FACTS about Public Roofing Procurement, and Oversight. Copyright 2010 by Robert R. Solomon

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"LAW", and Public Bid Procurement"

Recently, I was asked to offer assistance regarding a "Proprietary" arrangement with a school district here in Florida.  First, let's understand the purpose, which is to ELIMINATE FAIR COMPETITION IN PUBLIC BID PROJECTS

A Private Owner is free to do anything they like with their own property, and must only comply to building code, and permitting jurisdiction.  They OWN the building, are the ones PAYING for services, and it is not our business to ponder their decisions.

Publicly Owned structures are not "Owned" by the government, but by taxpayers.  Therefore, we must seek both serviceability, and VALUE.  NO local, state, or federal agency may be exclusive of fair bidding, and procurement.  Here, we are discussing roofing only, but it is applicable to all disciplines, and services.

http://www.weblocator.com/attorney/fl/law/constructlaw.html#30

Florida statutory law requires combative bidding, and the Florida District Court of Appeals has held that the government cannot split the contract into separate pieces to avoid the statutory monetary minimum (with exceptions for specialty work or work that requires special skills not found in the general market). Further, Florida courts have held that a public body may not draw specifications in its bid request that would permit only one bidder to qualify for the project.

Cases that involve fraud or ill repute in contract bidding usually nullify the contract. For example, if a city or county lacks the statutory authority to enter into a particular contract, the contract is void and the contractor may not recover for work performed. Cases that involve bad faith or bribery are also nullified, with the contractor receiving nothing.

To the best of my knowledge, this "Exclusionary" practice is illegal in all states (and territories).  A public official may not call out a specific product, or limit competition through specifications written to favor a "Preferred Manufacturer".   The "Specification Manipulation" trick is very common, and easy to spot.  Most cases I see are actually written by a manufacturer who wishes to eliminate all competition by stressing certain ASTM numbers, and unique "testing", relevant to only one product.

News Flash:  NO MANUFACTURER MATCHES UP EXACTLY WITH ANOTHER!

This has absolutely nothing to do with "Performance", but designed only to circumvent the law.  Many, many, millions (billions) of taxpayer dollars are overspent on "Boutique" manufacturers with predatory sales models.  The manufacturer acts as the "Consultant" (illegal), specifies only their product, and uses only their "approved contractors".  They also give themselves the power to order "testing" anytime they wish (at great cost).  You may expect to pay TWICE THE COST for this non-compete process. A competitively bid process MUST be followed.

I don't use this forum for "advertising", which is why you don't see any.  My philosophy is to always remain "independent", and not create the slightest impression of financial, or personal, advancement of any kind.

The following videos are very representative of the scams, and illustrate the great burden placed upon the taxpayers as a result.  Roofing is not "Sexy" or actually very interesting to most people, but huge sums of money are changing hands.  Especially when a vendor has absolutely no reason to compete.

That's me in the yellow blazer just beneath the main video.
http://www.news9.com/story/15953631/school-districts-accused-of-wasting-tax-dollars

This is just ONE DISTRICT IN ONE STATE!

Think it's isolated?  Think again.
http://dailyitem.com/0100_news/x1522095368/State-could-punish-district

This is a PATTERN, and you will note the specific manufacturers in these examples.  I did not "cherry pick" the videos or articles, and researched just as hard on each manufacturer.  If anyone wishes to submit a link contrary to what I have to say, it is welcomed, and I WILL publish it here.

In the meantime, you can research it yourself, by typing "School Roofing Scam" into your browser, or YouTube.  No shortage of articles, and complaints.  Please note they are from California, to New Jersey, and all points in between.

The arrogance of public officials offends me, and especially those in "Purchasing" who quickly lose sight of why they're hired (or elected) in the first place.  Apparently, the lure of money is strong, and human frailty for greed, is like throwing gasoline on a fire.  These are people we hope define a moral code. If I want to see common drunkards, and "chain snatchers", I'll visit central booking on Saturday night.

Let's try another one:
http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/131019373.html#IDCThread

And this one is in my state:
http://www.jackieporter.com/Shocking_News_about_MCPS_Roof_Vendor.html

My friends in Ohio may view this one, and it should put you over the top.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGPNJxK1ZRQ

Baltimore?  Sure thing.
http://www.wbaltv.com/video/28678491/detail.html

PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH!
I happen to care about where my tax dollar goes,  As a highly credentialed, independent, roofing authority, know this game better than the ones who play it.  Next time you read about your school (post office, courthouse, university, etc.) budgets being slashed, programs cut, and children doing without basic supplies, you can thank roofing material manufacturers who cannot compete on the open market.

In this post, I would also like to give you an opportunity.  That opportunity will come in the form of research.  I know the people of Firestone, GAF, Carlisle-Syntec, and a few others to be 100% above board, and properly serve the community.  I've been unable to uncover even the slightest bit of wrongdoing by any of them.  After you research them, you will decide if what I say is true.

The best way to eliminate corruption in roofing (or anywhere else) is to stop issuing P.O.'s to the offenders, and support the ones who provide only serviceability and value.


I will share my loving family with you, because this is my world, and my purpose.  I'll really get it from those not pictured, but we'll share them another time.  I love them all, and they love me.

