5 Ways to Prepare for a Commercial Roof Inspection

Regular inspections are essential to extending the life of a commercial roof. Without inspections, problems on the roof can go undetected and lead to deterioration. While inspections are necessary, they can be intimidating for building owners who haven’t gotten one before.

Here are some tips for what to do before getting a commercial roof inspection:

1. Do a self-inspection.

You’ll need a professional roofer to diagnose a problem, but a self-inspection can help identify areas of concern that the inspector should watch closely. Walk the roof, scanning for debris, standing water, and obvious damage. Take note of what you think the inspector should be aware of.

2. List known problems.

Often commercial building owners call in for an inspection because of a problem. This may be a leak or a loose piece of flashing. It could also be a strange noise coming from the roof or something else that doesn’t have a clear cause. Lay out these known problems in a list, and make sure your contractor explains the problem to you after the inspection.

3. Track down warranty information.

All your roof’s components should come with a manufacturer warranty. Warranties will help you get a repair or replacement for free in case of a defect, but they can be tricky to redeem. Having all of your warranty information on hand will help the inspector determine if any part of the roof qualifies for replacement.

4. Find a contractor.

The most important step in getting a roof inspection is finding the right contractor. Look for a roofing company with a good reputation and a long history in business. Try to find a company that can be a long-term partner in the health of a roof rather than a roofer who may not stay in business.

5. Get a customized management plan.

The first inspection should only be the beginning of a roof management plan that lasts the life of a commercial roof. Quality roofing companies can provide building owners with a comprehensive management plan that automatically schedules inspections and projects when repairs are likely to be needed. Developing a plan like this greatly extends the life of a commercial roof.

Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. offers forecasting assessments, inspections, and a full management plan called MAXCare®. To learn how the Maxwell team can turn a routine inspection into a plan to extend the life of your roof, contact us today.

Beyond the Quote – How To Properly Vet A Professional Roofer

Unless you’ve spent significant time in the roofing business, it’s hard to tell if you’re talking to an honest, professional roofer that knows their stuff and is giving you objective recommendations. If you want to choose a roofer you’ll be satisfied with, you should know the signs that you’re working with a true pro.

Communication Breeds Trust

Trusting a roofer is difficult. Roof work can be costly, and most building management teams don’t call a roofer until they’ve got a significant problem on their hands. It’s easy to see how someone could take advantage of the situation, so it’s important to feel you’re spending your money wisely.

Trust begins with communication. Roofers that don’t have a professional website with contact information that’s easy to spot, that are slow to respond to calls and questions, or who do not provide detailed assessments of their findings both verbally and in writing should not make the final cut when choosing a partner. Prompt responses, detailed written assessments and proposals, and honest discussion are usually a good sign that you’ll feel confident working with that roofing team.

Professional Quote, Professional Roofer

Contractors that pop up on the roof then give you a verbal estimate and move on, or worse, demand instant payment up front are red flags. Any roofing company worth its salt will spend a lot of time on the roof to get a full picture of what’s going on with the system. They will likely meet with you right afterward to explain what they found, but they should always follow up with a written assessment and proposal.

That proposal should be professionally prepared and should be extremely detailed, including pictures of the damage and deterioration they found. The project manager or point person should then walk through the proposal line by line with building management so everyone understands the problems and the suggested remedies.

Repairs Deserve Detailed Reporting

Total roof replacements require detailed proposals, but so do many repairs. Anyone can tell you a section of a roof needs to be repaired, but when you’re spending money to fix a critical portion of a building’s structure, you deserve to know what the damage is, why the repair is in order, and how the fix will be made.

Expert roofers believe wholeheartedly in detail and are committed to helping building managers make informed choices. When called to inspect a roof, they will provide a leak investigation report that provides important details including the location of the damage/deterioration, the size, the proper way to fix it, and the price. Furthermore, expert roofers will also document the finished work with photographs for record keeping purposes.

No Service Standards? No Thanks

Great roofers care about customer service. They know that roof repairs and replacement are a hassle for building owners, and they take steps to make the process as smooth and as pleasant as possible. Their proposals should include service standards that ensure the project moves quickly and efficiently.

Roofers should be upfront about noise, construction vehicles, the need for and timing of HVAC system shut downs, and any potential fume issues that will arise during repairs or installation. They should also work closely with building managers to minimize these potential intrusions.

Unfortunately, the industry has some participants who are “here today and gone tomorrow”. In contrast, professional roofers who are committed to service and who have dedicated, knowledgeable staff rarely disappoint. They will be willing to share manufacturer authorizations, history of performance, and references from satisfied customers.

In Roofing, There Should Be Some Guarantees

You can never predict how foot traffic, construction or Mother Nature will impact a commercial roof, but great roofers will guarantee their permanent repair work for one year. Any roofer that does not provide a guarantee or warranty on their work should be avoided.

No business wants to have to fix something for free – especially something they already did – so companies that stand by their work put several levels of quality controls in place to ensure the job gets done right, the first time.

