanism whereby it can be compelled to join in the arbitration proceeding, whereas in litigation, it could usually be joined as a party. In that case, the roofing contractor may be forced to defend against the general contractor in arbitration and simultaneously prosecute a separate action against the lower-tier subcontractor or supplier, resulting in both increased costs and duplicated efforts.

Weighing the Advantages

Each method of dispute resolution has its advantages and disadvantages. Acknowledging the differences in the methods of alternative dispute resolution allows the parties to craft a procedure that’s right for them. Even if the contract is silent as to dispute resolution, the parties (with unanimous agreement) can submit their disputes to mediation or arbitration.

Other contract provisions that are particularly relevant to dispute resolution include choice of law and forum selection clauses. Choice of law clauses provide that a particular state’s laws will control dispute resolution, regardless of where the project is located or the proceedings will be held. Forum selection clauses prescribe the location of the dispute resolution proceeding.

Understanding the dispute resolution provision(s) in your contract and the law and procedures which will apply is critical. Engage legal counsel during contract drafting or review and negotiation to ensure the dispute resolution clause is appropriate and effective. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

About the author: Lindsey E. Powell is an attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC practicing in North Carolina and Georgia. Questions about this article can be directed to her at lpowell@andersonandjones.com.

Author’s note: This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

Tapered Insulation Can Prevent Ponding on Low-Slope Roofs

The primary and most important function of a roof membrane in a low-slope roof system is to provide weatherproofing by keeping the rainwater from entering the roof assembly. Ponding water poses the greatest risk to a roofing membrane, since it not only shortens its service life, but can lead to more serious life safety concerns when loads and deflections exceed the designed conditions. This could lead to a roof collapse. From an aesthetics standpoint, areas on roofs with a prevalence for ponding are susceptible to unsightly bacterial and algae growth as well as accumulation of dirt. Given the large footprint of low-slope roofs on typical commercial buildings, managing rainwater timely and effectively is an important design consideration in new roof design as well as roof replacements on existing buildings. In addition, the model building codes include requirements for minimum drainage slope and identify ponding instability as a design consideration for rain loads.

Tapered insulation systems are an integral part of roof system design and can help reduce or eliminate the amount of ponding water on the roof when the roof deck does not provide adequate slope to drain. The popularity of tapered insulation has grown as more designers and roofing professionals understand the importance of positive drainage in good roofing practice. Because of its wide use in low-slope roofing application, tapered polyiso insulation systems offer a number of benefits in addition to providing positive drainage: high R-value, versatility and customization to accommodate project-by-project complexity as well as ease of installation. This article highlights the key considerations for tapered insulation systems.

Slope and Drainage Requirements in Building Codes

The model building codes require that commercial roofs be sloped to achieve a positive drainage of rainwater to drains, scuppers, and gutters. The term “positive roof drainage” is defined in the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) as “the drainage condition in which consideration has been made for all loading deflection of the roof deck, and additional slope has been provided to ensure drainage of the roof within 48 hours of precipitation.” The 2018 IBC indicates a minimum design 1/4:12 units slope requirement for membrane roof systems, and minimum slope of 1/8 inch per foot for coal tar pitch roofs. New construction must comply with the minimum slope requirements in IBC Section 1507. Roof replacement or roof re-cover applications of existing low-slope roof coverings that provide positive roof drainage are exempt from the minimum prescriptive1/4:12 units slope requirement.

Roof drains are part of an approved storm drainage system and function to divert water off and away from the building. Roof drainage systems in new construction must comply with provisions in Section 1502 of the 2018 IBC and Section 1106 and 1108 of the International Plumbing Code (IPC) for primary and secondary (emergency overflow) drains or scuppers. Roof replacement and re-cover applications on existing low-slope roofs that provide positive roof drainage are exempt from requirements for secondary drains or scuppers. It is important to note that secondary drainage systems or scuppers in place on existing buildings cannot be removed unless they are replaced by secondary drains or scuppers designed and installed in accordance with the IBC.

When reviewing the options available for achieving the required slope in a roof system, designers have a number of choices. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) (see “The NRCA Roofing Manual: Membrane Roof Systems: 2019”) the slope can be achieved by: sloping the structural framing or deck; designing a tapered insulation system; using an insulating fill that can be sloped to drain; properly designing the location of roof drains, scuppers and gutters; or a combination of the above.

