The Case for Condition-based Asset Management for Roofs

The Case for Condition-based Asset Management for Roofs

Over the past six decades we’ ve noticed a wide variety of roof management plans implemented by building owners and managers.

The most common is the non-plan of “set it and forget it”. Whether this is due to thought of “fix it when it fails”, a false sense of security from a warranty, or replacement schedules that dictate a roof be replaced after “X” number of years varies with ownership. While this can provide a few years of blissful ignorance, it also potentially sets the owner up for an emergency roof replacement with rushed decisions based on limited choices at the end of the (shortened) life cycle.

The RAM PLAN – “STAM” Strategic Testing And Monitoring

RAM USA utilizes state of the art tech to TEST the system and determine the REAL AGE of the roof. A poorly designed and installed roof could show significant signs of aging in just a few years, while a well-built and maintained roof could be in its midlife at the 30 year mark!

RAM USA wants to SAVE your roofs! Even old roofs with leaks may not be an entire loss. Through diagnostic evaluations, RAM will identify the failed components, for replacement, and strengthen the weaker components for increased value.

According to the National Roofing Contractor Association (NRCA) there many reasons typical flat roofs are being replaced every 8-12 years. However, just decades ago, the NRCA found that the average longevity for a roof was 20+ years. It’s an alarming difference and can be attributed to issues such as: without proper attention roofs are failing earlier and earlier, the fact that warranties can be difficult to comply with, and often times warranties are confused with being an “insurance policy”.

It all boils down to the fact that too many good roofs are being replaced. Industry statistics and our own experience show that roughly 50% of roofs being replaced don’t need to be! Whether facility owners/managers “feel” that their ailing roofs need replacement, are being told by a manufacturer or contractor that their roofs are bad, or are simply replacing roofs because “it’s time”, tons of good roofing material is being dumped into landfills every day. On top of being an enormous waste, many of these materials can cause a negative environmental impact.

What if there were some simple ways combat these problems? As a registered roof consultant, RAM USA’s goal is to provide these solutions. We have developed Roof Asset Management Programs incorporating the principles of Condition-based Maintenance (CbM). In its truest sense, CbM is performing maintenance on an asset based on the current performance level. One or more indicators which show deteriorating performance or approaching failure of the asset determines this need. Though there can be an initial cost to implementation, the major benefits of CbM are avoiding “emergency” situations, dismissing unnecessary actions, eliminating costly reactionary repairs, and extending the life of an asset. In fact, it is Department of Defense policy that condition-based maintenance (CbM) be “implemented to improve maintenance agility and responsiveness, increase operational availability, and reduce life cycle total ownership costs” as stated in their CbM Policy Memorandum, in 2002. We find the best description of CbM to be “The Right Repair + The Right Timing = Best Value”.

CbM is an alternative to Time Based Maintenance (TbM), which is also referred to as “clock-based” maintenance or “calendar-based” maintenance. It is a form of maintenance according to a strict timetable (i.e., fixed intervals) between scheduled maintenance activities. TbM seems to be very prevalent in the realm of roof management.

For the sake of clarity in the conversation regarding roofs, let’s consider the word “maintenance” (the M in CbM) to mean a “roof repair”. This could be a major roof repair, restoration, or replacement. Basically, anything outside the realm of minor repairs, or what is typically included in routine (semi-annual) roof inspections/surveys. These roof inspections are usually required for warranty compliance, and are many times referred to as “routine maintenance”. RAM USA absolutely recommends these inspections, as they are our basis for the diagnostics, physical assessments, and testing involved in determining the condition and resulting recommendations for roofs. In fact, that describes the initial stage of the three-step process we have developed to most efficiently extend the life of roof assets. RAM USA’s Asset Management Programs are designed around Information, Implementation, and Continuation.

The Information stage is the crux of our program, and provides a complete condition baseline assessment with objective options on how to proceed in the future. This is accomplished utilizing our patent-pending Aerial Infrared Scanning Process, and our Registered Roof Consultants (RRCs) performing “Boots on the Roof” Visual Roof Surveys. The findings are analyzed and result in a Report that outlines our recommended options in Prioritized 5-Year Plans. They are highly detailed with bankable budgets that empower the facility owner/manager to proactively make the most sound business decisions.

Once a decision is made on the best plan to follow, if the condition of any roof section indicates it is in need of a repair, restoration, or replacement we move into the Implementation Stage. RAM USA can assist on these projects from beginning to end, or anywhere in between. Not only can we custom design and specify the roof project, we can also provide great advantages in the bidding process, and offer complete project management and monitoring services. A roofing statistic that we agree with whole-heartedly states: proper project monitoring can double the life of a roof!

Continuation is the last stage of our process, and is basically the repetition of the Information Stage in an on-going manner. We have several annual or semi-annual Inspection/Maintenance Programs. These inspections are of the utmost importance, since they “continue” the plan set forth initially, and provide the information that is necessary to understand the condition of roof sections year in and year out.

Armed with the intelligence gained through our process we can truly use the principles of CbM, and make “The Right Repair at The Right Time providing The Best Value” for our clients. Additionally, we tend to think of our programs as an investment in a thorough, proactive plan, rather than an expense. The return on this investment can be sizable. Would you spend 1% of your roof cost to achieve 50-100% more value? These services more than pay for themselves, over time. So we feel that facility owners/managers can’t afford NOT to use our Roof Asset Management Programs.