By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
Cotney Associates and Consultants' John Kenney interviews Bob Brunet of the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA), about the differences between the roofing community in the United States and in Canada.
“The Canadian Roofing Contractors Association is pretty much similar to what you have in the U.S. We represent the roofing contractors across Canada and we also have the manufacturers and suppliers in another membership category,” Bob tells John.
“There's one significant difference: we don't operate like a regular trade association," says Bob. “Most trade associations that you're familiar with you basically fill up the application, send in your check and you’re a member. Our members have to qualify, there's a set of criteria that are imposed provincially, so each province has their own sets of membership criterion.”
Bob gives examples of the criteriain Ontario to be a member of the CRCA:
They have been in business for five years.
The majority of their revenue has to derive from roofing (so they don't accept general contractors).
They have to show proof of liability insurance ($10 million).
They have to show evidence of hot works endorsement.
They have to have good standing with workman's compensation board in the health and safety group.
Their safety policy is audited and reviewed, both in the manual and on job sites.
They must identify past jobs that they've done, and those past jobs are audited.
They also must identify current jobs and those jobs get audited.
They have to do a minimum of $5 million in roofing.
When they apply, their financials are sent for third-party review and on an annual basis the financial statements are reviewed as well.
“So, there's a lot of members or a lot of applicants that are rejected on a regular basis,” says Bob.
“I had the privilege of sitting on a technical committee meeting here recently, and there was really fantastic information going back and forth, so your process of screening is definitely a good one you seem like you have the best of the best which is great,” says John.
Bob also reveals in the industry how the federal government contributes to training. “The Red Seal Certification, is a part of our training," says Bob. “It's run by the federal government, and it's a certification for the trades, there's 57 different trades that can become Red Seal Journeypersons or Red Seal Certified.”
Bob explains how the Red Seal Certification’s widespread use from coast to coast, meaning every province has the same program, allows for greater mobility. “If there are hours to be had in Quebec, the roofing apprentice can work there, so that provides mobility,” Bob explains.
“I'm a big advocate on training and apprenticeships and I think you guys do a really good job,” says John. “It warms my heart when you see a new person coming in, and you see someone get energized to get into our industry and have the talent the tools and the training to help them be successful.”
Bob then turns his focus to the state of the union of the industry in Canada. “If you look at the way business has gone, residential has gone through the roof as far as sales and revenue for residential roofing contractors. The institutional industrial market has also been very strong because schools, long-term care facilities, hospitals are all getting along,” says Bob. “On the commercial side it's pretty flat or down because there's so many shopping malls here in Canada that are now pretty much half empty and the landlords are just not willing to spend the money, they want to do repairs rather than re-install new roofs.”
Bob continues to speak to the trends he is seeing and his insight for the future of the industry.
"The big trend that we're seeing is a lot of the manufacturers are going in flameless applications,” Bob tells John. “Flameless applications, no doubt, help the insurance that our members have to purchase. Insurance rates have increased phenomenally, and for roofing, there's now a limited re-insurance market in Canada, so flameless applications help to cut back on some of that cost.”
Bob closes the interview with important sentiments about the future of the industry given climate change. "Our NTC are heavily involved in the impact of climate change, as you know the weather is getting much more extreme,” says Bob. “Studies are currently ongoing for how you can better make a building to account for that climate change and we expect to see a lot of those changes in the future building code national building code.”