Design Considerations For Tapered Insulation Systems

Proper design and installation are critical to the effective performance of tapered polyiso insulation systems, and this is true for any product or system. Tapered polyiso is manufactured in 4-foot-by-4-foot or 4-foot-by-8-foot panels that change thicknesses over the 4-foot distance from the low edge to the high edge on the opposing sides of the panel. The standard slopes for tapered insulation are 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch per foot to accommodate specific project requirements. However, tapered insulation panels with slopes as low as 1/16 inch and other alternative slopes (3/16 inch and 3/8 inch per foot) can be specially ordered to accommodate unique field conditions. The minimum manufactured thickness of tapered polyiso insulation board at its low edge is 1/2 inch and the maximum thickness at the high edge is 4-1/2 inches.

The design of the tapered insulation system will be governed by the footprint and complexity of the roof under consideration, slope of the roof deck, presence and configuration of roof drains (primary and secondary), scuppers, gutter or drip edges. In addition, roof structures, height of parapet walls, expansion joints, curbs and through-wall flashings and any other elements that may obstruct water management also needs to be considered in the design phase. The tapered insulation system will be lowest at internal drains, scuppers, gutters and drip edges, and will slope upwards away from these features.

Keeping in mind that the primary goal of a tapered insulation system is to most effectively move water to the specified drainage points. A two-way (two directional slope) or four-way (four directional slope) system are the most common designs. A two-way tapered insulation system is commonly used on roofs where multiple drains are in straight lines. In this scenario, there is a continuous low-point between the drains and it often extends to the parapet walls. Crickets are installed in between the drains and between the building or parapet walls and the drains. (See Figure 1a.)

A four-way tapered insulation system is the most effective way to move water off the roof, and this approach is highly recommended by industry professionals. In this scenario with a drain located in the center, water is drained from the higher perimeter edges on all four sides. (See Figure 1b.) Variations of two-way and four-way systems exist to accommodate complexities in the field. In addition to two-way and four-way systems, one directional slope and three directional slope tapered systems can be used to effectively move water to gutters, drip edges and scuppers.

Keeping in mind that a tapered system is more expensive than a roof system constructed with standard flat insulation only, the tapered design is often a target for “value engineering.” Value engineering can compromise the drainage intent of the design professional, architect or roof consultant for the purpose of lowering the installed cost of the roof system. Value engineering may change the specified slope or redesign the configuration of the tapered panels. In the end, the building owner may pay for a tapered insulation system that does not effectively drain water from the roof as intended by the original design. This will likely result in higher long-term costs for roof maintenance and premature roof system failure.

A typical tapered insulation system will incorporate flat polyiso board stock (referred to as “fill panels” or “tapered fill panels”) beneath continuing, repeating tapered panels. The tapered panels can be a single panel (or “one panel repeat”) system, meaning that the taper is provided by a single repeating panel in conjunction with fill panels. (See Figure 2a.) Non-typical designs can feature up to an eight-panel (or “eight panel repeat”) system with eight tapered panels making up the sloped section prior to incorporating the first fill panels. An example of “four panel repeat” system with 1-inch and 2-inch fill panels and 1/16 inch per foot slope is provided in Figure 2b.

Finally, crickets are an integral part of a tapered insulation system and are commonly used in two-way systems. Crickets can divert water toward drains and away from curbs, perimeter walls, and roof valleys. The two factors that must be considered in the design and installation of crickets are slope and configuration. The general “rule of thumb” is that for a full diamond cricket the total width should be between 1/3 to 1/2 of the total width. The wider the design of the cricket, the more you utilize the slope in the field of the roof, which improves the drainage efficiency.

Crickets typically have diamond or half-diamond shapes. (See Figures 3a and 3b.) However, kite-shaped and snub nose crickets can also be configured to accommodate specific roof designs. To keep water from remaining on the cricket surface, the design needs to have a sufficient slope (generally, twice the slope in the adjacent field of the roof). NRCA provides guidance regarding cricket geometry (see “The NRCA Roofing Manual: Membrane Roof Systems: 2019”).

Tapered insulation systems offer a cost-effective solution to achieving positive slope and improved drainage in new roof systems and roof replacement applications. An adequate rainwater management strategy that includes both proper drainage and elimination of ponding water is critical to the long-term performance and durability of a roof system. In addition, proper design, detailing, and installation of products must be an integral part of a tapered roof system design. For more information, consult with a polyiso insulation manufacturer who provide guidance, design assistance, and technical information regarding tapered insulation systems. In addition, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) publishes technical bulletins to help navigate the process of designing a tapered system. PIMA’s Technical Bulletin #108 on Tapered Insulation Systems can be found at www.polyiso.org/resource/resmgr/Tech_Bulletins/tb108_Mar2017.pdf.

