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By Gary Thill
As roofers move forward with recovery, the federal government gave a much-welcomed helping hand with new guidance on PPP loan forgiveness and new legislation that extends the amount of time and flexibility to use the funds.
“NRCA commends the Senate for approving the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020 (H.R. 7010), bipartisan legislation that would make significant changes to loans made to employers under the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Duane Musser, NRCA’s vice president of government relations. “NRCA is pleased to support this legislation to provide more flexibility to employers with PPP loans and has been advocating for its passage in recent weeks.”
Musser said the legislation will:
The new terms apply to at least 40% of roofers who took PPP funds, according to an April NRCA survey. Overall, construction took $44.9 billion or over 13% of total PPP funds.
With the original eight-week spending period starting to expire last Friday for the first loan recipients, those extra weeks are crucial to roofers, Musser said. That’s because while most never fully shut down — even in restricted states such as Pennsylvania where essential work on buildings such as hospitals continued — the recovery is taking longer than expected.
“More time is the bigger issue for roofers,” Musser said. “When CARES originally passed on March 27, it was thought that in two months we were going to be back up and going full speed. Well, we’re not. Things are still very uncertain.”
Other industry leaders also praised the new legislation. “This new law improves upon the original Paycheck Protection Program …. Its enactment will save many construction jobs and allow thousands of construction firms to remain in business,” said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr. Even with the new guidance, Musser said it’s essential for roofers to document all their spending around PPP funds. He encouraged roofers to consult with attorneys or accountants to ensure proper documentation is being done. “You have to prove to the bank that you followed the rules,” he said. “If you can’t document that, you might not get your loan forgiven.”
About $130 billion remains from the second round of $320 billion that Congress approved for PPP.
Rather than providing additional recovery funding, Sandherr urged Congress to help the industry in other ways. “Having fixed several problems with a measure designed to helped firms survive, it is time for Congress and the President to put in place measures to rebuild our economy,” he said. “These measures include providing liability protection for contractors and other businesses that are taking steps to protect workers from the coronavirus, new infrastructure funding and measures to stimulate broader, private-sector demand for construction and development.”