NRCA Offers Pocket-Sized Safety Guide

The National Roofing Contractors Association offers the NRCA Pocket Guide to Safety. The publication includes the most current Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements and safe work practices related to fall protection; electrical hazards; heat illnesses; personal protective equipment; and fire prevention.

The 125-page, pocket-sized, spiral-bound guide is intended for use by laborers, mechanics, foremen and others on job sites. A Spanish-language version also is available.

The member price for NRCA Pocket Guide to Safety is $9, and the retail price is $18; discount pricing is offered for purchasing multiple quantities. For more information and to purchase the guide, click here or call NRCA’s Customer Service Department at (866) 275-6722.

NRCA Urges Participation in National Roofing Week

To increase recognition of the significance of roofs, stress the value of professional roofing contractors, bring attention to the value of a career in roofing and promote the good deeds of the industry, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) is urging communities throughout the U.S. to recognize National Roofing Week taking place June 4-10.

The roof is one of the components of a structure, yet it often is 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 role roofs and professional roofing contractors play in every community.

Most roof systems last more than 20 years; however, routine evaluation and maintenance is necessary to extend its life and keep overall costs down. NRCA urges consumers to observe National Roofing Week by paying attention to wear and tear on their roof systems and to make informed decisions about roof system maintenance and replacement.

“Professional roofing contractors play a role in every community, and National Roofing Week provides the roofing industry the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the work we do,” says NRCA Chairman of the Board Dennis Conway. “I look forward to sharing the roofing industry’s stories of professional excellence and charitable giving during National Roofing Week.”

NRCA will recognize National Roofing Week by highlighting the work, training and good deeds of its members and their employees on its various social media outlets. The winners of NRCA’s fourth annual children’s art contest will also be announced. Children in grades 1-8, who are relatives of NRCA members and their employees submitted artwork depicting the importance of roofs and the professional roofing contractor.

Contest winners will have their artwork featured on all National Roofing Week material and additional promotional material to be displayed at industry events throughout the year, including the 2018 International Roofing Expo and NRCA’s 131th Annual Convention in New Orleans.

Additional information about National Roofing Week can be found here.

Roofing Torch Program Reduces Fire Hazards During Modified Bitumen Application

CERTA offers a certification program in which authorized trainers deliver behavior-based training to roofing workers who install polymer modified bitumen roof systems.

CERTA offers a certification program in which authorized trainers deliver behavior-based training to roofing workers who install polymer modified bitumen roof systems.

The latest market survey conducted by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) shows the use of polymer modified bitumen as a percentage of all new roof systems, installed both in new construction and re-roofing projects, comprises about 10 percent of the total low-slope market, according to members responding. The significance of that share of the market for polymer-modified bitumen also highlights the importance of proper training in the use of roofing torches, the most common method for installation of such systems.

Background

In 1986, the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA), in conjunction with industry organizations, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, developed a curriculum to train roofing workers in the safe application of torch-applied roof systems. This program was named the Certified Roofing Torch Applicator, or CERTA, program.

In 2003, insurance industry representatives approached NRCA to address concerns about an increase of losses and incidents involving torching activities conducted by roofing workers. One prominent insurer experienced over $7 million in roofing torch-related claims in 2002 spread over more than 30 separate occurrences. The need for enhanced work practices and focused safety training to address torching activities became apparent, and NRCA arranged with MRCA to adopt and revise the nature of and deliverables offered by the CERTA program.

CERTA now offers a unique, comprehensive certification program in which authorized trainers deliver effective behavior-based training to roofing workers who install polymer modified bitumen roof systems. CERTA-authorized trainers undergo a rigorous full-day training session that includes classroom and hands-on instruction in propane safety, hazards related to torch use, proper techniques for safe installation of polymer modified bitumen, and development of training skills. Individuals who successfully complete all aspects of the program then are authorized to deliver training, under the CERTA protocol, to workers who qualify as certified roofing torch applicators.

MRCA continues to work with NRCA to make sure the program is up-to-date and uses the most effective procedures to develop authorized trainers and enhance the curriculum. Since its inception, roofing contractors who have trained their workers under CERTA generally have experienced fewer torch-related fires, injuries and property damage. Insurance industry claims also are a testament to the CERTA program success—the insurer that experienced over 30 torch-related claims in 2002 now can count such average yearly claims on one hand with a significantly reduced average yearly dollar loss.

