Delegating responsibility for roofing work

Articles > Delegating responsibility for roofing work

One important aspect of preconstruction meetings is delegating authority for each task and hammering through what is to happen if the schedule backs up. If the agreements achieved at this meeting are put on paper, they can be a very strong tool for dealing with three major types of problems that can arise after a project hits the roof deck: disputes over a lack of clarity of details and assigned responsibility for tasks at complex areas of the roof; disputes over construction management, the overlapping of the trades, and breakdowns in communication; and cost overruns. Making a firm rule that you will always get a grip on all of these potential situations during precontract negotiations, on a regular basis, can be a big step toward continual profits for your business and preventing construction defect litigation in the future.

For the roofing contractor specifically, these meetings contribute to the precise details of the roofing contract, which stipulates procedures and protections for the roofing firm. All parties involved in the design and construction of the roof system must recognize and meet their responsibilities in order to achieve a proper roofing system. No link in this chain of responsibility must be broken.


Owner Responsibilities

The building owner is the first link in the responsibility chain. The owner’s first obligation is to achieve a proper roofing system for the building. The best roof, as determined by the architect, must be accepted and paid for by the owner.

Most owners are not knowledgeable about roofing systems and specifications. Usually they defer to the architect’s recommendations. The owner has the additional responsibility of not limiting the architect in the selection of the roofing system and insulation purely because of budgetary concerns. Decisions based solely on price often result in failed roofs.

Once a roof system is accepted, the owner’s responsibilities become more limited until the building is accepted and the maintenance program begins. The owner’s maintenance responsibilities cannot be overemphasized. An ongoing maintenance program must be developed and followed throughout the life of the building. Ignoring roof maintenance is the same as absolving all other parties from their responsibilities.


Architect Responsibilities

Legal authorities claim that roofs and foundations are the two structural components most likely to lead to a lawsuit involving the architect. So the architect’s motive for designing the proper roofing system is twofold: self-preservation and the best interests of and concern for the client.

Get to know the architects who do business in your market area. Speak to other contractors to determine the architects who consistently produce quality work with accurate details, and those whose work is suspect or refused by other contracting firms. Challenge the architect’s plans if they do not meet with generally accepted roofing practices. If the plans are sound, the architect will have no trouble clarifying any questions that may arise about the design elements of the structure.

Manufacturer Responsibilities

All roofing materials have limitations. Manufacturers know their products’ limitations and are required to accurately represent their line. Manufacturers must be willing to certify their materials. If the materials meet the appropriate standards, certification is not unreasonable. If the materials do not have standards, that too should be verified by the manufacturer. With materials such as bitumens, certification to standards is a must.


Roofing Contractor Responsibilities

The idealized concept of the perfect application of any roofing system has never occurred. With any construction project, there are just too many factors that prevent installations from being completed without any situations that some might consider flaws. Roofing is not performed in a hermetically sealed laboratory—it is vulnerable to dozens of rugged conditions. The responsibility of the roofing contractor is to recognize the many difficult situations specific to the structure, and then to make every attempt to overcome those problems.

The foundation of any high-quality roofing firm is knowledgeable, conscientious supervisory personnel and properly trained work crews. Organized apprenticeship programs can result in work crews that are trained in the contractor’s procedures to ensure consistent performance on every job, regardless of which crew performs the work.

Contractors must inform the architect in writing of any recommended changes that they feel are in the best interest of the project. This notification should be made immediately upon discovering that a change is required. Never install a roof that is inadequate—your integrity is always a very important part of your life. And nothing causes business to drop off faster than a failed roofing system and an unhappy client.

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