Category: <span>2018</span>

RT3 Members Discuss the Current Issues, Trends and Opportunities for Technology in the Roofing Industry

by Anita Lum

Technology has been at the forefront of nearly every industry for the past decade and roofing is no exception. The industry is ripe for change and has been transforming rapidly as more and more contractors embrace the use of technology in their day-to-day operations. David Huval of National Roofing Partners interviewed Trent Cotney of Cotney Construction Law, Lynn Foster of AccuLynx, and Tom Whitaker of Harness Software, to learn more about the current issues, trends, and opportunities with technology in the roofing industry during the International Roofing Expo in New Orleans.

Both Cotney and Whitaker expressed a current challenge that the whole industry can resonate with – the lack of skilled labor. To combat that need, the adoption of technology in the workplace is critical. Technology can be used to supplement this shortage by doing more with less; there are currently programs geared towards all facets of construction, including project management, work orders and health and safety.

Opportunities for technology in the industry are plenty. With the integration of applications in the workplace, the industry as a whole can really go digital. For instance, smartphones and tablets have become part of our daily lives, so integrating it into our businesses should be the next step. As Foster put it, “…the next couple of years is really going to be the mobile revolution.” This technology will allow instant transmission of information from the field to the office, which is critical to increase efficiency, decrease risks, and drive performance.

Other trends in roofing technology include drones; “Drone technology has gotten so much better over the last few years and it’s going to continue to make a huge impact,” said Whitaker. Cotney mentions the use of blockchain, a new way of engaging in contract payment method, to improve productivity by cutting out the middlemen.  According to Foster, integration is also set take off in the next couple years with “all these different entities getting together on one platform and integrating.” This will ensure much smoother processes by keeping all business information in one space.

While the roofing industry has been slow to adopt the new technology into their processes, this is beginning to change. With the technology tools identified by Cotney, Foster, and Whitaker, roofers can streamline workflows, manage clients, and share projects across the board, and ultimately grow their business.

Watch a recap of the interviews below.

Join forces to support National Roofing Week


To help members share in National Roofing Week, which will be held June 3-9, NRCA will be using Thunderclap, a crowdspeaking platform that allows people to tweet or post a Facebook message on the same day—and at the same time—to achieve the maximum effect and rise above the noise on social media. Think of it as an online flash mob in support of the roofing industry. NRCA is using Thunderclap to flood social media with a message promoting the roofing industry and National Roofing Week!


Thunderclap is safe, free and will post only one message on your behalf. Signing up for NRCA’s Thunderclap will take five seconds—just click here and choose “Support with Twitter,” “Support with Facebook,” “Support with Facebook page,” “Support with Tumblr” or all four! Then, add your name to the Thunderclap, and on June 3, the first day of National Roofing Week, everyone who signed up will have the same National Roofing Week message automatically posted on their Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr accounts: “It’s National Roofing Week! Share if you’re thankful for the roof over your head!

All you need to do is sign up to show your support for the industry—Thunderclap will take care of the rest! With your support, on June 3, thousands of people will be speaking with one voice to celebrate the roofing industry and National Roofing Week!

Top 4 Benefits of Drones in Construction

By DroneBase.

Drones are an innovative solution to deliver sophisticated analytics, provide a visual progress report, and allow worksite managers to track, map, survey, and manage projects easily. They are used on hundreds of sites nationwide and are equipped to perform construction flights safely, efficiently, and under compliance with all worksite regulations.

Plenty of construction professionals use drones to take their projects (and efficiencies!) to the next level. Here are a few of the top reasons contractors choose drones for their worksite needs.

1 – Site progress

Get project updates as they happen, regardless of your proximity to the worksite.

2 – Stakeholder communication

Share visual project updates with key stakeholders to keep all parties informed on progress.

3 – Surveying

Gather analytics via drone to vastly reduce time associated with traditional forms of site mapping.

4 – Stockpile measurements

Collect accurate volume data with a fraction of the manual labor.


Note: This article first appeared on DroneBase’s blog and can be viewed here.

Photo: Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

The Future of Construction Site Surveillance: Part 2

By Cotney Construction Law.

