Monthly ArchiveSeptember 2017

Students Take the Lead on Roof Restoration Project

Students Take the Lead on Roof Restoration Project

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating. The system was chosen because it would extend the life of the existing roof and cut utility costs for the building. The system was approved for a 20-year warranty.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Thomas Portaro is the owner of NTEC Systems, a company headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., that specializes in roof restoration projects. Portaro owns the company, but on a recent project on the campus of Georgia Tech, it was definitely the college students who were in charge.

Portaro was contacted by students who were researching different roof systems as part of a class project. Members of the class had been tasked to come up with ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on the school’s Atlanta campus.

Students were exploring all sorts of environmentally friendly building systems, including LED lighting and HVAC equipment. One group of students explored various building envelope modifications, eventually narrowing their focus to the roof system.

“This particular group of students showed the school and their professors how they were going to reduce carbon emissions and the energy footprint of the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building by doing a roof restoration,” Portaro said.

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

Portaro, a Georgia Tech graduate, was contacted by the group to provide some insights on the potential benefits of coatings. “I was asked to come down to the campus and give a brief lecture on the values of roof restorations, the types of coatings I was familiar with, how they were applied, and how they could restore this particular roof.

The building was built in 1998, and its roof was the original modified bitumen system. When students learned how a cool roof system would extend the life of the roof and save on utility costs for the building, they not only presented their findings to their professors but officials at the university. The school ultimately decided to fund the project.

NTEC Systems completed the installation of a high-solids silicone roof coating manufactured by GE. “The students pioneered all of this,” Portaro says. “This is an amazing group of kids. To be invited back to my alma mater and to execute this project really hit a chord with me. The project really worked out well, and it was really cool because I got a check from Georgia Tech. Think about all of the money I’ve paid them over the years. It was nice to get a little bit of that money back.”

Practical Application

One key concern for the university was achieving a 20-year warranty, so the first step was to ensure that the existing roof was compatible with the system. “One of the big value adds of GE Performance Coatings is that their tech side is very strong,” Portaro notes. “GE has great specifications, and they make it pretty simple for me as an engineer to go up and evaluate a roof and make sure it meets certain criteria. You have to evaluate each roof to ensure it meets the criteria for a restoration.”

“A great phrase—and I forget who coined it—is, ‘We do roof restorations, not roof resurrections,’” Portaro continues. “The existing roof has to be in a restorable condition.”

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoratio

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoration for the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building after a student project detailed the energy-saving benefits of a cool roof coating.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Infrared analysis was conducted to ensure the roof system was dry. Some minor repairs were needed, but overall the modified roof was in good shape. It was cleaned with pressure washer and primed with an asphalt bleed-blocker from GE Performance Coatings. NTEC crews then spray-applied two coats of GE Enduris 3502 high-solids silicone roof coating to a minimum thickness of 40 mils when dry. The system forms a monolithic coating that is self-flashing. “We detailed it all out, the inspectors inspected it, and at the end of the day it was all done, the 20-year warranty was in place, and everyone was happy,” Portaro says.

He points out that the GE silicone coatings rarely require a primer. “This is the only type of roof that requires a primer, and the only reason it does is that asphalts tend to bleed through silicones and can tobacco-stain them,” he notes. “It’s aesthetics—that’s it. The GE system is one of our ‘tried and trues’ in part because for 99 percent of the roofs we do, it’s a primerless system. So, we save that step, which saves us time and ultimately saves the owner money.”

NTEC Systems excels at large, high-volume jobs, and the company is always looking for tools to make it more productive. “We are highly automated here,” Portaro says. “That’s our strength. It’s what we do. We have the ability to do a ton of square footage in a short period of time because we have the latest and greatest machinery. We’ve actually created our own method of going from ground to roof and getting coatings spray applied.”

The company has modified some industrial machinery to move large volumes of high-solids silicone under control, according to Portaro. “Now, it’s not robotics,” he explains. “It still takes artistry. It still takes an expert pulling the trigger. We have guys that are very talented, and now the machinery is keeping up. We can do four or five times as much work in a day as we used to do just a few years ago. Our production levels have blown up.”

