One of life's most basic necessities is to have a roof over one's head. In an apartment building,while the roof may be a dozen stories above your home, it is still one of the most fundamental parts of the building. If the roof is not properly maintained, it can lead to problems that affect dozens of apartments and even threaten the integrity of the entire building structure. If attention to detail is not paid in the early stages of a roof problem, legal problems can result, which may pose a threat to the financial stability of the building as well.
Because the roof is such an integral part of your co-op or condo, it is imperative that boards proceed with caution when it comes to making decisions about roof maintenance and repairs. An experienced architect or engineer should always be called in to analyze the problem before any roofing work is undertaken. And an experienced contract lawyer should be hired to help with contract negotiations before anything is signed.
Hiring Considerations and Warranties
One of the biggest mistakes boards can make is to be penny wise and pound foolish about hiring roofing contractors. First, the board should not necessarily hire the contractor who gives the lowest bid, especially if it is significantly lower than the others. This can be a sign that the contractor has underbid and may not really be able to complete the job for the price quoted. Second, there is nothing to prevent the board from negotiating a better price with a firm that gave a higher bid. Third, be sure to get and check references for all contractors being considered by calling co-ops or condos they have actually done work for.
Before hiring a firm, look at the types of warranties they offer. If your building is replacing the entire roof, the contractor will most likely install a roofing system manufactured by a roofing company, which should come with a long-term warranty. The contractor should offer its own warranty on the installation work itself. Both the manufacturer and the contractor should be checked to see how financially stable they are and whether it is likely that they will be in business down the road if and when a problem arises. Generally, the language in warranties is unchangeable; however, changes can be negotiated on occasion.
It is essential to get good professional advice on the work you plan to have done, so that you are sure it will be safe and sound, and that it is the best alternative for solving the problem. The contracts for roof work, which should be drafted by an attorney who knows this area of the law, should call for an architect or engineer to draw plans for the work that is to be done and to examine it before the roof is sealed up. Thus, if any flashing is to be installed, you will know that a professional has checked to see that it is there and that the work conforms to the plans.