A Green Future

The cover story of this issue is titled “Roofing for the Green Future.” The article documents the design and construction of The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design on the campus of Georgia Tech. The design team decided to meet the rigorous performance requirements of the Living Building Challenge — the world’s most ambitious green building program.

A TPO roof system with optimal polyiso insulation, energy-efficient mechanical systems, and a rooftop solar array are designed to help the 46,800-square-foot Kendeda Building produce more energy than it uses. The roof is also designed to capture rainwater for collection into an underground cistern. It is also home to a 1,000-square-foot accessible roof deck and a 4,300-square-foot rooftop garden, complete with a honeybee apiary.

The Kendeda Building is an amazing example of sustainability, resilience, and energy efficiency in action, but the headline “Roofing for the Green Future” would have worked on every project profiled in this issue. The designers, installers, and manufacturers of the roof systems detailed here all focused on bringing energy efficiency, durability, and resilience to life.

Examples include the metal and modified systems installed on the new Latrobe Elementary School; the synthetic slate, built-up, and green roof systems on the University of Minnesota’s renovated Pioneer Hall; the new EPDM system installed on the 66,300-square-foot hyperbolic paraboloid roof of the athletic complex at Clarkson University; and the energy-efficient wall systems on the new gymnasium at Pacific Christian.

On a massive Texas project, 195,000 square feet of a high school’s campus was re-roofed with a highly reflective modified system to alleviate concerns about the urban heat island effect. At an elementary school re-roofing project in Michigan, an energy-efficient PVC roof system was installed and 8,700 pounds of the old PVC membrane was recycled, keeping it out of the landfill and resulting in a lower cost for the school district.

It’s rewarding to cover projects that embody a true win-win-win scenario. Installing a truly resilient roof system can provide optimal protection for building occupants, ease the burden on the environment, and offer a lower life-cycle cost to the owner. You don’t hit that trifecta in business very often.

In a year in which “back to school” has a radically new meaning for many, it’s uplifting to see these educational facilities being constructed for the long haul. For many, the first day of school this year found students at home, in front of their computers. Let’s hope everyone will soon be exploring a brighter future together, in buildings designed to bring out the best in us.

Principles of Management for Uncertain Times

We are in the midst of economic uncertainty, and no one can accurately predict how long this crisis will last and what the long-term ramifications from this crisis will be. The only certainty is that the business practices that we have relied on for decades will require change. That means that business management philosophies must be altered to meet the forthcoming challenges.

The current business environment will require managers at every level to provide the leadership necessary to navigate the organization through the impending economic turmoil. A competent manger must always possess certain key traits to be an effective leader, such as accountability, confidence, and integrity. In these challenging times, a manager must also be organized and maintain the skills necessary to supervise and direct employees in an effort to advance the implemented goals and strategies of the organization by communicating effectively and engaging in conflicts productively.

Managers must provide the leadership required to facilitate the required organizational change. There are six leadership traits that are essential to managing through change in uncertain times:

1. Ethics

2. Communication

3. Involvement

4. Spirit

5. Flexibility

6. Vision of the future

Ethics

Business ethics is by definition “the moral standards by which a company conducts itself.” The company’s leaders and managers have a personal obligation to conduct themselves and the organization’s business practices in an ethical manner. Companies with unethical business practices have lined the front page of the nation’s newspapers in the last decade, perhaps none bigger than Enron and Arthur Anderson, whose demise can be directly attributed to unethical practices of top management. In some respects, the current global economic crisis has been propagated by unethical business schemes.

Business ethics is divided into three equally important categories: non-discretionary, organization specific, and discretionary.

Non-discretionary ethics includes universal items that allow for zero tolerance if they are violated. These include laws and regulations, public and employee safety, and truthfulness in financial statements.

Organization-specific ethics involves policies and procedures that the organization adopts as the ethical standards that cannot be compromised. The organization’s ethical standards should be clearly defined in the employee manual and referenced in its mission statement. It is the responsibility of all personnel to be familiar with these standards. It is management’s responsibility to ensure that these standards are upheld throughout the organization. Furthermore, management should enforce a no-tolerance policy for unethical behavior.

Discretionary ethics typically involve those issues that are not necessarily illegal or against the organization’s standards; however, they may still be perceived as unethical actions. The manager must set the organizational standard by acting in a fair and honest manner in all business dealings. Telling a “white lie” to close a sale is an example of discretionary ethics. Typically, these are issues that have to be conducted at a personal level. Asking such questions as “Will you be comfortable and guilt-free from your behavior in this matter?” or, “Does this behavior match stated guarantees or commitments?” could go a long way in determining the proper ethical response.

The best way to help ensure ethical conduct is through focusing on the three R’s: respect, responsibility, and results.

1. Respect. Respect is required at all levels of the organization, both internally and externally. Obviously, respect is required on a personal level and should be granted to all co-workers, customers, and vendors by treating them with dignity and courtesy. Respect for the organization and the work environment is equally as important. All members of the organization can protect the work environment by following the established rules and regulations regarding use of equipment and materials and by using organizational time effectively. Using equipment for non-organizational activities or taking office supplies (“because everybody does it”) is disrespectful and unethical. It is also unethical for an employee to spend large amounts of time on non-organizational activities during work time, such as updating social media accounts or managing fantasy sports teams. These are activities that should be completed in moderation during work breaks or at lunchtime.

2. Responsibility. It is the responsibility of all members of the organization to provide timely and high-quality goods and services to the customers. The community’s perception of the organization should be that they would uphold and follow through with all commitments in a legal manner. In simple terms business dealings should be completed by looking a person in the eye, making an agreement, and having trust that the agreement will be completed to the best of the organization’s abilities.

