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How to Address 5 Consequences of Roof Leaks

Posted on 2/27/2015 10:04 AM by Anthony Vross

Make infrared inspections part of your maintenance program. PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Roofing
Roof leaks. The mother of all maintenance concerns that property managers and building owners face.

Roof leaks equate to time and expenses that you might not have budgeted for. They’re a nuisance to deal with so when you spot a potential problem during a routine inspection, you might be tempted to put off the repair figuring “I’ll deal with that later. I think I have more pressing needs demanding my attention.”

Well, this article is about stressing the importance of dealing with leaks right away. Even at the point of inspection, it pays to have the technician address minor repair needs while he’s there, saving on the time and expense of a subsequent service call.

If you wait until the water starts dripping, you risk higher repair costs and the added expense of interior damage. Plus, that puts you in a reactionary mode forcing you to wait for the repair technician to arrive. Tick tock.

How can something so physically small cause such large problems? Beyond the damage to the roof itself, roof leaks can create several major headaches inside the building. Called “consequential damage,” these issues are unlikely to be covered by any roofing system warranty, and if left to fester, the cost of addressing these issues can be exponentially higher than what it would have cost to proactively maintain your roof in the first place.

Here are five common forms of consequential damage from roof leaks: 

1) Ceiling tiles falling and causing damage to inventory: It doesn’t take much of a leak before water causes walls, floors and ceilings to deteriorate to the point it also damages inventory, furniture and equipment inside the building. Now the leak is impacting your ability to sell, manufacture or simply perform work.

  • What to do: It’s most important to determine the source of the leak to temporarily stop the water intrusion, so first check the most common leak points: missing flashing, cuts, tears, holes and open seams.

2) Slip and falls: It’s rarely a good sign when someone from human resources gets involved in your maintenance business, but that’s precisely what can happen when water from roof leaks causes slip and fall hazards – i.e. workers’ comp claims – inside the building. Litigation risks worsen if the building is one where customers would be present. 

  • What to do: To prevent slips and falls due to wet flooring, make sure you take immediate action to clean up the water, mark off the affected area, post “wet floor” signage and use absorbent mats. 

3) Wet insulation: When insulation gets wet it does a number on your utility costs. It goes from being an insulator, saving you money, to a conductor, costing you additional money to heat and cool the building. 

  • What to do: Identifying wet insulation before it gets to the point of becoming a major issue typically involves infrared scans. Make infrared inspections a regular part of your routine maintenance program to save considerable dollars in the long run. Remove any wet insulation you find, and replace it with the same R-value thickness.

4) Mold/insects/contamination: Further, wet insulation is a breeding ground for mold, and it’s not uncommon to find instances of mold and bacteria growth in and around a roof system resulting from leaks. Insect infestation is another potential consequence. Costs to mitigate mold or exterminate insects can add up, not to mention code violations and disruptions to business operations. 

  • What to do: Your first step should be to further inspect the area to try and identify the extent of the mold and the source of the leak. No mold remediation is complete without locating and repairing any remaining building leaks, and no roof repair/restoration is quality work if it involves covering over mold contamination. 

5) Acceleration of the age of the roof: The key to managing roof-related expenses is to get the most service life out of the roof as you can. You want to avoid costly replacements as long as possible through timely and disciplined maintenance, repairs and restorations. Water that penetrates the roof through a leak gets under the roof membrane and damages the deck, seams and mechanical fasteners, which in turn compromises your roof. In colder climates this can lead to ice formation under the laps, which, through expansion, further stresses the building and roof. 

  • What to do: Seek information on roof asset management programs that not only include visual and infrared analyses, but also extensive testing of the roof membrane, to calculate a roof’s service life expectancy and determine whether roof replacements can be delayed through cost effective restorations and/or repairs.

Roof leaks are no joke. Water is the silent enemy of roof systems, and it’s no picnic once it gets inside the building, either. Properly maintain and inspect your roofs. Have a reliable, trustworthy contractor on speed dial and don’t hesitate to make the call. 

