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By Shannon Duhon

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Upon becoming aware of a roof problem, many property managers and landlords will immediately begin calling roofers for evaluation of the problem and to request proposals, thus inviting bids on multiple solutions and roofing systems. Some roofers might advise for repair while others suggest a new roof. Making it even more complicated, roofers will make wildly different quotes based on wildly different roofing systems, some of which may not be appropriate. The result is that one is left comparing apples to oranges to bananas.

In order to best ensure proper evaluation of a roofing problem, the first course of action should probably be to hire a RCI* registered engineer or consultant. A qualified roofing engineer can, for example, perform a moisture test to determine extensiveness of damage – sometimes instead of a new $250,000 roof, all that is needed is a $20,000 coating job.

In the case that a new roof is required, one needs to construct a proper Request For Proposal. Once a qualified roofing engineer has determined the best roofing system according to your needs and the building, specs are drawn up and roofers can bid based on the exact same specs, rendering the decision a simple comparison of apples to apples.

It is a mistake to assume that, because a permit to install a particular roof on your building has been granted, that that roofing system is most appropriate or for that matter, appropriate at all.

In addition to the above described benefits of hiring a qualified engineer, I should point out something that I come across regularly. While valuating a damaged commercial roof, it is not infrequent to find that the damage was caused by a tenant. For example, a tenant, three years ago, improperly installed an AC or satellite dish on the roof – without property manager’s permission and without a permit, the result being a slow leak that has damaged a large portion of the roof. The tenant can, in many cases, be held accountable. (I’ll write more on this subject in a later article.)

In summary, all that I am saying is that it is good business practice to hire an expert engineer when dealing with commercial roofing issues – proper decision making requires sufficient knowledge and there’s a lot of knowledge to know about commercial roofing.

By Shannon Duhon -ACRC (http://www.roofconsultant.net/) - Commercial Roof Consulting – Engineering – ACRC’s client base includes Home Depot, Mink & Mink, FAU, PS Business Parks – 954-742-9515

*RCI, the former Roof Consulting Institute, designates RRC’s (Registered Roof Consultants), RRO’s (Registered Roof Observers) and RWC’s (Registered Waterproofing Consultants).

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