Each member of the organization has the personal responsibility of working collaboratively with others and ensuring that their work performance adds value to the organization and meets the expectations of management.

3. Results. Results are the measurement in which the organization is evaluated. Ethical results are only achieved when an organization derives them in legal and moral manners. Most unethical behavior in business occurs by falsifying results — typically by providing false financial statements. This was certainly the case in two of the biggest business collapses of the last decade — Enron and Arthur Andersen. To some extent lending institutions that falsified their results started the current economic crises that we are entangled in.

It is the responsibility of management to define the organization’s ethical standards and to ensure that all unethical practices will not be tolerated. It is the responsibility of the employee to follow the ethical standards and maintain personal responsibility for their actions. Ethical behavior can be achieved by following these five maxims that are important in all phases of our lives:

1. Don’t take what is not yours.

2. Don’t accept what you have not earned.

3. Maintain confidentiality.

4. Be honest.

5. Don’t bend the rules to get results.

Communication

Communication is key to success in any organization, and an effective leader must be a good communicator. It is even more critical in uncertain times that management keeps an open line of communication with the employees, customers, and vendors. Constant communication is vital in providing all essential information regarding the organization. The message must be articulated in a manner that is clear and understandable to everyone.

The message must be consistent at all levels of the organization, and studies indicate that repetition is often required for understanding. The most effective leaders are open and honest in all communications. Uncertainty can make it difficult to access the right direction in the business environment. Effective leaders will present their vision of the future with honesty and humility, and simply level with people by acknowledging there are limitations in forecasting future trends and that the current strategies may change. Honesty and transparency will earn creditability from all levels of the organization. This will go a long way in gaining the employees’ trust.

An effective communicator is also an excellent listener. It is important that communication flows at every level of the organization. Some of the best intelligence that you gather will be from frontline employees who interact with customers and suppliers. Their feedback can be valuable in determining the existing business climate and developing future strategy. It is also important that you listen to any ideas they may have in improving operations. By asking for their opinions (and implementing their ideas when they make business sense), it can not only lead to cost-saving procedures but it will also elevate the employees’ commitment to the organization.

The flow of information can be provided in various forms. The most effective method is through staff meetings. When change is fluid, it is imperative that meetings be held more frequently. Depending on the size of the organization and the speed of change in the business climate, it may be required to meet on a weekly basis.

Exchanging information on methods, initiatives and processes will benefit the organization. This can be accomplished through internal forums that state the organization’s goals and benefits. It is important to provide internal and external stakeholders with timely updates regarding the organization’s progress in reaching these goals. Communication can be provided through the regular maintenance of intranet and internet sites that also provide the organization’s policies, procedures, points of contact and other resource information for employees, customers and vendors. The best workforce is an informed workforce.

Involvement

Due to the rapid changes occurring in the business world, it is no longer permissible for company leaders to sit in their “ivory towers” and manage through delegation. The managers must make themselves available to every level of the organization to obtain all relevant information concerning performance. An effective manger must jump right into the game; this is not the time to sit on the sidelines and watch. Nothing can be accomplished by managing from the outside.

A prime function of involvement is to ensure a continuous focus of the organization’s operations. This can be accomplished through a series of meetings with senior management and specially assigned task groups. Senior management personnel should conduct quarterly meetings to review strategies and ensure that the organization is taking full advantage of its capabilities in meeting these strategies. The implementation and review of new products and/or processes should also be discussed in these meetings.

Management should also assign a task group within the organization with the responsibility of defining best practices. Management should meet with the task group on a regular basis through a series of briefings or updates to determine the progress of implementation of these practices.

Top management should be accessible to the employees; this can be accomplished by frequently walking the plant floor or by eating lunch in the employee cafeteria. Accessible managers give employees a sense of comfort regarding the direction of the organization.

Spirit

The manager will be charged with firing up the employees in uncertain times. This is of particular importance in organizations that have had a significant reduction in the workforce. Employees that have remained may feel threatened by the potential loss of their job or may be overworked from taking on extra duties due to staff cutbacks. A recent poll of American workers found that nearly 40 percent of employees are worried that they are going to lose their job within the next twelve months.

This troubling statistic illustrates the need for organizational leaders to inspire employees because a motivated workforce is a more productive workforce. People need to feel needed and wanted and they need to realize that they can and do make a difference. An effective leader can promote spirit in an organization in the manner in which a coach inspires an athletic team.

The first step in this process is to make certain that the organization still has the fundamental core vision that may have attracted many of the employees. Troubled economic times have forced many companies to diversify their products and markets to stay solvent. If these changes have altered the organization’s original core vision, some employees may feel alienated and become dissatisfied with their new role. Now is the time to evaluate the core vision of the organization and clearly define the mission moving forward.

Spirit is encouraged through team building. Management should promote collaboration among the employees give everybody an equal opportunity to participate. The employees need to feel valued, and setting goals and tracking the progress towards the goals can achieve this. Everybody has an internal desire to win, so if you set achievable goals, employee morale will increase as the goals are met.

One area where a manager can build team spirit is at staff meetings. It is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that these meetings are used as a time to enforce a positive message about the organization. The focus should be on making the meetings effective by exchanging information and discussing viewpoints and ideas that will aid the organization’s future growth. The overall spirit of the organization will be positive if the purpose of the meetings is to pull people together to solve problems rather than focusing how bad the problems are.

Flexibility

The only thing certain in today’s business climate is change. The manager must be able to navigate the organization’s strategy through an uncertain climate. To effectively manage change a configured response is required, the manager should not rely on an adherence to pre-figured routines. An important attribute of a manager is that they must be flexible and have the ability to drop whatever they are doing to tend to the more pressing issues as they come up.

