FACTS about Public Roofing Procurement, and Oversight. Copyright 2010 by Robert R. Solomon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"How to write a roofing proposal"

This is intended primarily for entry level contractors, who may not know what is required of them in the most basic of all roofing paperwork: "The Proposal"

Many roofers and their clients use the "Proposal", in lieu of a contract (mainly residential), so that will be the focus of our discussion, elementary as it may be.  Remember, if it is not contained within the 4 corners of your proposal, it is not enforceable.  Watch "Judge Judy" sometime, and she'll tell you the same thing.

These components never change, and  regardless of your aversion to paperwork, or if you think you have a "better idea", believe me, you don't.

1.)  The proposal must be dated.
2.)  The client's name and address.
3.)  A detailed "Scope Of Work".
4.)  Price (furnished and installed, taxes included)
5.)  Terms (net 30 days typically), but in an effort to insure quicker payment, I've found that instead of "net 30 days", I like to establish when the project is officially over, because you can spend three lifetimes with nit-picking things.  When I write a proposal, I use the phrase "Upon final inspection by local permitting jurisdiction", so the job is officially over, not based upon your opinion, or the client's opinion, but by the inspector who has no interest in the matter.

6.)  "Hidden Damages".  this is a "unit cost" issue normally associated with deeteriorated lumber (decking mainly, and occasionally support members).  "Deteriorated Lumber" sounds a lot more professional than "Rotten Wood", doesn't it?  If the client balks at the "hidden damages" clause, walk away.  You (to the best of my knowledge) do not have X-Ray vision, and cannot reasonably accept the financial responsibility, and burden it will cause.

7.)  Signed by an officer.

I will again suggest taking your time here, and will state once more "if it's not within the 4 corners of the document, it does not exist".  A reasonable person can accept this, as they certainly would not go out on the limb they ask you to shinny out on.

The "Scope of work" section normally follows the installation in order of application, such as:
A.)  Remove and properly dispose existing roof system.
B.)  Inspect and replace deteriorated decking as "hidden damages", at unit cost listed below.
C.)  Nail 30 lb. underlayment to receive asphalt shingles.
D.)  Mechanically fasten asphalt shingles (6 nails per shingle).  Color selection by owner.
E.)  Fabricate and install prefinished metal accessory items (you may further describe the items individually if you prefer).  Color selection by owner.
F.)  Perform magnetic sweep of work area.
G.)  Furnish roofing contractor's two year guarantee.
H.)  Furnish material manufacturer's 25 year warranty.

All components installed per manufacturer's latest printed specifications.

Note:  If you have reduced your safety program to CD, you might want to spend 10 cents to burn a copy for the owner.  WHOA!! What's this, a roofer bringing up safety, and giving me a copy?  Killer.

If you want to scrimp on words, leave out items, or are afraid to tell a client you cannot predict wood replacement, that's your business, but I ADVISE AGAINST IT.  The idea of a proposal is  to eliminate guesswork, make the owner happy, and make sure you get paid.

A nice touch is to present your guarantee, and the owner's warranty to the client when you pick up your final payment.  Include a prepaid, addressed envelope, for them to send in the warranty registration, and you'd be amazed how impressive that is to the client.  To think you took the time to type out an addressed, and stamped envelope, instills additional "Comfort Level", and they will tell their neighbors how professional you are.

The owner has to work for the money they have.  As a result, you have to work for the money they pay you.  It should not be an "Us vs. Them" scenario, but as palatable experience as possible, for this very intrusive roof system installation.

The above will create great distance between you and any competitor.  Who would you choose, a guy in a broken down truck with a hand written estimate, or a full pro with the skill to make you happy knowing your investment is being maximized?

I did not mention lien releases, but that is also a nice touch, because once again, you are protecting their money.  People seem to like that.

I am thankful for my many visitors from around this beautiful earth we are fortunate to live in.  Thank you so much for spending time with me today, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Reject negativity in all forms.


Robert R. "Ron" Solomon

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Ignorance, and Fraud, Perpetrated Upon The Public"

Friends, today I would like to share both technical data, and personal experience I've had trying to educate legislators, building departments, etc. regarding my skill discipline, which is of course commercial roof systems.  Please do keep in mind that I do not work for anyone, do not represent anyone, nor do I accept money from anyone.

In this way, I can be completely objective, and absent of prejudice.  By now, you know everything here is based upon science, and public record, so I will share the knowledge available to, but ignored by, our legislators.  Please keep in mind that my campaign is now in it's 8th. year, so I have more than a cursory knowledge of these affairs.

