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Roof Management Cycles: Protecting Your Asset During Severe Weather Events

Membrane blow-offs are a nightmare for property owners, managers, and tenants. When they happen, they impact everything from tenant revenues, costs, and health and safety, altering the course of the asset’s profitability and value.

Exposed plywood deck due to roof membrane blow-off

Blow-offs have been an issue for the Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern states for some time. With climate change, these issues are increasingly frequent on the west coast and mountain states.

Having a roof that is designed and installed to meet or exceed possible wind speeds is obviously the best thing you can do, but not everyone has the luxury to do this. It is not easy, and it could be unrealistic for your financial picture.

Rest assured, there are still valuable steps you can take to mitigate risk and respond effectively.

With an effective response, hopefully, you may be able to avoid a long future of reactive roof maintenance and problems.

Blow-offs occur for a variety of reasons when the roof and building are impacted by high winds. While the concepts are many, the principles are few: these issues almost always boil down to design, installation quality, and maintenance quality, and a whole book can be written on the subject. Instead, we want to give you some tools you can use right away.

How you respond makes all the difference. So be prepared.

Here are a few things you can do now to prepare:

  • Ensure your roof file is up-to-date

    • Is your roof warranted? Does your warranty list a wind speed exclusion? What is that wind speed?

    • If your roof is warranted, are you completing the owner maintenance requirements and reporting those to the manufacturer? (Make sure you are! The time to find out that your warranty is not in force is decidedly NOT after a wind or weather event.)

    • If your roof is NOT warranted, what was the “design wind speed” of the existing roof?

    • Have you engaged a qualified contractor for annual maintenance, and a roof consultant for annual inspections? This is low-cost way to sleep well at night, and potentially avoid catastrophic costs, and put you in a proactive cycle.

  • Pre-Event Roof and Building Check: Weather is inbound, who will check the roof and what will they do? Having a simple plan to check that drains are clear, flashings are not open or loose, and that there are not loose objects on the roof can go a long way. If your building has bay doors, are those doors sealed and secured?

  • Do you have a response plan after an event? Is it posted so that maintenance teams and property management teams can find it? What if the event happens at night?Having a response plan in place will help you and your team respond effectively and efficiently. In your response plan, list:

  • Maintaining roofer point of contact

  • Warranty/Leak report line for the warranting manufacturer (if any)

  • Emergency contact (owner)

  • Tenant contacts

  • Who will walk the roof after the weather event? (make sure you address safety here! Two people should walk the roof, and it should be inspected from below to identify any holes in the deck/fall hazards) And what will they check and report? (Regardless of the condition of your roof, we highly recommend getting eyes on it after any weather event - especially if it involves high winds or heavy rain. (If you have one item in your response plan, this should be it!) If you don’t have a facilities team, engage your roofer or roof consultant. Getting early reports on any damage can save you money and reduce the risk of further damage to the roof.

Want to know more about how to manage your roof to manage costs, mitigate risks, and deliver a better experience for everyone? Schedule a consultation with us and we would be happy to help you. We specialize in cost-reducing, profit-generating, and liability-reducing roof management and serve owners across the country, and we are happy to be of service.

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