national organization dedicated to slate roofing contractors
is way overdue. Yes, we already have the National Roofing
Contractors Association (NRCA). But it is an organization
that has little interest in the issues that are
important to traditional slate roofing professionals.
What we need is a slate roofing trade organization devoted
to education, networking, hands-on training, and
the establishment and maintenance of contractor and
material standards. We need an organization that
will separate the roofers who are serious about slate
from the pretenders. We need to be able to direct
the public to screened, experienced, professional
and ethical slate roofing contractors. We slate roofing
professionals need to be able to communicate online
and by phone to help each other out when were
faced with difficult roofing scenarios. We need the Slate
Roofing Contractors Association (SRCA), a national
association that would include all of North America.
I have been kicking this idea around for years and have
posted information about it on our online message
board at slateroofcentral.com. However, nothing has
come to fruition until now. Because we publish the Slate
Roof Bible and the Traditional
Roofing Magazine, a lot of traffic goes through
our web site at slateroofcentral.com.
I get a lot of inquiries from homeowners, roof owners,
architects, contractors and the like looking for
competent roofing contractors who can either install
a new slate roof, replace an existing slate roof
with a new slate roof, or restore an existing slate
roof. I also get a lot of feedback from people who
have had bad experiences with roofers who dont
have a clue about how to work with a slate roof.
The time has come to establish a serious association
of slate roofing contractors. The association would:
1) Have a multi-tiered membership that would include:
a) Fully qualified slate roofing contractors (for example,
75% of income derived from slate roofing contracting
projects and minimum 5 years experience with no ethical
misconduct on record)
b) Other roofing contractors, technicians, mechanics,
apprentices, etc. who do not qualify for the membership
category above (but may do so in the future)
c) Non-contractor industry professionals such as slate
quarry personnel, slate brokers, slate tool manufacturers,
d) Other professionals such as architects, conservators,
roofing consultants, and preservation specialists
e) General members (slate roof owners, general public)
2) Develop training programs with the intention of eventually
establishing certification programs (slate roof installation
training, slate roof repair training, slate roof
restoration training, etc.).
3) Interface with other related national and regional
organizations such as the National
Slate Association, NRCA, Preservation
Trades Network, IFD, Craftsmans Guilds, etc.
4) Establish exchange programs with overseas roofing
schools (we are already talking with Telford College
in Scotland about this, and have had keen interest
shown by the German schools).
5) Maintain a web presence that will:
qualified slate roofing professionals, including
contact information, photos of work completed, etc.
This would be a professional directory open to the
public, a source list of qualified slaters to where
inquiring people can be directed.
b) Provide an informative web page for each full member
contractor, including email accounts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
c) Maintain a public
message board where anybody can
post questions and answers (such as we have at slateroofcentral.com)
d) Maintain a members only message board where issues
such as costs, techniques, contracting issues, materials,
estimating jobs, etc. can be discussed among members.
6) Hold an annual slate roofing conference where members exchange information,
techniques, and trade secrets; where we help each
other to advance our skills; where we get our hands
dirty; and where we make new friends and have fun
in a cost efficient manner.
7) Publish a newsletter, perhaps Traditional
This will not be a free or frivolous organization; it
will be a trade organization that will require a
serious commitment, including the payment of annual
dues. We will be developing the details of this organization
during the winter months of 2003/2004 and will be
creating a member base shortly thereafter. We have
no ambitions of creating a huge organization such
as the 5,000 member NRCA. If there are only twenty
of us to start, thats twenty more than we have
now. The web domain (slateroofers.org)
is already secured and a rudimentary website is awaiting
you want to get in on the ground floor, email us at email@example.com, call us toll free at 1-866-641-7141, or write to SRCA, 143
Grove City, PA 16127. Get your name on the potential
membership list and let us know if you want to help
with the organizational development process as well!