A Learning Experience

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

One of the challenges on this project was taking the time to use the application as a teaching tool. “The students were there the entire time,” Portaro remembers. “We were surrounded by some of the smartest people in the world. I’ve never had so many managers on a project in my life. These students brought a passion to the building industry like you’ve never seen before. They believe they are going to change the world, and they probably will.”

Portaro also shared his passion for environmentally friendly roof systems. The students apparently took that message to heart. “These kids are something special,” he says. “They went to Washington, D.C., to present this project to the Congress of the United States. These kids weren’t happy with just affecting one building on the campus of Georgia Tech. They wanted to share the story. This project got national recognition. I was really proud of these kids, who I met for the first time on this project. My hat’s off to them.”

Portaro has installed a lot of cool roofs, but the Georgia Tech project was special. “This was certainly the coolest project I’ve ever done,” he says.

Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 20:00:41 +0000

Feeling Comfortable With Metal Roofing

Feeling Comfortable With Metal Roofing

Metal Roof Consultants Inc

Photo: Metal Roof Consultants Inc.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” 

Throughout our lives, we must decide what to do and how to deal with the inevitable fear that surrounds doing anything for the first time. Remember that bicycle in the garage that looked so inviting—until you thought of how it would be impossible for you to balance yourself on those two tiny wheels and pedal it forward without falling and hurting yourself. Your mind focused on falling and not the excitement of being able to conquer riding that bicycle. Yet, as Theodore Roosevelt said many years ago, “the worst thing you can do is nothing.” 

We are faced with new things throughout our lives, and when we do we usually must weigh the possibilities of doing the right thing, the wrong thing, or nothing. However, if we expect to have a productive and peaceful life, we must force ourselves to always do “something.”  

Finally, we must also ask ourselves why we even consider new things we contemplate doing. When we take on a new task and we know why we are doing it, we are comfortable with taking whatever risk is anticipated. When we know that the only wrong thing to do is nothing, we have the possibility to achieve even greater things. Even if it turns out to be the wrong thing, we will learn valuable lessons about ourselves and the task we were trying to accomplish.  

Now, let’s look at the metal roofing industry and ask ourselves whether we are “doing nothing” either because we are afraid of “falling off the bicycle” or because we haven’t determined why we want to enter this market. Both reasons limit your personal and business potential to what you are doing now. Now, let’s explore some of the reasons you might not be comfortable entering the metal roof market, thereby limiting your growth potential. 

The Metal Market

Metal roofing has been around since 1932, when the first standing seam roof panel was introduced by Armco steel at the World’s Fair in Chicago. However, it is still a rather small percentage of the total roofing market. Why? In part, it’s because some contractors fear entering this market. Let’s look at some of the reasons that the unknown aspects of metal roofing, or the incorrect perception of a metal roofing system, can cause contractors to avoid this market: 

Metal Roof Consultants Inc.

Photo: Metal Roof Consultants Inc.

Specialized workforce. There is the perception that this market requires a field force that is very difficult to gather. The reality is that the metal roofing systems in today’s market include parts and components that are easily put together. Manufacturers provide training in how to install their specific pre-manufactured components that make up a metal roof system. In general, there are panels, clips, and termination components (ridge, rake, gutter/eave, curbs, etc.). These components have been developed over decades of trial and error and, when installed correctly, will create a leak-proof roof system which will last as long as any of the other building components. In addition to the metal roof manufacturers, the Metal Buildings and Erectors Association (MBCEA) is a group that provides independent training on the proper erection of metal buildings, including all components of a metal roof system. 

Engineering. The engineering associated with a metal roof system is the responsibility of the manufacturer per the International Building Code (IBC). Local engineering for a particular metal roof can be provided by a professional engineer licensed in the locale of the particular job site. Both sources are readily available to the contractor that wishes to enter the metal roof contracting business. The contractor should not have any concerns about this aspect of a metal roof if he does his due diligence and partners with a manufacturer that will provide the tested engineering characteristics of a particular roofing system and a local engineer who can take that information and perform a code-required analysis. 

