We can all agree there are many important elements to a housing structure, but your roof is probably the most important. Changing temperatures, large amounts of rain and high winds can all cause major damage to condominiums. These weather conditions can create all sorts of problems, from minor leaks to major cave-ins that can cost a strata thousands to repair, not to mention the risk to safety and security. In 1988, a portion of Station Square’s roof collapsed during the grand opening of a new Save-on Foods. Fortunately, no one was killed, but 21 people were treated in hospital and 20 automobiles crashed into the grocery floor below. This prompted significant changes to the practice of architecture and engineering throughout British Columbia. Before we get into the nitty gritty of preventative roof maintenance for Vancouver’s condominiums and townhomes, let’s start with roofing basics.
The primary purpose of your roof is to provide protection for you and your possessions against the weather. Roofs are an added layer of insulation which help to retain cool air in the warm months and heat during the colder months. Without proper insulation or ventilation, you are exposing yourself and your strata to higher energy costs and potential leaks and even worse issues. If a large amount of water accumulates on any type of roof, having a proper drainage system in place will direct water away from the structure and lessen the possibility of water damage, mold and foundation issues.
A proactive strata management company, with the right combination of knowledge, experience and vendor network can help council members mitigate risk.
It is likely that the old adage “an ounce of prevention” was probably born in the roofing industry. In order to ensure your roofing system is performing at optimal levels, it’s necessary to have a preventative maintenance plan in place that includes the following:
- Regular, professional cleaning (especially on condominium buildings and flat roofs)
- Frequently check seals for cracking and connection points between the roof and accessories
- Having a comprehensive inspection checklist that documents:
- Surface defects
- Points of deterioration
- Condition of accessories (i.e. vents, flashing)
- Water-entry points and damage
- Removing debris and blockages from downspouts and scuppers
- Caulking terminations and pipe seals as needed
It’s best to inspect your roof regularly, but at minimum, have a qualified vendor conduct a thorough inspection before the winter weather hits and again in the spring to assess any damage or buildup. In the years where the weather isn’t that bad, the fact is that your roof is also worn down from the sun’s heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays, so the council should never consider skipping an inspection.
It is inevitable that your roof and its accessories will get dirty from being exposed to the wet environment. Without the proper maintenance, roof damage can escalate quickly and end up costing your strata more money and headaches.
Never ignore your roof, but pay extra attention to it in winter.
For more information about how a proactive strata management company can help your council develop a preventative maintenance plan, please contact us