Managing a commercial roofing project is complex, with lots of moving parts. Knowing how to put all the pieces together improves workflow, helps stick to the client’s budget, and facilitates timely completion of the project.
When project managers get busy, schedules can become sloppy and crucial steps can be missed, leading to poor communication, missed milestones, or mistakes in materials or craftsmanship. While creating an efficient plan is essential, it is equally important for it to be carefully executed.
Read Part 1 of the series: 10 Essential Steps to Prepare for a Commercial Roof Replacement
In Part 2 of this series we discuss helpful steps to manage your commercial flat roofing project to successful completion.
1. Understand project requirements
Are you planning to repair the roof according to the existing roof assembly, or will there be a change? For example, the needs of a manufacturing facility will differ from those of a commercial bakery. Make sure you are informed about the building occupant’s requirements for ventilation, HVAC, penetrations, flashing, and other elements. Review plans in detail with the roofing contractor before work begins to understand the workflow, especially as it pertains to other sub-trades.
2. Monitor progress
To manage flat roofing projects accurately and effectively, keep all stakeholders informed about the project’s progress. Insist on a transparent process with regular reporting, an ongoing communication process, and meetings with all key players.
3. Conduct regular site visits
Plan to visit the site at regular intervals. Look for delays, missed milestones, undelivered materials, worker safety, and unexpected changes. Depending on the situation, keeping the project on track may require visits daily, weekly, or at another interval.
4. Roof mounted equipment
Many commercial roofing projects require mechanical connections and lifting roof-mounted equipment, which should be provided for during the planning stage. Make plans to determine who will make decisions such as the sequencing of downtime for equipment, storage locations for any items to be hoisted off the roof, and backup plans for heating and/or cooling as needed.
5. Determine project supervision
When you want to check on progress and next steps, who will be your point of contact? During the commercial roof project, the client will rely on a foreperson, lead supervisor, and project manager, each of whom will take on an array of roles, as described below:
- Foreperson: The foreperson–who works on the roof with the crew–manages all rooftop workers, ensures they have proper skills, delegates tasks, evaluates quality, and enforces that the crew is following all safety requirements.
- Lead Supervisor: The supervisor–who spends only part of the day on-site–has a broader administrative role, ensuring that the plans are followed, keeping track of schedules and budget, coordinating employees and subcontractors, securing materials, equipment, and other resources, and ensuring compliance.
- Project Manager: The project manager will be involved with estimating and tendering, negotiating contract terms, selecting materials, overseeing daily progress, and dealing with any change orders or concerns.
There may be overlap in these three roles, and the client should know the right person to ask when there is a question.
6. Address interior tarping issues
The interior of a building is exposed during a roof replacement. Protecting against dust or debris often requires installing temporary vinyl or poly tarps. Clients should ensure that the correct size and securement of tarps are put in place where required.
7. Stay in communication with the contractor
Productive lines of communication between the project owner, architect, and contractors are key to managing a commercial roofing project. On the other hand, poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, schedule overruns, budget issues, and other potential problems. One way to maintain ongoing communication is by holding regular on-site meetings, which may sometimes include other parties, such as a manufacturer’s technical representative, electrical and mechanical contractors, and building maintenance personnel, if applicable.
A few of the discussion items should be:
- Reviewing plans, specifications, and the scope of work
- Determining work hours and securing the site after work hours
- Providing safe roof access for all tradespeople and restricting access of occupants
- Establishing set-up locations and schedules for equipment, material storage, and removing debris
- Protecting building occupants and interior contents
- Establishing Interior and exterior safety controls
- Reviewing scheduling for the coming days to allow for proper notice to building occupants
8. Resolve issues and problems
No matter the project, problems will inevitably arise. The question is how to resolve them. The first steps are to fully understand the issues that led to the problem, the effects on various stakeholders, and the process moving forward. After listing all possible solutions, evaluate them on cost, schedule, resources, and other relevant factors. Once the best option is selected, all details should be discussed and communicated in writing to all stakeholders.
9. Stick to the schedule and budget
Staying on plan will be difficult without a realistic budget and requires ongoing attention from the supervisor and project manager. For example, there may be discrepancies between quotes and bills, unforeseen delays, or last-minute change orders. Status on progress and costs should be regularly reported, noting where the project is under, over, or on track. This process keeps people accountable and offers opportunities for discussion about concerns.
10. Managing and limiting roof access
Managing roof access is important for the roofing crew, tenants, and sub-contractors alike.
- Roofing Crew: Reputable roofing contractors will enforce regulations for worker safety equipment and proper safety training.
- Tenants: Tenants must be kept safe from dangerous elements on the roof, including heavy equipment, pipes and cables, elevator equipment, and HVAC ducts.
- Sub-Contractors: HVAC, solar, or other subcontractors may go on roof while the crew isn’t present and unknowingly cause a problem. For example, they may accidentally step on the overnight seal between new and old roof sections, resulting in a leak.
Contractors should communicate the restrictions to the building owner and determine who is responsible for informing occupants, posting signage, and creating proper safety conditions in and around the building.
11. Ensuring adherence to safety protocols
It’s crucial that your roofing contractors and other tradespeople enforce the roofing safety regulations for Canada and Ontario regarding fall protection systems and edge protection. Other organizations that provide guidance include the Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association, Construction Safety Association of Ontario, and Infrastructure, Health & Safety Association. Project managers should conduct periodic checks of safety equipment, train personnel on protocols and equipment usage, keep up with changes in regulations, and regularly inspect the rooftop and surrounding areas.
12. Resolving any issues that arise promptly
Addressing problems swiftly will help avoid further damage, delays, and costs. Crews, forepeople, and supervisors must immediately communicate when issues arise so the team can evaluate and resolve the situation as efficiently as possible
Following the steps to managing a commercial roofing project
Managing a commercial roof replacement is complex and requires professionalism at all levels, including the crew, foreperson, and supervisor. Elite Roofing in Toronto ensures that your project runs smoothly–with full transparency, regular communication, superior workmanship, and detailed administration.
Are you considering or ready for your next roof replacement? Contact Elite Roofing in Greater Toronto for experience and craftsmanship you can trust.