The Legalization of Marijuana and Its Impact on the Construction Industry

The Legalization of Marijuana and Its Impact on the Construction Industry

NEWTON, Mass. — As laws change regarding marijuana use, they present a whole host of ongoing human resource issues, especially for the construction industry.  Attorney Trenton Cotney helps employers understand the complex issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana and its effects on the work place environment in his featured session, The Legalization of Marijuana and its Impact on the Construction Industry at METALCON, on Oct. 18-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Cotney of Trent Cotney, P.A. Construction Law Group specializes in roofing litigation and arbitration throughout the United States.  He will explore: What are the limitations of the use of marijuana? How do employers need to modify their human resource policies and manuals? How does the acceptance of medical marijuana cards relate to a drug-free workplace?  Cotney answers these questions and more while helping employers create policies and procedures to address the various concerns.

“A recent surge of medical marijuana prescriptions and an increase in recreational usage has prompted a wealth of human resource issues,” said Cotney.  “I receive calls daily from employers.  For example, I’ll get a call from a roofing business looking to hire a skilled roofer who has a medical marijuana card, but the business is a declared drug-free workplace.  Does the business give him an exemption?”

“Marijuana is still illegal on the Federal level, so federal law does not require employers to accommodate a person’s medical marijuana use,” said Cotney.  “However, a number of states have laws that may arguably be interpreted as requiring such an accommodation.   In any event, usage is widespread in the construction industry, and there is already a shortage of skilled labor.  It’s going to have a huge impact on the workforce.”

“Testing isn’t where it needs to be; it is sub-par,” he said.  “An employee would have to challenge his employer if he wasn’t using marijuana at the time of testing, but he may have used a few days prior, over the weekend.  He will still test positive, failing the drug test, and if he causes injury, it creates a whole host of issues.  You either have to fire the person or run the risk of liability.  You are going to have tough decisions to make.”

“The construction industry is extremely vulnerable to safety challenges with the legalization of marijuana,” said Cotney.  “Doing sheet metal work, roofing, operating heavy equipment―all present safety challenges for an individual with a medical marijuana card.”  

“Employers need to add policy statements to their human resource manuals to continue to operate under this new environment,” he said.  “Ambiguity can create issues, including OSHA issues.  As society changes, the law has to catch up to it, like during the prohibition years.  There are state laws, federal laws and potential risks.  Employers want to know:  How do I quantify risk and eliminate it? How do I adjust and adapt to this new framework?”

“Then, there is the issue of having a drug-free workplace environment,” said Cotney.  “Employers need to create specific policies to address it, requiring a separate section on marijuana, outlining testing, limitations of testing, random drug tests and implications.” 

“Employers need to make policies more robust to deal with this new legislation,” he said.  “You have to prepare yourself.  For example, in Florida, if you maintain a drug-free workplace, you’ll receive a five percent discount on workers’ compensation.  Are you prepared to give up that discount?  It is a huge problem.”

Cotney will cover: here’s what’s happening, here are the issues, here are the potential solutions and everything in between. 

“Any time you have new legislation, you are going to have these issues,” said Cotney.  “You need to think about how to adapt and evolve; how to integrate and be forward thinking.  I am here to protect the employer and educate the employees. ” 

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Published at Thu, 28 Sep 2017 13:00:00 +0000

Liberty University Taps Experienced Team for Indoor Practice Facility

Liberty University Taps Experienced Team for Indoor Practice Facility

Liberty University

Photo: Leah Seavers. Copyright Liberty University

While he was a student in the 1970s at Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg, Va., Craig McCarty took a job with a roofing company to help him pay his way through school. One of his business courses required students to set up a model business, so McCarty set up a fictional roofing company.

When a recession forced his boss to close down the company where he worked, McCarty turned his classroom project into reality. He got his contractor’s license and formed his own roofing business at the age of 20. More than 40 years later, he is installing roofs on the same campus he once took classes for a college now known as Liberty University.

McCarty is the president of McCarty Roofing, headquartered in Lynchburg, Va. This year the company installed the standing seam metal roof on Liberty University’s new indoor football practice facility, the fourth building the company has worked on at the school. McCarty has always been fascinated by metal roofs, and he estimates that 70 percent of the company’s business comes from the metal segment of the market. “It’s our passion, and we’re really good at it,” he says.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field. The structural metal roof system is made of panels that run the entire width of the building.

He’s found a great place to ply his trade in Liberty University, which has made roofs manufactured by Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems into something of a signature architectural style. Other Fabral roofs at the university include those on Williams Stadium, Hancock Welcome Center, Jerry Falwell Library, and the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center.

