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Focus - The future of roofing

image Jody C. Delino, Chief Financial Officer, Texas Fifth Wall Systems Inc., Austin, TX

AUSTIN - Jody C. Delino graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Lamar University. He has been part of the Fifth Wall family since 2007.





What is on the horizon for the roofing industry?

    Industry leaders are continually exploring ways to better manage the construction process through easier, more efficient construction and project management methodologies. For example, using technology to communicate more efficiently, drones to explore existing structures and infrared cameras to inspect hidden substructures for water intrusion have marked benefits to productivity, safety management, and customer satisfaction. 
    In addition, the roofing industry is developing the means to minimize the environmental impact by extending the life of roofing systems through asset management programs, recycling of waste materials, developing the use of energy efficient/low impact products such as zero VOC products, new cutting edge roof coatings to defer roof replacement for a time, and achieving higher energy efficient ratings using high tech insulation products. The industry is also focused on devoting resources to better position us in the labor market by improving our professional image through certified education programs and better communicating roofing career opportunities. For example, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) offers professional development opportunities to help advance executives’ and career minded individuals’ roles as leaders, managers and skilled workers.
With the construction industry’s big push on sustainability, where is the roofing industry headed?
    Roofing system manufacturers and providers of building products are offering a wider selection of energy-saving options that are LEED® compliant, Energy Star® certified, and Cool Roof Rating Council listed. A few examples of the roofing industry’s effort to optimize sustainability include highly reflective roofing membranes that reduce air conditioning costs; skylight and day lighting products to optimize overall energy costs; roof garden systems with inherent environmental benefits while also aiding in storm water management; and life cycle management tools and processes to extend the roofing system lifespan.
    In response to the increasing use of sustainable energy sources, roofing system manufacturers have developed solar ready roofing systems to accommodate the structural requirements, wind uplift ratings, and additional foot traffic needs of rooftop solar systems. Energy efficiency goals are also driving the need for a tighter building envelope, which likely amplifies the design and installation complexities of the roofing system. However, energy efficiency gains could be costly as such designs can lead to greater risks for realizing, as an example, the unintended consequence of trapping moisture within the building envelope.

Have there been any changes in regulations/codes affecting the roofing industry and what are they?  How have they affected your company and the way you do business?
    There is a regular cycle of building code updates that occur in the roofing industry. We are accustomed to dealing with such changes.  A couple of the more significant changes scheduled to hit Texas soon are revisions to the Hail Storm Map and the Roof Wind Uplift Ratings. The result of which will be slightly more costly yet more robust roofing system designs to reduce catastrophic failures under certain weather conditions. As well prepared as we are to deal with code changes, we feel like we are challenged to navigate the ever-changing regulatory landscape.  Our commitment to ensuring our business practices comply with the increasingly complex and often times poorly constructed or conflicting federal, state and local regulations is a constant distraction for our leadership. Most recently, the City’s efforts to deploy ordinances such as Ban the Box and City of Austin Sick Time Ordinance are examples of well-intended policy that increases business complexity. This can be very costly, interfere with our ability to meet the needs of our customers and forces us to choose winners and losers amongst our employee base.
    Overreaching actions taken by one governing body that is eventually overridden by another further compounds the issue. Many times the risk of noncompliance built into such ordinances or actions are sufficiently significant that we are required to devote time and effort to revise policies and procedures anticipating compliance for rules or regulations that are ambiguous or never come to bear. Our preference would be that these various governing bodies are held to the same standard as those in private industry:  operate within the confines of existing laws and regulations while working to influence desired and worthy change using established procedures offered by the responsible institution.  -cmw

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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net