Details. As opposed to sheet membrane or shingled roof systems, the metal roof system has its own details. These details require a different understanding of water protection. Metal components, including the actual roof sheet, will not allow water to penetrate and, if protected with a galvalume coating, will last well over 60 years (refer to, Technical Resources, “Service Life Assessment of Low-Slope Unpainted 55% Al-Zn Alloy Coated Steel Standing Seam Metal Roof Systems”).  

These metal components, however, need to be joined and terminated with sealants and fasteners to create a total water-resisting barrier. Again, the panel manufacturers have time-tested details to assist contractors. A word of caution, however: Make sure that you properly select the panel type (standing seam, corrugated panel, snap seam panel, etc.) that best suits the project, and match those selections with a manufacturer and the detail that will perform best. Finally, the local engineer must be used to ensure the detailing will resist the local design loads. The contractor is only responsible to select that qualified manufacturer and engineer—not become one. 

Cost. “Since metal roofs cost a lot more than conventional roofs, they must be hard to sell.” While this statement is prevalent in the metal roofing market, it is blatantly untrue. While the initial cost may be higher than a conventional roof, a metal roof offers an exceptional value over its lifetime. In fewer than 20 years, the cost of a metal roof system can be as much as 50 percent less than that of many conventional roofs, and conservatively one-third the cost of these roofs over a 60-year time frame. End of argument!  

The Retrofit Segment

What about metal retrofit roofing? While that question might scare you more than merely considering entering the overall metal roofing market, it can definitely expand your horizon and offers more potential than just riding a bicycle. If you’ve ever ridden in a car, you know that the experience, comfort and potential for getting places is greatly enhanced. The same concept applies when expanding your metal roof market possibilities to include the lucrative metal retrofit roofing market. This market, with its extremely limited contractor participation and increasing customer demand, makes it very interesting to consider.  

Metal Roof Consultants Inc.

Photo: Metal Roof Consultants Inc.

A recent metal retrofit roofing package of six roofs totaling more than $20 million bid in North Carolina, and only three companies submitted bids. Each contractor ended up with two projects each, totaling between $6 and $9 million per contractor. During this same time, single-ply and shingle projects in the same geographical area attracted many more contractors. Again, you may feel that all-too-familiar twinge in your stomach caused by only looking at the negative consequences you might encounter. However, doing nothing is the worst thing you can do. It is true that finding manufacturers and engineers to assist you when entering the retrofit market can be difficult, as the pool is much more limited than that of the metal roofing industry in general, but these resources are available to you. Just be diligent and look harder!  

Finally, consider what a very wise man said many years ago to a young man just out of college. He said, “Can’t never did anything.” That wise man was my father, and he spoke those words on my college graduation day. My experience has seen the metal roof market develop with many new innovations. The metal retrofit roofing market was not even in existence in the 1970s, but it has since become a market that grows year after year. I have been lucky enough to see, and be part of, a revolution in the roofing industry with respect to metal roofing’s place. All the tools you need to enter the market are out there, but, like that bicycle many years ago, you must first determine why you want to ride it and be willing to risk falling off a few times. The rewards are worth it, even if you get your knees scraped a few times. 

Published at Wed, 27 Sep 2017 19:00:01 +0000

Top Labor and Employment Issues Facing Today’s Metal Construction Industry at METALCON 2017

Top Labor and Employment Issues Facing Today’s Metal Construction Industry at METALCON 2017

NEWTON, Mass. — Featured speaker and Labor Attorney, John Cruickshank of Alaniz Schraeder Linker Farris Mayes LLP, will explore current labor and employment policy issues confronting the metal construction industry, and the overall construction industry, at METALCON on Oct. 18 and 19, 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.        