Flexibility is also required in planning. The organization should follow the action-feedback model by planning and acting on information in short intervals. During times of consistent change, it is best to treat everything as a temporary measure.

Vision

A key role in leadership is setting the direction of the organization and then influencing people to follow. Even in these tough economic times, an effective leader should have an eye towards the future in charting a path for the company’s growth. All organizations require growth at some level to succeed. Growth does not necessarily have to be in the number of employees or physical sites; it can be measured in such important business variables as effectiveness, quality or production.

An important attribute of a good leader is to provide vision for the future. Vision is achieved by long-range planning and is most effective when the organization has a true vision statement. The most successful leaders write down their goals, values, and visions for the organization and use them as a barometer for performance.

A vision statement — or a mission statement as it is sometimes referred as — defines the organization’s long-range planning and identifies the steps required to achieve success. To establish a successful vision statement, the company’s core values must be defined. Unless the long-range planning is intended to stir the organization away from its core business — a tactic almost never recommended — the vision should focus on improving sectors within the organization’s core values.

A vision statement can be prepared by answering a few questions about the current state of the organization, including:

· What are the core values of the organization?

· What does the organization do best?

· Which sectors are growing and what is required to compete in the future?

Once the vision statement is prepared, it should be shared with all stakeholders in the organization and management should define their roles in meeting this vision. The vision statement should be referenced at all strategic planning meetings to determine if the set goals are being accomplished.

Successful leadership involves making key decisions that affect an organization — and then following through on those decisions to accomplish the desired results.

About the author: John A. D’Annunzio is President of Paragon Roofing Technology, Inc. a Construction Engineering Firm he founded in 1989. He has published over 100 articles and has written four books on building exterior issues. For more information, visit www.paragonroofingtech.com.

5 Considerations for Resilient Zinc Roofing in Coastal Applications

Non-corrosive, non-combustible and self-healing, zinc’s long-lasting performance has been demonstrated its resilience in coastal environmental for more than 200 years. Pictured here is the Nordisches Aquarellmuseum, Skärhamn, Sweden. Photos: RHEINZINK

For centuries, zinc roofing materials have proven reliable in Europe’s marine environments and other extreme climates. In recent decades, the enduring qualities of zinc have gained interest and use in North America. Here are five aspects to consider when working with zinc in coastal roofing applications.

1. Natural Material

Zinc is an abundant natural resource. Based on known ore reserves, the world’s zinc supply is estimated in excess of 200 million tons and expected to last approximately 700 years.

Zinc’s inherent metallic properties allow the material to deliver non-corrosive, self-healing, low-maintenance and long-lasting performance. No paint, varnish or sealants are required, and its run-off is non-staining and non-toxic.

In North America, ASTM B69-16, “Standards Specification for Rolled Zinc,” is the primary reference document for both Type 1 and Type 2 alloys and their expected characteristics. Rolled zinc is efficiently produced by alloying Special High-Grade, 99.995 percent pure zinc with very small quantities of copper, titanium and aluminum. The zinc alloy composition determines whether the metal will tend toward a blue-gray or graphite-gray coloration.

2. Dynamic Appearance

A time-proven, dependable material, zinc roofing products complement both contemporary and traditional architectural styles, and foster a connection to their surrounding natural environment.

Zinc can be fabricated to fit almost any slope, curve or linear run, as well as perforated and fashioned into ornamental accents.

Untreated, architectural-grade zinc is bright, shiny and light reflective. Over time, a natural matte patina develops, creating a dynamic appearance as the material ages. A patina’s formation is a process of the gradual growing together of zinc carbonate “freckles.” The rate of its formation is related to the slope of the surface. The patina will form slower on a vertical wall surface than on a slightly pitched roof. The patination speed varies between six months and five years or more, depending on climatic conditions. The more exposure to wetting and drying cycles, the quicker the patina will develop.

Specific to coastal communities, the natural patina will appear lighter when used in marine locations where the air contains chlorides (salt). Deposits will not be as visible on lighter blue-gray zinc.

Some manufacturers offer pre-weathered zinc material that accelerates the patina formation under controlled conditions. Factory-finished options also are available to achieve an initial, uniform aesthetic.

3. Product Versatility and Variety

A soft, lightweight metal, zinc can be fabricated to fit almost any slope, curve or linear run, as well as perforated and fashioned into ornamental accents. Zinc roofing products can be installed on low sloped, steep sloped, flat and mansard roofs, and used for hip and ridge caps, drip edges, alleys, step flashing, dormers, cupolas, parapets and more.

Seam profiles can be customized to the project’s requirements. For example:

During their many years of use, zinc roofs do not rot, rust or need repainting, and its runoff is non-staining and non-toxic.

· Double-lock and single-lock seam joints between roof panels stand 1 inch or 1.5 inches up from the draining plane. A raised seam height can emphasize the roof as a design element and have a functional purpose in coastal climates with snow.

· Vertical standing seam profiles with mechanical lock connections are the most common zinc roofs.

· Flat seam profiles rely on gravity and at least a 4:12 slope to maintain weathertightness.

· Low-profile zinc shingles and interlocking or overlapping tiles applied parallel to the eave present another familiar aesthetic. They involve a technically easier installation method than vertical joints and always are applied as a “dry-joint” roof system without solder or sealant. Tiles can be small. They provide good wind resistance, but cannot provide the same level of weather protection as a vertical seam.

