FRSA’s fiscal year has just ended and it has been another incredibly successful year for the Association. I used to comment that each year we had just completed was one of the busiest ever – now I realize it’s the new normal for us. Not only did we have one of the most financially profitable years but we also passed new milestones.
As we were beginning our new year, Hurricane Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa in southwest Florida as a dangerous Category 4 storm. This storm, with its intense winds, heavy rainfall and catastrophic 12-to-18 foot storm surge devastated much of the area. It then proceeded to work its way across the middle of the state and exited near Jacksonville. This was Florida’s third-costliest weather disaster on record. Forty-three days later, Hurricane Nicole made landfall on the east coast, just south of Vero Beach, as a Category 1 storm. Nicole’s large wind field meant that tropical storm-force winds covered most of the state and brought strong winds, rainfall and storm surge that affected some of the areas already hit by Ian. We are a state rebuilding in many areas.
FRSA and the industry raced to get the word out through our “Hire Smart” campaign to the media and public about the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors. By utilizing social media and posting information on our website, we urged homeowners to do their homework and avoid fraudulent scams. We received calls from homeowners throughout the state looking for licensed contractors they could trust and many visited our website and selected a contractor in their area. As a reminder to members, you can add information to your member listing on our website to include the counties in which you work, areas of roofing you specialize in and up to three pictures with your profile. Visit www.floridaroof.com to view your company information and reach out to Anna (email@example.com) to update your profile.
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) proposed another workers’ comp rate decrease for the roofing industry. We reached out to members asking them to contact the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to ask for consistency in the rates. NCCI used data on workers’ comp injuries from the COVID years – a time when not all industries were back to work – to ascertain that workplace injuries had declined. And since Florida’s construction industry were deemed essential workers, we felt these numbers were incorrect. FRSA’s President, Matt Criswell, testified virtually before the OIR asking for consistency in the rates. With so many new employees in the construction industry and medical costs rising, there was concern that a continued drop in the rates would mean that, once current data was analyzed, rates could face a potential swing in the opposite direction – creating an unbudgeted expense for many contractors bidding out future work. The OIR approved an 8.4 percent overall rate decrease and a 7.36 percent rate decrease for the roofing classification code (5551).
FRSA’s Codes Subcommittee, a small group of volunteer members, worked with Technical Director, Mike Silvers, CPRC to submit Florida Building Code (FBC) code modifications for the 2023 code. Among the many code modifications submitted and approved were the options to include a self-adhering underlayment direct-to-deck and other enhanced underlayments for use in the HVHZ, adding industry standards for tile underlayment requirements and test methods statewide, adding a requirement for clearance of lines, pipes, conduit and cables from the underside of the deck, replacing important repair language that was inadvertently removed from the code and changing the language “replaced” to “replaced or recovered” to clarify portions of the 25% Rule. In addition, the FRSA-TRI tile installation manual was updated to include the new ASCE 7-22 standard; an ambitious and lofty goal that benefited all roofing contractors throughout the state.
FRSA continued to push for insurance reform, the elimination of assignment of benefits (AOBs) and one-way attorney’s fees. Unfortunately, a few disreputable companies and attorneys had continued to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners with the promise of a new roof at no cost to them. FRSA received many calls from homeowners who had signed an AOB asking for advice, seeking assistance and options for correcting shoddy work and help in reporting a contractor who received funds from the insurance company but still had not completed their roof. Statewide, roofing contractors were blamed for the rising costs in the homeowner’s insurance market. A black eye and bad publicity for the roofing industry because of a few unscrupulous contractors.
In March, FRSA held the first Roofing Day in Tallahassee event where a small group of members headed to the Capitol to meet with representatives and senators to discuss items of importance to the industry. This event mirrored NRCA’s very successful Roofing Day in D.C. Chris Dawson arranged nine meetings between attendees and members of Congress. Senator Keith Perry, an FRSA contractor member, welcomed the group along with Senate President, Kathleen Passidomo. The event was extremely successful and helped FRSA build relationships with members of the Florida Legislature.
During the 2023 Legislative session, one of Governor DeSantis’ top priorities was to pass immigration reform, which he had been advocating since his first gubernatorial campaign in 2018. Although the Governor called for the strictest version of the bill, FRSA’s Legislative Counsel, Chris Dawson, was able to work with his team and other industry partners to add flexibility to the bill, including the carve out for E-Verify for companies with 25 or less employees and the Safe Harbor provision.
In April, FRSA participated in NRCA’s Roofing Day in D.C. and attendees were able to meet with members of Congress in their districts, emphasizing the need for apprenticeship programs and funding to support career and technical training. This year was by far the most productive for our group.
With the current limited workforce, developing and implementing training programs has never been more important. FRSA’s Educational Foundation Worker Training Subcommittee is nearing the completion of a multi-year project creating a worker training manual for those new to the industry. When complete, the program will be provided free of charge to members for use as a training tool within their own companies.
FRSA’s Convention and Expo experienced another great year with over 4,500 registrations, standing-room-only seminars and a sold-out Expo floor with 462 booths. For the second year in a row, we sold out an expanded Expo floor for the next year. There were 31 seminars held, serving the largest number of attendees in our history. Attendees continued to be extremely generous, raising $25,000 for the 2023 Charity of Choice, The Faine House. Many thanks to those who contributed!
Membership numbers have exceeded 960 companies, setting another new milestone for the Association. There’s strength in numbers and we’re proud to represent over 57,000 roofing professionals and their employees in Florida. If you’re not a member and would like to join, please contact Anna at 800-767-3772 ext. 142 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Credit Union continues to do well and has loaned more than $8.8 million dollars to customers of FRSA members who are looking to finance roofing projects. The Credit Union Board expanded the criteria of the Roof Loan Program by allowing members to include work on gutters, solar panels, air conditioning, painting or any other service that a member company offers to its customers. Be sure to keep them in mind as a means to fund projects when you provide proposals to your residential customers. In addition, the Credit Union has some of the lowest vehicle financing rates available and is part of a shared branching network with over 5,000 locations.
The Self Insurers Fund (SIF) also had a banner year and distributed $3.5 million to Fund members in dividends at the Convention, adding to over $190 million distributed since 1992. One of the key components considered when deciding on dividend returns is individual company safety records. The SIF has four safety consultants who continually meet with members in their area to train, review and recommend areas that need improvements, making employee safety job a priority. Not a Fund member? Contact Alexis at 800-767-3772 ext. 206 or by email at email@example.com to see if you qualify.
FRSA’s Legal Counsel Trent Cotney, Adams and Reese LLP, continues to represent FRSA on the legal front. Trent and his team do an amazing job looking out for the best interests of the industry, developing and teaching industry related seminars and providing valuable content for the magazine.
Although not all roofing contractors are members of FRSA, we continue to represent all contractors as we work for the betterment of the industry. For over 101 years, we’ve led the industry in Florida, earning it the respect and professionalism our members deserve. If you’d like to know more about FRSA, please visit www.floridaroof.com.