Christy (Mrs. Solomon) & Papa

  
Mimi & Papa



Alexandria & Sunny

Mrs. Solomon and I will pray you, and your families, have a blessed, and Merry Christmas.  This happens to be our custom, but we respect customs of all regions, and beliefs, as free people.

Therein lies the beauty.

I am incapable of describing how much appreciation I feel for each and every one of you, who spend your most valuable commodity (TIME) with me here.  Please reject negativity in all forms, know you are not alone, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Sibucao, Dammous, Hall, Minteer, Austin, Anderson, Andersen, Agliano, Sierra, Colwell, Hartmann, Farnell, Beckner, Lepore, Pratt, Lynch, Rowell, Center, Songer, Ochs, Borden, Hatten, Scheidt, Leiby, Salimbene, Lyons, Embow, Christiano, Araj, Stefanakos, Goswami, Russell, Abreu, Coston, Demott, Kenney, Lusa, Cotney, Dickie, Colitz, Celli, Huggins, Mulling, Wiencek, Fenstermaker, and all 800+ members of Roof Consultant's Alliance.

"In this world everything changes except good deeds and bad deeds; they follow you as the shadow follows the body" (unknown)

Respect,

Ron









Monday, December 5, 2011

"Beauty, Serviceability, & VALUE of Prefinished Metal Roof Systems"

I will thank "Amy" of IMETCO for allowing permission to feature a couple of very handsome projects.

Before we get into all the "Pretty" stuff, I'd like to share some facts about metal roofing systems.  They are aesthetically beautiful on many building types, which is why many Architects prominently featuring the roof as a focal point of the structure.  Remember the three elements of "curb appeal" is "Roof, Paint, and Landscaping".

No question they are beautiful.

Serviceability:  This is another great benefit abundantly provided by prefinished metal roof systems.  NO asphalt shingle roof even comes close to providing a comparable life cycle cost.  Metal roof systems frequently exceed 50+ years, and you will find that the norm, rather than the exception.  They are generally considered a "Lifetime" roof.

VALUE:  I prefer the word "Value" over "Cheap" because they are quite the opposite when given life cycle costs.  The initial "Up Front Installed Cost" is more costly.  But you will probably replace an asphalt shingle roof 4-5 times before your metal roof requires attention.  So, if your intentions are to "Improve" your home (or commercial project) as a lifetime investment (or for resale value), prefinished metal roofing is a wonderful way to do it.

I do not like to get into sq. ft. pricing as they vary wildly by geographical location.

Metal is lightweight, and does not require the structural support elements a tile roof would require.  Modern engineering methods also make them highly wind resistant which you will read about momentarily.

Environmentally Friendly:  Of course all metals are recyclable.  Metal roofs do not create additional harmful "stormwater runoff"  contaminants as asphalt shingles do.  Most modern metal types are prefinished with a resin bonding commonly referred to "Kynar 500", and comes in a "Cool-R" series that reflects substantial radiant energy away from your home, thus reducing roof surface temperatures, and subsequently energy consumption.

For those of you interested in PV apparatus, numerous versions of  "flat strips" are available for such a purpose.  They are much less prone to wind uplift than frame mounted systems, and since they don't require support framing, eliminate all those vertical stansion details that are a constant maintenance issue.

So, let's feature our friend "Amy", and her fine company "IMETCO".

This first project (in my state) may be found in it's entirety at:
http://imetco.com/project_profile_st_johns_county.php


The next project is a Marina.  ANYONE who lives on, or near the water should give prefinished metal roofing systems great consideration.  They have great resistance to gulf winds and saltwater spray.  I prefer an aluminum base for that reason, but therre may be many long time metal roofers out there who prefer otherwise.  All I know is that aluminum doesn't rust.  This particular one is my very favorite in stainless steel that of course won't rust, and also will not create a galvanic response in a "dissimilar metals" situation.




You may find IMETCO (ask for Amy) at:  http://imetco.com/home.php

IMETCO Corporate Office

2070 Steel Drive
Tucker, GA 30084
Phone:
(770) 908-1030
(800) 646-3826
Fax:
(770) 908-2264

For homeownmers or commercial structures that collect rainwater, prefinished metal roofs will provide an excellent surface to use.  Note:  ALL roofs are prone to jet fuel exhaust, airborne spores, and animal waste, so some type of flush converter must be used.  The water would be suitable straight off the roof for watering of fruits and vegetables however, unlike asphalt shingle roof systems.

You will please excuse my normal departure in the last post, but the young man was factually correct regarding the "decimal point", and the solar reflection verbiage.

I never cease to be amazed by the incredible geographic diversity of visitors here.  Each time I see you, I am somehow transported, and it's done wonders for my knowledge of both geography, and cultures.

Thank each of you for taking the time to visit, and I am humbled you care one bit about what I try to share with you here.

Reject negativity in all forms, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Respect,

Ron

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Corrections" & Reply to Post"

Dear Friends:

Anytime I'm featured in a television news investigation, or article on "Proprietary Specifications", and the waste of taxpayer dollars, I receive condemnation by those who participate in it.  This "anonymous" writer is welcomed here.  It is important you hear all positions, and make your own decisions.

Everyone must understand that NO ROOFER should adopt my ideals, and refuse work based upon them. I've refused a $250,000.00 contract on principle, but have never left employees without an address to work, as that would be both cruel, and plain wrong..  Your valiant, and noble assignment is to feed your families, and nourish your employees the best way you can.  You must install the roofing systems you are comfortable with, and trained for.  Your equipment investment is your business, and I respect that.

