BUILDINGS - Smarter Facilities Management


Dealing with the Unusual

When the storm of the century hits, will your roof be ready?

By Richard L. Fricklas

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    A blocked roof drain is never a welcome sight. Is your in-house maintenance staff prepared to respond?

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    An in-depth understanding of the building envelope is vital for your team, so make sure they’re prepared to scope out damage after inclement weather.

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    Are you training new team members? Make sure they have access to important resources, such as repair guides, continuing education classes, and trade shows.

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    Staying on top of inspections and repairs likely helped the Denver Art Museum keep this leak from destroying the priceless items inside.

Record cold, several inches of rain overnight, damaging winds, regional power failures, building collapse from accumulated snow, or plugged drains.

It’s one thing to read about such things in the local newspaper, but quite another when it affects your building and its occupants.

How to Prepare
The secret to successful roof management begins with an assessment of existing roofs and their condition. This could be performed by skilled in-house personnel or an outside roof consulting firm.

Many years ago, the Corps of Engineers developed a roof management program called ROOFER to provide a uniform basis for evaluating existing roof systems. ROOFER also permitted setting priorities where critical use is involved. The Corps also updated their Unified Facilities Criteria (Roofing) in May 2012.

The audit of your roofs may reveal that your in-house maintenance staff is ill-prepared for a roofing emergency. While some of your staff might be familiar with the older bituminous roofing systems and have maintained an inventory of patching materials, they might well lack familiarity with the newer single ply and spray-in-place polyurethane roof systems.

Your maintenance program should include semi-annual inspections, plus new inspections after there has been construction activity on your roofs or new equipment (or photovoltaics) has been installed over your existing membranes.

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