Tile Talk: Looking Forward

Preparing For Challenges in 2023

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.)

For design professionals, January is the time we should be looking forward to what challenges will be coming for 2023.  The following are items we might be seeing this year.


         As the local building officials adopt their formal codes for 2023, we should update our library to make sure we are informed of any changes or new requirements that local planning and building departments will be enacting.  Over the year they review project designs, field performance, and best practices that have occurred.  Often these reviews will identify new and improved best practices that will be incorporated into future work.  National building and residential codes will also be changing and we should invest in obtaining the current version of all codes. 

Product Approvals

         During the previous year as I review individual products, I create a master list of products that will need renewed or updated in the following year.  While many well-established products may remain the same, there are generally new testing, installation, or restrictive requirements as renewals occur.  These revisions are in response to code or testing changes, others are the manufacturer identifying new options or critical issues they wish to inform or require moving forward.


         In reviewing product approvals, it is important to identify any new standards that a product uses for testing or compliance.  Organizations such as ASTM, ASHRAE, and ICC-ES are constantly providing new acceptance criteria testing for products as they enter the market or new information is identified.  Underlayment options are one of the areas that have seen rapid changes as synthetics become more popular in the market. 


         January is always the perfect time to reach out and engage with our contractors and suppliers to know better what products they will be using.  Through these discussions we can learn of the various options, supply chain issues, and concerns.  By knowing these issues, we can ensure that our project call-outs represent the latest information and not require a redesign. 


         The roofing industry has always been a very transient business, with the labor pool migrating to follow new construction markets.  By working with your preferred list of contractors, you can assist in finding projects that fit the scope of the workforce they have available.  Our success in the roofing industry comes from a balance of the large track roofing professionals and the regional smaller contractors that can handle remodel, repairs, maintenance, and single-dwelling work.  Helping to keep the smaller companies in play allows the greater ability to have the best performance on smaller projects versus drawing in contractors from other markets that may not know the local requirements.


         January and February are ideal times for continuing educational credits and learning about industry changes.  The Tile Roofing Industry (TRI) Alliance offers such trainings for our concrete and clay roofing tile that are designed in scope for the design and roofing professional.  In 2023, the TRI Alliance will be issuing a new version of its main installation guide that will reflect the upcoming code requirements for compliance to the new ASCE-7-22 standards.  This will affect those areas where the designated wind speeds exceed 100 MPH.

            As a design professional you will need to review current project lists to determine when new codes might take effect.  In some cases, the new changes might occur with the permit date and some the date of construction.  It is always good to know the controlling dates.  The Tile Roofing Alliance will be working during the year to create more instructional and hands on training sessions and videos to help educate the roofing community. 

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