I am not always right.  I simply try my best to provide lucid answers to the many sciences related to all roof systems, and their interface with energy, clean water, safety, and taxpayer value.  The "Taxpayer Value" portion seems to escape those who participate in it.  This is well documented.  Anyone can simply type "School Roofing Scams" on either Google, or YouTube, and you will find both court record, and many investigative news reports.  This is one I recently appeared in:

http://www.news9.com/story/15953631/school-districts-accused-of-wasting-tax-dollars

I am not a scientist.  I do not know everything.  My goal is to illustrate common principles through analogy, and not get too esoteric.  But today will respond to this informed comment.  I normally wouldn't reply to an "anonymous" comment, but feel merit in some clarification, and will offer thought:

Anonymous said...


For the future you may want to quote LEED correctly, since you're an expert and all. LEED v2.2 has been replaced now for 3 years and LEED 2009 is about to be replaced in 2012. I quote from LEED V2.2, because that is the version I own.  I do not have the money USGBC requests for each and every version, and they are very expensive.  I cancelled my membership with USGBC, as I couldn't justify the cost of materials and cocktail parties (I don't drink).  I am not a LEED AP, but the Governor of Florida values my skill set, and has awarded 5 Judgeships to me for his "Sustainable Schools", and "Sustainable Florida" initiatives.  An example of the nominees would include retailers like Wal-Mart, huge golfing communities, water agencies, all school districts, classes, and teachers.


I spend a great deal of time in many areas other than roofing, but the discipline has been very good to me, and I want to return the favor out of respect for my mentors, and educators.


And it's Solar Reflective Index not Reflectance. Also, SRI is a whole number not a decimal. I stand corrected.You're confusing SRI with reflectivity. Reflectivity is a percentage of UV rays reflected, SRI is a formula that takes reflectivity and emissivity into consideration. Thank you for the clarification.  That would explain why some materials have indexes above 100.

I've been working with mod bit, single plys, and coatings for 5 years, primarily for LEED projects. To group all mod bits in the category you described above is irresponsible. Perhaps my responsibility does not meet your standard, and you are well within your right to view me as you wish. Yes, some mod bits are torched down still but most use cold applied adhesives now.  Regardless of adhesive (NRCA advises against adhesives in tropical climates).  Florida, where I live may be an example.  I am more than happy to furnish the article upon request, and may post it here very soon.  The fact remains that huge quantities of petroleum are consumed in the manufacture of modified bitumen, and the product itself is heavily laden with petroleum, or "Bitumen" as I illustrated. Almost all modifieds out there have a high reflective option which you can see if you search on the CRRC's website. In fact there are 33 different sheets out there that meet LEED's SRI standard of 78.   You forgot to mention these modifieds, or "options" as you refer to them are "Coated".  So you are essentially building a product of oil, and then masking a design flaw.  You do not mention the short time on the market, or the coating maintenance.  "Coated Oil" is actually what your "option" is about, and is a response I get quite a bit from those who sell it.  I see no mention of "VALUE".
I don't know if you've been out of the game for too long and aren't doing your due diligence to keep up with the times or you have some kind of personal vendetta against someone. In any case most of this "article" is just false by today’s standards.  I always ask that responses point to "factual" errors as the first part of your comment does.  You are welcome to view me as you wish, but I work very hard to furnish documentation to support every word I say.  I do not "Sell" anything, nor do I receive compensation from anyone, for anything I do.  Your argument is based entirely upon a P.O. Book, and personal advancement, where I have no interest in such things.


Your comments, and very short career, appear to be concentrated upon "Public" projects.  But I cannot know that to be 100% correct as I was not given the opportunity for discovery.  I suspect your "sales model" to be one of aggression, self promotion, and deceit, rather than best interest of the owners, or taxpayer. 

“The trouble with internet articles is that you never know if they are true” – Abraham Lincoln



Friday, November 18, 2011

"Principle of installing Modified Bitumen Roof Systems"

Sounds pretty easy doesn't it?  Well, today I'd like to introduce a couple of words (and definitions) you often hear from people describing roof systems.

The first word we will focus on is :  "Bitumen"

From Wikipedia:

Asphalt /ˈæsfɔːlt/ ( listen) also known as bitumen is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch. Until the 20th century, the term asphaltum was also used.[1]
The primary use of asphalt is in road construction, where it is used as the glue or binder mixed with aggregate particles to create asphalt concrete. Its other main uses are for bituminous waterproofing products, including production of roofing felt and for sealing flat roofs.
The terms asphalt and bitumen are often used interchangeably to mean both natural and manufactured forms of the substance. In American English, asphalt (or asphalt cement) is the carefully refined residue from the distillation process of selected crude oils. Outside the United States, the product is often called bitumen. Natural deposits terminology also sometimes uses the word bitumen, such as at the La Brea Tar Pits.
Naturally occurring asphalt is sometimes specified by the term "crude Bitumen"; its viscosity is similar to that of cold molasses.[2][3] whilst the material obtained from the fractional distillation of crude oil (boiling at 525 °C (977 °F)) is sometimes referred to as "refined bitumen".



Refined Asphalt (Bitumen)

Reports indicate that Asphalt production is generally 80% for road building materials, and 20% for roofing materials.  And folks, that's a lot of oil being either laid on the ground, or placed atop your home, or business.