Safety Specifics

Trainees in a CERTA class spend a great deal of time on some specific aspects of the use of roofing torches to install a polymer modified bitumen roof system. Those specifics have a direct correlation to keeping workers and others safe, and minimizing the likelihood of property damage. First, the CERTA curriculum focuses on the inherent danger of roofing torches and discusses assessing job hazards and establishing controls for torching operations. Details cover the proper personal protective equipment to minimize or eliminate exposure to burns and the critical need to handle propane properly and make sure equipment is in good condition.

Pre-job planning enforces the significance of determining the hazards unique to the particular worksite and developing the necessary controls to address those hazards. In addition to general working conditions and weather issues that may influence job site safety, specific hazards such as the presence of a combustible roof deck, roof penetrations, concealed attic areas and combustible flashing substrates are addressed and suitable controls are suggested and discussed. Also, attendees get comprehensive information on the types and ratings of fire extinguishers and how they are used most effectively along with the minimum CERTA requirements for appropriate fire extinguishers that must be on a roof. In fact, CERTA requires a fire extinguisher capacity far exceeding OSHA’s fire protection requirements during torch operations— two 4A60BC-rated fire extinguishers within 10 feet of torching activity.

Another important fire prevention protocol is the use of a fire watch system. The intent of the fire watch is that a dedicated individual is charged with inspecting the work area after the last torch, or other heat generating tool, is extinguished. Ordinarily, this is accomplished visually, but it can also be done more scientifically with the use of temperature sensing infrared thermometer. These are inexpensive tools that read the temperature of an area that the tool is pointed at and display the reading in degrees on the screen. The fire watch individual would shoot various specific locations where hot work was done—for example, at roof penetrations, flashings or field areas—noting the temperature for each spot. This procedure would be followed for the same spots a short time later, and if the temperature had increased, the possibility that a fire under the roof surface could be a source of the increased heat being generated would require further steps to determine the nature of the heat increase and the proper action to take.

Historically, many industries and building owners have required a 30-minute fire watch be maintained after the last torch or other tool has been extinguished. Under the CERTA protocol, a two-hour fire watch is demanded of a CERTA roofing torch applicator. The fire watch must be maintained not just at the end of the day but at other break times, such as lunch, so that fires do not start when workers may be away from the work area or inattentive during break times.

Another key element of training for the CERTA torch applicator involves installation techniques that are intended to reduce the likelihood of a fire being started. The techniques include specified thermal barriers to protect combustible roof decks and substrate protection for flashing installations, along with an alternative torching technique that minimizes the use of direct torching.

Certa Works

Installation of polymer-modified bitumen roof systems using propane roofing torches requires adherence to a number of safety procedures and an awareness of the hazards that workers may encounter. The CERTA program has a proven track record of enhancing the safe practices of roofing workers who install these systems and the roofing industry, building owners and the general public are all safer because of its development and use.

Photo: NRCA

RCMA to Recognize the Roofing Industry During National Roofing Week

To increase recognition of the significance of roofs to every home and business, stress the value of professional roofing contractors, and promote the good deeds of the industry, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) will recognize National Roofing Week taking place June 4-10.
 
The roof is one of the most important components of a building structure, yet it is often taken for granted until it falls into disrepair. Organized by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), National Roofing Week enables the roofing industry to engage stakeholders and inform the public about the essential role roofs and professional roofing contractors play in every community.
 
“RCMA’s members are committed to providing advanced solutions to the commercial buildings market,” said Matt Coffindaffer, RCMA Executive Director. “National Roofing Week is an excellent time for manufacturers, contractors, building owners, and other shareholders to recognize the numerous advantages that roof coatings possess including their proven performance lives, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use.”
 
Roof coatings serve to protect roofs against water, chemicals, and physical damage, extending the life of the roof system. This can reduce building-owner maintenance costs and avert landfill waste from re-roofing tear-offs. Roof coatings also have numerous benefits to energy use and the environment. Certain roof coatings are capable of reflecting visible light and infrared and ultraviolet radiation, leading to lower roof and interior temperatures. Lower roof temperatures in turn help reduce electrical cooling costs, decreasing the carbon footprint from buildings. Lower roofing surface temperatures also help diminish the Urban Heat Island Effect.
 
