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NRCA convention attendees positive about U.S. roofing.

The 104th Annual National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) Convention, held February 5 through 8 in Orlando, fared quite well given the troubled economic climate. Boasting an increase in attendance over last year's figures, an even more surprising aspect was the positive outlook by industry insiders who say this will be a year of slight increase in business for the U.S. commercial roofing market.

The convention attracted 7,766 attendees, up from 1990, and had 355 companies exhibit, down 20 companies from last year, according to NRCA spokesperson Alison LaValley. The opening luncheon address was given by William Bennett, former Secretary of Education (in 1990, Ronald Reagan was the speaker at the opening luncheon).

Much of the talk in the exhibition hall reflected the growing controversy over the hype of long-term warranties in the roofing industry - an issue many exhibitors referred to as the "warranties war."

Thomas J. Petrarca, president and CEO of BondCote Corporation, an NRCA convention exhibitor and a vertical, integrated manufacturer of diversified products for a multitude of industries including the roofing industry, says the discussion about warranties is only a symptom of the problem. "The real issue is why this is emerging as a discussion or topic of concern. The [roofing] industry, like the automobile industry, has been conditioning customers, building owners, and contractors to look at the duration of the warranty rather than looking at the performance of the product. We've been selling warranties rather than the performance of products .. Do we need a 30-year warranty? Absolutely, unequivocally no. Do we need to roll back the warranties to a reasonable state? Without a doubt."

Selling warranties rather than product performance has indeed gotten many companies in deep trouble, forcing some to file Chapter 11.

Roofing market survey findings provided by the NRCA predict the commercial roofing sector will total about $11.8 billion in 1991, accounting for about 70 percent of all roofing business this year. Survey market results for 1990 and predictions for 1991 are based on 850 responses from commercial and residential, NRCA-member and non-member roofing contractors.

In 1992, the 105th NRCA Convention will be held in Anaheim, CA, from February 13 through 16.

- Holly Sraeel, Senior Editor

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Title Annotation:National Roofing Contractors Association
Author:Sraeel, Holly
Article Type:column
Date:Apr 1, 1991
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