The roof of a commercial building can be a very busy place. It not only protects the interior but is also “home” to numerous pieces of equipment and structures. A low-slope or flat roof is an ideal place to house the building’s mechanical equipment, such as HVAC and plumbing, antennae, etc. All of which need repair and maintenance from time to time. Because of all this traffic from various tradesmen, the likelihood of accidental roof damage is great.
It’s Often the Small Things Left Behind
Professional roofing contractor, Will Riley at DK Haney Roofing has seen firsthand the causes and effects of this inadvertent roof damage when they are dispatched to repair a leak. According to Riley, “One of the most likely reasons for water leaks on the roof is due to the carelessness of other tradesmen who were sent to repair or maintain equipment on the roof.
“The primary culprits for roof damage are screws that are left behind by HVAC techs, electricians, plumbers, utility techs and others. Technicians are removing several access panel screws on the units that they’re servicing and don’t always get them put back. You’d be surprised at how common it is to find screws left on the roof where someone can accidentally step on them. When this happens, it can puncture a roof membrane which causes a leak.
“While this is certainly not intentional, technicians are focused on the piece of equipment that they’re servicing and protecting the roof is not their first priority. They are just doing their jobs. Unfortunately, as they service equipment, on or around the roof, they can leave parts behind or even drop tools or materials. Any loose materials or mechanical parts can blow around the roof or be stepped on which can create a hole in the roof.”
Is This a REAL Problem for a Building Manager or Just a Nuisance?
“Caught early, it’s not expensive to patch a roof,” Riley noted, “But what can be expensive is the effect that the roof leak has on the building. It can shut down a restaurant in certain conditions and can cause damage to the interior of the building. With one small roof leak you can end up having to replace drywall, waterlogged ceilings, wood and floors.
“Anything that damages the integrity of a commercial roof is serious. It’s a nuisance that can become a REAL problem!”
What Can a Building Manager Do to Reduce These Damages?
While you can monitor and limit the traffic on the roof, you can’t eliminate it entirely. Having a professional roofing contractor be first and last on the roof is the best defense.
“We recommend quarterly or bi-annual roof inspections to constantly monitor the condition of the roof,” Riley said. “It’s a small cost to be aware of the changing conditions of a commercial roof. By doing this, it drives down the frequency of any roof leaks you might be having or the potential for one.
“At DK Haney Roofing, we recommend addressing this problem with a Proactive Service Agreement. This allows documentation on the current state of the roof and opportunity to perform any light-duty maintenance items such as cleaning up leaves around drains, picking up loose screws, and checking all aspects of the roof. This could be the best investment any building owner or manager can make.”
Is your commercial roof due for an inspection? Are you seeing tell-tale signs of roof damage? Contact us for a no-obligation consultation.