CERTA (Certified Roofing Torch Applicator)

Certa LogoThe CERTA training program is ideal for contractors whose work involves torch applications. The full-day program trains experienced roof system installers on the safe use of roofing torches used to apply polymer-modified bitumen roofing products. CERTA training shows how proper roof system configuration design and application techniques can result in fire-safe installations.

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What is CERTA?

In 1986, the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA) in conjunction with industry organizations, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, and United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers developed a curriculum to train roofing workers in the safe application of torch-applied roof systems. This program was named the Certified Roofing Torch Applicator program. 

With continuing changes in technology, federal regulations and work practices, it became necessary for MRCA to revise and update the CERTA program. With the cooperation of contractors,manufacturers and other associations MRCA created the ad-hoc CERTA Committee.

In 2003, insurance industry representatives approached NRCA to address concerns about increasing incidents and losses occurring during roofing workers' torching activities. NRCA recognized torching activities are and will continue to be a major part of the roofing industry, and roofing workers traditionally have been trained on torch use with on-the-job techniques. On-the-job training methods typically focus on application skills without adequately addressing safety concerns. The need for focused safety training addressing torching activities became apparent. NRCA arranged with MRCA to adopt and revise the CERTA program. The current CERTA program provides the best practices and new industry requirements for torching activities. Click here for CERTA Specification Information

In 2007, NRCA retained Hughes Associates INC., a nationally recognized fire consulting firm, to help plan and conduct a test program designed to investigate heat transmission through component layers of torch-applied polymer-modified bitumen membrane flashings during installation over combustible roof decks. Based on the findings, the CERTA guidelines were revised. Direct torching over combustible substrates (with specific stipulations) was allowed.

CERTA delivers these requirements through a certification program where authorized trainers delivering effective behavior-based training to roofing workers. MRCA continues to work with NRCA to make sure the program is up-to-date and of the highest quality. There is no comparable training program available in the roofing industry. Click here to see the Applicator Manual

The CERTA training program is ideal for contractors whose work involves torch applications. The full-day program trains experienced roof system installers on the safe use of roofing torches used to apply polymer-modified bitumen roofing products. CERTA training shows how proper roof system configuration design and application techniques can result in fire-safe installations.  

For more information, contact Bob Pope, MRCA Executive Director at: (800) 497-6722 or mrca@assnsoffice.com or Janice Davis, NRCA's manager of education and risk management, at (847) 299-9070, ext. 7505, or jdavis@nrca.net. 

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: Are there data to support reduced fire losses in the roofing industry directly attributable to the new NRCA/MRCA CERTA program? 

A1: Yes. The number of serious roofing torch-related fire incidents has decreased significantly since 2004 when the new NRCA/MRCA CERTA program was implemented in the roofing industry. For example, in 2002, one major insurance company paid 35 roofing torch-related fire losses of more than $1,000 and 11 of more than $500,000. In 2005, after only one year of the new NRCA/MRCA CERTA program implementation, the same insurance company paid 13 losses of more than $1000, including only two of more than $500,000. The NRCA/MRCA CERTA program had made a significant effect on the safe use of roofing torches throughout the roofing industry. 

Q2: Who receives certification? 

A2: Individual roofing workers become certified roofing torch applicators, NOT a roofing company. The certification belongs to and stays with an individual roofing worker not his employer. Click here for more information for Applicators

Q3: How soon must I have my torch applicators trained? 

A3: A roofing contractor will need to contact his insurance company to determine the grace period allowed to get his torch applicators trained. 

Q4: What happens if a roofing worker does not pass a registered CERTA applicator training class? 

A4: The roofing worker must attend another registered CERTA applicator training session conducted by an authorized trainer and repeat the section of the class he failed until he successfully meets the programs passing requirements. 

Q5: How long is the training valid? 

A5: The authorized status and certification of a torch applicator are valid for three years after the date they successfully passed their respective program. Click here for more information on renewals

Q6: My company only uses roofing torches to dry or repair roofs. We do not install modified bitumen roof systems. Does CERTA apply to me? 

A6: Yes. All personnel using roofing torches with open flames in contact with a roof or adjacent building component must successfully complete the NRCA/MRCA CERTA torch applicator training. 

Q7: Does CERTA apply to roofing workers who use a torch to maintain or work with other roofing equipment such as felt layers, hot luggers and kettles? 

A7: No. CERTA requirements apply when the open flame of a roofing torch is directed at a roof or other building component.