The roofing community can use the hashtag #NationalRoofingWeek on social media to celebrate the good deeds of the industry; raise awareness about roofing maintenance and application best practices; and highlight the importance of workplace safety and the value of roofing professionals. 

Graduates of NRCA University’s Future Executives Institute Are Announced

The NRCA University’s Future Executives Institute (FEI) has announced its graduates for 2017. Graduates were recognized during NRCA’s Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception held during NRCA’s 130th Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

FEI is a three-year program taught by Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management professors, industry leaders and field experts. It offers a look at business theory and practice. Those who attend benefit from industry networking opportunities while developing their understanding of skills in leading, managing and communicating.

FEI’s 2017 graduates:

For more information about FEI or to apply for the program, visit here.

NRCA Announces First Partner Member

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has announced that FiberTite Roofing Systems Seaman Corp., Wooster, Ohio, has become the first manufacturer to upgrade its associate membership to partner member.

In February, NRCA launched its One Voice initiative aimed at collectively recognizing threats to the industry and the opportunities they may present. To do so, NRCA has undertaken a campaign to unite the roofing industry and speak with one voice on matters of industry importance. To ensure all industry sectors are given an opportunity to participate, NRCA amended its bylaws to allow manufacturers, distributors, architects, engineers and consultants that choose to participate to become full members of the association, meaning they will be granted voting rights and eligible for leadership roles within the association. Previously, such rights were reserved only for contractor members.

“Our chances for success in many areas improve when we row in the same direction, and I saw this firsthand during my time in Congress,” says NRCA CEO Reid Ribble. “Industries that spoke with a single voice in Washington were more effective at moving legislation in their direction, and I believe we can accomplish the same when we foster relationships that are more inclusive and collaborative.”

FiberTite is the first company to commit to NRCA’s One Voice initiative, which initially will focus on developing a national worker training and certification program, legislative efforts and advocacy.

“Clearly, it is important to stakeholders throughout the roofing industry that we align ourselves around the challenges affecting the growth of our business,” says FiberTite Vice President and General Manager Scott Gipson. “Channeling the breadth of NRCA members in speaking with one voice provides clarity to policy makers who may otherwise guide decisions critical to our success. It was an easy decision for us to get on board with this initiative.”

For more information about NRCA and its One Voice initiative, go to the website.

Prevent Roof Fires During Torch-Down Projects

Torch-Down Safety While driving to work recently, I heard a news story on the radio: An unlicensed roofer was charged with causing a fire at a local apartment complex. When I arrived at the office, I Googled “fires caused by roofers.” The results included stories from across the nation:

  • Roofing crew blamed for a Chicago strip-mall fire.
  • Roofer’s torch likely cause of huge Arizona construction-site blaze.
  • Roofer’s blowtorch sparks a six-alarm fire in Hamilton Township, N.J.
  • Obviously, using an open-flame torch to install torch-down roofing systems can pose a fire risk. Torch-down roofing is a type of roofing that consists of layers of modified bitumen adhered to layers of fiberglass with a flame torch. Torch-down roofing is used only for flat or low-slope roofs. This process is popular with many contractors, mainly because of its ease of installation and its adaptability. With this system, the modified bitumen can bond tightly to metal flashings while the rubbery additives in the asphalt allow the roofing to expand and contract when other roofing systems may crack. In addition, roofers like torch-down roofing because it is easy to apply. Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous!

    It is easy to make a mistake with the torch that could result in disaster. Consider roofers that are torching down a roof and accidentally overheat something in the attic—insulation, for instance. They end their work for the day, not noticing the smoke coming out of soffit vents. Before long, that smoldering material in the attic heats up and starts a fire that quickly spreads throughout the dry, hot attic and, often, to the rest of the structure. 

