Editor’s Notes: Staying on Top

The Western Roofing Expo Is Around the Corner

While it’s not yet up to the level most Western roofing contractors would prefer, the economic fluctuations seem to have subsided, at least for now. Of course, there’s still the issue with trying to find people willing to work on the roof, however, reports show that nationwide, people are willing to return to construction once again. Additionally, roofing materials haven’t been spared the effects of inflation, but even that bump in the road is smoothing out.

According to the Associated General Contractors (AGC), “The price of materials and services used in non-residential construction inched up 0.2% from June to July, while a government index that measures contractors’ bid prices fell by 1.4%. AGC officials said contractors are finally seeing some relief from recent supply chain problems and price escalations, but the competitive market means key materials are still very hard to find.”

There’s more good news. The supply pipeline is mostly full, so no more waiting months for materials. Most Western roofing contractors are reporting they are keeping busy with more jobs than they’ve seen in the last few years. Submitting a bid today for a job that’s months down the road is a roll of the dice. If you use current material prices, you can virtually guarantee that you’ll experience serious financial hardship when hard material costs are included. Obviously, most contractors have built-in contract clauses protecting themselves from these outrageous material price increases, as well as other variables beyond their control.

As far as getting people to work in construction, the AGC stated that, “The construction industry added 19,000 jobs in July even as the sector’s unemployment rate increased.” Association officials noted that tight labor conditions are bringing more previously employed construction workers back into the job market as firms continue to boost pay levels.

“The construction industry continues to add workers at a steady clip as demand for many types of construction remains strong,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “Firms are boosting pay to cope with tight labor market conditions, which is bringing more former workers back into the job market.”

The construction landscape is changing day-by-day. How do you keep up with what is going on? The Western States Roofing Contractors Association annual Western Roofing Expo is right around the corner, September 23-25, in Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the major benefits from attending any convention is the camaraderie and interaction with your peers. What are they doing? What are their successes and problems? How would they handle similar situations to yours? Most will gladly share information about what they have learned or how they are handling issues in their area.

Talking directly to the manufacturers can also offer valuable insight into which direction the market is headed. New materials, products, methods, or equipment can make your business run more efficiently and profitably. The manufacturers and suppliers will be out in force on the exhibit floor.

The seminars at the Western Roofing Expo this year are designed to help you solve problems before they arise and keep your business in the black. Everything from current political and legal issues, to condensation issues, to OSHA requirements, to proper drainage, to safety will be addressed in the seminars.

The pool of construction labor appears to be growing, and with the higher wages, many are ready and willing to get back to work. Supply lines are beginning to fill once more. While increased government spending, the stock market, and rising interest rates aren’t exactly helping matters, you’ve been through this before, and it will happen again. With your experience, the support of local associations, and the knowledge gleaned from conventions like the upcoming Western Roofing Expo, you’ll not only survive, but prosper. I’ll be in Las Vegas at the Expo. Hope to see you there.


Marc Dodson