About the author: Marcin Pazera, Ph.D., is the Technical Director for Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA). He coordinates all technical-related activities at PIMA and serves as the primary technical liaison to organizations involved in the development of building standards. For more information, visit www.polyiso.org.

Speaking of Education…It May Be Back to Class for Contractors

It’s no surprise that almost all states require general contractors and some subcontractors to register with regulatory boards and pass a qualifying exam in advance of bidding, contracting, and certainly physically undertaking construction work. That’s not new. However, there is an emerging trend towards requiring general contractors, and even some subcontractors, to participate in continuing education. Depending on the jurisdiction, some contractors and subcontractors are now statutorily obligated to complete a certain amount of continuing education — similar to what has been historically required only of doctors, lawyers, and accountants — to maintain licensure.

For instance, this summer, North Carolina became the most recent state to impose continuing education requirements for general contractors. Effective January 1, 2020, general contractors will be required to complete 8 hours of continuing education per year. Because roofing contractors in North Carolina performing work in excess of $30,000 are required to be licensed as general contractors, they will now be subject to the new continuing education requirements.

This recent legislation and its impact on the roofing industry raises questions about what is required for roofing contractors nationwide. Does roofing require special licensure and registration or continuing education? The answer is entirely dependent on the jurisdiction where the work is to be performed.

The following states currently require licensure for roofing: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

Other states don’t require licensure per se but do require roofing contractors to register. For instance, Oklahoma requires roofing contractors to register with the Construction Industries Board. Failure to register is a misdemeanor, and registration and endorsement as a commercial roofing contractor requires 4 hours of continuing education every 36 months. Similarly, Idaho does not require a state license, but requires roofing contractors to register with the Idaho Contractors Board.

As seen in Figure 1, even among the states which require continuing education, the requirements vary greatly both in the amount and type of education required. For instance, Florida law requires contractors holding a roofing license to take 1 hour of wind mitigation methodologies as part of the 14 annually required continuing education hours. In Massachusetts, construction supervisors within the roofing industry are required to take 2 hours of continuing education in code review and four one-hour courses in topics of workplace safety, business practices, energy, and lead safe practices.

Figure 1. Licensing and continuing education requirements by state.

Finally, in those states which don’t require licensure or continuing education, some industry groups have developed self-regulation. These industry groups are aimed at consumer protection and seek to secure public confidence in the roofing industry. In Georgia, which does not require a state roofing license, the Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Georgia (RSMCA) provides a voluntary licensing program. Similarly, Kentucky has no license requirements for roofing contractors. However, the Kentucky Roofing Contractor Association (KRCA) is a nonprofit and professional organization which certifies roofing contractors. To obtain and maintain KRCA certification, roofing contractors must complete 10 hours of continuing education per year.

But just because a state legislature or professional association has not enacted regulations necessitating continuing education does not mean contractors are free from such requirements. While not mandated by the state itself, many cities have imposed their own directives. States such as Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Pennsylvania each contain at least one municipality that compels contractors to take board-accredited continuing education courses. For example, Idaho Falls, Idaho, requires 8 hours of continuing education.

Regardless of where you are engaged in the practice of roofing contracting, it is imperative that all contractors exercise due diligence and review and comply with all state and local regulations before undertaking any project.

Contractors and trades are seeing a rise in regulation through the government by way of mandated continuing education courses. Do you think contractors should be required to take continuing education classes? Is this a necessary void that needs to be filled by the government intervention or is this just another example of unnecessary government regulation? Tell us what you think.

About the author: Lindsey E. Powell is an attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC practicing in North Carolina and Georgia. Questions about this article can be directed to her at lpowell@andersonandjones.com. Special research credit is given to Kyle Putnam, Juris Doctor candidate and summer law clerk with Anderson Jones, PLLC.

Author’s note: This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

OSHA Education and Training Requirements For Contractors

Many licensed contractors have been getting “on-the-job” training for years — some, since they were working on jobsites as young laborers. But what formal education and training are required for contractors? The short answer is that it differs slightly from state to state, but no one can escape OSHA.

Perhaps the best-known training requirements for contractors are those set forth in the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) and the regulations OSHA enables.