· For vertical seam profiles, vertical joints are attached to one vertical side joint, overlapped and closed on the opposite side. The soft metal simplifies the task of hand-seaming or power-seaming zinc panels. Long panel lengths can make this design more vulnerable to oil-canning (panel waviness), panel disengagement and wind uplift. Accommodating longer panels, taller seams and those with added capillary breaks offer better water and wind resistance, critical in many coastal applications.

4. Resilient Results

Installed properly, zinc roofing systems will resist corrosion, air and water infiltration, and withstand high winds reaching up to 150 mph. In marine environments that are susceptible to fires, zinc also offers a noncombustible solution.

Common installation considerations and cautions include:

· Zinc roof profiles should be applied as a ventilated dry-joint cladding or a “rainscreen” roof strategy, not as the primary waterproof barrier. This design alternative allows for pressure equalization, backside drying and moisture escape.

As zinc ages and weathers, a natural patina develops to create a dynamic appearance.

· Above-sheathing ventilation mats must be a requirement of every zinc roof assembly. Use an 8 to 10 mm structured underlayment comprised of entangled nylon wire to elevate the zinc roof panel, creating a capillary break with a 0.95 cm airspace to help keep the underside of the profile dry. Do not accept a substitution of this air space and capillary break with a backside paint coating or other barrier strategy.

· Self-adhered high-temperature roof underlayments are recommended. Synthetic felts may be utilized on steep pitch roofs in combination with self-adhered high-temperature underlayments at vulnerable roof conditions and roof penetrations.

· Red rosin paper, conventional felt and any other moisture-holding material should be prohibited in every zinc application and related specification.

· To facilitate moisture drainage from the vented space, the roof panel usually should have a soft bend past the drip edge (cleat). This open hook promotes water drainage from the end pocket formed by the panel hook. Zinc profile end folds also should be “soft” with the raw zinc edge parallel to the ground and not closed tight.

· Excessive use of sealants can plug weep holes, limit airflow, trap moisture, create adverse reactions or restrict the metal’s movement. For any proposed use of tube or tape sealants within laps or other concealed applications, first consult the zinc manufacturer.

5. Sustainability and Longevity

The sustainable benefits of architectural zinc products support criteria for several green building programs including BREEAM certification, the Green Globes system, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

Important to coastal environments, zinc roofing systems can withstand high winds reaching up to 150 mph. Pictured here is a marina in Sydney, Australia.

Products that have earned Cradle to Cradle certification demonstrate their product’s material does not release any toxic substances during usage, deconstruction and recycling; that it retains its original properties without loss of performance; and that can be re-used as a new item of at least equal value. This is known as upcycling; whereas downcycling results in recycling material to become inferior products, and non-recyclable products will be sent to a landfill. More than 90 percent of zinc-containing products are recycled at the end of their lifecycle.

During their many years of use, zinc roofs do not rot, rust or need repainting. They require very little maintenance. For aesthetic reasons, it is recommended to clean the surface of the material with clean water (not seawater) at least twice a year in maritime climate zones, depending on local conditions. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. If the metal is scratched, scuffed or fingerprinted, zinc will heal itself by re-patinating. With time and exposure to wetting and drying cycles, the former blemish will patinate and blend to match.

The resilient performance and natural beauty of zinc has been demonstrated for more than 200 years in marine environments and coastal communities. Collaboration between roofing contractors and zinc manufacturers will help ensure a roof that provides long-lasting functionality and appearance, achieving the best results for the building owner.

About the author: Charles “Chip” McGowan is president of RHEINZINK America, Inc., providing architectural-grade zinc materials for roofing and wall cladding systems throughout North America. He can be reached at charles.mcgowan@rheinzink.com. For more information, visit www.rheinzink.us.

Metal Roofing and Siding Panels Recreate the Look of Reclaimed Metal

Reclaimed Metal Rust is a pre-painted metal roofing and siding panel from Western States Metal Roofing that recreates the look of reclaimed metal. The panel is made of new steel that looks like an old barn. The panel features white and silver coloring with orange and reddish rust streaks throughout its design to mimic the look of old, faded galvanized that is rusting. The panel is available in Kynar 500 paint system and comes in ten different profile finishes. Reclaimed Metal Rust is a proprietary color of Western States Metal Roofing and offers a solution for architects and designers that want the look of reclaimed metal without the problems of reclaimed metal.

“Our customers wanted something that looks like faded galvanized and a rusted roof at the same time. Previously, the only way to get something like that would be to locate an old building that had reclaimed sheet metal on the roof,” said Paul Rubio, Vice President of Western States Metal Roofing. “That’s expensive and hard to find. We thought there has to be a better way. That led us to create the Reclaimed Metal Rust panels, which are new steel panels that look like they were taken from an old barn that’s 100 years old.”

According to the company, this specialty paint print is available in coil, flats, metal roofing, siding, and wall panels. Reclaimed Metal Rust panels come in a PVDF/Kynar 500 paint finish. These panels are designed for interior and exterior applications.

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.paintedrustedroofing.com

Call: (855) 426-7836

Email: sales@paintedrustedroofing.com

SBA Relaxes PPP Loan Requirements for Coronavirus Relief

On March 27, 2020, Congress enacted an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package, called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), aimed at assisting people, states, and businesses nationwide that have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the CARES Act, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was authorized to issue special loans to employers in need of financial assistance. Through two rounds of funding, approximately $659 billion has been allocated to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), intended to provide short-term financing to small businesses that would otherwise be forced to lay off employees, and in some cases close the doors, as workers continue to stay home as a result of the outbreak. As of the date of this article, approximately $100 billion is still available in the fund.