Many people are confused as to "White" modified bitumen roof systems (I will describe the "Modified" portion in a moment).  It has a VERY LOW solar reflectance, and can reach temperatures of 200 degrees F., adding to energy demands.

Here is a crew installing "Modified Bitumen"


Okay, someone is on the ground feeding 100 lb. cartons of asphalt into a kettle, typically heated with propane burners to a temperature of around 425 degrees F.  I've personally "fired" one of these monstrosities, and would not wish it on my worse enemy.  This job is typically referred to either the "kettle man", or the "fireman".


Wouldn't you like to spend around 10 hours a day in the hot sun wearing full coverage clothing, and a face mask?  The pieces can easily "splash" the molten asphalt onto the workman, and you will keep in mind he is chopping 100 lb. cartons of this all day.  It is much easier in the morning when the asphalt is cool, and when you strike it with an axe, is almost "glasslike" and splits fairly easy.  Onced  it warms up, the asphalt becomes "gooey", and the axe simply sticks.

The hot asphalt is pumped to the roof, and collected into "hot luggers"


Okay, we've heated up the asphalt, pumped it to the roof through a steel pipe, loaded it into our "hot lugger", rolled it across the roof, and emptied it into the "Mop Cart".  You can see the guy using a roofing mop, the other guy is the "setter", and the other is casting ceramic granules into the asphalt "bleed out".  Sometimes referred to as "Feeding the chickens".

Here is a finished Modified Bitumen roof:



You will note the letters "SBS", and "APP".  They stand for:

"Styrene Butyl Styrene" : (Thank you to Johns Manville)
"SBS is a rubberized modifier that increases the overall performance of the sheet by providing excellent elongation and recovery characteristics. SBS modifiers extend the service range of the product, so that it can be handled in cooler temperatures without cracking or shattering, and in warmer temperatures without softening to the point where it begins to flow".

This material is applied with the "hot mop" method as illustrated above.

APP: Atactic Polypropylene

"Johns Manville has developed formulations that enhance the asphalt's overall weatherability by modifying premium-grade asphalts. By combining these modified asphalts with non-woven polyester or glass fiber reinforcements, JM produces waterproofing systems that exhibit tremendous strength, elasticity and weatherability.

APP membranes provide superior tensile strength while maintaining critical flexibility — even in the coldest environments. Additionally, with APP roofing membranes (coated with a proprietary blend of asphalt and atactic polypropylene), contractors now have an efficient mode of application by heat welding, making hot mopping unnecessary".

This is what "Torching" looks like:


MANY people hear the term "Rubberized Asphalt", and think they are geting a "Rubber" roof.  This is obviously not the case.  The "Rubber" is a "Modified Polymer".

The roof repels water, but given what we know is a very archaic, and dangerous method.  Also consumes huge quantities of materials that will never break down in landfills, and contaminates water supplies through leaching of nitrogen and phosphorous.

This is obviously not my choice of roofing methods, but it does in fact "keep water out".  It CREATES great demand  in HVAC cooling (approximately 20%).  So if you live in a warmer climate (most people do), this would not be your best option.  Modified Bitumen roof systems typically have a Solar Reflectance Index of .25 (similar to asphalt shingles.  For the record, (according to LEED V2.2, Page 95), the minimum Solar Reflectance Index for a cool roof to mitigate "Heat Island Effect" is .78.  So you can see this is clearly anything but a "Cool Roof".

Today is a very good day, I am happy you are sharing it with me, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Respect,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Manager, Roof consultant's Alliance
CCC1325620

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Oklahoma Schools Under Investigation"

Dear Friends:

I was asked to help a colleague in Oklahoma who'd grown tired of watching exclusionary behavior in schools, as it pertains to competitive roofing bids.

Today, I will limit my comments, because the story speaks for itself.  If I have any message, it would be an analogy of "David and Goliath", and to illustrate you can make a difference.  I will always encourage you to speak only from science and public record.  You must arm yourself with knowledge, or you may write to me for help.

Please see the video, click on the blue topics below for additional documentation: 
PLEASE VIEW!


Amy Lester, Oklahoma Impact Team
OKLAHOMA CITY -- "Every building has to have one, but some school districts may not follow the law when they put on a new roof. That's the accusation at the center of a special audit state auditor Gary Jones is conducting right now.

"We are the watchdog. We want to do everything that we can to ensure that the proper procedures have been followed," said State Auditor Gary Jones.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt called for the audit, instructing Jones to audit the books and records of school districts in Mid Del, Edmond, Enid, Newcastle, Piedmont, Stillwater, Yukon and Guthrie. That information will help Pruitt determine if the districts are "unfairly restricting the specifications in bid notices" so only certain manufacturers can qualify. At issue: possible collusion or kickbacks, all at taxpayer expense.

We talked with several contractors and roofing experts who say unfair bidding processes happen in some school districts, far too often.

"It's very frustrating for me because I see these school districts are having to lay off teachers, they're having to cut programs, they're trying to tighten their budgets and they're wasting literally millions of dollars of Oklahoma taxpayer money," said Denver Green, president of operations for Saratoga Roofing and Construction.

