It’s the roofing contractor’s job to repair water penetrations, but there are precautions facility managers can take to make the roofer’s job easier, get the anomaly resolved faster, and save time and resources for all those involved. This checklist should be available to every employee in the building in case they spot debris or find pooling water on the floor.
1. Immediately Mark the Area
Put tape on the floor to mark the exact area where the roof leak was spotted. In many cases (especially in retail) the employee or manager who first saw the leak is not on duty when repair crews show up to fix it. The manager on duty often knows only that the leak is somewhere “over there.” In large buildings, “over there” can be two acres of open space, which can lead to long, unnecessary delays in finding and fixing the problem.
2. Cordon off the Area
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, slips, trips and falls represent the majority of general workplace accidents and injuries. Use bright, obvious signs that clearly caution pedestrians that the floor is wet. Erect physical barriers, such as rope, if the pooling is severe.
3. Move Sensitive Materials
Relocate any equipment, furniture, machinery, or other materials that could be damaged by water. If sensitive materials are fixed or too big to move, cover them with plastic sheeting or tarp.
4. Call Your Contractor
The person responsible for managing the facility should schedule roofers to come at a time when he or she will be present. This way, the manager can lead the team to the source of the problem and ensure the contractors will have access to all the areas of the building they need to examine. The facility manager should also come armed with all available warranty information so the roofer can contact the manufacturer to discuss remuneration.
The manager should also have detailed information on hand: when personnel first noticed the leak; and how long after the last rainfall they spotted it.
5. Follow Up
After contractors perform the work, the manager should expect a report on how the anomaly was identified and what was done to restore the building envelope integrity. This should include photographs of the anomaly, pictures of the repair, a brief description of the anomaly and the repair, and a clear sign-off from the facility manager on the resolution of the leak.
When a worker spots water inside the building envelope, the natural reaction is to call a roofer, but that shouldn’t always be the first step. Managers should distribute or post this checklist to ensure that everyone in the facility knows what to do to resolve the anomaly quickly and efficiently.