When water penetrates a building’s exterior, the source could be traced to any element in the entire envelope (the building’s exterior shell). The roof, doors, curtain walls, canopies, paint, or windows could all be compromised, no matter where the water penetration was spotted.
Identifying the anomaly’s source can become a frustrating and expensive game of finger pointing among the individual contractors responsible for the separate parts of the envelope.
Between the window specialist, the door contractor, the painter, and the roofer, it can be a challenge to accurately diagnose the source of the anomaly. Every time a new contractor comes out, the trip costs money, the problem may not be identified, expenses accumulate, and the building envelope may not be restored to good working order.
Connections, Relationships, and the Benefit of a Roofer with Contacts
When water is spotted in the interior of the building, it’s a common first step to call a roofer. But the source of the anomaly is often much more complex and requires the expertise of a number of different contractors, working in tandem, to identify the source and restore the integrity of the building envelope. Only a handful of roofers have the relationships and the experience to source a variety of tradespeople from within their own list of contacts.
When a building owner works with these well-connected contractors, he or she can make one phone call—and one phone call only. When a comprehensive team of building envelope specialists comes to inspect or make building repairs, the owner doesn’t have to worry about whether the roofer will be able to resolve the problem in isolation or instead refer the issue on to another contractor in another trade.
The roofer may not be an expert in paint, caulk, windows, or doors, but that isn’t necessary if he or she has working relationships with experts in those fields. Instead of calling several different contractors from several different companies—who will hand over several different bills—a building owner can rely on one single partner to leverage all of his or her connections and solve the problem without any back and forth.
The ‘Not My Problem’ Mentality
If, while fixing a roof leak, for example, a typical roofer spots caulking issues on control joints, that roofer may point out the issue to the building owner, and perhaps even recommend someone who can help. The roofer would then hand the building owner a bill for the roof work and leave. The control joints are not his problem, and the building owner is stuck calling a separate contractor to come deal with the new issue.
When a contractor has relationships with a vast network of specialists, however, that same situation changes dramatically. The roofer can tell the owner that through the course of working on the roof, he or she noticed an issue with caulking and brought in his concrete wall expert to take a look. The roof and control joint work are now rolled into one itemized invoice.
Instead of pointing out a problem and walking out the door, the all-in-one roofer spots the problem, finds his own expert, presents a solution, performs the necessary work, and doesn’t charge the extra rate associated with bringing in a separate contractor.
That same scenario could be applied to the doors, windows, paint, or any other part of the envelope. If an envelope anomaly is the result of a threefold combination of masonry, paint, and roofing issues, it could cost $10,000 to get three different contractors to fix the three different problems. If one contractor can source the work internally, however, the same job might be done for a fraction of that price.
Great contractors earn stellar reputations over decades of consistent performance at a fair price—but the best contractors know many other specialists who can say the same thing about themselves and their own businesses. The most efficient and least expensive contractors are the ones who can leverage their relationships to identify issues outside of their areas of expertise, bring in their own specialists, present a solution, and fix the problem without pointing fingers and without putting building owners in a position where they’re required to pay to resolve every issue individually.