Tile Talk: Get Ready

Wintertime is an Opportunity to Update Our Resources

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.)

One of the potential benefits from COVID-19 restrictions is the increase in the number of virtual meetings and online information platforms that have been developed.  Industry associations have transitioned their communication, engagement, and training platforms to a fully virtual environment.  For many of us, this was only an exploratory platform under development over the last few years.  COVID-19 has accelerated that development and allowed us, in some ways, to offer a more efficient and cost-effective platform for our customer and consumer interactions.

         For our Tile Roofing Industry Alliance, it has provided opportunities to create virtual training programs for both our certification and hands-on programs for the proper installation of our concrete and clay roof tiles.  We can reach new markets and increase our contractor outreach through virtual training classes.  The savings of travel, lodging, and time away from jobsite work has increased the attendance and demand for our training. 

         Larger companies can now hold custom trainings while adhering to COVID-19 safe practices under our refined training protocols.  Organizational transitions to remote working allows the ability to easily schedule and provide detailed training from our virtual classroom and hands-on video modules that enhance the individual programs of the company to their employees.  

         We have created training programs and short modules that will focus on the new requirements for proper roofing tile installation that will meet the new ASCE-7-16 wind requirements.  Our training team is available to help create a custom-learning tract for your design needs where required.  The new wind codes will take effect in January 2021 in most areas of the country.  These codes will require additional design considerations and have increased the need for fastening resistance for all roof systems.  The Tile Roofing Industry Alliance has revised our formal high wind guides to easily address the new requirements for design professionals to use.

         Like many of you, I have used the late fall months to assemble my design tools for the upcoming year.  Training is one of the areas on which I place a priority.  With so many new products and best practices in the marketplace, it is a great time to review and update personal knowledge of roof assemblies.  Consider making a list of relevant industry and product-based trainings that are available in the virtual platform.  I have been able to gain significant knowledge without leaving my office.  Many of those trainings offer CEUs or certificates of completion for those in need.  By taking these trainings, I will then be added to update lists for new information when they are released.  This will reduce future research during the year.

         Most all building materials in the market carry a formal code-issued evaluation report that will provide proper installation, restrictions, and adherence to the building codes.  For products you use on a regular basis, consider creating a quick reference sheet or file folder to place the links or product approvals for future reference.  This is important when doing call-outs on plans and scope of materials to be inclusive of the latest version of information on products.  Local building officials will appreciate the inclusion or reference in the permit process.

         Integration of your team into the virtual platform is becoming easy to arrange.  I have expanded my team of experts in various aspects of building construction.  When questions, concerns, or even review of design issues arise, I can readily assemble the experts in a timely manner to create solutions and options to any situation. 

         While COVID-19 will continue to challenge us, the transition to a virtual work platform will be part of our profession and is an improvement in many areas.  Take the time to expand your skills, knowledge, and understanding of proper roof assemblies.  Reach out to your resources that provide training opportunities.  January 2021 is just around the corner and we will need to be ready.

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