How Quality Control is a Contractor’s True Test

Quality Control, or QC, is crucial for today’s commercial contractors.  Roofing QC is a procedure or process in which the contractor ensures that the performed work meets the quality standards and expectations of the customer without leaks or other problems.  TPO roofing is a high quality roofing membrane that is fairly easy to install (see the results from the largest ever independent TPO study).  Ideally the crews will do a perfect job every time, but unfortunately, errors and mistakes in installation are inevitable.  However, when QC is done properly in TPO jobs, mistakes can be found and corrected at the time of installation, rather than later when an error becomes a problem.

Commercial Webinar Week

A great opportunity to learn more about TPO and proper installation is through GAF‘s Commercial Webinar Week.  These webinars will begin the week of March 23rd starting at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. EST daily.  These webinars act as a series that will tackle important facets of TPO Roofing including Wind Uplift, Tapered Design, TPO Systems, Code Compliance, and Estimating.  Attend all or pick and choose which fits your training needs most.  Register today to train with experts!

Monday, March 23rd, 11:00 a.m.  –  Why EverGuard TPO?

Monday, March 23rd, 2:00 p.m. – Wind Uplift

Tuesday, March 24th, 11:00 a.m. – Tapered Design and Installation

Tuesday, March 24th, 2:00 p.m. – TPO Systems

Wednesday, March 25th, 11:00 a.m. – Rhinobond®

Wednesday, March 25th, 2:00 p.m. – Code Compliance

Thursday, March 26th, 11:00 a.m. – Best Practices in Commercial Estimating

Thursday, March 26th, 2:00 p.m. – Commercial Contractor Challenge 

Jobs have gone wrong

Here are two examples of TPO jobs that didn’t have the proper QC program in place. There was a commercial roofing company that negotiated a very nice high-profit project.  When it was time to begin work with the subcontractor crews, the project manager, who knew that the crew was experienced and that money was at stake, decided the project was low priority and never visited the job site.  The crews became complacent and right before the job was completed a storm came thru and the roof failed because the seams were not welded properly.  The membrane rolled up, insulation began blowing off the building and the remaining membrane was soaked.  This was a complete failure because the crews did not perform their robot tests or probed their welds.   The company regrouped and began roofing again.  After the roof was completed a second time, QC was properly performed on the seams and this time they were installed properly.  However, QC was not done properly on the entire roof.  The drain bolts were not secured at the drains and the roof hatch was not properly installed.  Another storm came through, and this time the roof was in the parking lot.  This lack of a QC process caused two complete disasters on one job. The high profit that was expected was lost and the crews were held up from starting their next project, creating a further loss of income.

Another commercial roofing company was doing a project that required a No Dollar Limit Total System Warranty.  On top of that, the project had a liquidated damages clause in the contract.  That means when a project is not completed by a certain date, the contractor will be back charged each day for breach of contract.  In this situation, the liquidated damages were $1,000 a day if the project went past the scheduled completion date.  Four days prior to that date, the inspector came for the warranty inspection and discovered that every seam on the roof had failed.  When he questioned the foreman about running welding tests with the robot, the foreman said he ALWAYS used the same temperature and speed because, in all of his years of experience, those settings ALWAYS produced a good weld.  When asked if the contractor probed his own seams, the foreman responded, “Why?  I have it in the proper settings”.  After the roof inspection, the roofing company needed to strip every seam in order to receive the warranty.  This took over a week to fix.  Due to the nature of the liquidated damages on this project, the inspector showed up the very next day after the phone call.  He went directly to the seams and all the stripping began pulling up immediately like the sound of Velcro. The foreman had not learned from his previous mistakes and again didn’t test or probe his robot or seams.  To compound the matter, the area was improperly cleaned.   This second inspection occurred seven days after the date of completion and the roofing company already owed the owner $7,000 and the roof still failed its inspection.

Taking Control

A roofing company needs to establish quality control.    Even though the foreman, superintendents, and project managers should all be trained to implement QC, the crews themselves should be knowledgeable.  Spending the extra time to have a properly trained crew and solid QC program can make the difference in having a long successful career.

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