Is there light at the end of the tunnel? That was the question NRCA Past President
Rob McNamara posed in the 2009-10 annual report. I would like to offer my answer:
Yes, light can be seen even though many obstacles still remain.
Are you more optimistic this year than the previous year? I am, and I believe many
in this industry and the U.S. are optimistic about the future. But no matter what
happens, we must handle the situations and circumstances we will face. If nothing
else, that is the American way. Adversity is not new to this country, and every
time we have faced adversity, a new and stronger country emerges. I have no doubt
our industry will emerge stronger as we progress through these troubling times.
Meanwhile, we must learn to adjust to the changing landscape we face. Challenges
bring opportunities for all of us. If we continue down the same path, we will remain
in the past and not advance with the new era of change. As businesspeople, we must
begin to understand the future landscape and embrace this new era or be left behind.
As you know, it is not business as usual. We already are learning how to survive
in this new era, or we would not be here now. Instead of hope and change for what
used to be, let us work to develop what will be.
NRCA also has had to acknowledge and adjust to the changing landscape. The association
has realized its members' needs may be changing in this new era, and it must adapt
to this new environment. After the past two years of cost, budget and staff reductions,
NRCA is moving forward with new programs, which should arm our members with the
tools they need to progress.
During the past year, we have begun to fill some of the vacancies in our organization
by hiring more staff at our Washington, D.C., office to help with the new regulations
and interpretations of previous legislation, which affect our lives at home and
at work. One item I have discussed throughout my travels is we just now are seeing
the new and changing regulations emerging from the current administration. NRCA
is committed to keeping you informed about what is happening in Washington, D.C.,
and also being a strong voice for small businesses and roofing contractors.
NRCA also has expanded its education staff, which will help NRCA begin the process
of developing educational programs and classes that will help the association conquer
the landscape it faces.
During the past year, through regulatory change, the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) has eliminated the use of slide guards in most situations
for residential roofing construction as an approved safety plan. NRCA disagrees
with this action, which was taken without listening to our concerns or comments.
So NRCA challenged OSHA's rule in court as a way to negotiate a new fall-protection
method that would work for everyoneespecially those who work on roofs.
As you know, NRCA was not successful. Although stopping this rule was highly unlikely,
NRCA believed if it did not stand up for our members, who would? Now that the legal
challenge is over, NRCA plans to work with OSHA to develop new guidelines and an
understanding of the agency's rules as they apply to the roofing industry.
Our technical staff has been working hard on the new International Green Construction
Code (IGCC), making sure our voice is heard regarding implementation of this new
code, which will become law in 2012. This new code cannot be stopped; the green
movement is a wave rushing across this land. Still in development, the code is being
written with the intent to help the environment. However, good intentions often
don't always transfer into well-written law (this code already has been adapted
by many jurisdictions before it is completed), and its effects on our businesses
can be dramatic.
Asphalt fumes are back for the final verdict of a class designation by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer, which is considered the authoritative cancer organization
worldwide. Based on its final designation, the National Institute for Occupational
Health (NIOSH) will decide whether asphalt fumes should be classified as a carcinogen
and what level of protection workers will be subject to when in contact with asphalt
fumes. The current rating for asphalt fumes is Class 3, which means it is not rated
as a carcinogenic. If this rating is upgraded even to a possible carcinogen, there
likely will be repercussions for our industry.
We do not know what those repercussions will be at this time, but NRCA is involved
and has been involved with the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer's Association for many
years doing research and testing. The decision's ramifications could be significant,
and NRCA must continue to be involved for our members.
NRCA and the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing launched the Roof Integrated
Solar Energy™ program this past year. NRCA also has been working this past
year on its 2011 International Symposium: Emerging Technologies and Roof System
Performance being held in Washington, D.C., Sept. 7-9, which will focus on emerging
technologies. Both these programs will help NRCA members be better prepared for
the new era of business handling environmental issues.
We know change is coming and have been working to position and inform all NRCA members
to help them meet new and existing challenges. This takes a lot of commitment in
time and resources from NRCA's staff, NRCA's many committees that consist of NRCA
members (contractors and others), NRCA's board of directors and Executive Committeeall
of whom are dedicated to our industry. Thanks to all who have given back to our
industry in different waysfrom being active at NRCA or your state or regional
association to being members and supporting such organizations. It is our association's
members that make us strong, set the direction we go as an industry and always will
be in the forefront of innovation and change, shaping our industry's landscape.
May we move forward in this country, making a path for a better and safer future
for generations to come. Keep up the good work, and let NRCA know where we can help
you improve and move forward.
Also, thank you for allowing me to serve as your president during the past year.
I have met so many dedicated people in our industry and am grateful for your thoughts,
prayers and support. Everyone at every stop I made has shown support and appreciation
for me and NRCA. Thank you for being a part of my year!
T. Allen Lancaster
NRCA President 2010-11