Under the PPP, eligible businesses include all businesses — including 501(c)(3) nonprofits, 501(c)(19) Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors — with 500 or fewer employees, or no greater than the number of employees set by the SBA as the size standard for certain industries. As for the construction industry, now more than ever, cash flow is essential to short-term and long-term sustainability. However, in addition to the size requirements, construction companies seeking a PPP loan were also required to ensure that their annual revenue would stay within SBA-set limits that the agency typically uses to determine eligibility for other SBA loans.

Understandably, with unanticipated delays and ever-changing plans to “reopen” varying from state to state, construction companies have been faced with the difficult task of providing thorough and accurate information regarding anticipated annual revenue numbers when applying for PPP loans. On April 4, 2016, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) recognized the difficulty construction companies faced to obtain much needed financial assistance and urged federal officials to revise the rules in order to encourage construction companies to seek assistance.

As discussed below, in response to the AGC, the U.S. Treasury Department issued new guidance that cleared the way for construction companies to apply for loans through the PPP, and in recognition of the growing need for additional funding and further expansion, Congress revised a number of PPP qualifiers and loan requirements.

The New “Either/Or” Standard

Initially, construction companies were required to meet both the workforce-size and annual revenue limits, which caused many construction companies to balk at PPP assistance. However, on April 6, 2020, the Treasury Department issued formal guidance stating that in order to be eligible for a PPP loan, construction companies must now meet either the 500-employee threshold or the annual revenue ceiling, but would no longer be required to meet both criteria.

The Payroll Percentage Reduced

When the PPP was first introduced, it required all borrowers to use 75 percent of the loan for payroll purposes and further required companies to retain and bring back furloughed or terminated employees in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. In many states around the country, however, construction crews were not permitted to work, making it difficult for companies to spend the required amount on payroll expenses.

Now, with revisions and expansions from Congress, the payroll percentage threshold to qualify for forgiveness is lower, at 60 percent, which allows construction companies to spend more of their PPP loan on other much needed business necessities. Additionally, under the new terms of the PPP, companies are only accountable for the percentage under 60 percent that is not used for payroll purposes at a 1 percent interest rate.

The Time Frame for Spending

Under the initial PPP requirements, construction companies had eight weeks to spend their PPP funding on qualifying payroll expenses. However, for construction companies and materials suppliers, it was difficult to spend 75 percent of their loan on payroll expenses in the face of uncontrollable and unavoidable delays in such a short time frame. Under the relaxed PPP requirements, companies are now given 24 weeks for such spending, which provides much needed relief for small- to mid-sized construction companies. Construction companies who have already obtained PPP funding should contact their lender to request an extension under the new rules.

The Hire-Back Deadline

With the exception of employees that were unwilling to return to the jobsite, the PPP originally required businesses to re-hire furloughed or terminated employees by June 31, 2020. Under the new rules, the period to re-hire employees has been extended to December 31, 2020, and still allows a company to qualify for forgiveness even if it is unable to fill a vacated position due to specialization, such as licensed architects and engineers, or employee refusal.

The PPP Application and Repayment Deadlines

The original application deadline for the PPP was June 31, 2020. From the time the PPP was introduced, up until the recent revisions and expansions, nearly 5 million companies applied for relief. Such high demand, coupled with rumors that funding was severely limited, caused many construction companies to pass on applying for a loan. Today, however, approximately $100 billion is still available to qualifying companies and the application deadline has been extended to December 31, 2020.

In situations where a company could not qualify for loan forgiveness, the previous version of the PPP required loan repayment within two years of receipt. That repayment period has now been extended to five years, allowing greater relief to companies who may not be able to qualify for full forgiveness in the future. Construction companies in need of financial assistance should contact a local lender to learn about the application process and to ensure that all proper forms and agreements are in place to qualify for forgiveness or an extended payback period.

Payroll Tax Deferral or PPP Loan?

Under the original PPP requirements, construction businesses were faced with deciding whether to defer payroll taxes or apply for a PPP loan. The new rules, however, allow companies to apply for a PPP loan and file for a payroll tax deferral, providing significant relief for large construction companies and suppliers.

What Remains the Same?

The maximum amount available to each borrower is equal to the lesser of (a) $10 million or (b) 2.5 times its average total monthly payroll costs, as defined in the CARES Act. Unlike most typical SBA loans, these loans are unsecured loans requiring no collateral, no personal guarantee, and no showing that credit is unavailable elsewhere. To the extent not forgiven, the loan has a maximum 10-year term and the interest rate may not exceed 4 percent. The current interest rate, as stated above, is 1 percent if repayment is necessary.

Under the revised and expanded PPP rules, construction companies, contractors, and suppliers have been provided additional opportunities to obtain much needed financial support for essential business functions. Construction companies that have already obtained a loan through the PPP, or those that intend to seek assistance through the PPP in the future, are encouraged to contact an attorney and a local lender to take advantage of the relief offered under the CARES Act and to ensure that all PPP requirements are satisfied.

About the author: Keith A. Boyette is an attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC in Raleigh, North Carolina, a law firm with attorneys licensed in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. For more information or questions about this article, please email him at kboyette@andersonandjones.com.

Author’s note: This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

Are COVID-19 Liability Waivers Enforceable?

The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has fundamentally changed the way Americans do business. Because of the pandemic, business owners now face the dilemma of either trying to keep up with constantly changing orders, rules, and guidelines to keep their doors open, or staying closed and possibly losing their businesses forever.

In this ever-changing world, businesses, especially those providing essential services, need to be proactive to limit the risks associated with the pandemic. This requires businesses to not only protect their employees and customers; it also requires them to protect their bottom line. In addition to complying with all applicable government rules and regulations, many companies are seeking to limit their potential exposure to COVID-19 related claims by seeking liability waivers from their customers.

