RCMA Enhances Reflective Roof Rebates Database

The Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) launched an enhanced Reflective Roof Rebates Database with increased functionality for searching available reflective roof incentives across the country. Created exclusively for use by RCMA members, the customized search tool can be used to find the most up-to-date listings of local, state, federal, and utility financial incentives available for installing reflective roofs.

The enhanced search tool now allows users to filter results to show comprehensive energy rebates, reflective roof rebates, or all available rebates. Available only to members of the RCMA, the database searches by state or ZIP code to find available financial incentives and has proven an essential tool for members’ sales teams to use when speaking with prospective customers.

“Since its launch, the RCMA Reflective Roof Rebates Database has been one of our most popular member benefits,” says John Ferraro, RCMA executive director. “Independently tracking such a wide array of financial incentives has proven a challenge for our members for years, and they now have come to rely on this user-friendly tool to take the work out of discovering relevant rebates for the installation of reflective roofs all across the United States.”

Additional improvements to the database include the addition of more detailed information on each of the available incentive programs including eligibility, links to supporting documents, key program contacts, and online applications to apply for rebates. A newly-added print view allows RCMA Members to more easily review the available information in a ready-to-share format.

The RCMA Solar Reflective Coatings Council (SRCC), representing the producers of acrylic and elastomeric (non-bituminous) coatings and suppliers to the industry, initiated the creation of the Reflective Roof Rebates Database in 2013 and it has been met with tremendously positive feedback from the industry since its launch.

For more information on how to join the RCMA and acquire access to the database, email RCMA Staff Associate Laura Dwulet.

ARMA’s Website Now Is More Interactive

With technology changing the way the roofing industry communicates, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) has made its website more interactive in an effort to keep users better connected in today’s fast-paced world.

The website’s new capabilities will mean convenient access to information for roofing professionals working on job sites and more content on asphalt shingles in the hands of consumers where they are increasingly demanding it—on their smartphones and tablets.

“ARMA makes available industry-leading roofing information to the public through our website,” says Reed Hitchcock, executive vice-president, ARMA. “Now that the site features mobile responsive functionality, roofing professionals and consumers alike will be able to easily access the same resources from their phone or tablet as they do from their desktop or laptop.”

All of the features available on the ARMA website are now optimized for viewing on Apple or Android mobile and tablet devices. ARMA’s popular resources, including Technical Bulletins, Fast Facts, commercial and residential photo galleries, FAQs and videos, have been formatted to fit on the screen of the device with which they are being viewed.

“Whether you are a roofing contractor who’s looking for shingle installation tips while working on a home or a homeowner who wants to see different design options while shopping at the store, visitors to the site will benefit greatly from the more easily accessed information that ARMA’s upgraded website will offer,” adds Hitchcock.

ARMA redesigned its website a year ago to provide visitors with both enhanced user-friendly features which improved navigation and online shopping for roofing publications. ARMA offers a wide variety of general, educational and specialized design and installation guides for both residential and commercial asphalt roofing systems.

Dodge Momentum Index Slipped in February

The Dodge Momentum Index slipped 2.6 percent in February compared to the previous month, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. February’s decline brought the Momentum Index to 116.5 (2000=100), down from January’s revised 119.7 but still nearly 20 percent above the year-earlier (February 2012) reading of 97.4. The latest month’s retreat is expected to be a brief pause in a broader upward trend. Weak employment growth in December and January raised concern that the U.S. economic expansion was losing momentum, dampening the planning environment for commercial and institutional buildings. The moderate improvement in the February jobs report should help alleviate some of that concern going forward.

The February Momentum Index saw contraction in both its main components. New plans for commercial buildings, usually the more cyclically sensitive sector, dropped 1.7 percent while institutional building fell back by 3.7 percent. On the commercial side, declines were reported across all of the major building types. Even so, there were a number of new commercial projects that continued to make their way into the planning pipeline. February’s projects included the $160 million Three Alliance Office Building in Atlanta; a $130 million expansion to the Burns & McDonnell Headquarters in Kansas City, Mo.; and an $80 million distribution center for ConAgra Foods in Frankfurt, Ind. The institutional component, meanwhile, was weighed down by a large downturn in education building plans. The education decline, however, was partially offset by an increase for new health-care projects, including the $50 million Presbyterian Rust Cancer Center in Rio Rancho, N.M., and the $50 million Jewish Home of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y.

