Tile Talk: Working Together

Consider Requiring Greater Training In Your Project Scope

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.)

Like many industry associations, the Tile Roofing Industry (TRI) Alliance provides ongoing trainings, certifications of completion, and hands-on opportunities for our contractor base.  Design professionals should consider the benefits of using, or at least giving preference to, roofing contractors that have taken such trainings.  It might help reduce the overall cost, call backs, and even the long-term quality and performance of your future design projects.

         For those of us that are design oriented, we are challenged to know all the building codes, allowable options, and even the formal requirements of the manufacturers for the products and systems we call out for our roof designs.  For steep-slope applications, the roof designs generally fall upon the design professional, as they are not considered pre-engineered systems as you see with low-slope roof applications. 

         When manufacturers provide training, they focus on the proper installation for the products they make.  These will provide code compliance, product restrictions, or limitations that need to be considered.  When part of a roofing assembly, this will generally include how the component will fit in the overall system.  There are product manufacturers that provide custom trainings with certifications to specific levels of mastery or completion.  These will help distinguish those who have completed these courses and have the additional knowledge or skills that you require for a successful project.  However, not all manufacturers provide such trainings, and this is where industry associations can step in.

         The TRI Alliance has worked with our concrete and clay tile manufacturers and contractor members to develop code-recognized installation guides for our tile products.  We have created formal training opportunities for contractors, code officials, and interested parties to create educational opportunities for all our various installation guides.  Participants will go through our program and receive a formal certificate of completion after passing our written test.  The TRI Alliance feels our training offerings provide the basic understanding of the best practices for a successful tile installation that will comply with the various building codes.  We have helped thousands of roofing contractors through our hands-on roof tile training achieve a higher level of skill and craftsmanship for their future projects. 

         For design professionals, being able to prioritize these roofing contractors for their demonstrated skill levels is important.  The roofing industry is facing a severe shortage of a properly trained workforce.  This is leading to alternative contractors that enter the roofing construction from other trades that, for the most part, lack the proper basic roofing skills required. 

         Now is a great time to take a few of the training courses available through many of the various industries to understand the level of knowledge they can provide.  These trainings will not only help you understand the proper installation needs for designing, but can help reinforce the benefits in considering these trainings as a minimum for your future projects.  The tile roofing industry is seeing more demand for our classes, as the roofing community embraces the benefits for formalized training. 

         The TRI alliance is expanding our trainings to include customized trainings and short one-hour advanced trainings for specific topics that challenge the design professional.  Via a fully virtual platform, we can cost effectively deliver a high-quality training experience with interactive opportunities.  This allows our attendees to share and learn from the experience in the room.  Our virtual platform for training provides outreach to the design community for virtual meetings or conference calls to address your specific design or installation needs.  Our dedicated training and technical staff stand ready to help in your training requirements. 

         As we move forward, we all need to work together to provide a stronger and better-trained roofing community.  Design professionals can help in the process by considering adding training minimums to your future projects’ scopes of work.  As the TRI Alliance and other industry associations, we are here to help support you in your needs and can help customize your training needs for the contractors you wish to attract.  Proper training and understanding is the responsibility of all of us to collectively address if we are to improve the quality and performance of our roofing systems. 

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