A liability waiver is a contract between a business and a customer that educates the customer about the risks he or she is undertaking when participating in an activity and seeks to limit the business’s liability for such risks. When customers sign a liability waiver, they acknowledge that they understand the risks associated with the activity and agree to accept them. The customer also typically agrees to waive or limit the right to sue the business for injuries sustained as a result of the activity. Most people have been presented with a liability waiver at some point or another before participating in a potentially risky activity, such as sports, scuba diving, skydiving, or outdoor adventures. However, due to the risks associated with COVID-19, these waivers are now becoming increasingly prevalent for more common and traditionally less risky activities, like dining in a restaurant, shopping in a store, or simply entering business establishments as they begin to reopen.

At this point, it is too soon to tell how much weight these waivers will carry in court. Ultimately, the effectiveness of the waivers may vary from state to state. For example, Virginia and Montana do not allow any liability waivers. New York law provides that a liability waiver is only enforceable so long as it does not violate the public’s interest, it is clear and coherent, and the intention of the parties is unambiguous. (See Gross v. Sweet, New York 1979.) Illinois courts strictly construe liability waivers against the party that drafted them (i.e., the business). (See Harris v. Walker, Illinois 1988, which held “exculpatory clauses are not favored and must be strictly construed against the benefitting party, particularly one who drafted the release.”) And Connecticut courts rarely uphold liability waivers in personal injury claims. (See Hanks v. Powder Ridge Rest. Corp., Connecticut 2005, where a liability waiver was found unenforceable for snow tubers who had no ability or right to control the activity.)

While there may not be a common set of rules for liability waivers among the states, there are some basic legal principles that are almost universally accepted. One is that waivers that limit actions arising from intentional or grossly negligent conduct are unenforceable. (See Mero v. City Segway Tours of Washington DC, D.C. 2013: “Because District of Columbia law prohibits release from liability for grossly negligent, reckless, or intentional acts, the Agreement will not be held to indemnify defendant with respect to such conduct.”) This means parties cannot immunize themselves from claims where they have acted intentionally or with gross negligence. (See Restatement [Second] of Contracts § 195 [1981]: “A term exempting a party from tort liability for harm caused intentionally or recklessly is unenforceable on grounds of public policy.”) Although states and jurisdictions may define gross negligence and intentional acts differently, the overarching premise is its intended conduct, reckless activity or, at the very least, something more egregious than simply failing to act with ordinary care. Depending on how the laws are interpreted and applied to the facts of a particular situation, there is certainly a possibility that exposing someone to a known risk of contracting coronavirus could be considered intentional or grossly negligent, thereby negating the effect of any liability waiver that may have been signed.

Additionally, courts generally will not enforce liability waivers that are considered to be contrary to public policy. In other words, most jurisdictions will not enforce a waiver that involves a matter of great interest to the public. Given the contagiousness of the disease and its potentially deadly impact, it is certainly possible that courts will find that COVID-19 claim waivers are against the public’s interest. However, a counterargument could also be made that these waivers are essential and mandated by public policy because without them, coronavirus-related personal injury or wrongful death claims could potentially force businesses into bankruptcy.

The federal government is currently considering legislation that will create a safe harbor for businesses and nonprofit organizations that follow federal and state guidelines for COVID-19 to protect them against lawsuits. Perhaps they should also consider a COVID-19 compensation fund, similar to the one created by Congress following the 9/11 attacks, to compensate victims and insulate businesses from liability. It is unknown whether any such legislation will pass and even if it does, what protections it will provide — particularly if it requires compliance with the ever-changing and often confusing federal and state guidelines to be effective. Unless or until there is clear legislation and legal precedent governing COVID-19 liability for businesses, business owners may want to seriously consider obtaining liability waivers from their customers to create an additional legal hurdle to bringing a claim or, at the very least, to try and mitigate their liability by providing proof that the customers signing the waivers acknowledged the risk associated with the activities they voluntarily agreed to participate in.

About the authors: Brian Oblow is a Partner at Cotney Construction Law who represents clients in all aspects of construction law and arbitration. Cotney Construction Law is an advocate for the roofing industry and serves as General Counsel for NRCA, FRSA, RT3, NWIR, TARC, WSRCA and several other roofing associations. For more information, visit www.cotneycl.com.

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Focused on Proper Residential Attic Ventilation, Roofing Contractors Documented These Mistakes

Since 1998 our best practices in residential attic ventilation seminars have featured the real-world situations roofing contractors are seeing. Here we cover a handful of attic ventilation mistakes contractors found in the field. (Note: Some photos show multiple mistakes but were chosen to highlight one.)

Problem: Bagged Wind Turbines Suffocate the Attic Airflow

Solution: Unbag the wind turbines.

Photo: Jake Jacobson, SF5 Construction, LLC, Little Elm, Texas

It’s impossible for a covered attic exhaust vent to work if it’s smothered under a bag. Attic ventilation is supposed to provide year-round benefits, fighting heat buildup in the warmer weather and moisture buildup in the colder weather. It’s sometimes forgotten (and maybe never known) that occupants of a house generate water vapor daily through activities such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, breathing, etc. It amounts to 2-4 gallons per day for the average family of four. That warm, moist air can make its way into the colder attic in the winter months, where it can condense and cause trouble as water droplets and frost.

Problem: Bath Fan Ductwork Terminating in the Attic Damages Roof

Solution: Run the bath fan ductwork either vertically through the roof or out the side gable wall.