There are many benefits to self-navigating rovers and drones that provide workplace surveillance. In this second part of our two-part series, we will outline some of the main reasons why, if functional, this technology should be embraced by the construction industry.

The Problem with Construction Interiors

When drone technology became highly sophisticated, the devices were seamlessly integrated into the construction industry process capturing data for exteriors. Of course, drones were enhanced with new advancements over the years. With that being said, the interiors of construction sites were never as easy to navigate for autonomous devices until this recent technology circumvented many of these problems. In the near future, rovers could be implemented much to the same effect as drones.

Conquering This Problem

Inspecting construction work that is in progress and in an interior can be very difficult for the inspector. Inspectors can make misjudgments or overlook a problem. These mistakes or oversights can lead to both small and catastrophic accidents.

The precision of a Doxel rover allows construction professionals to confirm that the building process is being performed precisely with all of the components aligned correctly. If the metric data analyzed by the “deep learning” process shows that the progress is off kilter, the contractor can be notified via smartphone of the necessary steps to alleviate this issue. This technology at the contractor’s fingertips is invaluable.

Productive Technology

The deep learning process of this technology doesn’t just stop with the inspection process. An up-to-the-minute metrical analysis allows construction projects to save time instead of going back weeks to fix an unexpected issue. This, of course, results in significant reductions to the budget when certain issues are corrected in a timely fashion. Having an inspection process in real time that evaluates a project, highlights areas that need correction, and keeps an entire scale of a project recorded in measurable data is vital to construction project management. From budgeting to schedule coordination to keeping records on the quality of the project, this technology can find problems before they escalate and keep everybody on the project “in the know” on all of the important data.

Technology That Streamlines the Building Process

As we discussed in the first part of this two-part series, Doxel has created autonomous devices called rovers that can self-navigate around the entire perimeter of the workplace scanning for important measurable data that relates to a construction project. As we discussed in the second section, this intel is then uploaded to a cloud-based system that allows it to be algorithmically measured and processed. In the third section, we educated you on how this “deep learning” data can be sent to a construction manager’s smartphone, so they can review it and be aware of any areas of the work that need to be addressed.

Case Study of LiDAR Technology

Although this rover scanning technology is only in the embryo stage, it has shown promising signs of improving the construction process. In San Diego, CA, Doxel implemented its rover technology into a project where a multistory medical building was being erected. The rover was able to scan the infrastructure in approximately four to five hours each day and productivity reportedly improved nearly 40 percent on the project and the work was completed well under the estimated budget.

Monthly Subscription Fee

Although Doxel’s advanced technology has just been unveiled, the plan is to implement the services via a monthly subscription fee like most cloud-based services. One day in the near future, this technology may be implemented into all large-scale projects. Being able to digitally transfer all the measurable data of a project is an indispensable resource in itself. Any innovation that promotes the production of quality work in a timely fashion should be embraced by the construction industry.

Note: This article first published on Cotney Construction Law’s website and can be viewed here.

Disclaimer: 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.

The Future of Construction Site Surveillance: Part 1

By Cotney Construction Law.

There’s an unfortunate stereotype about the work being done on construction sites. Well, perhaps we should say the work not being done. The cliché is that a construction site is a place where workers are standing around doing nothing. Although anyone in the construction industry knows that this is simply untrue, the fact remains that the vast majority of projects end up running past their deadline and over budget. Construction companies are always open to looking for ways to avoid this dilemma.

The Penalties That Stem from a Delay

When deadlines are missed, this can result in financial penalties for contractors. Delays can also compromise a contract, affect the bidding process on other jobs, and, in extreme cases, ruin a professional’s reputation.

This two-part article discusses the future of construction site surveillance and how technology may speed up and finely tune the building process. If new processes can lessen delays by closely monitoring the work being performed at construction sites, everyone in the construction industry will prosper.

Groundbreaking Invention

Future projects within the construction sector may be supervised by robotic devices like drones and rovers. As you probably already know, most construction sites already use various types of drones for aerial shots. This footage can provide valuable intel for the exterior of construction projects; however, the interior area of construction sites have lacked advanced autonomous technology that can record, analyze, or inspect the building process of a site. That is until emerging tech company Doxel unveiled its newest, groundbreaking invention.

