Best Practice Roofing Techniques & ROI
Determining factors in selecting a contractor is not isolated to the
lowest price or best sales pitch. Evaluations should include
the overall asset value and the Return-on-Investment (ROI)
which is proportionate to the
quality and proficiency of the contractor selected.
Providing value-added services to property owners can be difficult
for property management firms where the agenda for many seem to
focus on reducing out-of-pocket expense. It's understandable because
Speaking to the Big Dogs takes special knowledge, skills and
training (see the link) that are difficult to master from on-the-job
An ROI agenda starts at the top with Property Owners.
Is low price synonymous with less than best quality?
ROI agenda's start at the top. Unfortunately, not all "Property Owners"
view assets as components of long term value (future sale price or tenant savings).
This places property managers in a quandary - between a rock (Property
Owner) and a hard place (Company Management).
Notwithstanding, when the lowest price is at the forefront of your agenda,
you can still achieve a great ROI when resurfacing or replacing a
roof system by engaging a Project Manager (Registered Roof Observer)
as your on-site representative.
The following explains why a Registered Roof Observer, Project Manager and
Best Practice Roofing Techniques are in your best interest.
The roofing industry continues to follow Generally Accepted Roofing Practices (GARP) established through a hybrid of building codes and manufacturer's guidelines. Since the mid 1970's, the industry has undergone many changes with the most concerning being a lack of journeyman in the field.
In California for instance, roofing laborers outnumber journeymen by a factor that may be greater than ten-to-one. In fact, most journeymen come from back east where the profession is passed on between generations. The seasonal nature of roofing and employee turnover inhibits a contractors' ability to maintain a staff that can establish or develop journeymen proficiencies.
Generally Accepted Roofing Practices
Enter "Generally Accepted Roofing Practices". GARP is nothing close to Best Practices which tend to be defined by real journeymen. The adage goes, "everyone else is doing it this way, so it must be right". Just because most roofers do it, doesn't make it acceptable, nor does it establish best practices.
Variations in GARP & Best Practice
We illustrate the difference between Generally Accepted Roofing
Practices (Figure I) and Best Practices (Figure II). The most
likely reason roofing contractors choose one over the other is
short term concerns about price (getting the sale) without
consideration for the long term maintenance cost they impose
on the customer. A well written specification takes both under
advisement and demands contractors use best practice components.
The Price Variable
There is a cost difference between these flashings that can
range from $20 to $30 each. We might realize an initial savings
of $30 (per flashing) but the cost to maintain "each" flashing
will be over $250 every three years. That is nearly $2000
each over the serviceable life of the roof.
Best Practice Techniques
Professional bid specifications and on-site skilled project
managers would not specify or allow these slope roof
flashings (figure I) to be installed on a low slope roof.
And, in the greater scheme of budgeting for a roof system,
the price differences are truly discerning compared to the
post installation maintenance requirements which validates
the importance of proper component selection.
There are more than two dozen methodologies contractors use
in the name of GARP. Components comprise a small sampling,
and the most critical issues are hidden from view once
installation is complete. To avoid failures, Safeway has a
core sample taken once every 5000 square feet during
membrane application - long before it's covered up with gravel.
Property owners and managers need assurances a roof system
installation will follow best practices so it outlasts the
warranty and results in a higher overall return on investment.
This requires a specification to outline the scope of work
(et al) in order to get the best price. An on-site project
manager helps to reduce the possibility a roof system and
its components will fail prematurely.
Combined, the elements of a Bid Specification guarantee
property owners are getting the best value, a great
installation and the best value that can be translated
into the ROI of the overall property investment.