January 2004

Observations for 2004

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A roofing contractor discusses what is facing the roofing industry

by Dick Baxter
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New developments in roofing materials have brought new installation challenges. Roof systems introduced to the roofing market relatively untested make plenty of room for imaginative installation techniques. It seems market demands generally are oriented to short-term roofing solutions. There remain a few building owners interested in constructing roof systems to provide long-term service (20 years or more), but their ranks appear to be shrinking. In a way, that's good news for the roofing contracting community—Detroit has been at it for years. The name of that game is "planned obsolescence," or we get to replace roof systems more often with more short-term roof system options. As the Gulf Oil dealer says, "Pay me now, or pay me later."

Photos courtesy of CRS Inc., Monroe, N.C.

This roof was white upon installation three years to five years ago.

The short-term attitude, the move to more purchasing agents buying roofs at the absolute lowest price and "auction" roof purchasing have caused more than a little consternation for roofing contractors. As the complications created by these methods manifest themselves, we may see a reversal in attitude from end users of roof systems—especially those who own their facilities for the long term. In the meantime, roofing contractors from the "old school" who have been building long-term roof systems with pride throughout the years sooner or later must realize market demands have changed and they must change with the market, change their market or be doomed to extinction. So with more than a little reluctance, we modify our mindset and develop new talent to deal with changing market demands. These observations for your consideration are an attempt to call attention to potential application and business problems and deprive lawyers of at least some of their livelihood. The caveat remains veritable—you get what you pay...

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