10 Things You Need to Know When Reroofing a High-Rise

September 16, 2015

Thorough project coordination is a must when roofing a multi-story metropolitan building. Here are some tips and information to help your reroofing project go smoothly.

  1. Don’t expect a quick estimate. Your roofing contractor will need to collect information about building access, security, work restrictions, parking, and quite possibly even the city noise ordinance. It can take them up to a month (or more) to compile an accurate estimate once the project plan is complete.
  2. Permits are required. While the requirements are different in every city, permits must be secured for parking, blocking sidewalks, using a crane, shutting down streets, and rerouting traffic.
  3. Traffic control may be necessary. If streets need to be closed due to disposal of tear-off or staging and loading materials, your roofing contractor may subcontract out traffic control to place signage of the proper dimensions and reflectivity to notify motorists of a detour.
  4. Call cellular companies early. If you have cell towers on your roof, the company you’ve leased that space to is usually responsible for lifting and moving them. Be sure and schedule well in advance of your project start date.
  5. The crew may need to work at odd hours. If the building is apartments or a hotel, roofing crews may have a later start so as not to wake occupants. If the facility is an office, night work may be necessary to minimize disruption.
  6. The freight elevator may be a good idea … or not. While removing the old roof and taking it down a freight elevator and out the building may seem like the most economical disposal method, it may require significantly more labor than using a crane and skip box or tear-off tarp. Interior spaces will also need to be protected from potential damage if the freight elevator is used.
  7. Think about staging. Choose wisely when considering where the crew can place roofing materials during the project. Can they block a designated loading zone? Is there space at the building’s perimeter? Or can the parking garage be used?
  8. Don’t forget to consult security. The crew may need to pass through locked doors, stairwells, and elevators or even leave exterior doors ajar as materials are loaded and unloaded. It’s best to talk with the security team about whether additional guards, security badges, or codes are necessary.
  9. Wind is a problem. Given that the wind on the roof can be 10 to 50 mph stronger than on the ground, high winds could shut down work for the day. Special measures like catch-fence or windscreen are necessary to prevent lightweight materials or debris from being blown over the edge.
  10. Make a phone call to the fire chief. Because it make take longer for first responders to arrive on the scene after a laborer is injured or falls and is restrained, make sure crews are trained to administer First Aid and CPR and give the local fire chief a heads-up before the project even begins.