According to Jerry Wandel, Fabral’s Mid-Atlantic territory manager, based in Richmond, Va., Fabral and distributor NB Handy in Lynchburg have partnered to provide architectural metal enclosure systems for 13 buildings on the campus since 2010.

The new practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field, and the design for the structural metal system on the vaulted barrel roof called for panels—many as long as 240 feet—that would run the entire width of the building.

Fabral’s Stand’N Seam 24-gauge panels in Dark Bronze were specified for the project. According to Wandel, the product features a unique stainless-steel clip design and double lock-seamed side joints that allow panels to expand and contract throughout their entire length. The system had been installed successfully on indoor practice facilities at other colleges, including Georgia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia Military Institute.

“When you run a panel that long, clearly one of the biggest concerns is expansion and contraction,” Wandel says. “Our Stand’N Seam product just lends itself to a project that has 240-foot panels. This one was right in our wheelhouse.”

Riding the Curve

The first task for McCarty Roofing was drying in the metal deck. Crews installed two layers of 2 ½ inch polysio and covered the insulation with Blueskin, a self-adhering underlayment manufactured by Henry.

The metal panels were fabricated on the site. Fabral supplied the roll former and brought in Ray Berryhill to operate the equipment. “Ray has done all of these jobs for us,” notes Wandel. “We want to make sure the contractor is in position to have a quality installation. Ray has so much knowledge about these jobs. He was the perfect person to execute this one.”

The panels were fabricated on the site.

The panels were fabricated on the site. The roll former was lifted into place at the edge of the roof by crane, and panels were rolled directly onto the roof and stacked for installation.

A crane was used to lift the roll former into place at the edge of the roof. “We were able to set the front two feet of the roll former in the built-in steel gutter, and then drop the back end of the machine down to the proper angle so we could roll the panels right onto the roof,” McCarty explains. “About every 15 or 20 feet up the roof we would stack some insulation, so the panel would float across the roof. Once it hit the top and went down the other side, it could just ride the roof down.”

The original plan was to install the panels as they came off the roll former, but McCarty decided it would be more efficient to run all of the panels, stack them on the roof, and install them once all of the panels were fabricated. “We had a large crane on site that was costing us money, and we had the people from Fabral there,” he recalls. “I went to the construction manager and said, ‘It’s going to make a lot more sense if we get all of the panels for the project up on the roof as quickly as possible.’”

The 4,000-pound metal coils typically supplied enough material for 8-10 panels, so Berryhill would run 8-10 panels at a time as crews from McCarty Roofing stacked them. When the roll former was lowered to the ground to load another coil, workers would strap the panels into place, figure out how much area the panels would cover, and set up again another 20 feet or so down the roof to receive the next batch. “We had a series of 15 or 20 straps for each bundle of panels,” says McCarty. “We had to be careful, but with eight people, you could pick up the panel and gently set it down.”

After the roll forming crew was done, the panels were pulled off of the stacks and installed. “It was a pretty extreme radius, but the panels just laid down on the roof perfectly,” McCarty recalls. “The design worked out really well.”

Liberty University

Photo: Joel Coleman. Copyright Liberty University

The built-in gutter gave crews a good location to set the bottom edge of the panels. “At the eaves, the roof pitch was very steep—maybe 12:12—and it was almost flat at the top,” notes McCarty. “We had to be tied off 100 percent of the time. We used retractables, but the safety equipment still limited our movement. It was pretty difficult for the guys working the first 30 or 40 feet.”

The roof featured large skylights, which made the metal panel layout critical. The design also featured upper and lower sections that stepped down around large windows, which made for some tricky details. “At the gable ends, we had to make the cuts at an angle,” McCarty notes. “We cut the panels in place with drill shears and hand turned them with tongs to lock then onto a cleat.”

The schedule was tight, and weather was also a concern. “It was in the dead of winter,” McCarty recalls. “We started laying panels in January. Fortunately, we had a mild winter, but at times it was like a wind tunnel. You’re not going to pick up a 240-foot panel in 35 mile-an-hour winds, so there were days we just weren’t able to work.”

The project was wrapped up at the end of May, and McCarty credits the decision to stack the panels as one of the keys to meeting the deadline. “It was the right call,” he says. “The time we saved made up for the lost days due to the weather and helped us complete the job on time.”


Architect: VMDO Architects, Charlottesville, Va.,
Construction Manager: CMA Inc., Lynchburg, Va.,
Roofing Contractor: McCarty Roofing Inc., Lynchburg, Va.,
Distributor: NB Handy Co., Lynchburg, Va.,
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems,

Published at Thu, 28 Sep 2017 20:10:27 +0000