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Condo Associations – Managing Roofing Problems

We’ve all heard Ben Franklin’s adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nowhere is that more true than in regards to a condominium’s roof. Although it is not necessarily the most visually prominent aspect of building, a roof can account for up to 50 percent of a building’s total surface area and represent up to 25 percent of the total building value. While all roofs will eventually require repair, restoration, retrofit or replacement, the life of an existing roof can be significantly extended, from 15 to 25 years, simply by heading off leaks and other adverse conditions. This translates into significant long-term cost savings.

Keeping a roof in tip-top shapes requires enacting a roof asset management program. Over time, this program will optimize roof performance, save money and allow for roof replacement or repairs on a planned basis rather than in reaction to a crisis.

Roof review
The first step in any roof asset management program is to consult with a reputable expert. A consultant should thoroughly inspect the roof and provide a written report of findings with a photo survey of roof conditions for future reference. Based on those findings, the consultant will develop projected life-cycle budget cost estimates and establish plans for upcoming maintenance, replacement or repair.

After the initial roof condition has been established and documented, a good roof asset management program will include annual expert inspections. However, while consultants should be brought in for scheduled inspections, it is also a good idea for building management or maintenance to become familiar with the roof and conduct regular roof walks to identify any potential problems.

Seven signs of problems
The following list includes some of the most common deficiencies and roof damages observed during inspections. Left uncorrected, each of these could lead to leaks, interior damage and possibly structural damage and could result in extensive repairs. However, if caught in time, each can often be addressed with basic and less-costly repairs.

•    Severely weathered and cracked vertical wall flashing
Symptoms: Cracked or delaminated wall flashing
Solution: Remove and replace flashing

•    Water or air blisters
Symptoms: Puffed-up or bubble-like blisters in the field membrane
Solution: Cut out the blister, remove and replace all wet insulation and roofing components and install a cap sheet patch over the affected area.

•    Ponding water
Symptoms: More than one inch of water that does not evaporate within 48 hours
Solution: Remove existing roofing in the area and reinstall a tapered roof system

•    Impact damage
Symptoms: Visible signs of impact damage from storm conditions or a high-velocity wind event
Solution: Remove and replace damaged components

•    Rusting metal
Symptoms: Visible rust
Solution: Remove surface rust and apply a primer/rust inhibitor, followed by a rustproof coating system

•    Polyurethane spray foam oxidation
Symptoms: Deteriorated elastomeric coating.
Solution: Remove existing deteriorated foam and re-flash with compatible materials.

•    Membrane Split
Symptoms: Visible signs of impact damage from storm conditions or a high-velocity wind event
Solution: Repair damaged area in accordance with manufacturer requirements and industry standards

Ask the expert
If problems such as these are discovered during the course of regular roof walks by building management, it is advisable to call the roof consultant who is responsible for the annual inspections. Tools such as moisture probes, infrared or nuclear scans and roof core samples can help determine the extent of the problem and offer insight as to the amount of moisture content or water intrusion. Consultants can also be of service reviewing repair or replacement bids to ensure that compatible products are used and proper installation is provided.

Ultimately, the goal of both new construction roof consulting and ongoing roof management programs is to protect the interest of the building owners, extend the life of the roof and prevent costly leaks and damage. In today’s business climate, many building owners and businesses are understandably looking for ways to cut costs. However, contracting a roofing consultant or a building envelope company in an asset management program can save valuable dollars for the condominium management company in the long run.

 

Source: condomgmt.com




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