Charles Dickens had it right, and 2009 will probably prove to be the best and worst that most of us building professionals have ever experienced.
On the downside, it's the economy (of course), the lack of consumer confidence, and the loss of jobs. Those of us with maintenance and operational responsibilities are being asked to do more, to hold costs down, and to plug along as best we can.
This column will explore two possibilities: outsourcing your roofing responsibilities or increasing your knowledge so that you're able to assume these responsibilities yourselves, preparing and prioritizing budgets, and anticipating problems before they occur. (In other words, hold things together until times get better.)
The Roof Consulting Industry has greatly matured over the past two decades. Certification programs are available, and the rooftop surveys these professionals conduct will detect potential roof problems while they're still small and economically repairable. The greatest benefit of these surveys to the building manager is in preparing for the worst, as capital funding may not be available to completely replace roofs that are failing. Also, in spite of all the attention now being focused on photovoltaics and the like, detecting leaks and keeping roof insulation dry is still a far better return on investment.
Increasing Your Roofing Skills
Acquiring resources can help you keep up with your roofing responsibilities. Many of these resources (listed here) are free, and don't require you to travel. Others offer online courses that may require tuition, but, on the other hand, they save you the cost of travel and time away from home. If you need to earn learning units, RCI educational credits, etc., these are generally available as well.
Web Resources Associated with the Commercial Roofing Industry
These resources are listed alphabetically. They're not all-inclusive, and this listing isn't intended to be an endorsement of any particular program. Visit these websites to get a feeling for what's out there.
AIR VENT INC.
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF STEEL CONSTRUCTION
APA-ENGINEERED WOOD TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION
ARCHITECT'S FIRST SOURCE FOR PRODUCTS
AMERICAN CONCRETE INSTITUTE
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS (ASCE)
ASPHALT ROOFING MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION (ARMA)
CLOSED CELL SPRAY FOAM INSULATION
D.C. TAYLOR CO.
ERA (EPDM Roofing Association)
INTL. CODE COUNCIL