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Budgeting For Major Roof Renovations

October 13, 2020

The first step of any major commercial facility renovation should begin with a sound pre-construction budget. The pre-construction budgeting process is best served when designers, engineers, consultants and contractors offer input throughout the budget development process with the owner. Before embarking on this pre-construction budgeting process, it is also important that all parties agree that pre-construction renovation budgets must be realistic and allow for contingencies.

Replacing the roof on an industrial, institutional or healthcare facility is a major undertaking. Therefore, when it comes to budgeting for a commercial roof renovation, owners should also encourage the cooperation of the designers, the roof consultant (if one is being consulted) and a qualified contractor (if one has been recommended or already selected). They each have different perspectives related to roof renovation processes and, by working together, value engineering can often be taken advantage of - contributing to the contractor’s ability to stay within the budget while making plans to minimize the disruption of the facility contents and occupants. 

Some of the major considerations to keep in mind related to commercial roofing renovation projects include access to the roof area to be replaced, suitable roof application options, the thermal value of roof insulation that can be added during the roof renovation process and the type of existing roof and roof deck of the area under consideration for replacement.

As it pertains to the access to the roof area to be replaced, keep in mind that roof renovations are dramatically different than new construction for a number of reasons. One of the most significant factors to be considered (and budgeted appropriately for) relates to hardscaping and landscaping surrounding a building. These factors almost always present challenges to safely providing personnel access to the roof as well as often complicating any roof mitigation debris removal and the subsequent roofing material delivery related to the new roof being applied. It stands to reason that specialists in reroofing projects often have significant experience and many advantages over general commercial roofers more experienced with new construction. Standard Commercial Roofing and Exterior Solutions has over 75 years of experience in commercial reroofing projects so we have seen virtually every scenario related to roofing renovations. Standard has experienced crews that leverage our history to consistently deliver effective, efficient, timely and safe project outcomes for our clients.

As it pertains to suitable roof application options, since most roof systems begin to deteriorate after 20 years, those responsible for preparing a budget must take into account a number of factors including advances in roof systems since the original roof was installed. For instance, the discovery of carcinogens in the asphalt fumes emitted during application has contributed to the virtual elimination of asphalt and gravel roof systems from the design “landscape.” In their place, a variety of new systems have emerged with modified bitumen roof systems often specified since they have evolved over time to eliminate the use of hot asphalt in their applications. Now, most modified systems (which are the most durable of the roof systems) are applied using cold adhesive or self-adhering methods. There are also several other reroofing material options that can be considered based on the roof application requirements including various metal applications, shingles, slate, clay and concrete tile, single ply TPO, and others.

Adding insulation on top of an existing roof and installing a new roof system on top of the insulation is an excellent way to add an additional layer of insulation to the rooftop portion of the building envelope. As it pertains to the thermal value of roof insulation that can be added during the roof renovation process, there is a cost-benefit analysis that needs to be considered as the budgeting process takes place. However, one thing is almost always certain, electricity is likely to never get less expensive. So if insulation can be added before the new roof is installed, the building owner should be made fully aware of the maximum amount of insulation that can be added and the costs associated with its addition.

As it pertains to the type of existing roof deck of the roof area under consideration for replacement, the variables and constraints related to this step of a roof renovation project are virtually impossible to speculate on until the existing roof has been inspected and assessed. From virtually no roof removal cost due to leaving the existing roof in place to the complete removal of the existing roof and deck and many degrees in between these extremes, every roof renovation project is different. 

Before embarking on any commercial roof renovation project, it is always advisable to consult a professional roof consultant or trusted roofing contractor. If you would like to contact Standard Commercial Roofing and Envelope Solutions to assist you with your roof renovation project, please feel free to call us directly at: 800.239.5705

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