A Smooth Roofing Project: 8 Things to Discuss With Your Contractor

May 10, 2016

You’ve labored over what roof system to install, what assembly will provide optimum performance for your facility, and even which contractor to choose. You’ve made the tough decisions and now it’s time to kick back and put your feet up.

Not quite yet, I’m afraid.

Make sure to give project planning just as much time and consideration as bidding, evaluating scope, and qualifying your contractor. This step of the project lifespan is critical. Here are eight things you need to discuss with your roofing contractor before they can plan a smooth project.

  1. What does safety mean to you? Your job isn’t done after evaluating contractors’ EMR, TIR, and LWDIR. A safe roofing contractor is astute in OSHA’s requirements and will follow them to the letter, but what about your company’s safety policies. If they differ from OSHA mandates, your contractor needs to know before they show up at the job site. If an onsite safety orientation is required before the project can begin, that too needs to be shared. Perhaps they can complete your company-specific safety training online before the project starts; that will get the project moving quicker.
  2. What’s going on inside? How the facility functions plays a big part in how your roofing project is completed. Are you continuing manufacturing processes while the project is underway? Is indoor air quality a big concern? Air intakes will be closed and a subcontractor will be hired to install interior protection before work commences, if needed.
  3. Is sustainability a priority? If your company has corporate requirements for reducing landfill waste, communicate that to your contractor immediately so salvage, recycling, and reuse resources and opportunities can be identified and the project can be set up to facilitate that. Likewise, if water containment is important, speak up early in the planning.
  4. What’s your expectation for communication? Do you need daily reports on the project’s progress? When do you want those and in what form? Who should the contractor’s Project Supervisor be talking with? Agree on a communication plan with your contractor and make sure both parties have a roster of key players and their roles and contact information.
  5. Is there an ideal place for parking, staging, and loading? If you have a cramped parking lot, are located along a busy metropolitan street, or have heavy traffic from semi-trucks or trains frequently loading and unloading, staging and access will be tricky. It’s critical that the persons most impacted by the contractor’s vehicles, material staging, and the location of a crane or fork lift, be consulted.
  6. How clean is clean? What do you expect for housekeeping on the site during the project? This goes beyond “tidy up every night” and “make sure material packaging is disposed of properly.” A written plan will ensure that more specific concerns are addressed. For example, if tear-off of an old roofing system could produce asphalt dust, your contractor can put in the project plan that crews need to saturate the roof with a fine mist of water before removal begins.
  7. What work hours are best? This seems obvious, right? Your contractor needs to know what days he can work and the hours on those days that are acceptable. Weather complicates this. Your contractor may want to start his crews working by 5:00 a.m. so they can finish their day before the hot summer sun skyrockets temperatures. When rain delays the project, dry weather on Saturday may bring them back to the site; will someone be there to give them access? It’s important for the contractor to understand any timing constraints.
  8. What are the rules? If you tell your own employees not to smoke on the site, it’s important to let your contractor know their employees can’t either. Likewise, if the roofing crew needs to wear safety yellow shirts, this must be communicated. Any policies regarding your site that the contractor would need to follow while on the project should be shared during planning.

The kind of experience you have with your roofing project depends heavily on upfront communication. Discussing these things in advance will make for a better plan, a smoother project, and no headaches.

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