    Regulations and Best Practices

    OSHA has developed standards that can help prevent these types of fires. Here are some of OSHA’s fire-protection and -prevention rules from the construction and general industry standards:

  • A fire extinguisher must be immediately accessible for all torch-down operations.
  • A fire extinguisher is needed within 50 feet of anywhere where more than 5 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids or 5 pounds of flammable gas are being used on the job site.
  • No one on a job site can be more than 100 feet from a fire extinguisher at all times.
  • There must be at least one fire extinguisher for 3,000 square feet of work area.
  • All flammable or combustible debris must be located well away from flammable liquids or gases.
  • Combustible scrap and debris must be removed regularly during the course of a job.
  • Piles of scrap and debris must be kept at least 10 feet from any building.
  • A fire watch person should be posted to immediately address any possible smolders or flare-ups.
  • The fire watch person should remain on post for 30 minutes after the torch-down job is finished for the day.
  • While the actions spelled out in these construction regulations are mandatory, roofing professionals should be aware that these are minimum requirements. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA) have developed a roofing torch applicator certification program designed to reduce fire hazards during torch application of modified bitumen products. According to Harry Dietz, Director of Risk Management for NRCA, the Certified Torch Applicator (CERTA) program teaches installers to minimize the exposure of combustible structural materials to the heat and flame of the roofing torch. The program also spells out a number of safe practices that go well beyond OSHA’s regulations in dealing with roofing torch use. Among other program elements, these include:

  • The requirement for two 4A60BC fire extinguishers during torch work (more than 10 times the firefighting capability required under the OSHA rules).
  • A two-hour fire watch performed after the last torch has been extinguished.
  • Following these guidelines for fire prevention can protect roofing professionals and the public. It can also save roofers money and time, as well as protect contractors from lawsuits and other legal charges. 

    “In 2002, a leading insurer of roofing contractors had over $7 million in torch related claims in 33 occurrences prior to requiring CERTA for its insureds,” said Dietz. “In 2015, that same insurance company reported only one torch-related claim with a loss of less than $10,000.”

    Visit this site to learn more about OSHA’s Safety and Health Regulations for Construction, Welding and Cutting, Fire Prevention. To learn more about the Certified Torch Applicator (CERTA) program, click here.

    NRCA Announces June 4-10 is National Roofing Week

    The roof is an important component of every structure, yet it often is taken for granted until it falls to disrepair. To raise awareness of the significance of roofs to every home and business, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has announced National Roofing Week will take place June 4-10.

    National Roofing Week also promotes the good deeds of the roofing industry and stresses the value of professional roofing contractors and the importance of making informed decisions about maintaining or replacing a roof system. During National Roofing Week, NRCA encourages its members to participate by engaging in their communities and informing the public about the role roofs and professional roofing contractors play in every community.

    NRCA also will be sharing its members’ stories through its various social media outlets, its Roof Scoop blog and “Professional Roofing” magazine. Members throughout the U.S. are encouraged to share their stories of charitable giving, crew and staff appreciation, and roofing projects with NRCA.

    “Professional roofing contractors play a role in every community, and National Roofing Week provides the roofing industry the opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the work we do,” says NRCA Chairman of the Board Dennis Conway. “I look forward to sharing the roofing industry’s stories of professional excellence and charitable giving during National Roofing Week.”

    In addition, NRCA members are encouraged to promote the importance of what a roof does by encouraging children to participate in NRCA’s 2017 Children’s Art Contest sponsored by A.C.T. Metal Deck Supply and the International Roofing Expo (IRE). The contest is open to children in grades 1-8 whose relatives work for NRCA member companies (all NRCA member companies are eligible). Entries will be accepted until April 14.

    Antis Roofing & Waterproofing Receives Community Involvement Award

    In recognition of its continuous efforts to help the people of Orange County by keeping roofs over their heads and helping dozens of local charitable organizations, Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, Irvine, Calif., has been presented with the fifth annual CNA/NRCA Community Involvement Award co-sponsored by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and CNA.

    The award honors charitable works performed by NRCA contractor members.

    Antis Roofing & Waterproofing was selected for its nonprofit organization The Antis Foundation. Founded in 2016, the Antis Foundation actively supports many local charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Orange County Ronald McDonald House, Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and Alzheimer’s Orange County.

    The Antis Foundation helps these organizations through its employee volunteer program, charitable grants, corporate and nonprofit collaborations, and pro-bono roofing work.

