In our current fragile economy, best value is not always defined by price alone. In harder times, smaller companies with little to no experience installing commercial roof systems commonly attempt to take on commercial roofing projects without the proper experience, manpower, equipment and insurance. Most often this results in devastating consequences for the building owner. A commercial roofing system that comes cheap but is poorly installed by an amateur with inadequate resources can lead to premature roof failure or worse, persistent leaks and hassle, easily placing a company in financial risk and undue stress. So how can commercial building owners avoid this disastrous scenario? Accurately determine who is the most experienced and accomplished commercial roofer offering the most dependable and cost-effective long-term solutions?
There’s no quick easy answer. Sites like Angie’s List, Home Adviser and BBB.org only provide some of the key information you need to make a decision this large. The best and most comprehensive solution is to perform your own due diligence and verify the qualifications of your commercial roofer before you enter into any contractual obligation. If your company doesn’t have a process already determined for selecting vendors or contractors DCI has developed our “Due Diligence Series” of articles and documents which outline the salient questions to ask when evaluating a commercial roofing firm for quality, dependability, safety and expertise.
1) How long has the commercial roofer been in business?
- Do they operate from a legitimate, permanent, location complete with professional offices, warehousing and work-shop capabilities?
- Tax Identification Number, Business License (where required) should all be readily available.
- Roofing is a difficult industry and those roofers that fail will start up another business in as little as 2 months.
2) Does the roofer have current, documented, industry and manufacturer certifications?
- What level of certification have they achieved with each manufacturer? Some manufacturers have multiple levels of certification which define elite contractors from those that are trained to install their roofing systems.
- Have they won any awards or been cited for outstanding quality by any manufacturers? What scores are they achieving when rated by manufacturer’s inspection teams?
3) Does the roofer maintain appropriate credit lines with multiple material suppliers? Who are they?
- Material suppliers should be regionally or nationally recognized (eg. ABC Supply, BRADCO Supply, SRS Distribution Inc, Beacon Roofing Supply, Allied Building Products).
- Sufficient credit line is typically 5x times the amount of the awarded contract. This is a tell-tale sign of how quickly a roofer can begin your job. With the proper credit line they do not need to complete a previous job in order to release credit and begin yours.
4) How many total square feet of manufacturer-warranted commercial roofing installations does the roofer perform annually?
- Readily provide copies of warranties issued for projects similar to yours (10-15 examples) in scope for a minimum five-year period.
5) How many complete roof installations does the roofer perform annually?
- Can they provide a list of completed project references over the previous five-year period that you can contact?
Continue reading more and see additional items to qualify your next contractor.
Also check out our Due Diligence Part 2 post which explains what your contractor should be asking you! If you have any additional questions we are always here to help.