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu has ordered all DOE structures to be roofed with "Cool" roof systems.  Your local government hasn't the slightest clue, nor interest, in anything to do with roofing.  Roofing is not exciting, by a long shot, but is a CRITICAL energy reduction component of all structures.

First, I will show an article by the Department Of Energy (U.S.), and then I will illustrate how unresponsive your local jurisdictions are in implementing it.  They actually do the exact OPPOSITE, of what Physicist, and Nobel Laureate, Dr. Chu suggests.  Certainly you will ask WHY?, and I will address that near the end of this post.

December 14, 2010

Energy Department Completes Cool Roof Installation on DC Headquarters Building to Save Money by Saving Energy

In new video, Secretary Chu discusses the benefits of cool roofs

Washington - Secretary Steven Chu today announced the completion of a new cool roof installation on the Department of Energy's Headquarters West Building.  There was no incremental cost to adding the cool roof as part of the roof replacement project and it will save taxpayers $2,000 every year in building energy costs.  Cool roofs use lighter-colored roofing surfaces or special coatings to reflect more of the sun's heat, helping improve building efficiency, reduce cooling costs and offset carbon emissions.  The cool roof and increased insulation at the facility were installed as part of the federal government's commitment to lead by example in increasing energy efficiency, reducing carbon pollution and demonstrating the benefits of clean energy technologies.
The Department of Energy also released today a video with Secretary Chu that shows the installation of the roof and explains some of the benefits that come with this important technology.  The video is available on the Energy Blog.

"The Department of Energy is leading by example, demonstrating how cool roofs can help achieve significant energy and cost savings.  This is a simple, low-cost technology that can provide tremendous benefits for government, businesses and homeowners across the country," said Secretary Chu.

Earlier this year, Secretary Chu directed all Department of Energy offices to install cool roofs, whenever cost effective, when constructing a new roof or replacing an old one.  The Department's new cool roof on the West Building covers approximately 25,000 square feet.  In the spring, DOE will also install a cool roof on the Headquarters' South Building, covering approximately 66,000 square feet.  As a result of the new cool roof installations on both buildings, taxpayers will save a total of $8,000 per year in energy costs.

Roofs and road pavement cover 50 to 65 percent of urban areas. Most traditional dark-colored roofing materials absorb 80 to 90 percent of incoming solar energy, increasing temperatures on the surface and in the case of roofing, heating the building, which in turn requires additional air conditioning.  White or special "cool color" roofs absorb less than 50 percent of solar energy, reducing the roof temperature and decreasing the energy used in air conditioning.

A dark roof can reach temperatures above 180F on a hot day, while a cool roof can stay 50 degrees cooler. A study by researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) found that using cool roofs and cool pavements in cities around the world can help reduce the demand for air conditioning, cool entire cities, and potentially cancel the heating effect of up to two years of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.
Consumers can find Energy Star cool roofing products for homes and businesses at EnergyStar.gov.

Follow the Department of Energy on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Flickr. Follow Secretary Chu on his Facebook page.

Media contact(s):

Sounds fabulous, doesn't it?  Well it is, until your local leaders get involved, and allow "both "Single Source", or "Proprietary Specifications" to take over Dr. Chu's very rational observations.  At this point, it is no longer a matter of simple physics, and reduction of energy costs borne by the taxpayers.  It becomes a matter of graft, collusion, and outright fraud, perpetrated upon "We The People".  As I mentioned, I've been at this for 8 years, and nobody except the Private Sector cares, as they are spending their own money, not the taxpayers money.  I find these so called "Officials" in contempt, because the knowledge, and data are in front of them, but they will not act upon it, for fear of disrupting a revenue stream.  Want proof?  Here are actual court proceedings, documents, and the felonious behavior of those involved.   Still going on today, and it is absolutely unacceptable.

My city (Tampa) has mandated all structures over 5,000 sq. ft. be LEED Silver Certified (a bit excessive perhaps).  But the actual Building Department has a "Sole Source" agreement with a boutique manufacturer, not locally stocked, and certainly not anything close to a "cool roof", and I've proven it to them.  Like ostriches, they place their head in the sand, and hope I'll go away, but I won't.

They recently roofed a water treatment plant here in Tampa, and put a heat absorbing, petroleum based roof on it.  A polluting roof, on a water treatment plant is the height of stupidity, and the definition of "Ignorance".  No amount of science, or practicality, could convince them to even consider a synthetic cool roof.

They LIED to me regarding the components being "Energy Star" (what a joke), and I revealed their lies through their preferred manufacturer's OWN LITERATURE.

