Today I want to continue our discussion about what we at Terrell’s believe to be the four important considerations to a new or replacement commercial roofing project. In my last post I discussed the first two, and now will address the final two. To refresh your memory, the four critical steps are:
1. proper analysis, evaluation, and design
2. quality products
3. proper application and regular inspection
4. corrective and preventive maintenance
3. Proper Application and Regular Inspection
Once the roof project design and specification phases are complete, it is time to engage a qualified contractor to actually perform the job. I have written in other posts the importance of qualifying a contractor, so will not repeat those comments here.
Often public bidding scenarios do not allow the facilities manager to select a previous contractor that has performed well in the past. In cases where a public bid process is required, it is extremely important that very specific language is included in your specifications to help ensure that only qualified companies are allowed to bid.
Even with the best contractor, regular inspections of work in progress are necessary. Are the materials being stored properly? Is the installation being done as the manufacturer requires? Are bid specifications being followed? Is trash promptly removed from the job site? Are workers meeting safety requirements?
Experienced facilities managers may choose to do their own inspections. Often a project manager with significant roofing industry experience is retained for this function. Many of the large roofing materials manufacturers include this service as a part of their package.
No matter how it is done, this inspection process is critical. A good contractor will appreciate another pair of trained eyes assisting to insure that the job is completed correctly and safely.
4. Corrective and Preventive Maintenance
This final step is often overlooked. “Hey, the roof is new, what’s to worry about?” is the common attitude. The reality is that everything wears out. By implementing a yearly preventative maintenance program right from the start you can add years to the life of your new roof. A trained roofing professional should “walk the roof” at least two times each year. We recommend in the Spring and again in the Fall. These inspections should include at least these items:
- Inspect for clogged drains, debris, and fasteners that might be left on the roof or that have fallen off
- Periodically recoat flashings with a reflective coating
- Check for overhanging tree branches and vegetation
- Examine edge details, flashings, and penetrations for obvious problems
- Check caulking and sealants on coping stones and flashings
Building owners and managers have many projects and people to juggle. A major roof repair or new roof installation, while a significant interruption, should not be the excruciating experience it is often portrayed as. Using a qualified roofing professional, and an experienced contactor, and following these four steps, will ensure that your roof will perform as specified.