Photo: Trevor Atwell, Atwell Exterior Services, LLC, Greenville, North Carolina

Even a perfectly balanced attic ventilation system cannot handle the quantity of moisture dumped into the attic by the bath fan. It overwhelms the system. That moisture should be vented directly to the outdoors without any pitstops into the attic. In the home pictured here, Trevor Atwell found three bathroom fans venting directly into the attic. He also found a lot of rotted sheathing.

Problem: Painted Soffit Vents Result in Reduced Intake Airflow

Solution: Buy pre-painted soffits, or paint them more carefully, or replace them with new vents.

Photo: Daniel White, Roof Life of Oregon, Tigard, Oregon

Soffit vents have a specified amount of Net Free Area (airflow capability) when they are manufactured. For example, 9 square inches of NFA per linear foot. That amount, by the way, would balance nicely with a ridge vent (exhaust vent) that is capable of 18 square inches of Net Free Area per linear foot (9 NFA at the soffit on the left of the ridge vent + 9 NFA at the soffit on the ridge of the ridge vent = 18 NFA at the peak of the roof). But the airflow capability of the soffit is reduced if the vent openings become clogged or blocked because of a careless paint job. While house exterior colors are important, don’t sacrifice attic ventilation performance. It’s possible to have both a nicely painted soffit and it’s full, intended net free area (airflow capability).

Problem: Two Rows of Box Vents = One Path of Inefficient Airflow

Solution: Always keep attic exhaust vents in one row.

Photo: Daniel White, Roof Life of Oregon, Tigard, Oregon

Let’s cut to the chase. If it takes two rows of attic exhaust vents to meet the attic’s exhaust ventilation needs, it’s time to find another category of exhaust (maybe horizontal ridge vent; or diagonal hip ridge vent; or a combination of horizontal and diagonal ridge vent; or a power fan). But when attic exhaust vents are aligned in two rows, the primary path of the airflow will be from one row to the next because air will allows follow the path of least resistance seeking the closest exit point from its entry point. The intake vents in the soffit or low on the roof’s edge are supposed to be the intake vents. The pictured scenario here is producing inefficient attic airflow and could cause one row of box vents to ingest weather.

Problem: Mixed Types of Attic Exhaust Vents = Problematic Airflow

Solution: Only use one type of attic exhaust vent on the same roof above a common attic.

Daniel White, Roof Life of Oregon, Tigard, Oregon

Regardless what combination of two or more different types of attic exhaust vents either the homeowner demands (we’ve heard the stories) or a well-intended but misguided roofing contractor recommends (it’s happening), do not mix two different types of attic exhaust vents on the same roof above a common attic. Pictured here are wind turbines with ridge vents; box vents with ridge vents; solar powered fans with box vents; and traditional electric power fans with ridge vents. Now shown is the all-time classic: Gable-end louvers with any other type of attic exhaust.

When attic exhaust types are mixed, it short-circuits the airflow system because air always follows the path of least resistance. The air is looking for the easiest, least difficult exit path. That path is inevitably the distance between the two types of attic exhaust vents because they are closest to each other. That means the airflow will be concentrated in that area of the attic; which leaves significant areas of the attic incorrectly vented. The intake vents low on the roof’s edge or in the soffit/overhang have been pretty much bypassed. Furthermore, if one of the exhaust vents is suddenly an intake vent, does than mean it’s ingesting weather along with the air? You do not want to find out.

Trevor Atwell, Atwell Exteriors, LLC, Greenville, North Carolina.

About the author: Paul Scelsi is marketing communications manager at Air Vent Inc., the leader of its Attic Ventilation: Ask the Expert in-person seminars, and the host of the podcast “Airing it out with Air Vent.” He’s also chairman the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association Ventilation Task Force and the author of the book Grab and Hold Their Attention: Creating and Delivering Presentations that Move Your Audience to Action. For more information about the company, visit www.airvent.com.

Pieces of History

A home built in 1879. A hotel built in 1902. An industrial site that produced destroyers during World War II. What do these sites have in common? Roofs that stood the test of time, and then were recently restored with modern systems that preserve the historic integrity of the structures.

If you’re a bit of a pessimist, sometimes you might find yourself wondering how any roof gets successfully replaced. Re-roofing involves a coordinated effort that typically includes manufacturers, distributors, contractors and installation crews. Factor in architects, consultants, building owners, tenants, and members of other trades, and the odds of pleasing everyone increase exponentially. When you’re talking about a historic restoration project, the degree of difficulty gets even tougher, as historical societies and other organizations can have rigid standards designed to guarantee the building maintains its historic authenticity.

Historic projects can show the roofing industry at its best, and in this issue, you’ll find three case studies documenting roofs being restored on structures that have been around well over a century.

When the original soldered flat-panel roof on the historic Dilley-Tinnin home in Georgetown, Texas was damaged by lightning, crews from Texas Traditions Roofing were faced with a difficult, labor-intensive puzzle as they installed a double-lock standing seam roof system on multiple intersecting roof planes with low-slope transitions.

On the Chippewa Hotel on Mackinac Island, the Bloxsom Roofing faced a challenging re-roofing project and also found themselves facing turn-of-the-century problems on an island that doesn’t allow motorized vehicles. The roofing materials were delivered by ferry and transported to the jobsite by a team of horses.

At historic Pier 70 in San Francisco, an ambitious restoration project converted an empty industrial facility into a modern office complex. But ensuring occupant comfort proved a difficult task in a building without air conditioning. Central Coating Company devised a plan to install a spray foam roofing system on the uninsulated metal roof to minimize heat gain and ensure the historic look of the building.

