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Imagine what the future of roofing will be with the latest emerging technologies

By Heidi J. Ellsworth, RoofersCoffeeShop®

The need for technology advancement in the roofing industry is apparent.  It is a movement that continues to gain strength, not just in roofing but in construction and society overall.  Being a part of bringing new and disruptive services to the roofing industry is important to RoofersCoffeeShop.  We are committed to be the leader in providing a digital network that helps educate, entertain and build the roofing industry.  The Coffee Shop has been delivering digital information since 2002 and the growth we have seen in the last three years is phenomenal.

Working and learning from roofing contractors across the country, it has become obvious that we need to help lead the adoption of technology in the roofing industry.  We are committed to working across the industry to learn more about new and existing technologies that can help roofing contractors in their business processes and operations.  RoofersCoffeeShop.com was one of the founders of a new group of industry thought leaders that recently came together to form the Roofing Technology Think Tank (RT3).

The think tank includes a wide range of manufacturers, distributors, roofing contractors and technology companies, that are leading the initiative to bring as much information about technology into the industry as possible.  It is not an association but a think tank that is dedicated to learning and then implementing innovative solutions that will make the roofing industry safer, smarter and more productive.

As contractors look at incorporating more technology into their business, I would recommend thinking big.  Follow both the Coffee Shop and RT3 as they deliver articles and research on innovative programs, tools, equipment and cloud-based solutions that can evolve your business.  It is easy to just think about cloud-based software or mobile devices but there is a lot out there that can help with the labor shortage and overall improvements in productivity and profitability.  Here are top areas that I currently see stirring a lot of excitement around technology and roofing.

Artificial Intelligence

Imagine if a computer could look at an aerial image of a building and without any human help, create measurements and assess damage within seconds.  It is very close to becoming a reality with companies that are utilizing artificial intelligence.  According to Wikipedia, AI is the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.  Remember when aerial imagery measurement reports changed the industry? This is the next level and it will re-define the speed that we are able to evaluate and quote roofing jobs.  Customer expectations will rise to all new levels, especially when this is combined with websites that support an independent customer experience.

AI is also going to make an enormous difference in safety regulations.  There are companies right now who can capture video on jobsites that detect when employees are not in safety compliance and alert supervisors.  AI is constantly monitoring and looking for pre-defined rules of what employees should be wearing (hard hat), where they should or should not be (restricted areas) and what they are doing (productivity). It will offer eyes on the site that will save lives and increase productivity.


Imagine that AI measurement and damage report being sent to roofing contractors minutes after natural disasters.  Companies are currently working on pre-arranged flight programs for drones that will deliver imagery as soon as drones can begin flying.  With pilots and drone networks appearing every day, the ability to get imagery faster and at higher resolution is a reality that is right around the corner.


Imagine the next generation of roofing crews being trained not only on quality roofing installations but also on the ability to operate the robots that are doing the hardest parts of the job.  The next generation will be experts in running and repairing robots that are laying membrane and hammering shingles.  It may seem very futuristic, but companies are already selling equipment for roofing installation that is more like robots then traditional equipment.  Check out Soprema’s MINI-MACADEN®, a machine for laying bituminous membranes and you will see what I mean.


Imagine customers watching their phone as your roofing trucks pull up and their materials are delivered.  We do it now with Uber, we watch the car on our phone until it pulls up to pick us up.  It is already happening with some contractors who communicate through portals and mobile, to show their customers the material delivery and crew travel details with pictures of little roofing trucks making their way to the job.  And in the home office, operations and dispatch is watching too.  Along with GPS enabled fleets, watch for GPS enabled tools.  DeWalt and others are doing amazing work to help stop theft from jobsites with GPS enabled tools that have auto kill switches when taken out of range.

Virtual Reality

Imagine picking out the color and style of your roof while standing in your front yard with goggles.  VR goggles are being actively used in architecture and city planning.  Customers step into a new world looking at what could be while relating it to what they are seeing in front of them.  Soprema once again is leading the way with sopremavr.com.  Check out the future of how customers will be making decisions and watching job progress.

Cloud-Based Solutions

Some of the earliest adoption of technology has been cloud-based software.  The cloud has changed our world and cloud-based solutions are changing the way roofing contractors handle sales, marketing and production planning and execution. The Coffee Shop partners with great software companies including Nearmap, FCS, Contractors Cloud, JobNimbus, AccuLynx and Harness.  These companies have taken excel sheets and manual activities and created easy-to-use applications that make your business work better.  It is worth the time to see what they offer.