Folks, I would ask you to help me, but frankly would not wish this torture upon anyone.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not a masochist, but my advocacy is perfect for anyone who is.  The only thing I can hope for is getting through to just one of them through the law of averages, but so far, I haven't had much luck at that slot machine.

It is absurdly simple to reduce our energy demands by 20%, saving precious taxpayer dollars.  If any of you are tired of this nonsense, I would suggest you start with your school district, or you are always welcome to contact me at RobertRSolomon@aol.com and I will help you.  I've also written a paper that illustrates the issue in great detail.  Please ask, and I will send it to you.

I am very thankful for the time you so graciously spend with me here.

Please reject negativity in all forms, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

Very Respectfully,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Pre-Manufactured, Pre-Finished Metal Flashings"

I was talking to a few people about "value engineering" and the topic of pre-manufactured metals came up.  Normally, one of the first items roofers "cheapen" when trying to save a little money.  But, I am of the opinion that "cheapening" the effort, cheapens the contractor, and introduces great liability which is unnecessary. 

Okay, right there is where I lost a few of you.

Today (because of space), I will illustrate a very well known manufacturer of pre-manufactured metals, whom I've had much experience with.  All good by the way, and I can't say that about many companies.  Metal-Era fights fair, and if you've been following this blog, know I despise "Proprietary Specifications".

Much respect to them for being honest.  I cannot be more complimentary of their professional demeanor, or professional services.  Alright, now that I've done the "Pitch", I'll get into the body of this post.

I've seen hundreds of projects where the architect (or roofer) attempts to cut corners.  Folks, this NEVER works out well. Why Ron?  Because when a roofer installs a metal flashing made of mill phosphatized (paint grip) steel (normally 22ga.), the painter usually paints the exposed metal to match the building.  Great, but in 37 years, I have never seen them paint the back of the metal that is unseen from the ground.

So now you've essentially got bare steel for the back of the steel, and the flange onto the roof.  "Paint Grip" basically means the steel has been "etched" with an acidic wash so the paint will stick to it.  But when left exposed, it will prematurely rust, and here comes the problem.  And right at the place where you would find standing water.

The roofer is long gone, and the owner has a structure with a failed perimeter.  The roofing material manufacturer who issued the warranty isn't responsible (no manufacturer includes bare metals in their warranty), and there you stand on the roof where the "finger pointing" begins.  I will point out the astronomical cost of removing the failed metal, installing a new system, and incorporating it into the relatively new roof system.  Probably to the tune of $50.00 per foot, and I've done it many times, at or around that rate.  This is where many roofers will say "I can do it for $10.00 a ft., or , no way, I need $100.00 a ft.", but I'm only sharing my experience.  It really does just depend upon how you look at it.  Regardless, it's a lot of coin.

Okay, you're facing that problem, and now I'll bring up another topic that will be placed directly on your shoulders:  "Wind Uplift".  Pre-Manufactured metals have all necessary code, wind testing, and approvals in place.  To me, this alleviates a lot of "hand wringing", and sleepless nights.  I will not get into trhe minutia of ASHRAE codes here.  You may visit them here:  http://www.ashrae.org/

You absoluttely do not want to "cheapen" any flashings, be it metal, bituminous, or single ply.  NEVER.  Liability should be your number one priority in every phase of the system component assembly.

"Aw, man, I can make that stuff just as good as them", well, No, you can't, unless you have all necessary testing for every single metal flashing you're fabricating, and installing, and you don't.  Look, I prefer pre-manufactured, but you should never install a metal component that does not have a Hylar, or Kynar 500 finish.  This is a non-maintenance item, and represents great value.  The owner will thank you when he sees the building next door with paint peeling from the metal, and that's really what we're trying to do:  Following best roofing practices, to protect ourselves, and the owners.  You want every component to be as maintenance free as possible.

This is a coping option: (Courtesy of Metal-Era):

And this is a perimeter edge (gravelstop, or drip edge):
(Courtesy of Metal-Era)

This is a very rudimentary introduction to pre-finished, and pre-manufactured metal systems, but to really see a complete product lineup, please visit them at:  http://www.metalera.com/  It is critical to know that some of their assemblies are guaranteed to 170 mph, which is astounding.  Let me not get carried away with information overload.

Everyone knows that I do not single out one manufacturer over another, but Metal-Era is a starting point, and one that deserves serious consideration.

As always, I am thankful you are visiting with me today, and am humbled you spend your valuable time here.  Reject negativity in all forms, and keep looking "UP".

Much Respect,

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon

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