Green is currently putting roofs on schools in Oklahoma and other states. He and others in the industry say Tulsa public schools has specific manufacturer requirements in its bidding information for roofing projects. He claims that limits competition and leads to higher prices. We looked through years of documents and found, when it's not a metal roof, Tulsa only uses the manufacturer Tremco. Green says this is because contractors like him, who are qualified and certified by other well known manufacturers, cannot meet the district's strict requirements. Even though the bid requirements say "or approved equal", Green believes other manufacturers won't or can't qualify. Other roofing experts agree that the bid information limits who can bid. They say this is costing all of us.

We showed the bid information from four projects to Green and an architect who works on school projects. Depending on the project, Denver's estimates, by using a different manufacturer, he could do the jobs for between about 40%-65% lower than what Tulsa actually paid. The architect's estimates were 30%-40% lower. And if you apply their same math to district projects since 2008, Tulsa may have been able to save between 2.8 and 5.6 million dollars.

"I was actually shocked. I found that we could do the projects for half of the cost and still make a significant profit," said Green.

Green's not the only one questioning Tulsa and other Oklahoma school districts. Ron Solomon, a roofing expert from Florida, is concerned as well. He is a state certified roofing contractor who worked in the commercial discipline for 37 years. He now dedicates his life to stopping the use of proprietary specifications in public roofing projects. He recently wrote several emails to members of the Tulsa school board and architect to point out problems he sees in their bid information.

"I wanted to make sure that I notified the school district of the potential problem with them in terms of lawsuits and overpayment of services," said Solomon. "No public entity should give the perception that they are favoring one manufacturer over another. This is absolutely the case in Oklahoma, in Tulsa."
Solomon says that he has not heard back from his emails. His fight against this issue is far from over.


So, how does Tulsa defend this? We talked with the schools' Director of Bond Projects, Bob LaBass.
"The Tremco roofing system has been one of the most successful programs that we've implemented," said LaBass. "Part of their program is they do full inspections during the installation process. Then, they inspect for 10 years afterwards so, it prolongs the life of the roof."

LaBass says they essentially pay extra to outsource maintenance and save on personnel costs. They spend tens of thousands of dollars, per roof, for a 10 year maintenance program offered by Tremco. It includes regular inspections, repairs and preventative maintenance. The district also purchases a 10 year warranty, in addition to the maintenance agreement.

"If it's a problem with a Tremco product, they repair it. If it's a leak, we get instantaneous response, nearly. They'll be out within two hours," said LaBass. "We're getting more than just a roof, we realize that, and we're paying more and we're also getting a lot more service and we're getting a lot better, a lot longer roof."


In a statement, Tremco says, "In each of the projects on which Tremco roofing systems have been installed on Tulsa Schools, we have supplied our products to local Oklahoma roofing contractors that have competed successfully in public bid environments for the opportunity to deliver cost-effective, long-term roofing solutions."  It goes on to say, "Roofing costs on particular projects reflect the unique conditions which each building presents. But in each instance these costs should also cover the delivery of products and services that achieve long-term roof performance, regular maintenance and durability. If a low-cost roof system fails early, is improperly installed, is inadequately maintained, or requires costly repairs throughout its life cycle, the seemingly low cost option can quickly become the most expensive in the long-term."


Other manufacturers provide less expensive 20 year warranties, instead of maintenance agreements. Other districts tell us the warranties satisfy their needs and their roofs last for decades. While LaBass says this allowed the district to cut maintenance workers, Tulsa still has 53 more maintenance people than Oklahoma City schools.


We took what we found about Tulsa Public Schools to the state auditor. Based on what we provided it's possible his special audit could be expanded to include other schools.
"All the time, we should never waste tax dollars. It's a greater emphasis right now when school teachers are being laid off and we don't have enough money to perform the basic functions in government," said State Auditor Gary Jones.

Jones' audit will take several months to finish. We'll be watching and will let you know what happens."

Much appreciation and respect to Amy Lester of News 9.  She worked very hard on her report, and it shows.

The point here is that you are not powerless to fight against things that may seem impossible, or missions that may seem insurmountable.  I did it, and you can do it.

I will continue to fight hard for YOUR RIGHT to fairly compete, and to nourish your families.

I am humbled you care enough to visit with me here, and am thankful on the most personal level.  I pray for your success, and will remind you to reject negativity in all forms, and always keep looking "UP".

Respect,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
"Independent Sustainability Research"
"Manager Roof Consultant's Alliance"
CCC1325620

You may contact me directly:  RobertRSolomon@aol.com







Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Public" Vs. "Private", or "Insanity Vs. Sanity"

As a "Conservative Environmentalist", and appointed a judgeship by the Governor of Florida 5 times for "Sustainable Florida", and "Sustainable Schools", I would like to share my take on things, as it pertains to roofing.

Do not get confused with the "Private" market, and the "Public" market. In the "Private" market, the owners are actually having to PAY their OWN money, where in "Public" structures, the taxpayer foots the bill, which to our government is "Free" money and therefore does not have to be spent in the consumer's best interest, and isn't.

Here is a comment from a private client, who pays the bills:

Ron:

Brandon has almost twice as much conditioned space as Tampa (64,229 sq. ft. vs 33,005 sq. ft., respectively) yet from the period of April through July of this year Brandon used 40% less electricity than Tampa; for a savings of $30,367 for the period. I realize your TPO roof should get most of the credit but we should also consider the "cool-wall" paint on the exterior and the newer/more efficient equipment. Thanks again for pushing the TPO roof.

