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Building owners' FAQs

Q1: What is the NRCA/MRCA CERTA program?

A1: CERTA is an acronym for the Certified Roofing Torch Applicator program. It is a training program designed to teach roofing workers how to safely use roofing torches. The program also helps roofing workers and contractors implement the latest roofing industry best practices for the safe use of roofing torches.

Q2: Who developed the CERTA program?

A2: The current CERTA program was updated in 2004 by NRCA to incorporate new industry best practices. CERTA originally was developed in the mid-1980s by the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA).

Q3: Why was the CERTA program developed?

The MRCA CERTA program originally was developed to address the related hazards of using a roofing torch. A significant increase in torch-related roofing fires between 2000 and 2003 led to new industry best practices. The updated NRCA/MRCA CERTA program is designed to implement these new best practices and effect safe torching techniques by roofing workers. Improved techniques of roofing workers who use roofing torches can reduce property damage caused by roofing fires and improve conditions for general liability insurance for roofing contractors.

Q4: Are there data to support reduced fire losses in the roofing industry directly attributable to the new NRCA/MRCA CERTA program?

A4: Yes. The number of serious roofing torch-related fire incidents has decreased significantly since 2004 when the new NRCA/MRCA CERTA program was implemented in the roofing industry. For example, in 2002, one major insurance company paid 35 roofing torch-related fire losses of more than $1,000 and 11 of more than $500,000. In 2005, after only one year of the new NRCA/MRCA CERTA program implementation, the same insurance company paid 13 losses of more than $1000, including only two of more than $500,000. The NRCA/MRCA CERTA program had made a significant effect on the safe use of roofing torches throughout the roofing industry.

Q5: Who is certified in the CERTA program?

A5: A roofing worker must successfully complete a registered CERTA applicator training session conducted by an authorized CERTA trainer to become certified. Participants must pass extensive hands-on and classroom training activities. Certification belongs to an individual roofing worker and not his employer.

Q6: Who teaches the CERTA certification sessions?

A6: Only authorized CERTA trainers can conduct certification training sessions and certify roofing workers. Roofing contractors, their key managers, safety consultants and some union apprenticeship trainers typically become authorized trainers. Individuals who wish to become authorized CERTA trainers must successfully pass a 10-hour NRCA train-the-trainer program. Only NRCA provides this train-the-trainer authorization program.

Q7: How many authorized CERTA trainers and certified torch applicators are in the U.S.?

A7: There are 764 authorized NRCA/MRCA CERTA trainers and 6,683 certified roofing torch applicators in the U.S. as of October 2006.

Q8: How do I know if certification training of roofing workers is being properly conducted?

A8: CERTA training of torch applicators is conducted only by authorized trainers. Training sessions must be registered with NRCA in advance. NRCA and many insurance industry loss-control representatives randomly audit registered training sessions without notice to assure quality training is occurring in the field.

Q9: Is the CERTA program mandatory?

A9: The NRCA/MRCA CERTA program is a requirement for certain insurance industry underwriters as a condition for coverage. Some private building owners, branches of the U.S. Military and general contractors also have implemented the NRCA/MRCA CERTA program as a requirement in construction contracts. Some state and local government agencies also require the NRCA/MRCA CERTA program for building code compliance.

Q10: Where can I find out more about the CERTA program?

A10: Additional information about the NRCA/MRCA CERTA program including the new industry best practices is available in the program manual and on NRCA's Web site.

Click here to download a free copy of the program manual.

For more information, contact Janice Davis, NRCA's manager of education and risk management, at (847) 299-9070, ext. 7505, or jdavis@nrca.net.

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