Anthony Vross is co-owner of Simon Roofing, reach him at 800-523-7714. 

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Cloud-Based Facilities Management Software: Empowering Facility Managers

Posted on 2/24/2015 9:50 AM by Steven Rawlins

PHOTO CREDIT: OfficeSpace Software
If you ask most modern HR and accounting departments whether they do their jobs using spreadsheets, printouts and post-it notes, they would probably laugh. Dedicated software, often cloud-based, is now a standard-issue tool for these departments to work efficiently and most would not be able to function without it. Why then, are so many facility management teams still using outdated tools like CAD printouts and spreadsheets to keep track of what is often a company’s most valuable assets: people and space?

The answer could lie in the first software solutions that came along to help facility managers plan and allocate office space. These legacy IWMS (integrated workplace management systems) or other CAFM (computer aided facilities management) applications are large, cumbersome packages, often closely associated with CAD. While certainly a step up from a paper and pencil approach, these are not easy systems to use and can be expensive both in up-front costs and ongoing maintenance.

Installation and deployment of legacy enterprise facilities software is difficult and time-consuming with many projects taking months if not years to complete due to complex customizations or workarounds for the software to play nicely with an organization’s existing applications. The complicated nature of these legacy enterprise software packages means while the cost is large, often only a small fraction of features are actually used, while full training can be lengthy requiring heavy investment by companies. The lengthy training required can lead to reliance on a single individual who is specialized in using the tool, creating bottlenecks in productivity – and what happens if that person leaves the organization?

Things have come a long way in the world of facilities management software. With the general trend towards cloud-based applications, or SaaS (Software as a Service), FM teams now have access to tools that are easy to use and much easier on the company bank account.

One beneficial aspect of SaaS is the setup process, which can take IT teams just hours or days instead of months. The burden for the IT team in general is massively reduced: there is one code base so you are always on the latest version, and the software is maintained and supported by the specialists who built it. A major SaaS advantage is that the organization can determine value rapidly. Does the software positively impact your facilities team? You’ll know in weeks, rather than years.

While SaaS facility management tools usually start with CAD files, once these are loaded into the software facility managers can use a standard web browser to navigate their floor plans, track resources and share accurate information with the entire organization (such as who sits where and company wayfinding maps), execute move orders by dragging-and-dropping, and run reports easily to track square footage costs, assignments and usage, all without requiring CAD skills. The software takes away the grunt work, so you can focus on the real facility management decisions.

Good SaaS facilities management software should be easy enough to use that full training takes a couple of hours via a videoconference and screen sharing session.  Most modern web-based facility management software operates just like web applications employees are already used to, using familiar methods like dragging and dropping, for example when an employee is moved from one desk to another.

The most successful SaaS applications, not just in facilities management but also in the wider business software world, are those that identify a few key problems and solve them incredibly well, focusing on the user experience, rather than trying to lump everything into one large and complicated package. SaaS products can be a flexible and dynamic tool that evolves and grows with your organization’s size and needs, and scalable pricing models can enable smaller organizations to take advantage of the software early, then upgrade when necessary.

Whereas legacy systems often price by square foot (thus billing for space like warehousing and common areas) modern systems tend to be more inclusive in their pricing and may offer pricing based on the number of employees. The ability to cancel the service if desired, without being locked in to a long term contract, is also a very important factor to be considered.

Cloud-based FM software shifts the IT burden of setting up and maintaining an enterprise facility management application from the business to the software provider, enabling facilities teams to benefit, and benefit immediately, from the provider’s latest features without the disruptions and cost traditionally associated with older enterprise software. SaaS is empowering facility managers in ways that legacy software never could, allowing them to do their jobs more efficiently and more accurately than ever before.

Steven Rawlins is marketing manager at OfficeSpace Software, reach him at srawlins@officespacesoftware.com

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