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How is Coronavirus Affecting Roofing Contractors?

COVID-19 virus

There’s not an industry in the country not affected in some way by the novel coronavirus sweeping through communities and bringing with it a series of unique business challenges. Roofing contractors are facing a number of challenges during this time both from public health fears and increased regulations.

Essential Business Designation

The biggest issue facing roofers during this time is the question of whether or not their businesses are considered “Essential” and if their crews can continue to operate during periods of restricted activity. The federal government has left these decisions to states and localities, but have issued guidelines to use when making specific determinations.

Builders and contractors are included in the federal guidance on “Essential Business” released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) in March, but the following language calls into question whether those businesses can only perform “…services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response.” An updated version of the CISA guidance was issued in late-March that expanded upon the definition of “Essential Business.”

Construction industry groups like the National Roofing Contractors Association are pushing for the federal government to offer clarification defining roofing as an essential service during this time. The NRCA is so sure that some localities will force the closure of some roofing sites that the group created a guide for how to prepare for a shutdown and is providing the guide on its site.

Trouble closing roofing bids

With so many concerns about social distancing, the biggest immediate impact roofing contractors are feeling is a drop in their bid closings for roofing projects. That’s according to a survey the NRCA conducted to assess how their members were being impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The survey found more than 58% of respondents had seen a slowdown in normal bid activity since the coronavirus crisis started.

This drop can be attributed to the fact that, traditionally, the bidding and estimating process has been a very face-to-face activity. Contractors are having to enter the digital age quickly to continue operating during this period and learn new ways of doing the same job.

Job cancellations

Another major effect of the coronavirus crisis on roofing contractors is an increase in the number of job cancellations. The NRCA survey found nearly 45% of their members have been affected in this way. According to contractors in online forums and groups, these cancellations are usually due to one of two factors related to COVID-19:

Health concerns – homeowners are increasingly concerned about the potential risk of coming into contact with others who may be carrying the virus, but not showing any symptoms. Without an understanding of the technology available to decrease face-to-face contact, homeowners can fall into the trap of thinking getting their roof serviced is impossible during this time.

Financial concerns – More than 3 million Americans have already lost employment due to the coronavirus crisis, and a recent NPR poll found 18% of all U.S. workers had lost jobs or hours as a result of the economic havoc from the virus. Many homeowners have either had their incomes directly affected by the economic impact of the outbreak, or fear their incomes will be impacted sometime soon, causing them to cancel major expenditures they believe they can put off until later.

Employee absences

A perhaps less expected effect of the coronavirus on roofing contractors is the labor issue many businesses are facing. According to the NRCA survey (nearly 40% of respondents), these absences are not a result of employees being out sick with the coronavirus, but rather the pull on their attention and time from other economic effects of the crisis:


Schools across the nation have shut down for safety reasons and many parents are not only facing the prospect of no childcare during their normal daytime work hours, but are also shouldering the responsibility for schooling their children at home for an extended period.

Health concerns

Like many people, employees at roofing companies are concerned about their own health in light of the coronavirus and HR-related online forums and groups are filled with questions about whether or not employers can require employees to come in to work if the employee is concerned about being exposed to COVID-19.

Mental health

Coronavirus has created a world that many people don’t recognize and increased the overall sense of uncertainty. Anxiety is a common response and employees who struggle with their mental health, may find this time even more difficult. It’s possible that these concerns could also increase employee absenteeism during this period.

Whether it’s being deemed essential business, trouble closing bids, jobs cancelling, or employees not showing up, roofing contractors face a host of real challenges during this difficult time.

Disclaimer: The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

This website contains links to other third-party websites and TAMKO is not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of those other websites. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.

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