It’s true that commercial roof maintenance or replacement work will cause some disruptions to a building’s tenants. But, in the long run, delaying or neglecting commercial roof maintenance for short-term convenience will cause roofing issues that will cause bigger disruptions and require more costly repairs.
Luckily, there are a few things building management can do to limit the disruption and downtime caused by commercial roof maintenance or installation work. These are to:
Explain the Reroofing or Maintenance Process
Tenants should be given an overview of the roof repair or replacement process as well as updates throughout the duration of the project, so they can take the necessary steps to minimize the disruptions to their business operations or day-to-day routines.
Emails to tenants and notices in the lobby should include details such as the:
- The start and end dates for roof maintenance or installation work
- The timeline of the roof replacement project (If it’s not possible, inform the tenants of the expected duration of the project)
- The noise and smells that can disrupt their day-to-day operations
- Whether they’ll still be able to use the building’s parking spaces
- The parts of the building that won’t be accessible during the duration of the project
- A copy of the schedule of the HVAC shutdown if roof maintenance work will affect the HVAC system
Important note: Building owners and management to inform tenants are usually responsible for informing their tenants about any disruptions to their daily routines. Without written permission from the building owners or management, roofing contractors have no authority to communicate with the building tenants.
Setting Realistic Timelines and Preparing Contingency Plans
Since tenants will be modifying their work schedules based on the timeline you give them, it’s important to set realistic deadlines. Remember: It’s never a good idea to rush a roof replacement project. The challenge is there are several external factors—most notably inclement weather and underlying roofing issues not found during initial inspections—that can delay the timeline. That’s why it’s important to ask your roofing contractor about their contingency plans in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Coordinate With Your Roofing Contractor About the Use of Parking Space
It would be ideal if tenants retain access to all of the parking spaces during the entire duration of the project. To ensure as little parking space is taken up by the contractor’s vehicles and equipment in the shortest amount of time possible, roofing materials and equipment should be delivered and unloaded all at once.
Ask Your Roofing Contractors to Minimize Their Usage of the Main Stairwells and Elevators
Roofing contractors should avoid using the main stairwells and elevators as much as possible. Ideally, they shouldn’t use them during peak hours or the lunch rush. If your building doesn’t have a dedicated, there’s always the option of using a hydraulic lift to unload materials on the rooftop.
Make Sure All of the Construction Debris Is Removed
It’s standard practice for contractors to handle the clean-up of the construction debris. However, it would still be a good idea to clarify this important detail with your roofing contractor.
Preventing Large Disruptions Through Commercial Roofing Maintenance Strategies
The disruptions caused by roofing maintenance can be inconvenient, but it’s necessary to prevent larger disruptions and prevent costly repairs. As a rule of thumb, a flat roofing system should be inspected at least twice a year and immediately after extreme weather events. Remember: since water tends to pond on flat surfaces, commercial roofs are more leak-prone and have higher maintenance needs than sloped residential roofs.
To prevent roofing issues from affecting the other parts of your building and prevent large disruptions to tenants’ day-to-day operations, it’s important to formulate a commercial roofing strategy.
What Are the Components of a Commercial Roofing Strategy?
- Digitized roofing file – A roofing file is a document that helps keep track of the roof repair and maintenance work your building’s roof underwent. It should contain the date of the roof’s installation, the manufacturer or brand of the roofing materials, details about your roof’s warranty, maintenance records, photos, and the contractor’s notes. While some building managers prefer to keep a physical roofing file, it’s more practical to digitize it. For starters, facility management software can help management keep track of roof repair and maintenance costs and sort and update roofing data automatically.
- Roof access control – Contractors would recommend regulating access to the rooftop to reduce the wear and tear on your flat roof. It’s recommended that building management craft a policy outlining the procedures on how personnel and tenants can access the rooftop. In particular, tenants should log the purpose of their visit and the duration of the time spent after accessing the rooftop.
- Routine inspections – In addition to bi-annual inspections, flat and metal roofing systems should be inspected after an extreme weather event. Remember: no matter how durable a building’s roof is, it’s bound to have suffered some form of damage after a storm. What if there aren’t any leaks or signs of roof damage after the storm has passed? It would still be a good idea to have a contractor inspect your building’s roof. That’s because it’s easy to miss the subtle signs of storm damage. And by the time the warning signs start to appear, it’s already too late to mitigate storm damage.
Choosing the Right Flat Roofing Material
Keep in mind maintenance can only do so much. If your building’s roof can’t handle your area’s climate, it doesn’t how much maintenance work or repairs it undergoes—no amount of maintenance will extend its lifespan.
To reduce the number of repairs—and by extension, the disruption to tenants’ business operations—it’s important to choose a roofing material that’s suited to your area’s climate. Remember: there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach in home improvement projects, and roof replacements are no exception.
What are the most widely used flat roofing materials?
- Built-up roofs – There are several reasons why built-up or tar-and-gravel roofs have been around for more than 100 years. For starters, they’re the most affordable commercial roofing option and have excellent durability. As the name suggests, they’re made of three alternate layers of waterproof roofing material that are each covered with tar. The outermost layer is embedded with gravel to protect the roof’s surface from UV damage.
- Metal roofing – Metal roofing panels are known for their exceptional durability. Keep in mind that not all metal roofing systems have the same level of durability. For added protection against leaks, we recommend installing standing seam roofs. As the name suggests, the seams between panels—a weak point of a conventional flat roof—are raised above the surface to prevent water from easily seeping into the roof’s underlayers.
- Single-layer roof membrane – This type of flat roofing material has several varieties: neoprene (polychloroprene), EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), chlorinated polyethylene and chlorosulfonated polyethylene sheets, and polymer-modified bitumens. Synthetic rubber membranes are the most popular variety. They’re resistant to abrupt changes in temperature—which can cause some materials to contract and expand—and can also be used in residential roofing systems.
One more thing: As mentioned earlier, flat roofs are more leak-prone than sloped residential roofing systems. That’s why it’s important that only qualified roofers handle the installation of your new flat roofing system.
Looking for roofers near you? Here’s a pro tip: It’s best to look for local contractors. Since they’re familiar with the local climate and building codes, they can make better recommendations.
Done-Right Roofing & Sheet Metal Ltd. offers a wide range of professional roofing services. To get a free estimate, call us at (905) 875-2888 or fill out this form.