Is it wise to have a detailed survey before proceeding with a new flat roof installation?
The answer is always going to be yes but, in most cases, an experienced roofing contractor will be able to assess any issues affecting his proposed specification and particularly with relatively straightforward installations such as a garage where usually the underside of the existing roof deck can be viewed easily.
A degraded older roof with evidence of damage accumulated over many years and possibly over a substantial area of the living area would most certainly warrant an in-depth survey that may require core samples.
Additionally, with modern roof materials and insulation coupled with new building regulations on insulation upgrade requirements, it is essential to be provided with accurate information in the specification.
In this case, it would be wise to engage a qualified surveyor who will undertake this element.
Will I be charged for my survey?
A professional surveyor will charge for this service and the cost will depend on the scope of work and size of the roof.
An experienced roofer will charge at his discretion depending again on the scope of work, access, and location. A highly experienced quality roofer prepared to only engage in an installation subject to his survey may well submit a fee of which sometimes a percentage is refunded if an order is placed.
This is understandable when a client may engage several roofers and opt for the lowest cost or have sight of the experienced roofer’s specification and use that to base his own cost on at a lesser rate.
What should you expect from a survey request?
Firstly, excellent communication and an understanding of your requirements are essential.
In current times they may ask for a few photographs to establish an overview in order to progress.
This would be followed up with a confirmation that a survey is required and any potential fee (in the case of a roofing company) which would normally be settled prior to attendance.
If acceptable a firm appointment would be made subject to weather conditions. If the appointment has to be changed you should definitely expect an update on this to prevent any inconvenience to yourself and of course vice versa.
The surveyor will inspect and assess the roof internally and externally and you will probably be asked a few questions regarding the age of the roof and what upgrades have occurred. Where it is leaking and for how long.
Following his inspection expect a detailed report within several days with recommendations and if possible, a quotation.
This report is your property and may be used to present before other contractors.
Why do insurance companies require a flat roof survey report?
Insurance companies deem a roof to be a ‘flat roof’ if it has a slope of 10 degrees or less. They do not in all cases and may just ask for a specification based on like for like from several roofing contractors. They will usually appoint the lowest cost quotation or may come to a settlement figure with you allowing you to select a contractor of your choice.
They would definitely request a professional survey report from roofing specialists such as Strandek where extensive damage has taken place and the appointed assessor would also determine if the roof damage were classified as storm damage or wear and tear over time. In the latter it is unlikely that you would be covered under your insurance. It is most likely that internal damage would be covered.
A survey will also mean that a specification has been recommended and therefore each contractor will be quoting for like for like.
What safety considerations are there for a roof survey?
Roofs present multiple risk factors when conducting surveys. The HSE website provides detail on roofing health and safety delving into detail on manual handling, asbestos roofing materials as well as working from height. The flat roof may also be fragile so scaffolding is recommended. A roofing survey should involve a risk assessment in advance to mitigate any risks.
Where do Strandek perform flat roof surveys?
We typically operate throughout South Wales (Newport, Cardiff, Monmouth, Chepstow, Usk, Swansea, Bridgend and beyond) as well as the South West (Bristol, Bath, etc.) and beyond.
We perform surveys for domestic, industrial, and commercial customers.
What tools do you use for a roof inspection?
A range of tools and techniques are available. Usually, the condition of the roof covering is quite revealing when we perform roof surveys. There might be evidence of moisture and damp in the roof surface, whether its mastic asphalt, epdm (single ply), felt or fibreglass roofing. More extensive methods might use drone surveys, thermal imaging and electronic leak detection over the roof area. A gutter inspection may also be performed, and we will also ask what roofing materials to have been used, along with the location of any water damage, who undertook the roof construction and its proximity to any brickwork or pitched roof. The purpose of this is to work out how much rainwater has leaked into the structure and the extent of any damage.
Do you perform independent condition surveys?
Yes, we perform a range of independent surveys to as part of a professional roof survey. Whether you have a felt roof, an asphalt one or have used liquid applied membranes, we are able to provide a full report – this is often for insurance companies. A building survey may also be requested if there is extensive damage.
What are your recommendations following a survey and inspection?
Sometimes the roof is in good condition. However, on some occasions, more investigative work may be required.
We do our utmost to avoid costly flat roof repairs and new flat roof installations. Sometimes the identification of a flat roof leak – if caught early – can be solved quite cheaply. It could just be a blocked rainwater outlet! Yet a flat roof repair might just involve the replacement of the outer roofing membrane – effectively upgrading the roof without interfering with the underlying structure.
Why is my flat roof leaking?
Established in 1976, we have surveyed and installed thousands of flat roofs. Many of the roofs we were requested to replace were showing signs of leaking. We’ve outlined the most common reasons below:
+ Lead flashing: installed with an depth chase line or inadequate adhesive means that strong winds and rain will allow rainwater ingress.
+ Poor ventilation: low-quality construction and incorrectly specified materials will over time result in moisture accumulation inside the roof.
+ Sun damage, age-accelerated membrane loss: the loss of membrane integrity can lead to it becoming permeable and leaking to water ingress and a leak.
+ Gutters: blocked gutters are common reasons for rainwater to overflow into the main roofing structure.
+ Punctures membranes: unlike fibreglass, single ply (EPDM or PVC) is prone to puncturing. This can lead to slow and subtle water ingress that can ause massive damage over time.
In all instances, Strandek recommends a full roofing survey to detect the cause of your leaking roof.
What factors affect the cost of a survey?
Size of roof: larger roofing areas require more time to investigate
Complexity: unlikely, but added complexities like different roofing membranes, the inclusion of a green ‘sedum’ roof, roof balcony, etc. can affect requirements
Additional safety factors may also include:
Scaffolding: dangerous or hard to reach areas can require scaffolding
Asbestos: asbestos surveys require sampling and laboratory analysis