LiDAR-Equipped Technology

After recently receiving $4.5 million in funding, Doxel’s artificial intelligent rovers can provide construction sites with measured data that is much more precise than your standard inspector with a tape measure. Although the rover looks like an adorable and more sophisticated version of the robotic vacuums homeowners invest in to aimlessly move around their living space, these Doxel rovers are capable of a much more advanced level of technology and can roam pre-coordinated paths that encompass an entire construction site.

These LiDAR-equipped robots can be let loose at the end of a workday and scan entire sites and determine the progress of the whole project.

Digitizing the Industry

The term LiDAR may not be a household name yet, but it will be in the next decade. LiDAR technology is the integral force behind autonomous vehicles’ vision. As explains it, LiDAR technology is a “laser-based surveying method” that creates a “depth-based image of the world by shining out laser lights and then measuring how long it takes for the reflected pulse to be bounced back to the sensor.” In non-techy talk, this means that the Doxel rovers possess a LiDAR scanner that allows them to digitize all of a construction site by scanning it. This initiates the process of sending this data to cloud technology and allows the information to be immediately analyzed.

The Deep-Learning Process

The surveying rover is the medium used on the construction site to collect the data via the high-tech laser scanning process known as LiDAR technology. However, once this information is collected it’s immediately uploaded to a deep-learning process that analyzes the measurable results that the surveying rover collected. Utilizing advanced 3D technology, the cloud system algorithmically analyzes the data and determines the overall quality and progress of the work being performed on location. This highly accurate information verifies that the construction work was completed correctly and remained on schedule.

Note: This article first published on Cotney Construction Law’s website and can be viewed here.

Disclaimer: 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.

Digital Content Marketing Has Rapidly Changed the Way Companies Acquire Business

By Ken Kelly, Kelly Roofing.

Forget everything you knew about marketing. There’s a new trend sweeping the world and shaking the foundation of what we all know works. It’s called content marketing, and it is for real.

Content marketing differs from traditional marketing in its customer communication approach. Traditional marketing relied on disruption and attention-grabbing tactics. Content marketing focuses on providing benefit to the consumer during his or her time of research and helping the customer make a good buying decision.

Companies that understand content marketing start by changing the structure of their business. They no longer have one department for sales and another department for marketing. In order to deliver excellent UX, or user experience, these departments and positions are being combined into a new trend called “smarketing.” Smarketing departments and smarketing managers ensure that the company’s message is unified through all channels at all customer contact points. Let’s look at specific ways smarketers are using content marketing to succeed.

Traditional vs. Content Marketing

Quantity of leads vs. quality of leads. It used to be all about the number of leads marketing was able to drive into the company. It was then up to the sales team to work its magic and pressure the customer into a decision. Well, not anymore. Today’s customers do 63 percent of their large-purchase research prior to engaging with a company. Content marketing provides customers the information they are looking for, thus focusing on only those who are about to buy.

Marketing budget increase vs. competition score. Considered fact, it is a wide-held view that increasing the amount of money spent in marketing directly increases the company’s sales. Not true. There are market limits. An easy example would be trying to increase sales in your service and repair department. If it’s not raining, roofs aren’t leaking. It doesn’t matter how much money you dump into marketing. If there isn’t a need, sales will not increase. Content marketing focuses on winning every one of those customers who do have a leak, when they have them. Save your money and increase your win rate by directly targeting those customers at a time of need with helpful information that the customer will find truly beneficial.

Volume vs. targeted user. Not a week goes by where we don’t receive a spam email from some SEO expert promising to increase our website’s performance. Given the opportunity, they really can make it look as though your site is better, bigger and generating more traffic. But, is traffic really leads? Or, better yet, does increased traffic directly equate to an increased number for jobs won? Not in this case, no. So, when you review your KPIs, or key performance indicators, with your marketing team, don’t get excited when you see traffic increasing. Content marketers would look at only one metric: did it help us win more jobs? The key isn’t to blindly rank higher or increase Web size. The key is to target specific customer types so that they find exactly what they are looking for.

