As I was saying …

Reflections from NRLRC's seminar

The National Roofing Legal Resource Center (NRLRC) held its annual seminar in September; topics included a staggering array of emerging problems facing the roofing contractor community. For starters, lightweight structural concrete roof decks, a proposed Occupational Safety and Health Administration silica regulation and complying with the Affordable Care Act. During the seminar, I was struck by two simultaneous thoughts.

First, seminar attendees, which is to say our members, are smarter than ever. The quality of the discussions and questions was remarkable and covered a wide range of subject matter.

Second, they're smarter because they have to be. Call it the theory of roofing evolution. Roofing contractors now must contend with an unbelievable volume of government regulation, understand a complicated world of insurance, be tuned into federal and state legislative initiatives, and be prepared to explain roof system design to architects and project scheduling to general contractors. Oh, and in their spare time, they have to know how to apply seven or eight completely different types of roof systems.

It is tempting at such moments to long for the good old days when four or five manufacturers of built-up roofing products ruled the industry and (as we like to remember it) our problems were few and far between. But as college football coach Bobby Bowden noted, the good old days weren't so good if you were sitting in a dentist's chair.