OSHA permits individual states to develop and enforce their own occupational safety and health plans, statutes, and enforcing agencies as long as the states meet federal requirements (29 U.S.C. § 667), so many contractors may be more familiar with their state’s occupational safety and health act than the federal. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, jurisdictions with their own federally-approved plans governing both public and private employers are Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. (Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New York, New Jersey, and the Virgin Islands have plans that apply only to public employees.) State laws must be “at least as effective” and stringent as OSHA.

In most of these states, and in states that simply follow the federal OSHA requirements, construction-industry employee training is required to comply with the federal requirements set forth in 29 CFR 1926. California, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington have more stringent requirements than the federal rules.

What Training Does OSHA Require?

The Department of Labor’s regulations contained in 29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926 give employers numerous “accident prevention responsibilities.” These responsibilities specifically include the duty to train each “affected employee” in the manner the standards require. The regulations specifically require training for employees on topics including scaffolding, fall protection, steel erection, stairways and ladders, and cranes. Both federal and state courts interpret OSHA training requirements; state courts interpret them in states with their own laws but look to federal decisions for guidance.

Court decisions indicate that training requirements are interpreted broadly. For example, in 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit evaluated 29 CFR § 1926.21(b)(2)’s requirement for employers to instruct each employee in the “recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions.” The case, Modern Continental Const. Co., Inc. v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, involved vertical rigging in a tight working space during an underground project involving submerging a section of highway. The operation resulted in a fatality. The court found that the employers’ duty “is not limited to training for hazards expressly identified by OSHA regulation” and that employers are obligated to instruct their employees in the recognition and avoidance of “those hazards of which a reasonably prudent employer would have been aware.” The court recognized that while the training does not have to eliminate hazards, the training must focus on avoiding and controlling dangerous conditions.

Furthermore, merely holding or sponsoring training courses may not be enough to comply with OSHA; the regulations require employers not only to ensure training but also to ensure that each affected employee has received and understood the training. The District of Columbia Circuit emphasized this requirement in Millard Refrigerated Services, Inc. v. Secretary of Labor. The Court upheld a citation against an Alabama company operating a refrigerated storage facility after an anhydrous ammonia leak even though the employer claimed it didn’t know that its employee didn’t understand the training and therefore wasn’t wearing a respirator.

Decisions like this make it incumbent upon employers to recognize and anticipate hazards and ensure that employees have the proper education and quality training to handle them.

Penalties for Training Violations

Employers’ duty to train is worded as a duty to its individual employees: “The employer must train each affected employee in the manner required by the standard, and each failure to train an employee may be considered a separate violation” [29 CFR 1926.20(f)(2)]. The statute and regulations do not explicitly state the penalty for failure to give required training; penalties will depend on the facts of each case. OSHA violations generally fall into one of four categories: willful, serious, repeated, or other-than-serious. According to the Department of Labor, the current maximum penalty is $13,260 per serious violation and $132,598 per willful or repeated violation.

Courts have upheld steep penalties for certain training violations, particularly for repeated failure to train employees. For example, in Capeway Roofing Systems, Inc. v. Chao, a roofing contractor was fined $6,000 for failing to train an employee on fall protection. (The Secretary of Labor also assessed other fines against the contractor for failure to comply with rules on fall protection, personal protective equipment, and other regulations.) The court reasoned that the fine for failure to train was appropriate, though relatively high, because it was a third “repeat” violation. Additionally, in some states, certain OSHA violations, especially willful and repeated violations, can subject employers to criminal liability.

About the author: Caroline Trautman is an attorney with Oak City Law, LLP, based in Durham, North Carolina. Questions about this article can be directed to her at caroline@oakcitylaw.com.

Author’s note: This article does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice on any particular scenario. For specific advice, consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

3 Best Practices for Communicating During a Crisis

From jobsite accidents to employee or management misdeeds, no business is immune from crisis situations — including the roofing sector. Contractors, manufacturers, distributors, and stakeholders throughout the supply chain do their best to safeguard against crisis situations and hope such events will not occur. But of course, hope is not a strategy and even the most stringent procedures cannot guarantee a crisis will not damage a business’s operations or its reputation.

As with many aspects of managing a business, advance consideration and planning can help minimize the consequences of a crisis situation. Have you asked yourself, “What would I do if a crisis situation threatened my business and the media/social media were at my door?”

