6 Roofing Project Site Considerations: What You Don’t Know

May 12, 2022

You’re ready for the roofing project, but is the jobsite? We’ve identified six things that may not be on your radar (but they’re definitely on your roofing contractor’s).

No. 1 Space is tight.

Make sure you’ve considered where the contractor’s vehicles and roofing materials will be located while the project is underway. You can expect the crew to arrive in between two and five trucks; make sure you’ve planned where they can park. It isn’t just the trucks that’ll be taking up space; expect a trailer, rough terrain forklift, mobile elevating work platform (MEWP), dumpster, and crane. Additionally, a semi-truck will be delivering materials. All of these vehicles will be vying for space adjacent to your building in the parking lot/garage.

Talk with your roofing contractor about the space you can allot. “We usually get small staging areas,” explains Mike Poorman, Project Manager, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA. “Customers need the room too. They’d love to have everything on the roof, but we can’t do that. Sometimes we have to schedule materials in if they’re coming in by semi. We take what we need for the week and deliver a little at a time.”

No. 2 The roofing equipment is in the way.

For manufacturing, food processing, and distribution facilities especially, having a roofing crew obstructing dock doors and truck and train traffic can really impact operations. Additionally, when a crane loads materials, that area should be clear. “If you’re craning over a building with people, customers should make sure everyone is evacuated,” notes Poorman. Pre-planning and open communication with the project manager and project supervisor can minimize disruption and frustration, as well as keep everyone safe.

Your roofing contractor can coordinate with train operators if it is necessary to obstruct the track. The earlier that concerns are raised, the much smoother the project will go. Project managers can schedule their work and plan the project to keep facility/plant operations rolling.

No. 3 Who’s got the power?

It’s likely your roofing contractor will tie-in to your facility’s power source with a 220 or 480 hookup, thanks to the help of an electrician. That may not always make sense, though, like in a retail environment when you don’t want power costs passed along to a particular tenant. When that happens, your roofing contractor may use a generator. Be aware though, that this solution will smell and be loud.

The other power concern for your roofing contractor is overhead lines. “There are three things that can be done: shut it off and drop the line, blanket the line, or monitor it so no one comes close to the line,” says Poorman. If the utility is unwilling to cover the line in an insulating blanket and shutting off power is not possible, the crew must take extra precautions when using metal on the roof to avoid electricity arcing from the line. A monitor will be assigned to watch and warn crew of this hazard.

No. 4 The crew needs access to the site, roof, and restrooms.

As much as you want to keep the roofing crew outside, that’s where they’d prefer to be too. While access via an outdoor ladder, stairs, or MEWP is most often the means onto the roof, there are times when access from inside the building is necessary. In those situations, flooring should be covered to protect against dirt and debris that could be tracked in. Security access will also need to be granted. “Customers can usually just give you one pass. Starting and ending the day and lunch, you all go in and out together. Usually, the project supervisor has the security key,” Poorman explains.

On most projects, a portable toilet and handwashing station will be rented for the duration of the job. If for some reason that’s not possible, make sure that the roofing crew has access to restroom security codes.

No. 5 Protect from damage caused by the roofing process.

If the roofing contractor is doing deck replacement and the facility is food processing, manufacturing, healthcare, laboratory, etc., interior protection is a must. Be aware, though, that the plastic protection may make the interior environment darker if it hangs below the light fixtures.

If your contractor is using a roof coating, you’ll also need to consider protecting parked vehicles that are nearby. Wind is a concern. Screens and fencing can be used to minimize overspray, but vehicles should be relocated as a precaution.

No. 6 Is the roof safe?

If your facility is venting air from the covid-19 ward, releasing steam, or venting potentially hot or dangerous substances on the roof, it’s necessary to discuss these dangers with your roofing contractor. Likewise, if you have ammonia lines on the roof, the roofing crew will need to take extra precautions and have a plan for where to evacuate.

A professional roofing contractor will do their best to elicit this information at or before the pre-construction meeting, but don’t assume they know if they didn’t ask.

Schedule reroofing or maintenance today. Call us at 319.731.4118.

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