Equipment Finance Market Achieves Highest Index in Two Years

The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation has released the March 2014 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI). Designed to collect leadership data, the index reports a qualitative assessment of the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $827 billion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 65.1, the highest index in two years and an increase from the February index of 63.3. The first quarter MCI levels are the three highest since April 2011.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI survey respondent Daryn Lecy, vice president of Operations, Stearns Bank N.A. Equipment Finance Division, says: “Considering we are coming off what are typically slower months and the likelihood that our extra-aggressive winter further impacted new business, we remain optimistic for 2014. We are fortunate to be experiencing year-over-year growth, increasing demand, and overall solid delinquency levels.”

March 2014 Survey Results
The overall MCI-EFI is 65.1, an increase from the February index of 63.3.

    When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 31.4 percent of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, up from 21.2 percent in February. Sixty-five point seven percent of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 72.7 percent in February. And 2.9 percent believe business conditions will worsen, down from 6.1 percent who believed so the previous month.

    Just more than 31 percent of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, up from 24.2 percent in February. And 62.9 percent believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, down from 69.7 percent the previous month. Another 5.7 percent believe demand will decline, down from 6.1 percent who believed so in February.

    Thirty-one point four percent of executives expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, unchanged from February. And 68.6 percent of survey respondents indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, up from 65.5 percent in February. No one expects “less” access to capital, down from 3.1 percent who expected less access the previous month.

    When asked, 40 percent of the executives reported they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, relatively unchanged from February. The other 60 percent expect no change in headcount over the next four months, up from 53 percent last month. No one expects fewer employees, down from 6.3 percent who expected fewer employees in February.

    Five point seven percent of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” up from 3 percent last month. While 88.6 percent of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “fair,” down from 93.8 percent last month. And 5.7 percent rate it as “poor,” up from 3 percent last month.

    When asked, 31.4 percent of the of survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 34.4 percent who believed so in February. And 68.6 percent of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, an increase from 59.4 percent in February. No one believes economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, a decrease from 6.2 percent last month.

    In March, 45.7 percent of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, a decrease from 56.3 percent in February. Another 54.3 percent believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, an increase from 43.8 percent last month. No one believes there will be a decrease in spending, unchanged from last month.

March 2014 MCI Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership

Bank, Small Ticket
“We continue to see strong growth in both applications and origination volume. We are optimistic that this trend will continue as we close out the first quarter. In addition, portfolio performance in terms of delinquencies remains very low.” David Schaefer, CEO, Mintaka Financial, LLC

Independent, Middle Ticket
“New business volume targets in our truck transportation business continue to be met or exceeded by our over 2,300 dealers nationwide in the U.S., suggesting continued strength in the economy.” William Besgen, President & COO, Hitachi Capital America Corp.

Bank, Middle Ticket
“The overall economy is fair; however, I do see an increase in capital expenditures in 2014. The capital expenditures will be made to reduce labor cost and/or replace outdated or worn out equipment.” Elaine Temple, President, Bancorpsouth Equipment Finance

Why an MCI-EFI?
Confidence in the U.S. economy and the capital markets is a critical driver to the equipment finance industry. Throughout history, when confidence increases, consumers and businesses are more apt to acquire more consumer goods, equipment and durables, and invest at prevailing prices. When confidence decreases, spending and risk-taking tend to fall. Investors are said to be confident when the news about the future is good and stock prices are rising.

Who participates in the MCI-EFI?
The respondents are comprised of a wide cross section of industry executives, including large-ticket, middle-market and small-ticket banks, independents and captive equipment finance companies. The MCI-EFI uses the same pool of 50 organization leaders to respond monthly to ensure the survey’s integrity. Since the same organizations provide the data from month to month, the results constitute a consistent barometer of the industry’s confidence.

