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By Kent Mattison, P.E.
Roofing Article Use Policy
Maintaining aging institutional and commercial facilities is essential for providing a safe, effective work or learning environment. One of the most important steps in achieving this goal — yet the most overlooked in many organizations — is roof maintenance.
Why do so many organizations overlook the roof system, which is by far the most problematic building component? In general, roofs present a host of major challenges, from specification and installation to maintenance and replacement.
From the maintenance and engineering manager's point of view, no building component fits in the "out of sight, out of mind" category better than roofs, so when organizations cut maintenance or capital budgets, roofing systems often are first to get cut.
When the time comes to gather information and make decisions about replacing the roof, numerous problems — failing to employ proper roof design and specify time-tested products and high-quality workmanship, as well as disregarding ongoing roof maintenance — all contribute to this challenging situation.
What can or should managers do to streamline the process of roof replacement? The first step is to understand the issues involved in effective roof management. Seven factors affect the long-term performance of a roof system: design, installation, materials, maintenance, construction quality control, warranty, and weather. Of these seven factors, only weather is beyond a manager's control.
More than 1,000 building owners and managers ranked the six controllable factors, based on each one's impact on a roof's long-term performance. The challenge for managers is to fully understand the significance of each factor — listed below in order of potential impact — on a roof's performance and avoid automatically following the cheapest option. The cost of cheap can be very high.
Roofing: Six Factors of Long-Term Performance
Roofing: Design, Installation, Maintenance Impact Performance