How managers can move their organization from reactive emergencies to planned activities
Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities, strengthens operations without compromising a healthy work environment
Replacing a roof system over a commercial office building poses several complex challenges that require maintenance and engineering managers, project designers and building owners to engage in deep forethought and detailed planning. The total success of the project will depend not only upon the advanced planning and the level of communication between these parties but, more importantly, between the manager and each of the tenants inside the facility.
Successfully managing a roof replacement, recovery or restoration project over an office building in which multiple tenants are involved requires that managers understand and implement a series of actions developed over years of experience performing roof consulting. Following these best practices will ensure project success from the roof installation standpoint and strengthen relationships with the different tenants who share the space.
Failing to plan, is planning to fail. As with any facility upgrade project, success depends on thorough planning and near-constant communication. This remains true when it comes to any roofing repair or replacement projects. Success usually involves focusing and developing a plan for communication, the replacement process, and job site security.
Clear communication among managers, the building owner, the roof replacement designer, and tenants is paramount, and it will help ensure the recovery or replacement process goes more smoothly.
One proven strategy for effective communication is to identify a key point of contact for all communication as early in the planning process as possible. In larger facilities with an in-house maintenance department, it works best if one department member serves as the point of contact. But for facilities with few or no maintenance personnel on site, it works best if one tenant assumes the responsibilities of serving as the point of contact for all of the tenants.
Regardless, in-house managers need to open the communication channel early to seek involvement, gain buy-in and avoid surprises. They also will need to develop an idea of the project’s work hours and space usage and provide owners and tenants with information on any disruptions that are going to occur, as well as the project’s process.
All parties involved need to come to an understanding about the replacement process, potential problems, and the way that issues will be handled. They’ll also need a copy of all material safety data sheet (MSDS) sheets prior to the start of the project.
Having a meeting to review stages of the process and the materials involved ahead of time has proven extremely beneficial. Tenants need to be informed when debris will be removed because of potential for dust, as well as when uploading of new materials will occur because of the potential for installation noise. They also need to know about possible trouble spots, such as water intrusion — and who to report that to — and they need to be prepared for noisy construction and possible odd smells from construction materials. Tenants also should be well informed of when construction teams will be on site and how to identify them.
The project team needs to communicate the way issues will be dealt with, and they need to encourage ongoing communication among the parties involved. Tenants need to know they should report improper actions or communications and any other strange behavior. Managers need to ensure there is a copy of all MSDS in a separate notebook, which reviews all of the materials being used, smells and noise that could occur, and they need to provide everyone with construction site rules that will be in place for both tenants and crew workers.
Communicating updates and setbacks with tenants and owners also is central to ensuring a successful project. Work interruptions due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances need to be communicated, along with any impact to the overall project schedule. After inclement weather, the superintendent and one crew member need to perform detailed leak checks and share the results and implications with the project team.
High-Level Decisions: Successful Roof Replacements