Amount of content vs. quality of content. I used to think it was important to provide customers all the information they could possibly need on our website. The concept was simple; if they have everything they are looking for, the customers won’t need to go elsewhere. However, it didn’t take long for my own consumer behavior to change my opinion on this. We are all busy and time is an increasingly more valuable resource. Consumers don’t want to go looking for things. They want it served up in a way that is easily digestible and actionable. Essentially, less is more. Content marketing is all about being concise and giving customers exactly what they will find useful. This concept doesn’t stop at websites either. Make sure your entire marketing message is concise and easy for the customer to benefit from.

Social activity vs. social media demographics. If you’re like many people trying to use social media for promotion, there is an air of confusion where to invest resources. Mastering social media is all about knowing your client’s demographics. Women tend to enjoy Pinterest. Google+ has an active user base of 73 percent males. Business owners focus their time on LinkedIn. Each of these social media streams has a different style of communication. To create a content marketing strategy, target your potential customers by creating specific campaigns that speak directly to each of their needs in the area they spend time.

Specifications vs. A/B testing. A high-quality content marketing strategy ignores jargon, specifications and promotional brochures. Content marketing focuses on quality original content, good design, frequent updates, and concise, omni-channel, responsive and truly beneficial deliverables that customers use to educate themselves on the path to good decision making.

Contact us vs. strong call to action (CTA). Every site has a “contact us” page, and it should. This is reserved for more general communications. Smarketing managers are using content marketing principles and making it easy for the customer to do business with their companies. One simple way is by creating strong CTAs. Each piece of content should have a link to gain more information or to enlist help. There is an entire science behind consumer behavior that goes into creating great CTAs. Everything from color, font, typeset, wording, images, layout, placement and size should be studied and considered when creating CTAs.

Note: This article is a condensed version of the one first published in Roofing Contractor Magazine and the full article can be viewed here.

The Best Employers in the Built World Embrace Technology

By Isabel Singer, BuiltWorlds.

The AEC industries have a workforce issue. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 70 percent of contractors have difficulty finding qualified craftspeople and, in 2017, the National Association of Home Builders found that the median age of construction workers was 41.

Given the challenges facing the industry, how can you ensure that great people want to work for your company? According to Travis Voss, the answer lies in embracing technology.

Travis Voss is the Technology Manager of Mechanical Inc., one of the nation’s top 50 mechanical contractors. Voss’ efforts to get employees excited about and invested in innovative technology has transformed Mechanical Inc.’s workforce. Since Voss joined the company in 2016, he believes that Mechanical Inc. has become even younger, even sharper, and employees stay at the company for even longer.

Voss agreed to sit down with BuiltWorlds and share Mechanical Inc.’s secrets for creating a robust workforce.

Tech-forward organizations recruit first-rate talent

When trying to recruit young people, Voss makes sure Mechanical Inc. showcases its technology. Voss ensures that all the interns that spend time at Mechanical Inc. visit the technology department and, whenever Voss visits a job fair, he brings along a HoloLens or an HTC Vive.

“Keeping those shiny toys out in front entices young people to talk to us,” Voss laughed. “But in all seriousness, a few decades ago, you didn’t look at innovation as important when you were trying to recruit people. You just wanted to offer a stable position, good salary, and benefits. But, now the employment market is a seller’s market. You have to have a leg up to entice the talent in. They’re not going to want to work in a company that’s still doing things in an old school method when they know there is technology out there. Young prospective employees have grown up around technology and they know there must be a better way of doing things.”

Cutting-edge companies retain talent

Tech-forward companies retain talent because employees take pride in working for an innovative company. Furthermore, when a company has an innovative culture, employees have confidence that their company can weather adverse market conditions.

Voss related that employees “take pride in the fact like they’re working with a forward-thinking company, a company that is striving to innovate and bring new things to the industry. If another company offers everything similar across the board, but the competitor is still using pad and paper, employees prefer to stick around with the forward-thinking company because chances are the innovative company is better positioned to survive.”

Only GREAT Technology will help your company retain GREAT talent

Technology only helps retain talent if it improves employees’ work experience. Voss urges company leaders to experiment with new technology and not to fear failure. “You can rely on organizations such as BuiltWorlds and programs like the BuiltWorlds Pilots to help you curate different apps and gadgets and narrow down your focus,” he explained. “But, at a certain point, you have to invest in something that you feel is beneficial for your company. But, you should still treat the new tech like a research project. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a product that isn’t working for you. It’s a sunk cost.”

