Tips for Roofing Project Management Success

Submitted by Paul Casseri, member of the Communication, Marketing and Education Committee for ARMA

As a professional facility manager, you’re responsible not only for overseeing building construction projects that affect your business’ bottom line but also for the safety of your employees and occupants.  Below are several tips that can help you manage a successful roofing project after a contractor has been selected for the job.

Project Scope is Key

First, begin with a proper and well-communicated project scope. A thorough plan enables you to fully understand all of the components of the roofing project and allows the contractor to establish accurate pricing estimates. Missing one item can impact the project, as well as possibly affect the system performance and/or warranty coverage.

Be sure to review all details with the contractor prior to beginning the project, including work to be performed, safety expectations and warranty details.  Depending on the complexity and length of the project, you should plan regular meetings with the contractor where you can review the schedule and address any issues or change orders that might arise. 

Adhere to Building Codes

Building codes govern the roofing process. It is imperative to observe all local building codes, and to coordinate code requirements with manufacturer installation guidelines. Discrepancies between codes and manufacturer recommendations should be resolved prior to starting the project. The contractor will need to take this into consideration and should review all applicable building codes with you prior to starting the project.

Technology's Role in Roofing

There are a number of different types of technology that you may encounter when working with contractors, including aerial measurement tools and mobile applications from asphalt roofing manufacturers. 

Aerial roof measurement tools allow contractors to gather technical data and even mock-up what a roofing project might look like. These reports can collect detailed renderings using aerial photos, such as geographic databases and land records. Software then matches up edges, colors and shapes to create a three-dimensional image of the roof. This provides a report that contractors can review prior to ordering the material needed for the job.

Manufacturers have also embraced new technology to help you envision your roof project. It’s an ultimate show-and-tell. These applications allow facility managers to see and change surface colors for low-slope roofs and shingle colors and styles for steep-slope roofs.  The show-and-tell technology can be used on pre-selected structures or on a photo of the actual project. With just a few easy steps, you can design the look of a new roof and digitally save each one you create for easy reference.

Good Housekeeping

Facility managers should have a conversation with contractors about the expectations they have regarding clean work spaces. Keeping a clean jobsite can help deliver a safe work environment and encourage a positive experience with your building occupants.  After all, your business needs to carry on while a new roof is being installed.  Discuss with the contractor your expectations regarding loud music, offensive language or other unacceptable behavior on the jobsite that you feel should be noted and addressed in advance. 

A pre-determined point-of-access to the roof for installers and materials, properly cordoned off on ground level, will help to keep pedestrians and employees away from materials and potentially unsafe situations during the re-roofing process. You will also want to have a clear understanding of where dumpsters will be placed and how debris will be handled during the job. Tear-off debris and dropped or scattered fasteners or nails on the jobsite can result in personal injury or property damage, especially near walkways, parking areas, roadways, or driveways.  While personal injury must be avoided at all costs, property damage can generally be repaired (albeit at some cost). However, preventing these issues in the first place is ideal.

Good housekeeping also means informing building occupants and tenants of proposed job schedules and daily work hours.  A memo to occupants can help prevent occupant inconvenience during a project. 

Prepping for Success Starts with the Weather

One factor that you cannot control is the weather. It can play a significant role in any construction project and can impact the project timeline. The contractor might adjust start times and work days based on temperature conditions, adverse weather and extended forecasts. Disregarding the weather can lead to project delays, unsafe work conditions, or even water damage inside your structure, but with a little planning (and flexibility) you can better manage anything Mother Nature throws your way.

Make Safety a Top Priority

Of all the guidelines a good facility manager must follow, jobsite safety tops the list. You could see your business fined or a project stopped because of a serious safety incident. Work with your contractors to follow safety regulations, and never cut corners on safety procedures. By following proper Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state governing body guidelines and procedures, your contractor can help avoid serious injury or death.

Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction workers, according to OSHA. These deaths and injuries are preventable. Contractors are required to implement a mandatory safety policy on all jobs and to train and provide needed safety equipment for all workers. It’s vitally important that you discuss worker safety with your roofing contractors. Ignoring safety procedures makes it all the more likely that an accident could happen. It is also important to understand your contractor’s liability insurance because you could be held accountable for any liability that their company is unable to cover.  A project’s specification should provide minimum requirements for contractor’s liability insurance.  A project performed without a thorough specification can increase the building owner’s liability.

Perform a Post Installation Walk-Through

Review the original project scope with the contractor and complete a walk-through of the work performed. It’s important that you inspect the work with the contractor before signing off on the job and making any final payment. There are often a few items (a punchlist) that require review after a project is substantially complete.  Withholding a small portion of the payment helps ensure the punchlist items will be accomplished. Make sure all debris and materials are cleaned up, dumpsters removed, tools collected, and any outstanding issues addressed.

Obtain all project documents from the contractor, including material and labor warranties, as well as product style/color information. These documents will be necessary if any future renovations are needed or issues arise. It’s best to keep a project file with all documents for easy review in the future.

A successful asphalt roofing project is founded on communication and making smart decisions. Provide a detailed installation plan and make sure the contractor follows its guidelines. These tips can expedite a project’s development and create a successful outcome for all parties involved.