No matter how it’s designed and installed, every commercial roof eventually needs to be replaced — no roof lasts forever. So when it’s time to replace yours, what should the people who work in your building expect during the re-roofing process? How might it impact the work environment? And what kind of advance planning should you do?
Here are some potential disturbances and how to minimize them:
Understanding the re-roofing process
The re-roofing process typically occurs in four basic stages:
1. Removing the materials that will be replaced
2. Applying the roof insulation
3. Applying the roof membrane and related flashing and drainage components
4. Final cleanup and inspection
How long each of these stages takes depends on the size of your building and the size of your contractor’s crew. If you have a small roof and a big crew, the process will go faster — and any disturbances might be able to be taken in stride more easily. Make sure to give workers and tenants plenty of warning and include dates and times that the work will be completed, including information about contingency plans in case it rains. Even the best-laid roofing plans are at the mercy of the weather.
Common disturbances during re-roofing
There are four main disturbances that occur during the re-roofing process
1. Odor from solvents used to remove old roofing or as adhesives for new roof products
2. Noise from tearing away old roof materials and installing new ones
3. Technicians accessing the roofing system and working around the building
4. Use of large trash receptacles, usually in the parking lot, for removed roofing materials
Depending on the type of roofing system that’s being installed and the roofing contractor’s particular installation procedure, these disturbances can range from relatively minor to exceptionally annoying — those who work on floors closest to the roofing system are most likely to be disturbed.
Ways to reduce disturbances
Thankfully, there are some relatively simple ways that building occupants can reduce or eliminate these disturbances:
● Ask the contractor to use odor-free solvent that has no hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Odor-free solvents not only disturb people less, they’re better for the environment.
● Install a roof that requires less hammering or mechanical attachment.
● Ask your roofing contractor about performing at least some of the work outside of normal business hours. You can also request that contractors park their vehicles in areas that minimize the impact on people who work in your building. Reputable roofing contractors will do what they can to accommodate special requests and schedules.
● Ensure that the trash receptacle is placed so it doesn’t get in the way of vehicles. Also, delivering and picking up the receptacles can be a noisy process so ask if this can be done outside of normal work hours as well.
Depending on the roofing contractor you choose, some or all of these remedies may be possible. The key is to figure out which types of disturbances are likely to occur before you start the project. Once the project is underway, it’s a lot harder to try and get the contractor to change what they’re doing. Your best bet is to talk about each stage of the re-roofing process with each contractor you consult. You’ll be able to tell which contractors are most responsive to your need to reduce disturbances.
Choose a roofing contractor who respects your needs
There are some aspects of re-roofing process that will disturb the usual routine at your building — there’s no way around that. How your contractor chooses to deal with potential disturbances gives you insight into what that contractor will be like to work with throughout your relationship, from the re-roofing process through the contractor warranty period and for any maintenance work and repairs in the future. A roofing contractor that respects your needs is one that wants to earn your business for the long term.