ARCA Leads the Way for Alberta Roofers

via Business in Calgary

Construction is a competitive market, and there can be fierce competition between trade contractors to get projects. Roofing is no different. But 60 years ago, a visionary group of Edmonton and Calgary roofing contractors put that all aside and came together with the goal of improving their industry. With the establishment of the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association (ARCA) in 1961, these contractors sought to support and advance the roofing industry in Alberta through a system of high standards and education.

“The strength of the ARCA is that the foundation that the original members set, the vision they had, is held to this day,” says Bob James, ARCA Association president and owner of Tru-Craft Roofing (2005) Ltd. “The foundation of our standards, our training, our acceptance process for contractors, materials and inspectors hasn’t changed very much in 60 years.”

The goal of the Association, both then and now, was to improve the image and quality of roofing in the province, and every decision the 12-person board makes refers to this mandate. All too often, when people think of roofing, they envision truck-and-ladder storm chasers that flock to town after a disastrous weather event to slap up roofs. The 32 members of the ARCA are professional contractors dedicated to elevating the public’s image of roofing to better reflect the sophistication that these contractors apply to their operations. Membership in an association that promotes professionalism and high-quality standards helps differentiate the elite roofers from all the rest.
“A benefit of membership is it elevates us above other roofing contractors because we are vetted to join. It’s not easy to become a member but once you are, the public knows that they are getting a quality contractor,” says Pat Murphy, ARCA Warranty Ltd. president and owner of Freeze Maxwell Roofing (Calgary). “Because we have to meet a certain standard, the quality of our company is that much better because we are members.”

ARCA members are leaders in their fields, and while some may accommodate residential roofing requests, members focus predominantly on low slope and architectural standing seam metal for commercial clientele. Each year, ARCA’s members perform about 80 per cent of Alberta’s industrial and commercial roofing projects, both new and re-roofing, and large contracts like schools, hospitals and downtown projects are almost entirely won by member contractors.

Applying for membership is a complex, often year-long process that ensures only those contractors that mirror ARCA’s dedication to advancing the industry are accepted. The board reviews each application to ensure all requirements are in order before turning it over for site evaluations and peer review. ARCA performs a comprehensive audit of the prospective member, looking into its safety program and record, quality of roofing, and its strength of communication for policy implementation. The team inspects past roofing projects and shadows the roofer onsite for current projects. The committee looks at approximately 10 roofing projects to give a thorough picture of the contractor’s capabilities.
“Once you are in, it doesn’t mean you’ll stay. You still must qualify. It’s like a reapplication for your membership every three years,” says Murphy.

The Association members agreed to regular reviews and must maintain a passing mark. The process is referred to as Contractor Gauge. All members must participate in an independent third-party review every three years to ensure they meet and maintain the high service and quality levels to remain with the Association. If a member falls below a score of 80 per cent, the Association identifies where problems lie and provides courses that the contractor can take to fill a knowledge gap. Contractors with a poor showing