From the desk of Steve Galli:

Regular maintenance and inspections keep your car running at its best. That same philosophy holds when thinking about a building’s roof, one of its most important assets.

Rather than every 3,000 miles, though, building owners should be looking to schedule routine roof inspections on an annual basis with their preferred roofing vendor and/or roofing consultant.

Owners should expect to learn how the roof is standing up to weather, what debris needs to be cleaned off and what repairs need to be scheduled. Moreover, owners should pay attention to how any modifications to roof systems are affecting the roof membrane and roof deck, as well as how sealants are holding up.

The inspection also provides owners and consultants the opportunity to check that any tenant improvements done throughout the year were done according to good roofing practices and with an eye towards maintaining manufacturer warranties.

Please note that any tenant improvements are supposed to be done by an authorized applicator for the particular manufacturer or by the contractor who holds the warranty. Be sure your roofing work is done by a contractor that is certified by the major roof manufacturers to do tenant improvements on their systems and have the expertise to maintain warranties with quality work.

Just as important as an annual inspection, routine maintenance is a way for building owners to ensure a roof performs up to its specifications.

Specific roof maintenance includes things such as: installing membrane patches to failing or suspect areas of the field membrane, sealing up any open penetrations, reapplication of sealants at flashings where necessary, tightening drain bolts and debris removal. It is important to pay attention to the amount of debris on a roof, especially for buildings that have trees nearby. Excessive standing water caused by clogged or plugged drains not only can affect the roof performance, but may also affect the structural integrity of the roof deck, particularly on buildings constructed before roof drain overflows were required by building code.

By maintaining a regular inspection and maintenance schedule, owners will be able to monitor their asset, reduce surprises and reduce inconveniencing their tenants, and better budget to stay ahead of the game. This strategy also helps property managers to better plan and predict budgets for their clients, making them a trusted resource.

The bottom line savings for building owners is dramatic, especially when considering that one roof leak may cost $500 for a simple repair, or several thousand dollars if there are significant interior damage repair costs.

More than that, owners avoid upsetting tenants who could demand reduced rents or leave the property altogether. We know that tenant retention is a critical factor in every building owner’s strategy, especially during these financial times. We recommend that building owners do all they can to maintain their valuable roof asset and keep their budget plans for maintenance and replacement a living and breathing tool in that process by reevaluating those items every year after their inspections are complete.