Tile Talk: A Powerful Voice

Connecting Through Industry

by Richard K. Olson, president & technical director, Tile Roofing Industry Alliance









(Editor’s Note: Richard K. Olson is president and technical director for the Tile Roofing Industry Alliance. The association represents industry professionals involved in the manufacturing and installation of concrete and clay tile roofs in the United States and Canada, and works with national, state, and local building officials to develop installation techniques, codes, and standards for better roofing systems. Olson can be reached at rolson@tileroofing.org.)


California House Bill AB660 is moving its way through the legislative halls of the California House and Senate. The intent of the bill is to reduce the energy needs moving forward through the implementation of a new strict requirement for reroof applications on residential dwellings to be a white roof cladding material. While there may be options for incremental thresholds along the way, the final outcome will not change the intent of a white roof that will need to be reroofed moving forward. Roofing professionals will most likely feel the implications of this bill with the next code cycle, or even sooner.

The journey of dealing with the process and the legislative protocols has allowed a very unique and powerful alliance to be created. Industry associations of all the affected parties including manufacturers, roofing contractors, builders, suppliers, and residential homeowners were each challenged with understanding the impact and navigating a path for communicating concerns and objections to the AB660 bill.

The commonality of our challenge became the foundation of an unusual partnering and collaborating of groups that might not otherwise be on the same side of the fence on such topics. Manufacturing industry associations for roof cladding materials began a dialog that forged a connection to work collectively in unison with one voice to hopefully defeat this bill. The Tile Roofing Industry Alliance (TRI) and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association began discussions early on in the process and created a connection to partner our efforts for this objection. The development of a unified approach and the outside assistance of a lobbyist helped build a team of industry resources to help educate and promote the issues surrounding the AB660 proposal. Our ability to work together expanded as other trade associations for manufacturers, contractors, and builders became aware of our concerns and asked to join in with our efforts. The response to grow our coalition has been exciting and influential in our ability to respond to this bill.

The unique opportunity to gain the voice of the roofing contractor community through Western States Roofing Contractors Association and the National Roofing Contractors Association completed the full complement of affected parties. The builders, contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers represent a powerful coalition that is learning to work together. The ability to respond quickly and with great detail and vision with a large group of diverse interest can be overwhelming to direct and gain consensus. In this expanding coalition, we have been able to set aside the differences and self-interest and stay focused on the goal of our efforts. Our ability to educate and share ideas and opportunities during the process has created a very strong influence and collaborative voice moving forward.

While the outcome of this battle to defeat AB660 is yet to be determined, what we have been able to achieve is the ability of various industries and groups that represent a diverse interest to come together in a common voice. The journey on this effort has created a new voice of a coalition that will be able to take on challenges moving forward in an effort to help promote and grow the roofing community for the benefit of all concerned.

It is an opportunity for roofing professionals to be part of a greater coalition that will help identify our common needs and build connections to the partners in our future efforts. This is the first time that such a large coalition has been formed that represents the whole roofing industry on a single topic. The power of the collaboration of all our stakeholders is truly a voice moving forward. The TRI and our partners have been thankful and appreciative of the leadership role that roofing contractors have played in this process.