Building Operating Management

Properly Maintained Roof Log Helps Streamline Management Of Roof Systems

At least twice annually, review and update the roof log as part of the inspection process. In this way, you will maintain an up-to-date, at-a-glance reference that will streamline management of roof systems. For multi-building facilities or for buildings with many roof areas, such record-keeping is particularly important to keeping tabs on roof conditions.

Involve occupants, custodians and caretakers in reporting leaks promptly to maintenance personnel. By engaging building users and staff, facility managers and building owners will be more successful at finding and resolving leaks before water infiltration can do serious damage. Diligent record-keeping also assists in filing warranty claims, should a roof fail prematurely.

As with basic data collection, roof and floor plans are also helpful for leak reporting. Leaks should be marked on floor and roof plans that can then serve as a reference for a follow-up investigation. On a chart keyed to the floor/roof plan, record the date, a description of the leak, weather conditions at the time of the leak, the date the leak was reported and to whom, and actions taken.

Pay Attention To Warranties

Some warranties require periodic roof inspections to maintain coverage. For roofs still under warranty, inspections by the manufacturer are often available, but it's a good idea to supplement such inspections with a roof survey by a design professional, as some issues are sufficiently subtle as to require a trained — and unbiased — eye. Moreover, it's important to identify emerging problems while the warranty is still in effect, rather than waiting until near the end of the warranty period to check for issues. That way, problems can be documented and claims filed without risking expiration of the warranty.

This is not to say, however, that warranties can replace proper roof design and diligent maintenance. Warranties don't prevent leaks. Disagreements with manufacturers about the cause of roof failure may make it difficult to obtain warranty service, and installation procedures may fall under scrutiny as the manufacturer evaluates conformance of materials and methods to the warranty agreement. Even if the manufacturer does perform warranty repairs, it's possible that the same defect could fail again, this time outside the warranty coverage period.

That's why it's better to prevent roof failure in the first place, rather than chasing down warranty repairs after the fact. Many warranties require extra provisions in installation procedures or details for certain areas, which may indicate potential weak spots in the roof assembly. Pay particular attention to these areas during routine inspections, as they are more likely to be a source of trouble.

Warranties may provide peace of mind, but they can be a false comfort. If a roof leak meets the manufacturer's criteria for coverage, and the facility manager succeeds in securing warranty repairs, then the coverage may be worthwhile. In other cases, facility managers may not be so lucky. What's more, no written guarantee can stop the roof from leaking; only good design, appropriate installation, and regular upkeep can do that.

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  posted on 11/21/2012   Article Use Policy

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