As I was saying …

The international language of roofing

I recently had the opportunity to meet with roofing industry leaders in Japan and China, and if any of you have lingering doubts about the globalization of our industry, I assure you they can—and should—forcefully be put to rest.

What was most remarkable about the meetings was the topics we covered were wholly unremarkable. We talked about the emergence of energy and environmental issues; government incentives and mandates affecting the roofing industry; opportunities for expanded trade; and—in China—new FM Global requirements for wind-uplift testing.

To be sure, there are important differences. Built-up roofing still has significant market share in Japan where TPO is scarcely known. EPDM is just beginning to gain popularity in China where torch-applied systems generally are outlawed. And the preponderance of concrete buildings in both countries has created an entirely different set of design and performance issues from what we are used to in the U.S.

There certainly are differences, too, between the roofing industries of Japan and China. The most astounding difference is that China's construction industry still is growing at a double-digit pace with not the slightest prospect of a slowdown in the foreseeable future.