Sincerely,

Cleve

"Brandon" has a synthetic white (TPO) reflective roof (inherently LEED compliant), where "Tampa" has a white granular surfaced modified bitumen (petroleum) roof. A conservative approach that was environmentally friendly in every way.



If you remove a black asphalt shingle roof, and replace it with a white asphalt shingle roof, you will not qualify for any "Rebates". Why Ron? Because the sun "sees" all petroleum products as "black", and factually, the white granules do very little to reflect the sun's radiant energy.

Your home can easily have a roof surface temperature of 200 degrees F., that stays hot well into the night, also known as "Heat Island Effect" (Page 95 LEED V2.2). If you don't believe me, place your forearm on a nice hot day, on your white shingles, and get back to me.

PV technology has been obsolete for years, yet we continue to subsidize this nonsense. The "theoretical" limit of silicon's elemental properties is 33.5% . Period.

"Graphene" and carbon nanotube advancements (commercially available in 5 years) has 10X the elemental properties of silicon, and you will also see it in computer chips as well. "Graphene" is ridiculously inexpensive, and will eventually turn the entire roof surface into a solar collector.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea7_crd_TwQ

Government only knows TWO terms: "LEED", and "PV". Both of them useless.

Please view this 2 minute video by Secretary Chu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0GKcdgxHsk

This is what I do as a "Conservative Environmentalist". It's "Low Hanging Fruit", yet while ALL my private clients do it for obvious reasons, the government still installs roofs made of oil on the vast majority of their buildings. I GUARANTEE your school district is installing petroleum based roofs, spending more money to install them, paying 20% MORE in energy costs.

I might also mention the copious amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous leaching from these roof systems into our water supplies. Of course, this starves the water of oxygen, and inhibits microbial growth.

Illiterate people, making illiterate decisions, on things they know absolutely nothing about. They haven't the slightest credential that allows them to address a topic.

In Tampa, our City Council thought it would be a great idea to install a $960,000.00 PV system over a petroleum based roof. The roof CREATES A 20% DEMAND FOR ENERGY. The PV (at maximum) is only 20% EFFICIENT. So, for a 1 million dollar investment, we get a NET ZERO.

I'd also like to point out that "Rebates" are not "Free Money". You and I pay for those rebates.

So, that is what a "Conservative Environmentalist" actually thinks, rare as it is.

Thank you for visiting with me here, as I consider it a great privilege to speak with you.  Please reject negativity in all forms, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Respectfully,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Manger, Roof Consultant's Alliance
CCC1325620
http://wikiroof.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Satellite Roof Estimating Services"

At first, I was skeptical that accurate measurements could be taken by satellite imaging, but Boy was I wrong!

First I was amazed how effective it is, and then was shocked to see how little it costs.

I've easily done over a thousand takeoffs driving to the project, throwing a ladder, and physically measuring the structure.  I was actually at one apartment complex that took three days to measure.

It takes a lot of money for a contractor to send an estimator, do the takeoff, draw a roof plan (most of them rather crude), pay for a vehicle, fuel, insurance, etc.  That was then, and this is now.

Of course I have no interest in any satellite estimating services, but will show you an example, and a couple of links of people who offer these services.  Check this out: (click for larger view)









Aerial examples graciously provided by Prattco, Inc, Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors (listed under "Trusted Professionals" 813-973-4771).  Also, the service was provided by Aerialogics : http://aerialogics.com/

I think I remember this all costing the grand sum of $70.00.

So, needfless to say, I am a huge fan of aerial/satellite imaging, especially when done to this degree.  If you enlarge the photos, you can even see they've provided multiple "waste" factors, and all measurements of Hip & Ridge, Valley, etc., are clearly drawn, and also enumerated.

In an effort to insure accuracy, provide a much cleaner presentation, and to save a great deal of money on estimating, I think this is the ONLY WAY TO GO.

Now, if it's a commercial structure, you may want to visit, and take a core sample, but the rest can easily be done with this method of imaging.

I hope this helps those of you who have many estimates to do, may have a project 200 miles away, while this keeps your estimator actually "estimating", and not sitting in a vehicle riding for 8 hours.

It is my prayer you are well, encourage you to reject negativity in all forms, and to always keep looking "UP"

Respectfully,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
CCC1325620
Manager, Roof Consultant's Alliance
RobertRSolomon@aol.com

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"School Roofing Scam Videos on YouTube"

Dear Friends:

After consulting with several legal specialists, I've decided to not post the actual videos, but am assured it's perfectly legal to provide a link to those videos.

So, today is a real treat if you want to see a number of readily available reports on YouTube.  It's actually very easy if you go to YouTube, and simply type in "School Roofing Scams".  You will also notice it's the same ones each time.

You know I do not offer "Opinions", and provide information for you to review and decide what's real, and what's not. 

So, if you want to see where your taxpayer dollars go, take a few minutes, and I think you will be outraged.  I didn't think you'd want to spend hours on this, so I've only posted a few.

Happy Viewing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGPNJxK1ZRQ

http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/131019373.html#IDCThread

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SPGTLMKT60

I'm trying to do something about it through proper channels, and bringing this to your attention, may help advance a solution.

And yes, I am eerily similar to Frankenstein in appearance with the square, and slightly oversized head.  But, that's the hand I'm dealt.  Next week, I'll post the television news interview I'm doing in a major market (by request).  Hopefully, it will be both fun, and informative.  At last, Frankenstein speaks!

