It’s Texas and the one thing we definitely understand is weather changes. You know what we say – if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. It will change. Unfortunately those changes can swing toward radical weather events. Just last week we saw a major hail storm sweep across North Texas, wreaking havoc and leaving behind a swath of broken windshields, major automobile damage and a large number residential and commercial roofing in need of repair. While some of the repairs are already underway, there will be others that take much longer, even months.
Case in point – last May the city of Amarillo had a major hail storm – not an unusual event in the Panhandle. Unfortunately, according to the Amarillo Globe News, most of the commercial roof repairs had not started until late October.
Why does it take five months for a commercial property to have the roof repaired? One reason is that the insurance claim process simply takes longer. Plus, commercial roof repairs are more complicated.
“Commercial roofing systems are typically hundreds of thousands of square feet and can exceed a million in size. If an inexpensive roof system is installed, then you have a roof that can be severely impacted by large storms,” said Kelly Lea, KPOST Vice President of Estimating. “The roofs that are severely damaged are addressed quickly. The others must wait their turn, which can take months, or even years.”
The KPOST team is experienced in replacing all types of roof systems after severe weather events. In cases where the roof systems were not higher quality, the insurance company had to total the roof immediately. Other companies, however, had to wait for the insurance company to provide estimates. The amount of time a company must wait is often aligned with the level of damage – the more severely damaged roofs are addressed first, with the insurance company providing estimates that are sometimes significantly less than what it takes to realistically reroof the building.
How Does the Insurance Company Decide?
Most insurance companies use Xactimate, or a similar tool, to provide formulas in which to base their estimates. The insurance company estimator will analyze the building based on the formulas and determine the amount to reimburse the building owner. The challenge comes when the reroofing project scopes outside the parameters of the formula.
For example, if you must reroof a mall, then it is safer and preferred to perform the work after hours. This complicates the logistics and falls outside the basic parameters of most estimating software formulas. If the reroofing project is more expensive that originally estimated, it is up to the business owner or property management team to engage with the insurance company to get additional funds for the project.
“We had a reroofing project that was estimated at $96,000 to replace the roof. However, the Xactimate formula did not take into account the height of the building (for safety of the roofers), slope of the roof deck or code upgrades since the roof was installed. The actual estimate was closer to $415,000,” said Lea. “It’s important to understand the overall scope of the roof project.”
“It’s also important to have excellent documentation in order to provide the insurance company with solid reasons as to why the amount estimated will not be enough. That is where an annual roof maintenance plan can be a real game changer.”
Annual Roof Maintenance Plans Change the Game
When you think about how insurance reimbursements work, it’s easier to personalize it a bit, so let’s review how the same system works with your car. If you wreck a car or it’s stolen, the insurance company calculates the reimbursement based upon their tables and formulas. However, if you are able to show that the car was in excellent or at least above-average condition, regularly maintained and well cared for, then the amount of money you are reimbursed will go up.
The same holds true for commercial roofing, except the dollar figures are significantly higher.
“The idea is to have your roof looked at once a year to catch minor problems before they become major problems. In particular, you want to make the repairs prior to any interior damage could occur,” said Tracey Donels, Roof Service Manager.
By investing in an annual roof maintenance plan, you will have documented evidence that the roof was well-maintained, repairs were made on a timely basis, and that the commercial roofing system was certainly intact ensuring no interior damage would occur.
“Routine maintenance can extend the life of a roof giving the company a significant monetary savings when you annualize the cost of the roof,” said Donels.
There are multiple benefits to having an annual roof maintenance plan, including:
- Extend the life of the CapEx investment
- Limit interior damage
- Save money by bundling the repairs
“We know our customers cannot control the weather or the timing of the insurance company, but they can give themselves a leg up by investing in an annual roof maintenance plan,” said Scott Bredehoeft, KPOST Director of Business Development. “The ability to provide excellent documentation that roof maintenance was regularly performed will provide the type of support needed to get an insurance reimbursement more in line with the cost of a reroofing project. It’s peace of mind.”
One thing is for sure – those property managers and owners that invested in an annual roof maintenance plan are certainly glad they did after last week’s hail storm. They know before a major weather event what needs to be repaired and can take steps to do so, leaving them with a much better chance of minimizing damage. If there is damage, now there is the right documentation to ensure appropriate repairs. If it’s time for your commercial roofing inspection, please give us a call to schedule one today, before the next weather event takes the area by storm.