B_0111_RN_BestofTimes

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times...

Jan. 10, 2011

Charles Dickens had it right, and 2009 will probably prove to be the best and worst that most of us building professionals have ever experienced.

On the downside, it's the economy (of course), the lack of consumer confidence, and the loss of jobs. Those of us with maintenance and operational responsibilities are being asked to do more, to hold costs down, and to plug along as best we can.

This column will explore two possibilities: outsourcing your roofing responsibilities or increasing your knowledge so that you're able to assume these responsibilities yourselves, preparing and prioritizing budgets, and anticipating problems before they occur. (In other words, hold things together until times get better.)

Outsourcing
The Roof Consulting Industry has greatly matured over the past two decades. Certification programs are available, and the rooftop surveys these professionals conduct will detect potential roof problems while they're still small and economically repairable. The greatest benefit of these surveys to the building manager is in preparing for the worst, as capital funding may not be available to completely replace roofs that are failing. Also, in spite of all the attention now being focused on photovoltaics and the like, detecting leaks and keeping roof insulation dry is still a far better return on investment.

Increasing Your Roofing Skills
Acquiring resources can help you keep up with your roofing responsibilities. Many of these resources (listed here) are free, and don't require you to travel. Others offer online courses that may require tuition, but, on the other hand, they save you the cost of travel and time away from home. If you need to earn learning units, RCI educational credits, etc., these are generally available as well.

Web Resources Associated with the Commercial Roofing Industry
These resources are listed alphabetically. They're not all-inclusive, and this listing isn't intended to be an endorsement of any particular program. Visit these websites to get a feeling for what's out there.

AIR VENT INC.
www.airvent.com

AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF STEEL CONSTRUCTION
www.aisc.org

APA-ENGINEERED WOOD TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION
www.engineeredwood.org

ARCHITECT'S FIRST SOURCE FOR PRODUCTS
www.ARCAT.com

AMERICAN CONCRETE INSTITUTE
www.concrete.org/general/home.asp

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS (ASCE)
www.asce.org

ASPHALT ROOFING MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (ARMA)
www.asphaltroofing.org/resources_publications_arma.html

ASTM INTL.
www.astm.org

BUILDINGS.COM
www.buildings.com

CLOSED CELL SPRAY FOAM INSULATION
www.ccfoam.com

COOL ROOFS
http://eetd.lbl.gov/heatisland

D.C. TAYLOR CO.
https://www.dctaylorco.com

ERA (EPDM Roofing Association)
www.epdmroofs.org

FMGLOBAL
www.fmglobal.com

INTL. CODE COUNCIL
www.iccsafe.org

IRINFO.ORG
www.irinfo.org

METAL ERA
wwwa.com.metaler

About the Author

Richard L. Fricklas

Richard (Dick) L. Fricklas received a Lifetime Achievement Award and fellowship from RCI in 2014 in recognition of his contributions to educating three generations of roofing professionals. A researcher, author, journalist, and educator, Fricklas retired as technical director emeritus of the Roofing Industry Educational Institute in 1996. He is co-author of The Manual of Low Slope Roofing Systems (now in its fourth edition) and taught roofing seminars at the University of Wisconsin, in addition to helping develop RCI curricula. His honors include the Outstanding Educator Award from RCI, William C. Cullen Award and Walter C. Voss Award from ASTM, the J. A. Piper Award from NRCA, and the James Q. McCawley Award from the MRCA. Dick holds honorary memberships in both ASTM and RCI Inc.

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