After my post last week no one has stepped to the plate to challenge my train of thought or opinion. I will continue to provide evidence of the statement made last week where I called the metal construction industry stagnant and non-innovative. Anyhow, we had one response last week, that’s right just one! I was looking forward to an MCA response on this but, well, we never got one, I’m still waiting. The one response comes from an individual who is a leader in the industry but also sees its shortcomings. He speaks his mind and agrees with the views we’ve set forth in that previous blog post. So does anyone else want to challenge my view on this topic? I am waiting, well read up because things are about to get interesting. The response from this metal construction veteran is below:
You got my attention! In many ways, I agree with you, particularly the way metal roofing is done in the US. I have travelled very widely all over the world and have been a keen observer of roofing techniques and processes for over 25 years. I have observed so many ways that metal roofing and cladding may be applied and instead of being a premium priced option to roofing, it could easily be the default and most cost effective solution. It is this way in many parts of the world, even where you would imagine that the economic status of those building the structures using metal would be seeking even cheaper solutions. I have written several articles on this topic over the years, but who wants to be lectured to by a XXXXX  guy?
You are correct in so far as the metal roofing industry in the US has made metal roofing very complicated [read”expensive”] when it could be a lot easier [read “cheaper”]. This works against you.
For our part, my company XXXXXXX, has developed some of the most innovative tools a roofing company involved in metal can invest in. Tools that are specifically designed for automating the material take-off, costing and ordering process for metal roofing and cladding.
Our innovative tools improve accuracy, efficiency and profitability. We have been promoting them as hard as we can for over 20 years (18 years at METALCON?) and I still feel that we’re flogging a dead horse in North America. After all those years I get very frustrated. There seems to me to be a general reluctance to implement new tools and to invest in the appropriate training. If I was to generalize, and this may offend people too, but close enough seems good enough a lot of the time.
In my opinion, there is a desperate need for vocational training in North America and some individuals or an industry body has to step up here. As we all know, you can’t take a garden variety shingle roofing guy, hand him a set of snips and make him a metal roofer.
You may not be aware, but in Australia and New Zealand, where metal cladding comprises as much as 65% of residential roofing and 95+% of commercial roofing (it does vary slightly in different regions), installers must be trained, qualified and registered roof plumbers. They receive training in installation techniques that ensure that a metal roof is the best roof it can be and installed in the most efficient way. Techniques are taught that save waste and improve efficiency. Our tools support these onsite processes where a roofer might save as much as the initial investment in software on a single job.
Metal roofing is king in Australia and NZ and I would like to think that during the past 25 years XXXXXXXX has played an important part in making this happen.
XXXXXXX brings the smartest software tools to metal roofing and cladding – Automated 3D modelling, automatic generation of panel cutting lists, automatic generation of cut lists for trim and flashing, automatic generation of client proposals and supplier orders, automatic roof panel waste reduction and cut to length trim calculation, detailed costing of materials and labor based on how the stuff is installed, not a broad brush guess. We can even send the cut list details directly to your roll former! XXXXXX is doing its bit that’s for sure.
However, none of this clever stuff is any use unless users are appropriately trained and the systems fully implemented. Nor if you are prepared to put up with second rate results.
I actually think that there is a heap of innovating going on, but the take-up is way too slow due to a general apathy towards training and a general reluctance to be trained. If you are not looking for a better way, then you will never find it.
Not sure where you go from here, but yes, I think the discussion must be had. Good for you