How is the MCI-EFI designed?
The survey consists of seven questions and an area for comments, asking the respondents’ opinions about the following:
1. Current business conditions
2. Expected product demand over the next four months
3. Access to capital over the next four months
4. Future employment conditions
5. Evaluation of the current U.S. economy
6. U.S. economic conditions over the next six months
7. Business development spending expectations
8. Open-ended question for comment

How may I access the MCI-EFI?
Survey results are posted on the Foundation website, included in the Foundation Forecast newsletter and included in press releases. Survey respondent demographics and additional information about the MCI are also available at the link above.

Papers Sought for Eighth Symposium on Research Roofing and Standards Development

Papers are invited for the Eighth Symposium on Research Roofing and Standards Development, which will be held Dec. 6, 2015, at the Marriott Tampa, Fla. Sponsored by ASTM International Committee D08 on Roofing and Waterproofing, the symposium will be held in conjunction with the committee’s standards development meetings.

The symposium provides a forum for contributing to the fundamental understanding of acceptable roof performance with the primary emphasis being current research and development work. The symposium will center on the influence of laboratory and field investigations in the development of standards for roofing and waterproofing materials and systems.

The symposium is intended to address topics describing research and standards development for low- and steep-slope roofing systems, including the following:
• Polymer-modified and conventional built-up bituminous roofing
• Self-adhesive membrane roofing
• Liquid-applied membrane roofing
• Synthetic single-ply roofing systems
• Spray polyurethane foam roofing systems
• Metal roofing systems
• Roof edge systems
• Performance of shingles, tiles and other steep roof coverings
• Wind and fire resistance
• Air and moisture movement in roofing systems
• Cool roofing, vegetative (green) roofing and solar
• Energy-efficient roofing
• Technology of roof coatings
• Hygrothermal simulations/modeling
• Roof system durability and service-life prediction
• Roofing in a sustainability era
• Roofing retrofit
• Advances in waterproofing
• Advances in adhesion technology for synthetic and bituminous roofing
• Advances in low-sloped roofing and its components

To participate in the symposium, presenters/authors must submit a 250- to 300-word preliminary abstract by April 8, 2014. The abstract must include a clear definition of the objective and approach of the work discussed, pointing out material that is new and presenting sufficient details regarding results. The presentation and manuscript must not be of a commercial nature nor can it have been previously published. The symposium co-chairmen will notify the presenters/authors by Sept. 8, 2014, of their paper’s acceptability for presentation at the symposium.

Abstracts may be submitted online.

Construction Industry Safety Coalition Urges U.S. Department of Labor to Withdraw ‘Significantly Flawed’ Silica Proposal

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition, which represents 25 different construction trade associations, issued the following statement recently as it filed comments regarding the Washington, D.C.- based Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s proposed Crystalline Silica Rulemaking:

“After an exhaustive analysis that involved hundreds of construction safety professionals, builders, construction managers and specialty trade contractors representing virtually every facet on the industry, it is our conclusion that the administration’s proposed new silica rule is significantly flawed and will do little to improve workplace health or safety. Specifically, the proposed rule sets a silica exposure standard that cannot be accurately measured or protected against with existing equipment and includes a series of data errors that undermine many of the rule’s basic assumptions.

“The proposed rule’s new silica exposure limit is virtually impossible to accurately measure or protect against using existing technology. For example, commercially available dust collection technology is not capable by itself of protecting workers from the rule’s new silica exposure limit. A limitation the agency appears to acknowledge in its additional requirement that workers also wear respirators, something that would not be necessary if the dust collection technology was effective.

“Even more troubling, the proposal is rife with errors and inaccurate data that call into question the entire rulemaking process. Agency officials, for example, omitted 1.5 million construction workers from its assessment of the size of the affected workforce. The agency also did not consider the broad range of tasks and variety of settings and environments in which construction occurs. And the agency’s assessment of the rule’s cost was off by a factor of four.

“Given the lack of scientific explanation justifying the new exposure limits, the many contradictions between the rule and the realities faced in the construction industry, and the fact that agency officials made significant errors in the basic data the rule is based on, we are urging the administration to withdraw this proposed rule. We strongly urge agency officials to work with us and employee groups to craft a silica measure that will build upon the work all of us have done to reduce silica-related deaths by 93 percent during the past three decades.”

