Since the Great Recession of 2008, the commercial roofing market has been slow to recover. The limited amount of roofing that comes available is attacked by a multitude of companies that promise the world.
Many of these “roofers” pass themselves off as consultants and engineers that will help design the roof system for your building. Let’s be clear here. In order to say you offer consultant and engineer services, you have to be a licensed consultant and actually have an engineering degree. Installing commercial roofs for a few years doesn’t allow you to legally offer these services. You’ll find that out if you end up in court when the roof fails.
Obviously, having a lot of roofers bidding on the limited amount of work available makes for a very competitive price. The pressure to meet competitive numbers is causing these roofers to cheat where they can to meet their margins. One of the best ways to do that is to reduce the cost of the materials and the material that offers the best way to reduce costs is the rigid insulation.
Current mandated energy codes dictate that when a roof is removed to the deck or in new construction, the insulation’s R-value must be 30. Although this specification is in effect now, many code officials are allowing an R-20 to be used till 2017. What this means to the owner, is that instead of 3.5 inches of insulation, you now will be required to install 5.2 inches to achieve the R-30.
This is where cheating the code in an attempt to keep cost in check comes in. What better way to reduce your cost by telling an owner that 2 inches of insulation is acceptable and that the building department will “grandfather” its use. No problem especially when the go to get the permit and forget to mention it on the permit application.
Well, besides the fact that the law is being broken, you may be liable if the inspector finds that code is not being followed. Many of these roofers slip in a note in their proposals stating that if the specification presented is rejected, you’ll have to pay to make it right. What if the roof is already being installed? That’s right, it will have to be removed to make it right!
Much like taxes, you may pay them not because you want to but rather it’s the law. The code is clear and the building inspectors job is to enforce the mandated codes.
To protect yourself ask the roofer who offers engineering and consultant services to provide a copy of their licenses for the “free” services they offer.
When it comes to the R-value of the system being installed, ask for certification from both the manufacturer of the roof system and the town’s building inspector. If the roofer is telling the truth, he’ll be more than happy to provide it.
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