Voss also emphasizes that the opinions of field workers are vital when evaluating new tech. “I’m not a field foreman. I’m not a pipe fitter,” Voss said. “So, I have to admit that I don’t know what they know. No matter how awesome I think something is, I’m not the one that has to deal with the endpoint solution day-to-day. I always ask stakeholders, ‘do you think this will improve your job?’ and I accept that input.”

Note: This article was first published on BuiltWorld’s blog and can be viewed here.

5 Features to Look for When Evaluating Roofing Contractor Software

By Kate Foster, AccuLynx.

When your company is ready to make the switch from pen and paper to a business management software, you can spend a lot of time evaluating and researching all the options on the market.

While roofing contractor software can help save your company time and money, increasing work efficiency and decreasing project costs, it can be difficult to determine which option has the best features and functionality compared to others.

Looking for these 5 features will ensure you find the best roofing software for your company’s needs.

  1. Flexibility

Flexibility is an essential characteristic when evaluating roofing contractor software. While no software except one custom-designed to your business will ever fulfil every single need or function you can imagine, the best software should be able to solve as many paint points within your business as possible.

What to Look For:

This may mean having many features you can mix and match, such as options in scheduling, assigning leads, and managing your workflow. A wide array of features provides your company with endless possibilities and combinations that it needs to perform its unique job.

A flexible software should also help you develop better processes, allowing for growth and improvement, rather than being a hassle or not saving you any time. Check to see if the roofing software you are considering will grow with your company, providing useful features and options even as your needs change.

  1. Accessibility

The ability to easily access your information is another feature to consider when evaluating roofing contractor software. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to access the content you need when you need it or spending forever trying to download a document.

What to Look For:

Choosing a software that is easily and reliably available can eliminate these frustrations, increasing productivity and efficiency. A software compatible with multiple devices or with an app version are valuable assets in today’s technology-centered world. These features provide 24/7 access to your job information as well as allowing you to take your office with you to any location.

  1. Integrations

Part of having roofing software that is available wherever and whenever you need it depends on how well it is integrated with the vendors and programs you use every day.

What to Look For:

Integration with material suppliers such as ABC Supply, Allied Building Products, as well as programs like QuickBooks, means everything you need is right at your fingertips in one convenient software. When integrated with technology companies such as SkyMeasure or EagleView, software can provide aerial measurements to your company, increasing safety and letting your field staff do their jobs more quickly and accurately.

Not only can an integrated software decrease your overall cost, but it also means you are directly connected to suppliers and accounting, reducing human error, maximizing accuracy, and removing the hassle of logging in to multiple accounts.

  1. Ease of Use

Some software can be confusing and hard to navigate. When updates roll around you must relearn old features as well as new ones, wasting valuable time. The best roofing software simplifies day to day tasks making your job easier, not more complicated.

What to Look For:

In order to find the best program possible, make sure to look for a software with a layout that is easy to navigate and features that are user friendly. Quality customer support can help guide you through any remaining questions, resolving potential problems and making your job as easy as possible. Updates should add to the software in a way that improves the overall functionality rather than simply reworking old features.

  1. Collaboration

A company does not operate with only one person, so your software should not work for only one person either. A good roofing software is applicable for all the different jobs within your business, from sales representatives to project managers to office personnel. More than that, it should connect those people together, facilitating the communication that allows a company to function.

What to Look For:

Features that allow for shared information, such as calendars, tasks, and documents, add clarity to projects and reduce potential miscommunication. A software that allows for collaboration between your staff will help your company work as a cohesive unit, getting jobs done quickly and with precision.

As a business, your main goal is to complete a job efficiently and accurately. The best roofing software provides the organization, tools, and communication that makes such a task possible.

Note: This article first appeared on the AccuLynx blog and can be viewed here.

7 Steps to Opportunity Automation in Roofing

By Ken Kelly, Kelly Roofing.

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a software system designed to track potential customer interactions and help manage the sales process.  There are a number of players in the CRM space, but the two most robust offerings are Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.  The key to their success is the ability to automate and customize.  This article focuses on the opportunity.

