Commercial roofing: costs, concerns & solutions

By Brian Edwards

Major factors affecting the cost of repairing or replacing a typical flat roof common to industrial or commercial buildings are: cost of materials, skilled labour, stringent health and safety regulations, liability and/or worker’s compensation insurance, disposal costs and site access etc.

  1. Choice of a method or material system can also be costly, especially if the product is petroleum base, or requires a complex manufacturing or installation process.
  2. Removal and disposal of an existing system is costly especially if debris is heavy, considered hazardous materials or distant from a suitable disposal facility.
  3. Overhauling an existing system is then worthy of consideration.  Comprehensive repair procedures should increase the life of the current system by 3-5 years or more and cost no more than 10-15% of a re-roofing procedure.
  4. Skilled labour can be expensive and in short supply due to location, time of year or current market conditions. Unskilled labour or contractors who ignore safety regulations increases the risk of liability to an owner while resulting in an unreliable system.
  5. Currently, major roof systems in use are: built up tar and gravel, 2 ply membranes, EPDM and PVC.  Each have good and bad points making the selection of which to use, a judgement based on individual site circumstances, budget considerations and desired service life.
  6. Upgrading insulation to improve energy efficiency should be considered when roof replacement is the desired option.
  7. Maintenance should include cleaning all roof drains and removal of unused equipment or general debris that can damage roof coverings.
  8. Prospective purchasers are often most concerned about this least understood and often neglected building component.
  9. Regular inspections and good maintenance pays by extending roof life while managing expense reducing the risk of secondary interior damage or disruptions.

Article by Brian Edwards M.A.A.T.O, B.C.Q, President of Westbrook Building Inspections Ltd. hope this helps and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Century Office Building Conversion

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