    CNA awarded Antis Roofing & Waterproofing with $7,500 to be used in support of The Antis Foundation.

    Additionally, second-place winner Advanced Roofing Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., will receive $5,000 for its ongoing support of the Sonrise Mission, a faith-based rehabilitation program for adults with life-controlling dependency issues.

    Third-place winner, Academy Roofing, Aurora, Colo., will receive $2,500 for its work with the Rose Andom Center, which assists victims of domestic violence.

    The awards were presented March 2 during NRCA’s Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception held during NRCA’s 130th Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

    To view CNA’s video featuring Antis Roofing & Waterproofing and its work with its nonprofit organization The Antis Foundation, click here.

    Get Involved as the Alliance Celebrates 20 Years of Elevating the Roofing Industry

    As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress remains steadfast in its mission. Its goals include supporting high-quality education programs, ensuring forward-thinking responses to major economic and technological issues, and enhancing the long-term viability and attractiveness of the roofing industry to current and future workers.

    As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress remains steadfast in its mission. Its goals include supporting high-quality education programs, ensuring forward-thinking responses to major economic and technological issues, and enhancing the long-term viability and attractiveness of the roofing industry to current and future workers.

    “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” This simple statement by Steve Jobs reflects the sentiments of The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress’ diverse and dedicated forum of members, who have united to carry out the Alliance’s vision to influence, shape and advance the future of the U.S. roofing industry.

    At 157 members strong, including 10 new members within the last year, the Rosemont, Ill.-based Alliance is in a unique position to unite roofing contractors, material manufacturers, distributors, service providers and industry professionals. To date, the group has committed more than $12.4 million to its endowment fund to help preserve and enhance the U.S. roofing industry’s success and performance.

    As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the Alliance remains steadfast in its mission and vision to serve as a valuable, effective and influential organization focused on three primary objectives:
    1. Supporting high-quality education programs.
    2. Ensuring timely and forward-thinking industry responses to major economic and technological issues.
    3. Enhancing the long-term viability and attractiveness of the roofing industry to current and future workers.

    PARTNERING WITH SCHOOLS

    With a keen focus on enhancing college students’ experiences by exposing them academically and experientially to roofing as a career choice, the Alliance Board of Trustees approved ongoing project funding to continue advancing educational initiatives with three of the most well-known construction management schools in the United States: the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University, Fort Collins; McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala.; and M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

    The Alliance is focused on fostering its relationships with construction management schools by developing a faculty research program that includes identifying topics of interest and direct benefit to the roofing industry, as well as a systematic approach for connecting member companies with construction management schools nationwide.

    “When a school needs a roofing expert to meet with students either in the classroom or on a job site, we want the Alliance to serve as that resource,” says Dennis Conway, NRCA chairman of the board and principal and vice president of Commercial Roofers Inc., Las Vegas. “Talking with students one-on-one about roofing fundamentals and career opportunities, in addition to exposing them to all the different roofing products, materials and systems, is invaluable.”

    Former Alliance President Jim MacKimm, president of Beacon Roofing Supply, Peabody, Mass., says such partnerships are invaluable. “These partnerships are crucial for the roofing industry,” he says. “We know we need to do a much better job telling students about career opportunities in roofing and making sure they understand the importance of roofing even if they pursue other construction-related careers.”

    During the International Roofing Expo in March, the Alliance also sponsored its third Construction Management Student Competition, a hallmark competition to promote careers in roofing industry management. In addition to providing a significant learning opportunity, the six-team competition fostered camaraderie, dialogue and team spirit among the students as they met the challenges of demonstrating their roofing knowledge of estimating, project management, safety and related areas for the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Teams represented were from the McWhorter School of Building Science at Auburn University; Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala.; University of Cincinnati; and the M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Construction Management at the University of Florida.

    “As technology advances, government regulation grows, sustainability increases in importance and roof systems become more complex, it is imperative for us to attract professional, knowledgeable students to the roofing industry,” says Suzan Boyd, vice president of Academy Roofing, Colorado Springs, Colo. “The exposure our industry receives through our construction management school partnerships is invaluable because the future of our workforce is at stake.”

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