Imagine this. You’ve just taken over management of a new facility. The roof was replaced six months ago, so it’s the last thing you think you have to worry about.
Except it’s actually the first thing you have to worry about.
The roof begins leaking badly right after you take over, and a quick inspection reveals extensive blistering, including one blister that runs more than 30 feet.
A moisture survey reveals that 80% of the roof’s substructure is saturated with water.
The new roof cost $57,000 six months ago. Replacing everything that was damaged by the bad roof job will cost another $110,000, and the previous manager didn’t bother to get a contract with the roofer, so this will come directly out of your budget.
Sadly, this is a true story, one of a long list of horror stories published in the facilities management magazine, Facilities Net.
The new roof in the story was installed over an existing membrane, with badly installed pitch pans left in place. Water got into the pitch pans and spread from there. The problem was invisible until the leaks began, and by that time the damage was so extensive, the repairs cost more than the original replacement had.
Other stories in the article talk about what happens when pitch pans are filled with gravel instead of grout; when vent pipes are removed and the holes improperly patched; when roofers try to save money by leaving gaps between insulation boards.
All of these issues were hidden from sight once the roof was installed; all of them were extravagantly expensive once the problem began to show.
Unfortunately, these horror stories are not as unusual as they should be.
Fortunately, they’re easy to prevent by hiring a roof consultant.
A roof consultant is a professional who provides expert guidance to property owners and managers on the design, installation, maintenance, repair, and replacement of roofs.
A good roof consultant will bring many years of hands-on construction experience, a deep knowledge of the structural and engineering issues relevant to effective roof design, as well as an understanding of local, regional, and national codes and requirements.
Many owners and managers hire a roof consultant only when problems arise with their roofs. The roof consultant applies forensic techniques to investigate and uncover the source of the problem, then makes recommendations for remediation.
While a roof consultant is certainly critical in these cases, it’s important to bring in their expertise before problems arise: When designing and installing a new roof, upfitting or renovating a building in a way that impacts the roof, and when considering a roof replacement.
The right roof consultant is a valuable partner in the proper design, construction, maintenance, repair, and replacement of roofs. While hiring a roof consultant involves a cost, skipping this critical step can cost far more later.
During the design phase, your roof consultant can prepare plans and construction documents, and help you avoid costly mistakes. They may also identify areas where you can save money without compromising the roof’s integrity.
During construction, your roof consultant can conduct periodic inspections to ensure that workers are installing roof components correctly and with the agreed-upon materials.
When renovating any part of your structure. You may be surprised at how even a relatively simple change, such as removing a bathroom, can affect the roof. In one case we’re aware of, a removed vent pipe penetration was not properly sealed and led to the entire roof becoming compromised by moisture intrusion. What should have been an inexpensive repair became a costly reroof. Have a roof consultant review any renovation plans and help ensure that any changes to your building don’t impact the roof’s integrity.
When reroofing. Roofs eventually reach the end of their useful life, and when they do you will have a lot of decisions to make. A roof consultant can inspect your current roof structure, help determine what parts require replacement, and design a reroof project that will be cost-effective and also enjoy a long effective life.
When a problem arises, whether during construction, renovation, or building operation, a roof consultant can help you track down the source of problems quickly and efficiently, and design a solution that is as cost-effective and practical as possible.
There is no industry standard for calling yourself a “roof consultant.” Anyone can claim to be a roof expert and hang a shingle, and not everyone who does so is truly qualified to help you.
Hiring the wrong roof consultant can be a costly waste of money. Worse, they may fail to identify issues, leaving you with expensive repairs later, despite your investment in the consultant. In fact, an inexperienced roof consultant may give you bad advice that ends up costing you more than if you hadn’t hired one at all.
To ensure your roof consultant helps rather than hurts your project look for:
At GLE, we’ve been inspecting roofs and consulting with business owners as part of our construction monitoring and construction inspection services for over 29 years. We would love to help you with your next project. Call us today to find out how.