As always, I am very thankful, and appreciative, you take time to visit with me here. 

Hoping everyone is having a happy, and productive day.  Reject negativity in all forms, anmd always remember to keep looking "UP".

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Roof Consultant's Alliance"

I'm sorry for interrupting this series (it will resume) to announce my dear friend Mr. Jason Fenstermaker has named me "Manager" of Linkedin's :

"Roof Consultant's Alliance"

I will be adding a link to the site, and will encourage you to join us in many conversations pertaining to roofing across the globe.  Please request access at Linkedin, and I will receive your simple request for approval there.  I review and approve them each day, so you may not be inconvenienced.

Of course this is both an honor, and responsibility that I must be objective about, regardless of my own philosophy.  I welcome  words of opposition, or contributions to the discussions with equal enthusiasm.  So please feel free to say what's on your mind, or start your own discussion there.

We cover many topics including new products, energy, clean water, and roofing practice.  So, if you want to advance your knowledge base regarding any of these (and more) topics, I will personally welcome you.

I'm mobilizing a rather large group of roofing contractors, and roofing organizations, that have  grown tired of taxpayer deception, and in many cases, outright fraud.  An honest manufacturer will be given a forum to declare (Publicly) that they do not participate in, nor encourage "Proprietary Specifications", or "Sole Source" arrangements.  I will contact each of them, and how they respond.  It's either "YES", or "NO".  The name and title of each manufacturer's representative will be given.

Friends, I started this advocacy long ago, with the idea that all manufacturers would encourage the promotion of such positive philosophy for their approved contractors, and the taxpayers.  BUT, I AM WRONG.  I've been told the only way to secure support, and respect (?) is to specify projects, and  reduce revenue streams of those I don't like.  Or gain favor with the ones I do.  I reject this philosophy, as I find it very unflattering, and inconsistent with my mission.

Remember, I'm here to discuss roofing topics, create a level playing field for my colleagues, and save huge sums of taxpayer dollars in the process.  I'm convinced these are honorable goals, and will not compromise my position regarding them. 

The climb will be almost vertical, I understand that, am prepared for it, and with your help, will see it to conclusion.  There is a groundswell among contractors across North America, and I am determined to give them an opportunity to express dissatisfaction in numbers. 

In the meantime, a true test of any manufacturer may be displayed in this way:  Ask them to sign a document saying they do not participate in, nor encourage, "Propietary Specifications", or Sole Source" agreements.  If they refuse, spend your money with an honest manufacturer that will.  This is our first step.

I will begin exposing every exclusionary project, and jurisdiction, along with the decision maker's name, phone number, and address.

You will be furnished public documentation of the activity in question, and will soon learn how easy it is to spot the fraudulent behavior.

I will eliminate the "Trusted Professionals" aspect of this site, and will replace it with a "Pledge" feature where you will be listed with others who place value on honesty, and integrity.

Reject negativity in all forms, and remember to always keep looking "UP".

Respectfully,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
CCC1325620

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Proprietary & Exclusionary Roofing Practices in Public Works"

This is a widespread practice in many public sectors, and our schools suffer for it.  I am proud to say that my district happens to be run by honorable people, whom I respect.  A rarity I'm afraid.

Many people tell me to walk softly around this issue, but I would rather be ground to dust, than be perceived as a coward.  So, I will share this data to with only after I've confirmed it to satisfaction.

The standard operating procedure of these scams are invented by, and perpetrated on, the public by a select group of roofing material manufacturers who would rather adopt a very aggressive sales model, than to compete fairly on the open market.

By "sales model", I mean "Proprietary Specifications".  They work to eliminate any competition, and create great hardship for my colleagues in the roofing discipline.  They also cause great harm to YOU, as taxpayers, as you end up paying exorbitant sums of money for absolutely no additional benefit.

I have NEVER seen this one time within the private sector, as that's a hard sell to someone who actually has to write the check.  For government, that "Real Money", is actually only numbers in boxes, because it's not coming out of their pockets.  In this way, the few are enriched, while the many suffer.   Frankly, I've grown tired of it, and am emboldened by my colleagues across the United States, who ask me to help.

I've made a very difficult, very dangerous, and very time consuming commitment to stand up for them.

You must understand the only real purpose of any contractor is to educate their staff, keep them safe, and provide a good working environment.  As a result, projects are secured, and workmen are able to earn a living, to nourish their families.

In the face of this monumental effort stands corruption, greed, and of course the money ALWAYS associated with it.  Apparently, souls may be purchased, and sold rather easily.

Below, you will find a very informative article written by my friend, Mr. Trent Cotney, Esq.  The first installment in this series so you can understand the premise of proper bidding procedure.  The article is being presented in it's entirety, and as it appeared in the West Coast Roofing Contractors Association's most recent issue:

PUBLIC PROJECTS AND BID PROTESTS
Part I of II

A significant amount of roofing work in Florida involves work with state or
local government entities. These public entities use (or are supposed to use)
competitive bid procedures to procure the lowest bid for projects. If the bid
letting is not conducted in a competitive manner, then the bid letting may be
protested in accordance with published procedures. Generally, these procedures are governed by Florida Statutes and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

Chapter 120, Florida Statutes. This month’s article will focus on who may
commence a bid protest and under what circumstances. Next month’s article
will discuss the procedures involved with filing a bid protest.

