Inclement Weather Planning, Part I

Mid-way through another hurricane season, now is a good time to review the benefits of having an established Inclement Weather Plan. Mother nature can be unpredictable, and in the event you are having a commercial roof repaired or replaced, damage resulting from severe weather can add both cost and time to even the most well-planned re-roofing projects. For this reason, your roofing contractor’s policies and procedures should include an “Inclement Weather Plan.” And to protect your commercial property investment, you should request this plan from your commercial roofing contractor in advance of signing a contract for any roof work.

An Inclement Weather Plan should: 

  1. Specify circumstances in which inclement weather could compromise a roofing project
  2. Define the methods of ensuring all employees are safe during inclement weather events
  3. Designate weather conditions which would prevent any work proceeding on any given day
  4. Establish procedures for resumption of work activities after an inclement weather event

Weather Monitoring:

Standard site supervisors must maintain a reliable source for instant weather alerts/reports and radar access – we utilize cell phones, internet-connected tablets and weather radios to meet this requirement.

Ensure Employee Safety:

In the event of dangerous weather approaching within 20 miles of the worksite (thunderstorms, lightning, high winds, and/or thunder being audible from the rooftop), employees are to take the following measures to ensure the roof in its current state is watertight and the work area is as safe as possible:

  • Check that perimeter membrane edges are fastened and/or sealed to the substrate
  • Ensure roof drain strainers are in place
  • Secure materials and equipment stored on rooftop

When rooftop conditions are “weather-secure”, all rooftop employees will observe and undertake the following protocol:

  • Descend from the rooftop in an orderly fashion
  • Proceed to a predetermined, secure muster location on site, using the safest and nearest available pathway from the rooftop
  • Remain at muster location until weather reports or radar confirms dangerous conditions have passed

Based on confirmation that dangerous weather/lightning is no longer in the vicinity, return to the rooftop to confirm the secure condition of the roof (any remaining existing roof, newly installed roof) and that the rooftop materials and equipment remained secure and are not damaged.

Weather Preventing Work:      

The following weather forecasts would prevent work on any given day:

  • Imminent threat of dangerous weather
  • Ongoing rain
  • Wet substrate; frost, ice, snow on substrate
  • Chance of rain 30% or greater
  • Audible thunder
  • High winds: constant wind or gusts above 15 mph
  • Temperature at 40°F and falling

In the event of rain chance 30% or greater, though dangerous conditions not currently imminent, other rooftop activities could take place, including penetration and curb flashing, roof drain flashing, wall flashing, and sheet metal installation.

Resumption of Roof Activities – Post weather event:

  • Confirm inclement weather has moved away from the vicinity and no “follow-on” weather events are anticipated
  • Confirm all surfaces are dry
  • Confirm all materials are in watertight/acceptable condition
  • Confirm all electrical roof installation equipment is in safe working order

When the above-described measures are employed, this Inclement Weather Plan will ensure the safety of all personnel and a high-quality roof installation.

For more tips on how to prepare for and navigate inclement weather events, refer to Inclement Weather Planning, Part II.

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