A good place to start is by understanding not all crisis situations are the same. Most crises fall into one of two categories: “sudden” or “smoldering.” As the name implies, a sudden crisis arises without warning. Industrial accidents, terrorism, workplace violence and acts of God are all examples of sudden crisis situations. There is little time to prepare in these events and they are more likely to generate the public’s sympathy. In contrast, smoldering crisis events generally emerge over time and present problems not generally known that could generate negative public sentiment if they become public. Examples of smoldering crisis situations include business concerns such as audit findings, drug use by an employee, board mismanagement or a potential regulatory violation. A smoldering crisis may rapidly evolve into a sudden crisis if the news becomes public on the news or social media. As opposed to sudden crises, smoldering crisis events are rarely viewed positively.

Three Keys to Crisis Communication

Regardless of whether a crisis is sudden or smoldering, communication is imperative. A crisis communications plan can help manage either type of crisis. The plan should outline a central spokesperson to deliver all messages and include specific processes for who within the organization to contact in the event a team member is contacted by the media. While the details of a crisis management plan are beyond the scope of this column, every crisis management plan requires communication. When crafting crisis communications, three “best practices” can be applied to most situations. These practices are:

1. Tell the truth. Rarely are all of the facts readily available as a crisis situation unfolds. Yet members of the media are trained to “demand the facts” as news is still breaking. Obviously, trade secrets, confidentiality agreements and legal issues typically limit what can be disclosed. And the reality is, many times an organization simply does not know all of the details surrounding an unfortunate event. As such, it can be tempting to refrain from making any statement during a crisis situation or uttering the words “no comment.” But evasiveness naturally breeds suspicion. While organizations should never speculate during a crisis, they can share some truths about what they are doing.

A good technique to use in these situation is the “why plus what” approach. For example, “While not all of the facts are clear based on the investigation underway at the site of the accident, we are cooperating with first responders and posting updates on our website.”

The “why plus what” approach is a very useful technique for communicating without speculating or refraining from comment. Using this approach, spokespersons explain why they cannot elaborate and follow up with what they can share right now. For example: “While I can’t speculate about the root cause as research is still underway, what I can tell you is (approved statement).” A classic example of this technique used by reporters covering unfolding stories is, “While the details are still emerging, what we do know is ¼”

2. Tell it fast and with empathy. Not only is it important to tell the truth (what you can tell) quickly, but it is important to be prompt in response and empathetic to those affected by the situation. History provides some unfortunate examples of the damage a company can suffer from delaying its response, or not responding empathetically. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska is a good example of the damage that can arise when timeliness and empathy are lacking. The company waited a full week to address the media following the oil spill. When the executive did speak in a TV interview, he delivered a strong impression that he didn’t really care about the environmental impact of the disaster, committing a huge PR cardinal sin — lack of empathy.

More than 20 years later, after another oil disaster, another oil executive committed a crucial PR blunder. (Google “Tony Hayward get my life back.”) BP former CEO Tony Hayward conducted a number of high-quality media interviews before complaining halfway through a conversation with a reporter, “There’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do. I’d like my life back.” His comment demonstrated a lack of sympathy for the many lives lost and the hundreds of jobs lost due to the incident’s aftermath throughout the affected area. Unlike the Exxon leader’s interview, BP’s situation unfolded in the social media era, amplifying the damage of the negative PR as the unfortunate interview went viral.

In any crisis situation, it is imperative for an organization’s leadership to put themselves in the shoes of those affected. This means thinking like a customer — and just as important talking like a customer — personally affected by the situation. Leaders should acknowledge the affected parties’ fears and frustrations. In stark contrast to the corporate speak of a prepared statement, empathy acknowledges that the speaker feels and shares the customer’s pain. Effective crisis messages project empathy and concern while explaining clearly and succinctly what can be shared. The best examples also provide perspective by framing the issue in context. For example, “Each year, our operations produce XX metric tons of product without incident.”

3. Tell your employees first. Despite all the efforts companies invest in developing messages for their website and official statements, a company’s people are usually the most sought-after and trusted source of information. Thus, in crisis situations, it is a company’s people who will receive questions from customers, friends and family about what’s “really” taking place. Employees must be a key audience in any crisis management plan. The plan should educate employees on the issue and provide clear information on how to direct inquiries to the appropriate spokesperson.

Whether it’s a sudden or smoldering crisis, the crisis communications best practices outlined above coupled with a crisis management plan can help members of the roofing community navigate the challenge.

About the author: Susan Miller is director of public relations at 5MetaCom, a marketing agency for companies selling technical and scientific products, including building products.