With a whole host of labor and employment issues facing the industry, Cruickshank says the biggest headache for management today is handling the increase in disabled and injured workers seeking accommodation and light-duty.  “More and more employees are showing up to work with medical conditions, which affect their ability to perform their jobs,” he said.  “Some conditions, such as many forms of cancer, qualify as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act; other conditions, such as many sports injuries, do not.  We have to determine which employees to accommodate and how, and if we accommodate, do we offer light duty or different positions?” 

“No employer wants to be in the position of having to create jobs, but if we offer employees light-duty work, we have to consider both their safety and the safety of others, as well as our obligation to then offer similar light-duty accommodations to others,” said Cruickshank.  “And then, add the further complexity of employees on workmen’s comp wanting to come back early into light-duty positions; it can create a lot of problems.” 

In addition, Cruickshank will cover essential labor practices for your business including having the proper employment complaint, reporting and investigatory procedures, and ensuring all office staff is fully covered.  “Without a written and effective complaint procedure, you risk losing important affirmative defenses in any lawsuit,” he said. 

Other essentials include proper document retention — knowing how long to hold on to documents and when to get rid of them. “Understand when you are no longer required to keep something and then think about whether you should,” said Cruickshank, which all depends on the type of record and the state you are operating in. 

Furthermore, he will present approaches to better employment discipline and how to use discipline more effectively.  “We don’t want to fire people,” he said.  “We want to focus on education and deterrence, rather than enforcement and termination.  Firing and then having to hire and train a replacement person is a loss for everyone.  Employees need to be well informed and coached on key policies.”

Regarding immigration reform, Cruickshank believes that while DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) gets all the headlines, it is the steps towards mandatory electronic employment verification and reductions in all forms of immigration that will have the greatest impact on contractors.  “Expect a shortage of labor, which will drive pressure on wages and retention, as well as new methods of innovation and automation; however, automation brings its own unique set of hiring challenges,” he said.

Cruickshank will also discuss important state-specific issues, including changes to the minimum wage and new paid sick leave requirements, which affect certain contractors.  “The Federal Government is not increasing the minimum wage, but the states are doing it for them,” he said.  “You need to know where your state is going on minimum wage and adjust your budget accordingly.” 

Finally, there will be plenty of time for questions and answers on all of the topics presented, along with any other labor and employment concerns of those in the metal construction industry. 

To learn more, visit

Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:00:00 +0000

Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group Offers Hurricane Support Legal Help Line

Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group Offers Hurricane Support Legal Help Line

TAMPA. Fla. — Trent Cotney P.A. Construction Law Group, a leading national law firm for construction, specialty trades and OSHA law, is offering a free, legal help line to help contractors in hurricane stricken areas with legal questions or needs. Contractors can call 1-866-303-5868 for legal advice concerning hurricane restoration efforts.

“We are receiving a number of calls daily asking how to handle warranties, claims and legal situations created from the recent storms,” said Trent Cotney, president of the firm.  “Our law firm started in Florida and our offices survived Irma as it hit Tampa.  It is time for all of us to help each other.  We know there are a lot of questions that contractors have concerning legal issues after the storms.  Warranties and claims are on the top of the list along with normal safety and legal concerns.  We want to help.”

Trent Cotney construction law firm is made up over 15 lawyers who specialize in construction law, safety, employment, immigration and building code expertise.  The firm has been an integral part of the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractor Associations on state and local levels. “On a volunteer basis, we have provided general counsel for the roofing contractor and HVAC associations of Florida for many years. The contractors of Florida have the highest integrity and will be the ones to get our state functioning again,” continued Cotney. “I want to be sure that our construction industry has the legal support they need so they can do their jobs for the citizens of Florida and Texas.”

Licensed contractors (where applicable) from hurricane affected areas can immediately call 866-303-5868 help line for advice and additional information regarding the free consultation.

For more information, visit

Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Soprema to Host Building Envelope Clinic in New York

Soprema to Host Building Envelope Clinic in New York

Soprema Inc. will be hosting a regional Building Envelope Clinic in New York on Oct. 10, 2017, for architects, consultants and contractors looking to further their knowledge, network and earn continuing education units. The clinic will be held at AIA New York, located at 536 LaGuardia Pl., New York, NY 10012.

