#12 – Roof Inspection & Maintenance

Water – We can’t live without it, but we spend a remarkable amount of time, energy and money making sure it doesn’t intrude into our lives, particularly here on our wonderful “Wet Coast”. Take a moment to consider that the most significant purpose of the houses and buildings we live in is to keep water out.

The first line of defence for any structure is its roof and it’s remarkable to think that many Strata owners have never seen their own up close. Not that we are advocating that everyone should climb around on their roofs, but this significant building system tends to get far less attention than it deserves.

A single family home owner can completely ignore his roof if he chooses, but a Strata Corporation and its Council, under the tenets of the Strata Property Act, cannot. Not only is it obligated to maintain the roof (and all the other common systems) a wise Owners’ group will include a regular levy for the Capital Reserve Fund, in the annual assessment to each owner, to cover the cost of the roof’s inevitable replacement.

To ensure that the roof will offer its best performance, and reach its potential life expectancy (and perhaps more), we advise our clients to have a professional inspect the roof twice each year, in Spring and Fall. We also suggest that quick inspections be made after significant storms to ensure that the membrane hasn’t been damaged and the drains are clear. (In this context, “membrane” includes all types of materials used on both sloped and flat roofed structures.)

A roofing contractor or professional roof consultant’s regular reviews will likely catch signs of early deterioration or damage that would be missed by someone with less knowledge and experience. The regular condition reports generated will, over time, give the Council a clear history of the membrane’s performance, an opportunity to address minor problems that develop, and a chance to control the “Who, When, How and What” of the replacement process, once the roof reaches the end of its useful service.

Winter brings cold and stormy weather, but summer’s scorching sun is even more stressful on roof membranes, particularly flat ones. We suggest that Strata Owners (and all other building/home owners) have their roofs inspected soon in order to ensure they will do the job they’re really there for – to keep the water out.

John Grubb is a Property Maintenance Consultant serving Strata Corporations and building owners on Vancouver Island.

To Next Article: Strata Strategies #13 – Gutter Systems