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IMA Executive News & Views Blog

Plan Ahead: Maintenance and Inspection Programs for Your Roof

by David Shores

Tecta America Illinois Roofing is an IMA Member

Every year, winter seems to come without warning. The rapid change in temperature can promote failures to your roof system and building envelope. Protect your investment by creating a planned maintenance / inspection program to mitigate unforeseen costs to your capital and maintenance budgets. Every facility, no matter the size can benefit from instituting a maintenance policy that forecasts future issues, rather than responding to them. Creating such a policy involves the following criteria.

One, you have to get to know your building. Having a state of the art production line with spotless floors means very little if the roof has reached its serviceable life. Assigning someone to walk the roof and building perimeter twice a year, taking photos, can go a long way in avoiding costly surprises. If you don’t have a roof plan to use as a reference point for found deficiencies, you can utilize tools such as Google Earth to create a map. Marking problem areas ahead of time will save you the cost a contractor will charge searching for an issue.

Another important factor in knowing your roof concerns the warranty. Unlike siding and windows, a commercial roof system can receive warranties up to 30 years. Typically, all major manufacturers include two caveats within the language of their warranties. One, they require that the roof has a record of proper maintenance (cleaning out of drains, gutters, misc. debris, etc.) Two, that all repairs and or changes to the roof be performed by an authorized contractor familiar with their products. Not having a structured maintenance program gives manufacturers a reason to deny warranty claims.

Once you’ve mapped out a system for getting to know your building envelope, finding the trouble spots and marking their locations, you need to set up a schedule. It can be as easy as setting a reminder in Outlook or writing it down on a calendar. Whichever you choose, inspection dates should occur twice a year minimum. Here in Illinois, late fall and early spring seem to be ideal. Planning assessments prior to maintenance or capital budgets can help ensure funded repairs.

Lastly, you need a responsible and responsive contractor. While inspections and cleanup of your roof system can be self-performed, repairs should be made by a licensed professional. When looking for the right contractor, ask for references of projects similar to the roof type and size as your building. For warranty work, large repairs or replacements, contact the manufacturer for a list of qualified contractors to bid the work. Many contractors offer free assessments and or PMA’s (Preventative Maintenance Agreements) at a minimal cost to earn your business. Knowing their financial strength, years in business and insurability will help you make an informed decision in choosing a contractor.

In short, creating a maintenance plan for your roof and building envelope makes dollars and sense.  With a little investment in time, you can plan for and mitigate future expenditures, as well as keep up with current safety standards.


This article was written for the IMA by David Shores. For more information, click here.