Tile Talk: COVID-19 Soft Opening

Moving Forward as Roofing Professionals

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.)


Many states are beginning to re-open business and social gatherings to allow some semblance of normalcy to occur. While important for our economy, it will challenge us to know how best to operate as roofing professionals. Many of you have already opened back up for business, and it is important that we are all compliant and safe. It is important for every company or organization to create a viable and enforceable written COVID-19 safety plan. With the insurance industry in the short term excluding any coverage for COVID-19, it will make the need for you to have a formal written program a key focus.

Organizations like the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and your state and local health departments all have written guidelines for monitoring and creating safe practices as you open back up. These experts can help create the outline for the needs in your specific areas. Many of the states are opening in levels of phasing that dictate the size and nature of gatherings. As roofing contractors, our work is generally performed outdoors and, in some states, this has allowed you to operate even during the stay-at-home orders. In addition to the medical experts, you may wish to have a legal review of your programs to make sure you are providing the best and most defensible guidelines for protection.



Will you require daily checklists that ask about the current health of your employees and their contact with others? Will you require temperature checks for anyone entering a jobsite? Will masks be required? What is your record keeping protocols and enforcement of these requirements?


Social Distancing

How will you handle each phase of your roofing project to create the greatest social distancing? Will you have specific employees work as a team that remain static? Will you spread the phases for roof loading, installing, and finish work that can reduce exposure to larger groups on a roof?


Customer Interaction

How will you interact with the customer to complete your contract, provide inspection, and handle onsite visits? Will telemeeting platforms be used where they are appropriate?


Material Deliveries

Will you require your vendors to have written COVID-19 safety plans? Will vendor contacts be recorded for COVID-19 tracing if needed? Each day, construction jobsites have the interaction with numerous trades, vendor deliveries, and human traffic. What will be the jobsite overall traffic patterns that will minimize exposure to all of the employees that enter?


Code Enforcement

With many of the building departments operating with minimal office staff, the ability to get jobsite inspections and approvals will be challenging. Do you have a relationship and communication network established that will allow online platforms to obtain your inspection approvals?


In summary, we can only stress the importance of helping to make the construction process safe. How you operate and the policies and restrictions you create as a formal plan will determine how effective we are as a society in reducing the occurrence of COVID-19. Until there is a medical vaccine, COVID-19 will be a serious concern to all of us. We are doing our part as industry associations, and we ask your help to join us in making everyone safe.