Since heavy rainfall began inundating much of California and the West Coast in December 2016, the region has gone from one emergency situation to another. Although the area was locked in extreme drought conditions for the last two years, it now faces the opposite problem. The Los Angeles Times reported that with another storm system expected April 12, the Sierra Nevada mountain range will record its wettest winter in nearly a century. This so-called “drought-to-deluge cycle” has caught many off guard.
To repair roof damage already incurred by heavy rain, as well as prepare for more storms to come, facility managers in California are faced with a crucial task. Choosing the most capable and trustworthy roofing manufacturer will prove essential to the long-term stability of businesses throughout the region.
Looking ahead at CA weather
This new cycle of intense drought followed by punishing rain and wind could become the norm for California residents, according to meteorologists who spoke with the LA Times. Over the last 30 years, weather and climate scientists have noticed that the wettest and driest years on record are increasingly moving close together. This pattern is prompting researchers to update old weather models. In turn, many California residents and businesses will need to revise their plans for extreme weather, too.
Now some officials believe they will have to change the infrastructure — such as building or raising dams and constructing two giant tunnels underneath the confluence of the state’s two largest rivers — to deal with more precipitation falling as rain and snow melting more quickly,” the LA Times reported.
How heavy rain and snow creates roofing problems
Roofing needs to stand up to whatever nature happens to throw its way. But in a state like California, unaccustomed to bouts of heavy rain, buildings might be unequipped to deal with this new normal. The risk is especially great for commercial buildings with flat roofing, which can deteriorate quickly without routine inspection, maintenance and a functional drainage system.
Some of the costly and hazardous risks imposed on roofing by excess moisture include:
- Ceiling or attic damage, including that caused directly by water intrusion, as well as structural issues resulting from moisture buildup over time.
- Interior mold and mildew, and related health effects.
- Increased risk of electrical fires when wiring comes in contact with water.
- Slip and fall hazards.
- Higher utility expenses from excess energy use.
Insurance may help some but not all facilities
When roof damage isn’t caught in time and treated accordingly, small issues often grow into very big problems for facility managers. Commercial or business insurance policies might include coverage of some expenses related to water damage, but this varies on a case-by-case basis.
The Insurance Information Institute explained that many businesses opt to purchase a comprehensive policy, often called a businessowners policy or BOP. These insurance packages combine protection from both property and liability risks, and are particularly geared toward smaller businesses. Most BOPs will include coverage for structural damage, physical injury suffered by people in a building and lost income due to business interruption.
However, in the case of water damage, not every cost may be fully covered by even a comprehensive BOP. For example, the III noted that most BOPs do not cover professional liability or worker’s compensation. That means any damage resulting from a mistake in roofing construction won’t be covered unless there is another policy. Or if an employee is injured due to moisture intrusion, for instance, a BOP would not cover costs related to the incident.
All this only serves to underscore the importance of a well-designed, professionally installed roofing system in any business. Beyond that, a comprehensive plan for inspection and maintenance is also essential for preventing the costly damage that can result from extreme weather. Roofing manufacturers like MB Technology offer free roof maintenance and budget preparation. This is a great service at no charge which will allow facility managers to allocate budget for their roofing projects. Even if your roof is not leaking and you believe it has reached its end of life expectancy you might consider having complimentary roof evaluations done. While rain patterns may remain unpredictable, facility managers and business owners still have some factors under their control. Working with a trusted roofing manufacturer is one of these factors that is all too often overlooked.