CRS Roof Consultants

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 (OJT) training.
  Note: 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
Figure I Figure II
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.
©2008 Copyright. All rights reserved. CRS Roof Consultants, LLC
1361 Winchester Blvd, Suite 207
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 871-9296 • (408) 871-9295 fax
Member of Silicon Valley BOMA