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Up on the Roof The Perils of Skipping Maintenance of Rooftop Equipment

It’s not unusual today to find an array of amenities —pools, hot tubs, decks and similar areas for socializing — on top of new urban condominium buildings. Older residences may or may not have such facilities, but even without the steady use by owners, their roofs are likely to sprout weak spots where the materials have rotted and can’t support foot traffic. In any of these scenarios, failure to take precautions or make repairs can result in death, injury and lawsuits.

“Out of sight, out of mind” may turn to “in your face” if a casual attitude is taken toward roof maintenance. And there’s more than the obvious reason—safety—to consider.

Sure, the board of trustees is wary of costly roof maintenance. Some members may balk at inspection fees and routine repairs, preferring to think that what’s in front of their eyes is far more important than the roof 17 floors above. But ponder this: the weather on top may be frightful, even when it’s nice below.

Neglecting simple, routine checkups could result in a far more expensive outcome than any funds that are saved by ignoring such inspections. Industry professionals say that failing to do inspections and keep up repairs is a costly—not to mention risky—business.

Don’t Skip Inspections

Ignoring roof maintenance is anathema to Chris Knollmeyer, president of Greylock Roofing Corp. and Knollmeyer Building Corp., of Woburn, Massachusetts. In too many cases, if the roof area isn’t a screaming need, no one thinks about the future. “People don’t pay enough attention,” he said. “But you may have a combination of rooftop air conditioning, and contract maintenance workers as damage factors, or clogged drains, downspouts and gutters that are not cleaned regularly. Any combination of those things makes most roofs deteriorate at a faster rate. No matter how good a roof it is, you still have to maintain it or it will deteriorate faster.”

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