The Building Envelope Clinic will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at 3:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and prize raffle.

“We’re proud to be offering these clinics regionally to help support our consultants, contractors and architects,” said Sara Jonas of Soprema. “These courses continue to bring education to the forefront for our current partners, as well as those new to Soprema, while helping them to achieve credits to keep their accreditations.”

Courses offered during the Building Envelope Clinic include:

  • SBS-Modified Bitumen Technology –AIA/RCI Accredited
  • Wall Systems & Design – AIA/RCI Accredited
  • Below Grade Waterproofing Systems & Design – AIA/RCI Accredited
  • Vegetated Roofing Systems – AIA/RCI Accredited
  • PMMA/PMA Liquid Applied Membranes
  • For more information and to RSVP, click here.

    Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 14:00:29 +0000

    Congrats to Martin Stout on Winning the G.A.P Roofing Underlayment Quiz

    Congrats to Martin Stout on Winning the G.A.P Roofing Underlayment Quiz

    Martin knew that nearly 90 percent of the roofs in the U.S. have felt underlayment.

    By Karen Edwards, RCS Editor.

    Whenever we have someone win a prize through a contest on we like to reach out to the winner and get to know them a little better. We were thrilled that the first winner randomly drawn from all of the correct responses to the G.A.P. Roofing Quiz was one of our RCS Influencers, Martin Stout.

    Martin is the President of Go Roof Tune Up, Inc., a California-based company that provides residential repair and reroofing in seven western U.S. states. Here is the question and the answer that he provided:

    Question: Out of the 133,600,000 roofs in the U.S. how many have felt underlayment?

    Answer: 124,335,964…nearly 90% of all the residential roofs in the US!  Saturated Organic Felt is still working after nearly 100 years, even though newer, non-breathable synthetics are trying to take over.  Felt has worked for years and still works today!  Additionally, some of the toughest roofing standards in the U.S., California Building codes, Miami-Dade codes and even the latest Western Roofing Contractors Association recent studies still proves that two layers of felt are the preferred roofing underlayment!

    We asked Martin how he knew that answer and his sense of humor was on point as he said, “I counted them.” We’re sure that Google probably played a role in forming that answer too!

    You can tell just by reading his answer that he is a fan of felt underlayment. When asked about them he replied, “I think it is a great underlayment. Everyone is trying to come up with this new, crazy synthetic stuff but I don’t see in the foreseeable future that they will ever be able to replace felt.”

    Martin has been a part of the RCS community for many years and says he thinks that it is a great resource. “I don’t do a lot of talking on there but I like to read things and see what other people are doing. It’s a great resource for networking, it’s entertaining, it’s helpful to me in running my business and Vickie [the Boss] is just really sweet.”

    Learn more about G.A.P. Roofing and felt underlayments.

    Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 16:43:09 +0000

    SHOWA 4561 Glove

    SHOWA 4561 Glove

    SHOWA unveiled its newest innovation, the SHOWA 4561 glove, at the National Safety Council Congress and Expo in Indianapolis, Ind. Sept. 25 – 27.
    The new SHOWA® 4561 is made in the USA and boasts cut-resistant 15 gauge Kevlar® construction. This allows the glove to be lightweight and stronger than other offerings. The 4561 is the only one of its kind which holds an ANSI A4 Cut Level, other gloves on the market only reach ANSI A3. The A4 rating means that the 4561 will stand up to higher cut forces. 

    Aside from the new ANSI A4 ranking, the SHOWA® 4561 utilizes SHOWA’s patented Zorb-IT® grip technology, which allows users to maintain a stronger grip in oily and wet conditions without sacrificing safety. The top of the glove showcases a new informational design that indicates the glove size, the Zorb-IT® technology, genuine Kevlar® logo, and the glove’s certifications. To maximize dexterity, the SHOWA® 4561 is creatively engineered with next generation seamless fit technology which allows for perfect comfort along the fingers and palm.

