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Roofing Upgrades and Warranty Issues
Managers making decisions on roof system upgrades tend to pay attention to the warranty mostly as it relates to length. Every roof has a warranty, but most warranties bought and paid for by a building owner never have a claim completed against them. While claims might be filed, they often are dismissed, since they are for excluded items or because the manager failed to meet the requirements necessary to keep the warranty in place.
Warranties lay out the steps managers and front-line technicians have to take in order to keep the warranty in effect. Typical warranty requirements include debris removal, twice yearly inspections, drain cleaning, limited foot traffic, and prompt repairs. Managers need to read and understand these requirements, and they need to make sure that technicians document all of their activities in the event of a warranty claim.
Managers also need to read the offered warranty closely before settling on a particular contract:
• Does the manufacturer or the installer issue the warranty? This step is important because it is more likely that the roof manufacturer, not the installer, will be in business over the length of the warranty.
• Does the warranty include labor, or is it for materials only?
• What are the exclusions?
When a roof fails, managers often are stuck with having to replace it or to make costly repairs under less-than-ideal conditions. They most likely have to pay a premium under these conditions, and they might find they are paying in the long term with possible shorter service lives if the roof was replaced at the wrong time.
James Piper, P.E., is a national consultant based in Bowie, Md. Piper has more than 35 years of experience with facility maintenance, engineering and management issues.