Choosing a commercial roofer can be overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with major leaks or damage that require immediate attention. Take the time to vet potential roofers, and pay close attention to the way they communicate with you and your team before you ever sign on the dotted line. When you know how to choose a roofer, you’ll be much happier with the end result.

The 4 Questions You Must Ask Before You Hire A Roofing Contractor

A new roof is one of the biggest single-item capital expenditures for any commercial building owner. A new roof can cost anywhere from few dollars per square foot to a few hundred dollars per square foot. It is imperative that any roofer who steps onto the roof is experienced, trusted and will provide the best value for the investment. Hiring a roofing contractor should never be a leap of blind faith. To properly vet a potential contractor, these are the questions that should be answered before a final decision is made:

How Much Experience Do You Have?

Experience matters when it comes to commercial roofing. The number of years that a contractor has been in the business is a good indicator of their quality of work. New companies may come to the table with a breadth of previous experience, but it can take years to become financially solvent and to develop processes that ensure true customer satisfaction. If a company installs a roof and goes out of business the next year, warranties and maintenance contracts are put in jeopardy. Always choose a roofer that has at least a decade of proven work experience under their belt, and be sure they have operated under the same business name during that time.

It is also important to choose a roofer with experience working on buildings similar to your own. A company that mainly works with single-story, suburban retail buildings, for example, would not be the best choice to work on a high-rise with tenant access. Study the roofer’s portfolio to compare their past projects with your own.

What Is The Timeline?

A roofing company that is booked for the next 12 months is of little use if your roof is failing today. Before selecting a bid, be sure to address the contractor’s capacity to handle the work. Ask questions like:

  • When can the project start?
  • Will you have access to all of the extra equipment needed for the work?
  • How long will the job take?
  • Do you currently have enough people on staff to get the job done in the allotted time?

A bottom-line bid is not always an indication of capacity to do the work. Be sure to ask these questions to ensure your project can start and end in a timely manner.

What Is Your Safety Rating?

Safety should be just as much of a priority when choosing a roofer as budget. There cannot be enough said about keeping the workers on the roof safe from hazards and keeping the tenants and general public safe, as well.

Ask direct questions about a roofer’s safety record. They should have this data on file, and should be willing and able to present it as part of their bid presentation. The way in which a roofing contractor manages safety can be a strong indicator of how the entire project will be managed.

How Can You Ensure Quality?

Quality can and should be the deciding factor when you have several bids that come in at the same price, and the experience and safety record of the contractors all seem equal.

Quality can be determined by studying a potential contractor’s portfolio and asking for references. Most reputable firms should be able to provide references for similar projects. If given the opportunity to connect directly with those references, ask about their satisfaction levels with:

  • The communication process with the contractor before, during and after construction.
  • The quality of materials.
  • The workmanship of the finished product.
  • The work ethic of the team.
  • Safety precautions during construction.
  • Maintenance contracts, warranties, etc.
  • Current roof performance.

A roofing project that is rife with issues can draw out the length of construction, can lead to unforeseen added expenses and a host of other issues down the line. While the price of the roof is important, the quality of the roof and the value proposition of the contractor should be given significant weight.

Commercial roofing projects can easily fall into the $100,000-plus range. When spending that kind of money, building owners and property managers must perform their due diligence. Take the time to ask questions to a roofer before hiring them. A proper vetting process is the best way to ensure satisfaction with the end result.

The 6 Things A General Contractor Must Look For In A Commercial Roofing Contractor

During any job, general contractors (GCs) have made a commitment to the building owner or developer to complete the work according to specifications, on time and within budget. One of the challenges they may face in delivering on that commitment would be a failure-to-perform issue with one or more of the subcontractors hired to complete specific aspects of the job. If a subcontractor stops work for any reason, the project is threatened and the GC may face serious repercussions. A general contractor, therefore, should work with a proven, reliable commercial roofing contractor who has a history of doing quality work quickly and correctly the first time. Here are six criteria GCs should look for when hiring subcontractors.

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Risk Management 101: How to Protect Yourself Against Damage, Injury and Liability

As a building owner or property manager, do you feel protected? With any roofing project, you need to be aware of the various concerns that could affect the success, cost, and timeline of your build. There are safety and liability concerns – and what about the roof and building itself? In this introductory piece, we’ll explore all the aspects of roof work that you need to consider so that you can manage the risk.

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A Designer’s Essential Guide To Choosing A Reliable Commercial Roofing Contractor

Working with a new contractor on a roofing project can be a headache if you don’t choose your partners wisely. Designers have a lot to consider when trusting someone to turn their plans into a reality within their desired timeline and budget. Choosing the wrong roofer can lead to a drawn-out process that takes longer than you hoped and has you spending more than you agreed to. Or worse, choosing the wrong contractor often means ending up with a roofer that cannot execute your plans, resulting in a shoddy finished product. Here are 9 signs to look for to help you identify a reliable roofing contractor who will live up to your expectations.

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