These are challenging and uncertain times for everyone. Fortunately, according to a recent memorandum (IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE) by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, roofing contractors are essential workers because [the work you do] “supports industries that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability.”
While it’s comforting to know that our industry is essential, and the government is financially bridging myriad businesses and industries, what future roofing projects may be funded after this health pandemic and economic uncertainty?
We’ve Seen This Before
The importance of retrofit roofs grew in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and recession, which were hard on commercial properties. According to the 2016 State of the Industry Report and Survey, a weak economy represented just 10 percent of issues impacting commercial roofing contracting. However, if that survey was taken today, this percentage would undoubtedly be dramatically higher. But even when the economy is slumping, roofs still need maintenance and repair because most roofing materials have a finite lifespan even without storms due to the abuse they receive from the sun.
Deferred Maintenance Doesn’t Work
As you know, the most important part of a building – when it comes to protecting the interior – is the roofing system. While facility managers are aware of this, budget directors often don’t realize the importance of ongoing maintenance during economic challenges. The failure to perform needed repairs could lead to asset deterioration and ultimately asset impairment. Property owners want to ensure their buildings – assets – are maintained and protected against deterioration, both physically and financially.
Generally, a policy of continued deferred maintenance results in higher costs, asset failure, and in some cases, health and safety problems. Underfunding routine maintenance can cause deterioration, which evolves into major work and serious conditions.
Roofing Mix Provides Opportunities
Since roof repairs and reroofing make up 68 percent of the industry work, these segments provide the most opportunities for maintaining or growing your business. As we enter this economic downturn, there are markets that seem to be recession proof.
Let’s examine the healthcare industry, which is virtually recession proof and certainly the focus of a lot of attention right now. Long before the current pandemic, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the aging of the population and an expected rise in chronic conditions, such as diabetes, will lead to higher demand of all types of healthcare services. In fact, during the 2008 recession, healthcare employment expanded, increasing by 852,000 jobs, or 6.6 percent.
Spray Foam Roofing
The main goal of any roofing project is to avoid water penetration. Mitigating damage from a leaky roof is expensive and time consuming. Hospitals and other critical healthcare facilities operate 24/7 and can’t afford to have leaks that could possibly shut some of the facility down for maintenance. These facilities need a roofing system is performing, durable and is easily repaired with minimal impact.
If a roofing membrane develops a hole or if the seams are not sealed adequately, water can cause damage to roof insulation, and find its way to a structural deck. A smarter roofing choice is spray foam roofing, which fully adheres and contours to the roof surface, and is seamless and waterproof. For those of you who haven’t worked with this roofing system before, let me explain some of the benefits as applicable to the healthcare industry.
Easy installation. The application of the foam and roof coating as a recover system can be applied with minimal interruption to the daily routine of the facility. Spray foam roofs are easily installed - after cleaning and preparing the existing roof, this system can be field applied by spraying a continuous, insulated and waterproof foam membrane over the existing substrate, whether it’s built up, metal, membrane or modified bitumen.
Easy maintenance. Once a spray roof is installed, it requires minimal preventative work If properly maintained. However, should there be a puncture, it can easily be repaired with roof sealant, ensuring the healthcare facility remains fully operational.
Seamless and waterproof. Seams and penetrations are the primary sources of leaks in roof systems. Weather is a constant battle between warming and freezing temperatures and wreak havoc on a roof’s membrane. The expanding and contracting of the building are destructive forces that can cause shrinkage, pull the membrane away from walls and penetrations, and separate the membrane’s seams. However, an insulated seamless spray foam roofing system withstands the structure’s expansion and contraction, removes ponding, self-flashes around irregular penetration, and remains sealed to the roof for its anticipated life expectancy, protecting the facility from harsh weather conditions.