Section 255.20, Florida Statutes, and Florida common law provide that
public contracts must be awarded under the rules of competitive bidding.
Section 255.20 generally applies to most public entities; however, there are
certain entities which are exempt from §255.20 and not every public entity is
subject to the bid protest procedures set forth in the APA.

By definition, in order for the bidding to be competitive, all bids must be
based on the same requirements and must be evaluated on the basis of the same
criteria. In other words, the bids must be capable of an “apples to apples”
comparison, and all of the criteria by which the bids will be judged must be
known to the bidders in advance.

Public competitive bidding must be done in a manner that is not arbitrary
or capricious, which can only be accomplished if the bids are compared
according to the same criteria set forth in the instructions to the bidders.
Moreover, because public monies are being spent, public competitive bidding
must be conducted in a manner to avoid even the appearance of collusion or
favoritism.

If a bid fails to comply with the instructions to bidders in some material
aspect, then the bid must be rejected as being non-responsive, because a nonresponsive bid cannot be compared “apples to apples” with bids that have
strictly followed the instructions to bidders.

If the contract is awarded to a bidder whose bid fails to comply with the instructions to bidders, then the award is made based on criteria other than the published criteria. In such a case, the award, by definition, is arbitrary or capricious because the letting authority has arbitrarily awarded the contract based on criteria that was not published and made known to all bidders. Awarding a public contract on the basis of criteria that was not made known to all bidders opens the door to favoritism and
collusion.


Case law holds that a minor deviation from the instructions to bidders can
be ignored, but only if the deviation is not material, i.e., the deviation did not
result in an unfair economic advantage. See C.H. Barco Contracting Co. v. State
of Florida, Department of Transportation, 483 So2.d 796 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986).

The test for measuring whether a deviation is sufficiently material to destroy the
competitive nature of the bid process is “whether the variation affects the
amount of the bid by giving the bidder an advantage or benefit not enjoyed by
the other bidders.” See Harry Pepper & Associates, Inc. v. City of Cape Coral,
352 So.2d 1190, 1193 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1977).

In Harry Pepper, the apparent low bidder, Gulf Contracting (“Gulf”), sought to modify its bid after the other bids had been opened in order to bring its bid into conformity with the instructions to bidders. Gulf had based its bid on less expensive pumps rather than the pumps specified in the instructions to bidders.

The court held that Gulf’s bid deviation was deemed material and non-waiveable because Gulf had the ability to examine the other opened bids and decide whether or not it wanted to modify its bid and incur the additional expense of supplying conforming pumps to obtain the contract, or stand on its less expensive non-conforming pumps and not receive the award.

Gulf had the opportunity to decide whether it wanted the contract after all of the other bids had been disclosed. Gulf’s actions gave it an unfair advantage in the bidding process, which was not enjoyed by the other bidders in the process.

Similarly, in E.M. Watkins & Co. v. Board of Regents, 414 So.2d 583
(Fla. 1st DCA 1982), the apparent low bidder on a project submitted a
required list of subcontractors a few hours after the deadline for bid
submittals.

The court deemed the bidder’s failure to timely submit the list to
be material and non-waiveable because the late submission facilitated
undesirable subcontractor bid shopping. The court came to this conclusion
even though there was no evidence that the bidder actually had received an
unfair advantage or benefit by submitting the subcontractor list after the bid
submittal deadline.

Generally, only bidders who could receive the award if their protest is
successful are allowed, i.e. have standing, to protest a bid. As such, courts
have held that potential bidders who fail to submit bids do not have standing
to contest the bid results. See Westinghouse Elec. Corp. v. Jacksonville
Transp. Auth., 491 So.2d 1238 (Fla. 1st DCA 1986).


A protestor must also demonstrate that it has a substantial interest in the outcome of the bid process, by showing that if the defects in the bid are remedied, then there is
a reasonable likelihood of the bidder winning the contract. See Preston
Carroll Co., Inc. v. Florida Keys Aqueduct Auth., 400 So.2d 524 (Fla. 3rd DCA
1981).

Author’s note: The information contained in this article is for general
educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is
not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice
for your specific factual pattern or situation.

Trenton Cotney, a shareholder attorney at Glenn Rasmussen Fogarty & Hooker, P.A., in
Tampa, Florida prepared this article. Trent is Florida Bar Certified in Construction Law, a
Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Mediator, Qualified Florida Court-Appointed
Arbitrator, General Counsel and a director of the Florida Roofing Sheet Metal and Air-
Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA), a director of the West Coast Roofing
Contractors Association (WCRCA) and a member of Associated Builders and Contractors
(ABC). For more information, contact the author at 813-229-3333 or
tcotney@glennrasmussen.com.
I am deeply appreciative of Trent's unselfish work, and will highly recommend him to any roofing contractor as the very best within our discipline.  If you are unsure of something, or need help, Trent is the guy.  Period.
I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart for caring about what I have to say, and for taking time from your day to visit with me here.  YOU are the only reason I am here, and I am deeply grateful to my many visitors from around God's beautiful earth.

We will return to less complex issues soon, but I must do my best to protect the public interest.
Never despair, reject negativity in all forms, and for goodness' sakes, keep looking "UP".
Respectfully,
Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
CCC1325620

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