Right and Wrong: Two Roofs in a Parallel Universe

Two Roofs, Different Outcomes

Some movies use time travel to show how one decision leads to a different outcome in a parallel universe.
Books tell tales of characters choosing one of two possible routes and describe both outcomes. Hey even in school we could read “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. The technique is classic and we’re using it here to show how one choice – act fast or wait – can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We’re here to talk about roofs – two roofs that were in the same situation that had very different outcomes.

Roof One

roof needs to be redone
In this case, the strata had their roof replaced seven years prior by a low-bid roofer. The material used for the roof was inexpensive and the work was done incorrectly.

roof leak
This client called us to investigate a leak in one of the units. We discovered the drywall was damp and investigated further. It didn’t take long to see what was happening.

saturated roof fibreboard
Due to incorrect vent and ducting installation, the fiberboard became saturated with water. We provided a quote to install breather vents to dry the roof without having to replace it.

The strata chose not to treat it as an emergency and it took a number of weeks for them to review the quote and make a decision. In that time the roof rotted and became unsalvageable. The difference between getting repairs done immediately and waiting four weeks will cost that strata almost $300k. And just think about that: that strata had just paid for a new roof seven years prior. This is going to hit them where it hurts.

Roof Two

water was found under the roof membrane
During a leak investigation we discovered water in the roof deck in 20 places. This was due to previous vent installations that were done incorrectly by a low-bid roofer.

water on roof vacuumed
We vacuumed the water and repaired the defected vents that were causing the water ingress.

breather vents
In this situation we were able to save the roof by installing breather vents. These vents are pulling moisture up out of the roof, drying it out, so the entire roof doesn’t have to be replaced.

It’s pretty obvious who made the right choice.  As a property manager, these choices can seem out of your control when a strata insists on putting off something that really is an emergency.

It’s also worth noting another lesson we can take from this story. In both cases, a low bid was chosen and the work done caused damage. Roof Two still had to pay around $40k for those breather vents. It’s not as expensive as having to get a roof replacement but if you add that to the original bill they paid the low-bidding roofer who incorrectly installed their roof vents, you’ll see the lowest bid is not the lowest cost.

Please share this story with your stratas and encourage them to embrace emergency decision making.

Now is the Time to Schedule Flat Roof Repairs

With spring fast approaching, the time to perform flat roof repairs and maintenance is on the horizon and gaining speed quickly. With the melting of snow and ice comes an abundance of water flow, meaning that any and all perforations in the Lower Mainland’s rooftops will soon be exposed. From mild water damage to structural collapse, the problems caused by an improperly functioning roof run the gamut from slightly annoying all the way to devastating.

When you factor in the increased rainfall that inevitably accompanies warmer weather patterns, the need for proper upkeep on commercial and residential roof tops becomes even more apparent. The unfortunate reality is that most building owners do not factor in flat roof repairs and maintenance until it is too late. By waiting until the first signs of trouble, people let the problem fester, accumulating far more damage than is necessary when compared to the bi-annual maintenance checks (which are recommended by most industry professionals).

In fact, most experts recommend holding a standing appointment with a reputable roofing company not only during the early part of spring each year, but also once in the fall. This approach ensures that melting snow and ice, along with accumulated rainfall, do not cause unnecessary damage in the spring, and that small fractures and permeations are repaired in the fall, before winter moisture has a chance to penetrate the openings. Once this occurs, the water will inevitably freeze and expand, causing a massive increase in the total cost of repairs.

Whether working with a standard rooftop or a flat roof, repairs and maintenance are the key to avoiding long-term issues that can eventually lead to tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in damages. From lost stock to lost operational hours, there are very few businesses that can afford to sustain the damage incurred by a faulty or damaged roof. As is the case with so many other of life’s problems, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is a dangerous mentality to take when it comes to rooftop repairs.

Source: Flickr's sean dreilinger

Source: Flickr’s sean dreilinger