Many companies call opportunities “leads.”   Opportunities are so much more.  Opportunities are a true request to provide a quote or potential quoting “opportunity.”  In the end, opportunities are either won or lost.  And, you can have multiple opportunities for each customer.  Now that we know what an opportunity is, let’s jump into the creating an automated opportunity process.

1 – Create the Opportunity. 

In most cases, a potential customer will simply call into your office, fill out a web form request or send an email request to have their roof looked at.  If a lead asks for an estimate they are now an opportunity.  Convert the lead to an opportunity and add in additional details about their specific need.  Details needed will include details about the leak or problem, contact details, who the decision maker is, budget, communication channel preference, type of roof, age of roof, time frame, presentation venue, advisors and material preferences.

2 – Set Estimate Appointment.

To truly automate the process there are online calendar systems that allow potential customers to request their own appointment time slot, much like making a restaurant reservation via OpenTable or similar app.  If your CRM program has an integrated resource calendar this is absolutely possible and quite easy to set up.  Set your CRM software to change the appointment duration based on the type of appointment.  Repairs may only take one hour while reroofs may take three.  Commercial projects could take the full day.  The system can use the job type to determine this.  The system can also automatically assign an estimator, sales coordinator and sales manager.

3 – Confirmation Automation.

Based on the potential customer’s preference, an automated confirmation should be generated from your CRM system shortly after the estimate appointment is created.  This communication is most often an email but could be a text or phone call.  I suggest including the detailed information you’ve collected from the potential client and ask them to review it for errors or omissions.   Many times, potential customers have told us what their objections are in a reply email to the confirmation.  Suggested items to list include names, phone numbers, email addresses, time of appointment, type of roof, budget, time frame to decision, decision makers, type of roof interested in, etc.  Also include information about your company to help give some background on what makes you unique.  As a final touch of professionalism, resend the confirmation 24 hours before the appointment and make it easy for the potential client to reschedule if needed.

4 – Estimate Automation.

Time is our most valuable resource.  Constantly spending it reinventing the same estimate wheel is a waste.  Have your CRM system do the heavy lifting for you.  For instance, if you use an aerial measurement service, have your CRM system request a report automatically via addressing.  The service can reply in kind using an importable file type that can then auto-generate estimates, prepopulate proposals and do most of the work without ever involving the sales team.

5 – After-Estimate Action.

Once the estimate is completed the system should be updated with the sales details.  Examples are percentage of probably win rate, likely decision time frame, adjusted budget amount, samples requested, next follow-up date, type of follow-up requested and anything you can think of that will help adjust the after-estimate actions.  Now that CRM has the information it needs, let the automation begin.  CRM can automatically order samples from distribution or manufacturers and have them sent directly to the client.  How about sending an after-estimate survey to see where the potential customer stands?  Send automated communications via snail mail, email, fax, text or phone call reminder to see if the customer has made a decision yet.

6 – Close Opportunity Lost.

Ever wonder what happened to that estimate you gave a while back?  Wouldn’t you like to know who won that big job?  Wouldn’t it be nice to look at a list of opportunities and only call on the ones that are still active?  This is where the Close Opportunity dialog comes in.  Close opportunities lost if they were truly lost, if the customer decided not to have the work done or if it wasn’t really an opportunity in the first place.  Have CRM send the opportunities an email with reply buttons in it.  If the job is lost, just have them simply click on “We’ve decided to not have the work done or have it done by someone else.”  This is a soft way for lost clients to let you know they went elsewhere.  Let the system do it automatically to avoid putting any more time into a lost cause.

7 – Close Opportunity Won.

The customer has just awarded you the job.  Now this is where automation really takes over.  Your CRM software can be programmed to pass over all the important opportunity, contact, account, roof and job-related details and automatically start preparing the project for production.  It’s time to automatically thank the customer and let them know what to expect.  Have CRM contact the customer with a special thank you message.  Include details on the specific job process, timeline of the project, what to expect, what they can do to prepare, what additional details are needed to keep things on schedule and so on.    And don’t forget to bask in the winner’s circle.  You deserve it.

Ken Kelly is president of Kelly Roofing in Naples, Fla. For more information, he can be reached via email at


Note: This article first published in Roofing Contractor magazine and the full version can be viewed here.