    For more information, visit

    Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:00:00 +0000

    Kemper System Features Cost-Effective ‘Cool Roof’ Solutions

    Kemper System Features Cost-Effective ‘Cool Roof’ Solutions

    Kemper System America Inc. now offers two cost-effective ‘cool roof’ solutions for prolonging the life of metal, BUR, modified bitumen and aged single-ply roof systems.

    Roof Guardian RG-170 is an elastomer-based coating system ideal for extending the life of many types of roofing assemblies. Formulated using a 100 percent acrylic polymer base for enhanced adhesion and durability, the coating features a high Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) rating of 109 and is Class A fire rated. Roof Guardian RG-180 is a fiber-reinforced elastomeric coating with an acrylic polymer base, ideal for metal, concrete, single ply, modified bitumen, and granular cap sheets. It offers an SRI rating of 108.

    “Kemper System has been at the vanguard of liquid-applied roof waterproofing solutions for decades. These two new white Roof Guardian coating systems offer a quick and cost-effective approach for transforming many kinds of existing low-slope roofs into a cool roof that can help building owners cut cooling costs,” says Jim Arnold, Director of Product Development for Kemper System.

    Part of the company’s Roof Guardian Technologies line, the roof coatings can be quickly applied with a commercial-grade sprayer or roller. The highly reflective bright white finish lowers the surface temperature of the substrate to reduce thermal transfer into the structure. This high solar reflectance helps lower indoor temperatures to reduce building cooling requirements.

    Formulated to resist cracking and peeling, both products provide excellent waterproofing and long-term mildew resistance. Both solutions are Energy Star and Cool Roof rated.

    “For more than 60 years, Kemper System has been a global industry leader in cold liquid- applied, reinforced roofing and waterproofing, having invented the technology and holding the first patents,” says Arnold. “Today the company offers a full range of building envelope solutions to protect against weather, preserve the integrity of surfaces, and enhance the comfort and value of buildings.”

    This portfolio encompasses Wall Guardian fibered acrylic air barrier, Roof Guardian Technologies elastomer-based roof coatings, and HeatBloc-ULTRA radiant heat barrier. Other high-value brands include COLEAN traffic coating systems, and the company flagship for exterior and interior waterproofing, Kemperol reinforced membrane systems.


    Call: (800) 541-5455

    Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 13:00:26 +0000

    The Right Hand Tool for the Right Job

    The Right Hand Tool for the Right Job

    Technology and automation is great but sometime so is a good, old-fashioned hand tool.

    By Heidi J. Ellsworth.

    We all know how important having the proper tools is to complete a quality job quickly.  In today’s world, too often we are looking at technology to provide the needed tools.  But it is important to remember that it is a balance between the world of technology and old-world craftsmanship.

    In roofing, it is still about the craft.  We are an industry of men and women who take immense pride in a job well done.  Standing back and looking at a new roof, well, it is a thing of beauty.  At the Coffee Shop, we are incredibly proud of our roofers and the industry that makes beautiful new roofs possible.

    We also enjoy sharing some of the more interesting parts of this industry.  One such company that we would like to spotlight is Wil-Mar Products.  It was founded by a roofing contractor, W. R. “Bill” Merrin in 1990.  He saw a need in the industry to seal the vent pipe to a roof flashing and eliminate mastic and taping. His first product, The Pipe Collar, was invented and patented.

    Today Wil-Mar Products is led by Bill’s wife, Marianne Sumter and they have been a loyal advertiser with RCS for years.  We would like to highlight another invention from Wil-Mar, The Roofers’ Saw, that was co-designed by Bill and Michael Steele.

    This saw is used for removing broken shakes, shingles and slate. It cuts off the fasteners quickly without damage to adjacent material.  It is the perfect tool to keep in your tool belt to cut nails and staples fast with a pull stroke and it is self-feeding.  With this beauty in your tool belt you can increase productivity on repairs and re-roofing, saving you and your crew time and money.

    The hand saw consists of a 25″ wood handle and a 27″ removable and replaceable saw blade.  It is a simple tool that makes the job easier.  Isn’t that what it is all about.  At the Coffee Shop, we love bringing you these cool tools.  Thank you Wil-Mar Products!