The key to understanding what the technology can do for your company is communication.  Use the network offered on the Coffee Shop.  Ask questions in the forum, explore the technology blog and research the directory.  Information is key and the fact that you are reading this is the first step to finding amazing solutions to grow your business.

Note: This article first published on RoofersCoffeeShop and can be viewed here

5 Construction Technology Trends to Watch in 2018

By Karen L. Edwards.

Technology is advancing at a fast pace and each year brings new solutions to the construction table.

Leaders in the industry will be those who embrace the use of technology and pay attention to these emerging technologies.

  1. Virtual and augmented reality

Virtual reality technology allows individuals to “see” what a built environment will look like which is especially useful for proposed new construction projects. Allowing someone to visualize and experience the project can go a long way in building confidence for all involved in the project.

Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality except that the it involves walking through a real 3D environment while viewing additional real-time information about the environment. For example, if a building owner wanted to create a rooftop garden area with various features, augmented reality would bring the roof to life – before the project starts. It will allow that owner to stand on the roof and see what the existing roof would look like with the addition of the garden roof features.

  1. Online Jobsite

New technologies are eliminating the delays in communication that can occur between the job site, the office, the installers and the rest of the project team. Job site connectivity is becoming easier to achieve with the use of connected smartphones and tablets that can send and receive information in real time to everyone involved in a project, including the building owner.

  1. Wearable Technology

There is a new company that offers wearable tags that allow contractors to improve and advance the safety of their workers on the job site. A clip can be attached to workers’ belts that tell you when someone slips, trips, or falls and alerts you to what zone of the job site they are in. They also offer an equipment tag that links to the belt clip to tell you who is operating the equipment and delivers statistics on how the equipment is being used.

  1. Drones

The drone industry is exploding and there are so many uses for drone technology in construction. They can be used to map project sites, report project progress and changes, update clients and inspect damage following severe weather. Companies are popping up every day that offer drone services which means you don’t have to master flying one.

  1. Robotics

Robotics haven’t shown up on the rooftop – yet. But they will. They are already being used to lay bricks – at a pace six times faster than a human. This video of the SAM100 bricklaying robot shows how the technology works faster and eliminates the lifting and bending that can create problems and potential injuries for workers.

Companies in the construction and roofing industries need to get on board the technology train or risk being left far, far behind the rest of the market.

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

Important Considerations When Selecting Software

By Heidi J. Ellsworth

Contractors who are focused on technology and building progressive roofing companies are taking a lead in the market.  Here are five areas to add to your considerations when choosing software for your roofing company.

  1. Reliability and Customizable Production Features

Solid ordering and scheduling that adapts to your business are critical to a successful business.  Scheduling and ordering is arguably the most important aspect of any roofing business.  Look for software that provides the most customizable and reliable scheduling and ordering features available.  In fact, it is good to look for software that will expand ordering and scheduling to grow the business instead of outgrowing the software.

  1. Customization & Automation

Many contractors find themselves with programs that are stagnant in the development of their systems. They feel they are limited to what their current or former program can do.  Be sure to ask for contractor-driven development.  It makes you a part of the process and not only helps your company but the industry overall.

  1. Own and Protect Your Data

Today’s data is gold and needs to be protected.  Be sure that whatever software company you work with makes your data accessible 24/7 with easy downloads and storage.  Also, it must be secure.  With viruses like WannaCry on the rampage, be sure that data is protected and has an elevated level of redundancy when backing-up.  Be sure that with a push of a button you can download all your leads, workflows, customer info and more.

  1. Process Is King

Look for a strong manageable flow.  Rather than having a few status “buckets” to move your jobs along, look for the ability to create custom workflows based on your processes. Regardless if your job cycle has five steps or fifty, you should be able to design processes and notifications with ease to keep your jobs moving along in a seamless manner.

  1. Evolving, Not Versioning

It can be very frustrating when your favorite app or program gets updated? It probably does everything it did before (and then some), but suddenly, you’re forced to re-learn everything.  Things that were on the left are now on the right, things that were visible are now hidden.  Some software does not release new versions, they simply evolve. In some cases, they can let you decide when you want to move and update interfaces. Ask if this is available and that way, you can learn how to use a new feature when you aren’t as busy.

For additional technical blogs be sure to visit the RoofersCoffeeShop.com Technology Newsroom at https://rooferscoffeeshop.com/category/technology/.