How to Plan a Successful Roofing Commercial Project: 6 Important Factors to Consider In California

A well-maintained commercial roof is a critical component of any commercial facility. If based in California, your building and roofing system could be exposed to different weather elements and stressors throughout the day, leading to decay, deterioration, and leaks. Whether you need to repair or replace your current roofing system, without a cohesive plan in place to ensure the correct use of products and solutions, problems can arise that may lead to future safety issues and disruptions to your building’s business operations. 

If you own property or manage a building in California, the following considerations can help you better prepare for your commercial roofing project or roof system upgrade.

What are the Top Considerations for a Commercial Roofing Project In California?

Replacing or repairing a commercial roofing system isn’t just an easy swap of old material for new ones; various factors help determine the potential success of any roofing project. There is much to consider, from concerns about state building code requirements and desired vs. required roof features, to location-specific needs that protect against regional weather conditions.

Before they submit a scope of work for any roofing project, RoofSource’s technical professionals like to do their homework. Understanding the project’s full needs isn’t just a matter of climbing on top of and inspecting a roof. Before finalizing the project’s scope, they need to consider a building’s intended purpose, location, existing features, and the available budget for repairs.

You can apply the following six considerations when conducting your assessments to ensure you follow the best course of action for your commercial roofing system project.

1. The building’s purpose and long-term goals

For any project, the first step is to outline the purpose of your structure and how your organization plans to use the physical space for continued business growth. There are many different roof types and roofing materials that offer a variety of features. Without an understanding of the building’s use, a roofing contractor cannot accurately assess the scope of your roofing project.  

Before your roofing project assessment, ensure your contractor understands the following:

  1. The building’s function 

Your building is used for a specific reason, and the type of roofing system you’ve installed (or plan to install) should encourage rather than deter the efficient operation of your business. For example, a cold storage facility will have different roofing needs than a shopping center. If your company is involved in heavy manufacturing that emits chemicals, you will need specific roof systems that accommodate exhaust and ensure the health and safety of those who work within the building.  Your contractor needs to understand this.

A building’s function also plays a role in determining the best window of opportunity to install or repair a roofing system. Healthcare facilities can’t afford prolonged disruption to the care of their patients, so the right choices need to be made for larger roofing maintenance projects to ensure minor interruption to occupants.

  1. The building’s long-term plans 

The long-term goals for a commercial building will impact any decisions you make about repairs or replacements of its roofing system. For example, you might match the roof’s lifecycle to the length of a tenant lease, or maybe you select a lightweight single-ply roof membrane because you plan to add an addition to your structure in the future. 

A leased commercial property could have several occupants over its lifetime – each with unique business operations. It becomes much harder to prepare the right roofing system if the activities within the structure change, so keep in mind the purpose for which tenants may rent the building and the length of their stay.  

The more clarity you can provide on your intended goals for the building, the easier it is for the correct decisions to be made to repair and future-proof your roofing system.

2. The Project’s Location

California is one of the few states where five major climates (Desert, Cool Interior, Highland, Steppe, and Mediterranean) coexist, each split into 16 different zones with specific weather profiles. The location of your commercial building and the weather zone it occupies will inform the type of roofing system you should use, determining factors such as roofing material, slope, and maintenance requirements. 

For example, buildings in high-rainfall areas need a system and maintenance plan to mitigate and manage water build-up, or ponding. Inadequate drainage is one of the primary causes of failure for low-sloped roofs. Your roofing assessment should consider if your commercial building is based in a weather zone with high precipitation. Likewise, properties in extreme-weather “Hot Zones” need roofs with strong uplift ratings that employ fasteners able to withstand hurricanes and other severe weather events.    

3. The Project Budget

A clear budget can help your contractor determine the right roofing system or repairs that fits within your price range. While knowing the financial scope of the roof replacement or repair can allow you to select a way forward that is fiscally responsible, an honest appraisal of your roof system’s repair or replacement need could reveal the need for a much bigger budget. A damaged or failing roofing system can significantly impact a building’s operating costs. If recommended repairs or modifications to your roof can ensure long-term operational savings, then it would make sense to spend a larger amount upfront.

4. State Building Codes

The California Building Standards Commission (CBSC) outlines several regulations for all commercial roofing systems to help ensure the safety and comfort of all Californians. If you plan to install a new roofing system, ensure that you remain compliant:

Title 24 outlines the various building aspects your roofing system must have, covering elements such as emergency overflows, fire classification of materials, and material standards.  

  • California Green Building Codes (CALGreen)

California has some of the strictest green building codes designed for positive environmental impact and improved energy efficiency in commercial buildings. In particular, CALGreen outlines how well a roof must reflect sunlight, emit thermal heat, and insulate interior air (U-factor and R-value ratings). Refer to CALGreen for the latest in California Green Regulations. 

It is best to stay informed of the latest building regulations in California to complete your roofing system installation in a compliant manner and with fewer required alterations by building inspectors.

5. Commercial Roof System Features

Once you select a commercial roof type for your building, you can implement additional system features that will further assist the installation or repair of your roof. 

For example, you can apply a single-ply roofing system in three ways (mechanically fastened, fully adhered, or ballasted). The method you use will change the nature of your project and could shift timelines and budget amounts. In some older buildings, none of the single-ply roofing applications could work, and that will require a whole new setup approach or even force you to use a different roofing system.

If the construction of your structure requires unique or custom elements, it is a good idea to prepare for additional time and expense. Be sure to outline the current system and any individual construction features you might need. 

6. Project Assessment

Inviting a professional certified roofing consultant to assess your roof before you get started on a commercial roofing project is one of the most critical steps you can take to ensure your project’s success.

A consultant can offer an unbiased and honest evaluation of your roofing system to identify potential problem areas and confirm if you need a complete redesign or replacement. They can help you prioritize repairs and put you in touch with a roofing expert who can provide you with the solution you need.

Industry professionals such as a manufacturer representative company or roof consultant will also be familiar with applicable state codes and regulations, changing climates, and roofing systems and products that work best. Read our blog for more on the benefits of a professional roof assessment.

RoofSource is a building manufacturer representative who enables non-biased bids on roofing projects. Our contractors are recommended based on their expertise, products, and knowledge of local building codes and regulations. Contractors selected for bidding on roofing projects are local to that project and will understand any challenges for the location.

Contact RoofSource today to discuss your commercial roofing project’s needs.