    Order your Roofer’s Saw today.

    About Wil-Mar Products, Inc.
    Wil-Mar Products, Inc. was established from a desire to offer sustainable products and roof solutions to meet the needs and demands of the roofing industry.  Wil-Mar Products, Inc. has over 25 years’ experience, providing products which enable the roofing contractor to provide quality roofs for new or re-roofed, residential and commercial buildings.  Dedicated to providing the utmost customer service for its customers, the company is committed to providing personalized service and quality products. For more information, visit

    Published at Fri, 29 Sep 2017 02:00:15 +0000

    The Legalization of Marijuana and Its Impact on the Construction Industry

    The Legalization of Marijuana and Its Impact on the Construction Industry

    NEWTON, Mass. — As laws change regarding marijuana use, they present a whole host of ongoing human resource issues, especially for the construction industry.  Attorney Trenton Cotney helps employers understand the complex issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana and its effects on the work place environment in his featured session, The Legalization of Marijuana and its Impact on the Construction Industry at METALCON, on Oct. 18-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

    Cotney of Trent Cotney, P.A. Construction Law Group specializes in roofing litigation and arbitration throughout the United States.  He will explore: What are the limitations of the use of marijuana? How do employers need to modify their human resource policies and manuals? How does the acceptance of medical marijuana cards relate to a drug-free workplace?  Cotney answers these questions and more while helping employers create policies and procedures to address the various concerns.

    “A recent surge of medical marijuana prescriptions and an increase in recreational usage has prompted a wealth of human resource issues,” said Cotney.  “I receive calls daily from employers.  For example, I’ll get a call from a roofing business looking to hire a skilled roofer who has a medical marijuana card, but the business is a declared drug-free workplace.  Does the business give him an exemption?”

    “Marijuana is still illegal on the Federal level, so federal law does not require employers to accommodate a person’s medical marijuana use,” said Cotney.  “However, a number of states have laws that may arguably be interpreted as requiring such an accommodation.   In any event, usage is widespread in the construction industry, and there is already a shortage of skilled labor.  It’s going to have a huge impact on the workforce.”

    “Testing isn’t where it needs to be; it is sub-par,” he said.  “An employee would have to challenge his employer if he wasn’t using marijuana at the time of testing, but he may have used a few days prior, over the weekend.  He will still test positive, failing the drug test, and if he causes injury, it creates a whole host of issues.  You either have to fire the person or run the risk of liability.  You are going to have tough decisions to make.”

    “The construction industry is extremely vulnerable to safety challenges with the legalization of marijuana,” said Cotney.  “Doing sheet metal work, roofing, operating heavy equipment―all present safety challenges for an individual with a medical marijuana card.”  

    “Employers need to add policy statements to their human resource manuals to continue to operate under this new environment,” he said.  “Ambiguity can create issues, including OSHA issues.  As society changes, the law has to catch up to it, like during the prohibition years.  There are state laws, federal laws and potential risks.  Employers want to know:  How do I quantify risk and eliminate it? How do I adjust and adapt to this new framework?”

    “Then, there is the issue of having a drug-free workplace environment,” said Cotney.  “Employers need to create specific policies to address it, requiring a separate section on marijuana, outlining testing, limitations of testing, random drug tests and implications.” 

    “Employers need to make policies more robust to deal with this new legislation,” he said.  “You have to prepare yourself.  For example, in Florida, if you maintain a drug-free workplace, you’ll receive a five percent discount on workers’ compensation.  Are you prepared to give up that discount?  It is a huge problem.”

    Cotney will cover: here’s what’s happening, here are the issues, here are the potential solutions and everything in between. 

    “Any time you have new legislation, you are going to have these issues,” said Cotney.  “You need to think about how to adapt and evolve; how to integrate and be forward thinking.  I am here to protect the employer and educate the employees. ” 

    For more information, visit

    Published at Thu, 28 Sep 2017 13:00:00 +0000