Owners who view the roofing system as a one-time expense, and make specification decisions based solely on first costs, run the risk of incurring higher roof maintenance and repair expenditures. The bottom line: Selecting the wrong system is likely to cost a facility executive significantly more than if the right system had initially been selected.
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High repair costs can be avoided by installing a high-performance roofing system and conducting routine preventive maintenance throughout the life of the roof. The first cost of a quality roofing system may be higher, but the lower life-cycle costs of the system will more than offset the initial investment.
The initial cost of a roofing system includes materials, labor, overhead, profit and indirect costs associated with the structure. The life-cycle analysis takes the first cost of the roof, then adds to it the future costs of operation and maintenance over the economic life of the roof.
The facility executive that fails to consider the value of a life-cycle costing approach to the purchase of a new roof does the facility and everyone involved with it a financial disservice. First-cost buyers may overlook such important future expense reduction opportunities as:
• Energy cost savings in the heating and air conditioning of the building through the use of white, reflective membranes or coatings and extra insulation.
• Extended roof service life for an optimally drained roof.
• Enhanced roof fire retardence and wind uplift resistance, resulting in reduced insurance costs.
• Extended roof service life resulting from the use of heavier structural framing materials, allowing a heavier roofing system.
• Future savings when the roof is to be replaced by using reusable roof component accessories.
• Reduced roofing surface repairs through installation of a heavier membrane of walkway pads for high-traffic roofs.
• Prevention of roof surface degradation in those roof areas where harmful emissions may occur by installation of appropriate protective devices.
The most cost-effective roof is one that will stand up to the elements and demands of time. Therefore, facility executives should be actively involved in the initial planning stages to determine the best roofing system based on the established criteria for the building.
Planning and Specification
Make sure the roofing system will meet the needs of the facility by answering the following questions:
• What type of system will provide the best long-term performance and energy efficiency?
• How will weather conditions and climate affect the building and roof?
• What is the desired service life of the roof?
• Is resale value of the building important?
• What type of system will incorporate the best drainage characteristics?
• What type of maintenance program will be followed?
• What are the expectations for the roof?
• Are there environmental concerns?
• Does the roof need to be wind- and fire-rated?