The DOs and DON’Ts of Evaluating Roofing Contractors

September 19, 2023

Several factors will influence the success of your next roofing project. Perhaps the most important one is who you hire. If you’re not sure how best to evaluate roofing contractors, we’ve got some tips.

DO: Ask the roof system manufacturer for recommendations.

Use roof system manufacturers as a resource. Contact the manufacturer of your current roofing system (or the system you plan to install) and ask for a list of their top-tier roofing contractors. They often offer suggestions based on high scores from past project inspections.

DON’T: Neglect to check that contractors are licensed in your state.

With a list of potential contractors in hand, make sure they are licensed in your state and that their registration is up to date (i.e., they have provided proof of compliance with unemployment tax and worker’s compensation requirements).

Finding out where a contractor is licensed to work is especially helpful if you have several properties spread throughout the country. If a contractor has widespread geographic capabilities, you can single-source all your roofing to them. In addition to licensure, make sure the contractor has commercial general liability insurance to protect you from liability (e.g., job site accidents).

DO: Review a contractor’s workplace incident records.

Ask contractors to state their incident rates (TIR, LWDIR, EMR) or provide a copy of OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping forms (OSHA Form 300, 300A, and 301). It can also be helpful to request an explanation of recent occurrences and the contractor’s actions post-violation or incident. Not every roofing contractor has a robust safety program. Dig for specifics. Ask about whether they have a designated safety professional, employee certifications, what training and inspections are done, and how often.

DON’T: Assume a roofing contractor has relevant experience.

To help predict the success of your project, make sure the roofing contractor of your choosing has experience with the specific roofing system (e.g., built-up, single-ply, spray polyurethane foam, etc.) you want to be installed. Also, ask about whether they have worked at similar facilities doing similar projects. A hospital has a very different set of work requirements than a downtown high-rise or an industrial manufacturing facility.

DO: Ask what kind of services the contractor performs.

If it’s time for a new roof, make sure the contractor that installs the new system also has the capabilities to help you maintain it. And if the roof doesn’t have permanent fall protection, ask if they can install equipment to bring you into compliance with OSHA regulations. Look for a partner that can service all your roof needs during its life.

DON’T: Ignore the pre-qualification services your company uses.

Services like ISNetworld; BROWZ LLC; Avetta; or First, Verify to name a few can help you manage risk when hiring contractors, meet record-keeping needs, ensure regulatory and corporate compliance, and make connections with qualified contractors. These sites collect information on environmental health and safety, procurement, regulatory information, employee data, etc.

DO: Check references.

Call past customers. Their experience will help you not only decide who to contract with but also predict how the project will be executed (e.g., housekeeping, communication, project management). If you don’t trust the references a contractor provides, do your own sleuthing. Ask peers when you’re at industry association meetings (e.g., IFMA, BOMA, etc.)  if they have any experience working with the contractor.

DON’T: Contract based on price alone.

Viewing roofing as a commodity rather than a service means judging the proposed project, contractor, and scope of work solely on price, rather than performance, skills, experience, safety, etc. The quality of the roof system cannot be determined solely by price. At any price, a roof system installed poorly is a poor-quality roof. More needs to be considered than just the dollar amount when making a decision.

DO: Negotiate terms and conditions with the roofing contractor of your choice.

Once you decide on a roofing contractor to partner with, consider negotiating an agreement with your roofing contractor of choice. No matter whether they’re called a facility services agreement, master agreement, select supplier agreement, or a standard contract, these all ensure that both parties agree on terms and conditions long before work begins. When an urgent need arises, there’s less paperwork slowing down progress.

To get started on your next roofing project, call D. C. Taylor Co. at 319.731.4118 or email [email protected] today.

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