Dodge Momentum Index Rose 3 Percent in January 2014

The Dodge Momentum Index rose 3 percent in January compared to the previous month, according to McGraw Hill Construction, a division of McGraw Hill Financial. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. January’s relatively strong gain brought the Momentum Index to 121.1 (2000=100), compared to a revised 117.6 in December 2013. Save for two minor dips in June and October 2013, the Momentum Index has been on a steady climb for more than a year. As the environment for new nonresidential development continues to improve, the planning pipeline of nonresidential building projects has grown more active.

Construction Employment Jumps by the Largest Monthly Amount in Nearly Seven Years

Construction employment jumped by the largest monthly amount in nearly seven years in January, bringing industry employment to the highest level since July 2009, according to an analysis of new government data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Construction employment totaled 5,922,000 in January, the highest total in four-and-one-half years and an increase of 48,000 from a month earlier—the largest one-month gain since April 2007. For the year, construction employment rose by 179,000, or 3.1 percent, compared with an increase of 1.7 percent for total nonfarm payroll employment. Nonresidential construction firms added 31,300 new jobs in January and 57,100 (1.6 percent) over 12 months while residential firms added 16,800 jobs for the month and 121,400 (5.8 percent) during the year. The unemployment rate for workers actively looking for jobs and last employed in construction declined from 16.1 percent in January 2013 to 12.3 percent in January 2014—the lowest January rate since 2008.

National Roofing Week: July 6-12

To increase recognition of the significance of roofs to every home and business across the U.S., promote the good deeds of the roofing industry and stress the value of professional roofing contractors, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) announces National Roofing Week will take place July 6-12.

The roof is one of the most important components of a home or business’ structure, yet it is often taken for granted until it falls into disrepair. During National Roofing Week, NRCA encourages its members to participate by engaging in their communities and informing the public about the essential role roofs and professional roofing contractors plan in every community.

“Professional roofing contractors provide a vital service to their communities. Many NRCA members donate resources and time to charitable events and support organizations in cities and towns across America,” says NRCA President Nelson R. Braddy Jr. “National Roofing Week will enable NRCA members to highlight their community involvement and educate consumers regarding the importance of hiring a professional roofing contractor when a roofing need arises.”

NRCA contractor members are encouraged to promote the importance of having a roof to children by having them participate in the “Everybody Needs a Roof” Children’s Art Contest. The contest is part of National Roofing Week and is open to children in grades 1-8 who are relatives of NRCA contractor members or their employees. Entries are now being accepted.

Contest winners will have their artwork featured on all 2014 National Roofing Week material and additional promotional material to be displayed at industry events throughout the year, including the 2015 International Roofing Expo and NRCA’s 128th Annual Convention in New Orleans.

In addition, NRCA will host a community service day during NRCA’s Midyear Meetings in Chicago, where members will volunteer their services on a roof system repair in the Chicago area. Contractor members throughout the U.S. are encouraged to give back to their communities in a similar way during National Roofing Week.

Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress Names MVP Award Winners

The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress has announced the winners of its 14th Annual Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, recognizing outstanding roofing workers from Dallas; Aurora, Colo.; Quakertown, Pa.; and Canonsburg, Pa.

The MVP Awards program honors roofing professionals based on their significant contributions in one or more of the following areas: outstanding on-the-job performance, on-the-job safety performance, contributions to a team effort, community service and volunteerism, and other noteworthy contributions.

The 2014 MVP Award winners are:

  • Javier Contreras, foreman for Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, Dallas
  • Jim Dieckmen, superintendent for Academy Roofing, Inc., Aurora, Colo.
  • Roberto Valdez, superintendent for Supreme Roofing Systems, Inc., Dallas
  • Ryan Watts, foreman for Jurin Roofing Services Inc., Quakertown, Pa.
  • Coy Wilson, foreman for CentiMark Corp., Canonsburg, Pa.

Additionally, the Alliance named the following MVP Award finalists:

  • Jose Martinez, foreman for AAA Roofing Co. Inc., Indianapolis
  • Joel Portillo, foreman for Star Roofing Inc., Phoenix

The Alliance also named Valdez as a finalist for outstanding on-the-job performance, on-the-job safety performance and other noteworthy contributions, respectively, and Watts as a finalist for on-the-job safety performance.

For more information about the MVP Awards program or next year’s nominations, contact Bennett Judson, the Alliance’s executive director, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7513, or email her.