Some weeks are more interesting than others. And some just move fast, and you get to the end and wonder, “Did I actually accomplish anything?” For me last week was the former and this week the latter.

Some weeks are more interesting than others. And some just move fast, and you get to the end and wonder, “Did I actually accomplish anything?” For me last week was the former and this week the latter.

 So this is about last week.

My role as editorial director for Roofing Contractor is really more about helping to set the tone for the publication while our superb team of editors does all the heavy lifting. Good thing I have managed to keep my day job. From time to time I still have the pleasure of spending some quality time with roofing contractors and their projects (maybe three or four a year) for the purpose of writing a feature article. Last week I spent time on three very interesting roofing projects.

Do not ask me why these things hit all at once; sometimes that is just how things work out. With any luck you will read about these three projects in future issues of Roofing Contractor.  There is the church job that came about as a combination of a hailstorm and a phenolic foam/steel deck mitigation claim; the metal roof on the roofing contractor’s riverfront home; and the restoration of the roof on the home General Sherman used as his headquarters at the terminus of his infamous march to the sea (as a Southerner I am obligated to maintain somewhat of a prejudice when writing about certain matters).

This brief report is not a teaser about the features (although I do hope they will prove worthy of a read) but about some of the takeaways. And I can scarcely think of a single roofing project in over 35 years that I have climbed down from without learning something.

The first site visit to the church project came by way of a helicopter tour. The roofing contractor on this project doubles as a pilot of the chopper his firm owns as part of their infrared surveying service. But that was not last week. Last week we visited the wrap-up of the project that included the removal and replacement of a tapered low-slope system.

The most interesting thing about the project to me was all the intrigue and politics that led to this particular contractor performing the work this particular way. This contractor is local, has been maintaining the low-slope sections of the buildings for years, and has a stellar reputation not only as a contractor but in the community at large. But owing to the claims process on the deck remediation he nearly lost the project to a contractor from out of state. Alas, I will not be reporting on everything that led to his winning the business, but will stick to the (still interesting) other aspects of the roofing process.

It is always fun to visit the worksite of a custom home. There are always one or more features that are over-the-top. This project, the home of a prominent commercial roofing contractor, is interesting on many levels. The construction ensued after the original home was destroyed by a flood when the Chattahoochee River rose some 30’ above its normal level. The home, built on concrete piers, is not outrageous by way of its size, but is an impressive series of unique spaces that come together in a design that truly fits within the natural surroundings. And it is capped with a standing-seam metal roof that we were able to witness being formed with the latest computerized forming equipment.

On this project I was reminded how complex construction can be. Tons of planning and design work followed by the orchestration of all the trades. The contractor overseeing all the work here is an artist and the knowledge and skills he possesses add a tremendous amount of value. Value that will play out not only in the successful execution of construction, but in the life of the structure.

On the other end of the spectrum, the refurbishment of the historic home in downtown Savannah,Georgia was a $1.3 million project that began over five years ago. It took a lot of planning, grant writing, and fundraising to redo the roof on this special structure. You will recognize the name of the roofing contractor performing the work here.

This project had many takeaways but the one I remember best is safety. The project was fully surrounded by scaffolds, and you do not have to be a safety expert to recognize a safe workplace. It is a good thing, too, because tours of the historic home continued as the work progressed. I probably remember this part the best because I was busted by the project coordinator for removing my hardhat to get into a better position for a photo. I should have known better. 

Comparing the two weeks - I managed to accomplish much more with the challenging (and overloaded) schedule (last week) than in the week spent driving the computer and phone from my office (this week). Not sure what the lesson is there. Forrest Gump (who sat on a bench not far from that Savannah house) might have said, “Busy is as busy does.”