I find myself at a very interesting stage in life: hurling through my middle-60s at a pace much faster than when I went through my twenties. The pace makes it exciting, but the fact that I continue to learn really intrigues me. The cost of my continuing education, however, can sometimes be high.
My latest educational opportunity was the rehab of my mom’s condo. If I had been on the outside of the situation instead of being one with the connection to the mother I dearly love, I might have given myself different advice.
I won’t bore you with all the details and will get right to the point. Instead of hiring a general contractor buddy of mine to run this project, I (in charge of the project from 350 miles away) chose to involve my siblings to assist with planning, sourcing and overseeing the work.
The thing is, they’re a creative lot, and they all have great ideas. And it’s their mother, too, so they should have a say in this project. But trying to run a show from afar is best not done by committee. My sisters and brothers all had to work too hard, and there were about 5,000 more emails than this project would have otherwise required.
The job will be complete soon, and Mom will move in, and it will be just great. My siblings and I are all still on speaking terms. The cost may or may not have been different if I had turned the whole thing over to a professional contractor (the hassle factor notwithstanding). But next month or next year or two years from now when something breaks or leaks or whatever, we’ll be missing that one important ingredient in a complex project: a single point of contact.
Most roofing projects are the same in that they bring in multiple materials and often even multiple construction disciplines to get to a suitable point of conclusion. Even more than a membrane roofing and insulation system, garden roofs and roofs with solar panels present unique challenges when it comes to pulling disparate skills and materials together.
We’ve recently been hearing from roof-membrane and waterproofing manufacturers touting all-encompassing warranties for garden-roofing systems. These warranties are said to provide the owner with wrap-around protection for the watertight integrity of the system as well as the garden systems on top.
Roofing manufacturers have been offering full-system warranties for years that cover anything and everything to do with the membrane roofing systems, including skylights, flashings and edge systems. This approach assures owners that their warranties will work for them, and it virtually eliminates the finger-pointing that can result from failures in building systems that are attached to other building systems.
Similarly, and perhaps to an even greater extent, bringing the “garden” and the “roof” under the same warranty umbrella makes very good sense, and I believe it would be wise for roofing contractors engaged in this kind of work to obtain whatever credentials they need to provide this turnkey service. And recommend it to owners. In other words, “Do as I say, not as I do.”