Roofers face multiple problems on site today. 80% of failed roofs and leaks are caused by non-roofers. Therefore, it is a main priority to protect the roofer’s craftmanship from traffic on the rooftop during the total building phase, during construction and beyond.
Why Should We Protect the Roof
Different workers from different professions are often active on the construction site, many of whom might not care about the Sika membrane protecting the building from wind and weather. The job site has also become a multicultural environment, with different levels of understanding or respect for each other’s craftsmanship. This could have a negative impact on the final product, since we see that mostly bad habits stick instead of the good ones.
Many roof damage claims are related to this topic. Claims during a construction project negatively impact the cost - causing schedule delays and often requiring extra work to be done.
The sole purpose of an umbrella is to keep what is underneath dry. It seems that everybody takes care of the umbrella's skin so that they do not get wet. But why are people not taking care of the roof's skin - the roof membrane?
The umbrella model helps identify the hurdles of roof protection. It is divided into four dimensions, which currently have a negative impact on the roof.
The easy way is not always the best way. The long-term view is missing, and that has a direct negative effect on the roof's life cycle.
Training is key for updating skills and learning new innovative techniques, especially on a multicultural job site, to ensure that everybody is aligned.
The slogan "time is money" has a negative impact on the quality of craftsmanship. Workers are put under pressure to finish their job fast. The fast-speed approach becomes routine, and mistakes are made.
However, bad routines can be transformed into good ones with improved process thinking.
The presence of different professions on site is one of the biggest risks to a roof's protection due to the general lack of knowledge and awareness. Every day, a new leak may be caused by someone who has no idea that they did something wrong.
Awareness is key to change this - people need to understand what they may have been doing wrong. Informational education and posters pointing out the "do's and don'ts" on a roof can be helpful.
It is within a roofer's responsibility to make a watertight roof. However, they are challenged to prove that the roof is watertight once installation is complete.
If any leaks occur, they would also have to prove that the leaks are caused by workers from a different profession.
Poster to Raise Awareness
To support our customers who face this challenge, Sika offers a roof protection concept to help identify risks and offer solutions to reduce the problems. It is a tool to unify the awareness of all involved parties on the roof.
The concept is available in the form of a poster that can be used during briefings and fixed around the job site, especially on the roof or scaffolding nearby. Regardless of the way it is shown, the overall purpose of your roof protection poster will be to build awareness for the workforce and strengthen their protection knowledge.
8 Tips for Keeping the Roof Membrane Safe
1. Keep cigarette butts away
Ensure no cigarettes are thrown anywhere on the roof membrane.
Create a designated smoking area on the roof, and make sure that several ashtrays are available.
2. Keep shoe debris off the roof
Dirt and trash picked up on shoe soles will damage the roof.
Install walkways on the most used parts of the roof, so the membrane is protected where most foot traffic occurs.
3. Pick up loose fasteners
Loose screws and other sharp objects lying on the roof can puncture the roof membrane.
By putting all sharp objects in a bucket, people will not be able to walk on them and damage the roof.
4. Keep tools close by
Dropping a sharp tool is one of the most common causes of leaks on the roof.
If you drop a tool, always check for a puncture and call the roofer. Use a tool belt so that all your tools are fixed properly without risk of being dropped onto the membrane.
5. Use protection under equipment
Large equipment and machines in direct contact with the roof can cause punctures.
Place a palette, insulation board or wood panel underneath the machine, so the membrane cannot be damaged. Use an absorptive material for potential leaks.
6. Check for appropriate repair
Damages or punctures may be caused by third-party contractors or others.
Do not repair it by yourself. Call the roofer, so they can repair it properly with the right tools and materials.
7. Use a protective base for rooftop work
Directly cutting or working with tools on the roof membrane can cause damage.
Especially when grinding, sawing, cutting or welding other materials on the rooftop, use a protective mat or base to do the work.
8. Dispose of waste properly
Loose trash lying in direct contact with the roof membrane can cause punctures and leaks.
By putting standard big trash bags or bins on the roof, you indicate to everyone that is where the trash goes.
Download the Free Poster
Please contact us if you would like the editable version of the poster to add your own logo for printing.
Contact your local Sika technical team if you want more expert advice about keeping your roof membrane well protected during and after installation on the construction site.
Ben van Os
Junior Corporate Product Engineer Thermal Insulation Roofing
Target Market Roofing
Sika Services AG