Your Commercial Roof Is Leaking. Now What?
Any property manager will attest to the headaches caused by a commercial roof leak. All roof leaks, whether they are small or large, create problems for property managers, tenants, and building owners. They can be hard to find, expensive to fix, and cause major damage. As a result, every property manager must know what to do when a commercial roof leak is first reported.
Quickly responding to leaks can help minimize their overall impact on a property. When a commercial roof leak is discovered or reported, three important steps are prioritizing safety, contacting a commercial roofing contractor, and protecting property.
More than anything else, property managers must prioritize safety when a roof leak is discovered. Property managers should never climb onto the roof and attempt to find the source of the leak themselves. This can be incredibly dangerous and potentially deadly, especially if the leak is discovered severe storms.
Similarly, they should not ask untrained maintenance or engineering staff to go onto the roof. Finding a commercial roof leak can be incredibly challenging and require special safety equipment. Plus, finding the leak will not solve the problem, since property managers are not equipped to fix or patch the roof.
Once water is coming through the roof, property managers (and tenants) must focus on protecting property. Water can be extremely destructive. This is true regardless of property type. Water intrusions can destroy insulation, building materials, wood, carpet, furniture, and electronics. Once a leak is discovered, and water is penetrating the building envelope, property managers must work to protect any and all property.
While it’s a commonly used cliché, placing a bucket underneath a leak to collect water is actually a good move. In addition to this step, property managers can use tarps or plastic sheeting to cover furniture and electronics in the area. This will help prevent them from getting wet and developing mold.
Find & Fix Leaks
Since property managers should not attempt to find or fix roof leaks, it is crucially important they contact a commercial roofing contractor. A trained professional roofer will be able to safely climb onto the roof, identify the source of the leak, and provide solutions.
In the event a roofing contractor is unable to find the cause of the leak, property managers should reach out to a building envelope consult. These specialty consultants, required by law in most areas to be licensed Professional Engineers, are experts at finding roof leaks. If necessary, they can use infrared technology to find leaks. Once they find a leak, they can usually work with the roofing contractor to facilitate a solution.
Preventing Commercial Roof Leaks
Unfortunately, there is no way to permanently stop or prevent commercial roof leaks. There are many factors, such as intense weather, that can’t be controlled. Plus, all roofing systems have a useful life and eventually break down due to constant exposure to the elements. As a result, the chances of a roof leaking always increase over time. Property managers, can, however, take steps to help prevent roof leaks. Two of the most important steps are annual roof inspections and preventative roof maintenance.
Annual Roof Inspections
Annual roof inspections are an important first step in preventing roof leaks. Property managers need to understand the condition of the roof at each property in their portfolio. This is especially true for property managers taking over a new property. Most commercial roofing contractors provide inspection services, and the process is actually easier than ever before thanks to drone technology.
After the inspection, property managers should request a summary report highlighting short term and long term risks. Once the condition of the roof is understand, property managers can be proactive in reducing the chances of a leak.
Preventative Roof Maintenance
Preventative roof maintenance is all about being proactive and addressing minor issues before they become major problems. With a professional roof report in hand, property managers can start building a short term and long term roof maintenance plan. Short term maintenance can include minor repairs of cracks and blisters in the roofing membrane or replacing loose shingles. Long term maintenance items can include budgeting for a commercial roof coating or replacing all the flashing around rooftop mechanical equipment.
Get A Commercial Roof Quote
Property managers with roofing issues at their property can use Property Manager Insider’s BidSource to request a commercial roof quote from our network of qualified roofing contractors. Just fill out the form below and our team will connect you with a commercial roofer ready to assist with your project.