As all of us in the roofing industry are keenly aware, roofing work is fraught with exposure. If the installation quality is poor at any time, there is real risk that the entire structure and its contents can be damaged or destroyed. Depending on the size of the loss, the result could be absolutely crippling for any roofing contractor to absorb. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula for quality; what works for one company may not work for another. I do feel strongly, though, that the emphasis on quality has to permeate your entire organization, top to bottom.
For our office, McHenry, Ill.-based Metalmaster Roofmaster, the process begins as early as the pre-award, bidding and estimating phase of the project. Our seasoned estimators carry years of industry experience and are always looking to identify, from the project plans and specifications, issues with the specified products or system, the effectiveness of which often depends on the season in which the roof is being installed. What frequently happens is that we end up recommending a change to the specified system type or installation method to better accommodate project or weather conditions, which will consequently result in a better installation in the end.
This review process does not end there. Post-award, the project moves to our submittal department, which serves as yet another set of eyes to review the plans and specifications for effectiveness of the specified roof system and installation. Our submittal technicians fulfill an office quality-control function to ensure the system products and installation are, in fact, best suited for that particular project. As part of the department’s review, the submittal department works closely with our valued manufacturing partners to elicit feedback and confirmation on the final submittal package. If changes to the plans and specifications are warranted, they are addressed timely and prior to roofing installation—during the submittal process.
The end result is that, by the time the project moves to our project management department for the actual installation, the groundwork for a quality installation has been laid because the products, manufacturers and installation methods have been carefully reviewed multiple times to ensure maximum effectiveness and applicability to the project. Unfortunately all system and
product changes have already been made and approved. All that is left is for our trained field crew to install.
Just prior to the actual field installation, our project managers and superintendents carefully review the plans, specifications and approved shop drawings. The site is reviewed to identify site issues that could potentially affect the quality of the installation. The project documents are furnished to the project foreman, who reviews and discusses the most effective means and methods with the superintendent and project manager. Throughout the course of the installation, open communication among the project manager, superintendent, foreman and field crew is encouraged to proactively discuss and address issues and concerns. At times, a third-party consultant is retained to perform an objective inspection of the roofing installation and to offer suggestions.
Once the installation is complete, we utilize our service department personnel to visit the site and perform any touch-up and detail work prior to the final manufacturer’s inspection. The manufacturer’s representative is accompanied during his inspection by one of our field staff, so that any and all concerns can be addressed and corrected on the spot and manufacturer
approval can be furnished and warranties issued in a timely manner. Owner and architect punchlists are dealt with similarly and, at that point, the owner and general contractor have assurances as to the quality of the roof installation.
It goes without saying, quality of installation is and always will be absolutely critical to the success of Metalmaster Roofmaster. Being able to point to a long history of quality installations has directly impacted our ability to earn new and repeat business, maintain and increase company profitability, build our reputation in the industry, gain manufacturer certification and recognition, reduce insurance premiums, achieve adequate bonding capacity and rates, and a litany of other items. Although we invest a substantial amount of time and resources into the process to ensure the quality of installations, the investment is small relative to the peace of mind and other tangible benefits achieved by maintaining a consistent record of quality roof installations.