These stories share common themes, including the importance of quality craftsmanship, then and now. In the case of Pier 70, Central Coating Company President Luke Nolan points out that aside from a few persistent leaks, the original corrugated metal roof was in pretty good shape.

“For us as a foam roofing contractor, we typically do roofing projects that have the benefit of adding insulation to the building,” Nolan said. “This one was different in that we were doing a foam roofing project that was really an insulation job.”

Safety Obligations Under the OSH Act Can Extend to Non-Employees and Other Trades

The nature of roofing (particularly re-roofing) frequently involves the presence of non-employees on or around active construction sites. This is true in both the residential and commercial contexts. However, the risk increases significantly on commercial projects, such as retail and mixed-use projects, where many parties can be present, including the property owners’ customers and employees, as well as other trades working at the project simultaneously.

As such, it is essential that roofing contractors understand the scope of their obligations to non-employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act). While accidents and injuries can certainly trigger an investigation by OSHA, employers are frequently charged with violations of the OSH Act for merely failing to implement appropriate procedures. Not to be taken lightly, OSHA citations carry significant consequences, including penalties of up to $134,937 per violation, as well as creating a stigma against the company and loss of future opportunities. Moreover, company owners may not always be free to “walk away” from these consequences by closing the business (a common misbelief in the industry).

In the OSH Act, Congress authorized the Secretary of Labor to develop safety and health standards (OSHA regulations). One of the most important of these standards to contractors, arguably, is 29 CFR 1910.12, which provides: “Each employer shall protect the employment and places of employment of each of his employees engaged in construction work.” [Emphasis added.] This provision, like OSHA’s general duty clause, seems to imply that OSHA-imposed obligations extend only to an employer’s own employees. However, this is frequently not the case.

For many decades, the phrase “his employees” has been a major point of contention because OSHA has frequently penalized employers for hazards which did not affect the employers’ own employees. While early court decisions initially rejected OSHA’s imposition of liability in these circumstances, the tide eventually shifted, and now the opposite is true. Today, most courts will impose liability under OSHA’s “Multi-Employer Citation Policy” where the contractor “could reasonably be expected to prevent or detect and abate the violations due to its supervisory authority and control over the worksite.” This is true even where the contractor’s own employees were completely unaffected, or even absent when the hazard occurred.

While the borders of OSHA’s policy are unclear and still developing, contractors should at least suspect they may be held responsible for the safety violations at a jobsite if they either: (1) created the hazard; or (2) exercised some degree of control over the subject worksite. With that in mind, roofing contractors can address this risk preemptively by starting with a plan to mitigate hazards and potential liability on their jobsites.

Identifying Risk

One method of doing so is by creating a Jobsite Hazard Analysis (JHA). According to OSHA, a JHA “is a technique that focuses on job tasks as a way to identify hazards before they occur.” By identifying risks, such as exposure of the public and other trades to an active construction site, roofing contractors can implement effective measures to mitigate known hazards.

While planning requirements will vary by jobsite, most roofing contractors’ JHA should address the following questions on this topic:

  • Will non-employees be present at the worksite during active construction? Could they gain access without the company’s knowledge or consent?
  • Can measures be taken to reduce or eliminate access to the worksite by non-employees?
  • What types of hazards could non-employees be exposed to? (e.g.,falling debris)
  • What steps will the company take to reduce or eliminate risks to non-employees?

In addition to addressing these risks in company policies, such as JHAs and a safety manual, it is also prudent to include provisions in the company’s contract which seek to limit exposure of non-employees to hazards. For example, the roofing contractor could include a provision in the contract which forbids the property owner’s employees from using certain entrances to the building during specific phases of construction. Roofing contractors may also seek indemnification from owners for claims of third parties based upon third parties’ failure to comply with contractual requirements. 

Under any circumstances, roofing contractors should take a preemptive approach to hazards, understanding the adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is especially true in their industry. The first step in this process is assessing and appreciating the risks that safety hazards present. The second is implementing proactive safety policies which seek to eliminate or reduce those risks.

About the author: Travis S. McConnell is a construction law attorney with Cotney Construction Law, LLP. McConnell’s legal practice focuses on all aspects of construction law. He works extensively on matters relating to OSHA defense, which includes the management and development of safety and health strategies for construction contractors across the United States. McConnell’s OSHA practice concentrates on litigation and the appeals of citations involving catastrophic construction related accidents. He can be contacted by email at tmcconnell@CotneyCL.com.

New Hire Fall Protection and Safety Kits

Malta Dynamics, a full-service manufacturing company specializing in fall protection solutions, offers its New Hire Fall Protection and Safety Kits. The New Hire Fall Protection and Safety Kits are designed to simplify the process of outfitting new employees. The kits include all safety materials needed in a convenient carry bag so that there is no delay in production.

The New Hire Fall Protection and Safety Kits include the following essentials:

  • Full body harness
  • Short- and long-sleeve high-visibility shirts
  • High-visibility surveyor vest
  • Clear and tinted safety glasses
  • Safety gloves
  • White cap-style hard hat
  • Durable carrying bag with handles and detachable, adjustable shoulder strap

According to the company, Malta Dynamics’ equipment is tested to meet safety requirements for OSHA and ANSI, and the New Hire Fall Protection and Safety Kits offer workers the tools they need to be visible and work safely at heights.

“It’s so important for employees to have their own PPE right now,” Malta Dynamics Sales Manager David Ivey said. “As more people get back to work, we wanted to provide an all-in-one kit to make it easy to gear up and stay safe on the job.”

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.MaltaDynamics.com

Call: (800) 494-1840

Email: Info@MaltaDynamics.com