The four tenets of roofing are good design, quality materials, proper installation and regular maintenance. We — the roofing industry — have known this for years. Let’s examine the opportunities that regular maintenance provides.
At its core, regular maintenance means roofs should last longer. Seeing small problems and repairing them before they become large and expensive, or not repairable at all, is intuitively the correct way to achieve long-term performance of a roof system. What else can a maintenance program mean to a roofing contractor? Maintenance can provide a consistent business component for your company; a service group can provide significantly to the bottom line. Two knowledgeable roofing persons can service a large quantity of roofs over the course of a year. Servicing just one roof a day means your service group can be on some 200 roofs a year (five days a week for 40 weeks, factoring in winter downtime).
And, not to be overlooked, maintenance is a terrific way to stay in contact with literally hundreds of roof owners. So that means maintenance is a means of marketing and a way to stay in contact with your clients. And what about future re-roofing? You can observe how these roofs change over the years and help an owner plan for a necessary re-roof. As the go-to roofing professional, you’ve likely established yourself not only as a trusted resource, but you’re probably first in line to submit a proposal.
However, the roofing industry understands convincing a building owner to do regular maintenance can be difficult. RoofPoint can help. RoofPoint, the Center’s rating system for roofs, is based on the four tenets of roofing, and it includes a credit for having a regular maintenance plan between an owner and the roofing contractor. Contractors can use the consensus-based RoofPoint Guidelines to show an owner that the roofing industry understands the importance of roof maintenance.
RoofPoint’s Durability/Life Cycle Management section includes very useful information. The “Intent” of the credit is:
“Establish and maintain a long-term quality partnership to perform inspection and maintenance of the roofing system and provide the building owner with an ongoing information resource for effective inspection and maintenance of the roofing system in order to help extend roof service life.”
The purpose of roof maintenance is to extend roof service life. The “Requirement” for a well-executed maintenance plan is:
“Compile and deliver to the owner a comprehensive Roof Inspection/Maintenance Manual. The manual shall include a recommended inspection/maintenance schedule, a sample inspection/maintenance checklist, detailed descriptions of necessary routine maintenance procedures, identification of common non-conforming conditions and recommended repair procedures.”
RoofPoint also includes the following explanation that should help convey to an owner the importance and significance of a maintenance plan.
“Numerous research studies suggest that a formal program of ongoing roof maintenance may significantly increase roof system service life, and as a result, significantly reduce overall environmental impact. This credit encourages the building owner to establish a long-term program for roof system maintenance based on established roofing industry practices and supported by a long-term partnership with a qualified roofing maintenance professional.”
Maintenance can certainly reduce the annual cost of a roof system when using life cycle cost analysis. A $100,000 roof that lasts 17 years (the roofing industry average) costs $5,882 per year. If a service contract totals $500 per year (e.g., two maintenance visits each year at $250 each), but extends the life of the roof to 25 years, then the annual cost is reduced to $4,500 per year ($100,000 + [25 x $500] ÷ 25 years). That’s a very noticeable reduction of annual costs, and a longer life reduces annual costs even more.
There are additional benefits beyond reducing yearly costs. The roof owner is proactively controlling costs, and there is an increased confidence that the roof will perform without unexpected maintenance for many years. This makes it much easier for an owner to plan for re-roofing and budget for that cost. What could be done every year with the saved money? Other projects? Or perhaps it’s invested? Investing nearly $1,400 each year for 25 years can really become a sizable amount.
Maintenance can be a win-win for the roofing contractor and the roof owner. Let’s change the discussion from lowest initial cost to lowest annual cost, and get those maintenance contracts on the roofs you install.