Roof Replacement of a Portland, Oregon Retail Center
About This Project
A large retail center located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest was having problems with their leaking roof–an issue that is not uncommon in this area that receives about 42 inches of rain every year.
A property management firm which was hired to oversee the bids to replace this leaky roof became concerned when there was a large disparity in the price of the bids they were receiving from five roofing contractors. How could three bids they received be in the range of $145,000, and others be in the range of $530,000? They enlisted our services to find out.
The scope of work for this retail center in Portland was to completely replace the entire roof. Its property management firm acquired several bids from a number of different roofing contractors to deliver an estimate of the overall cost. However, these five bids varied wildly, with a discrepancy between them that amounted to almost $400,000. This discrepancy greatly concerned the property management firm, and further complicated the decision-making process when it came to reaching the conclusions that were in the property owners’ best interest.
The property management firm contacted us to discuss their concerns. After several conversations, they agreed to enlist our services. As an unbiased third party inspector, we reviewed each contractor’s proposal that the firm had received, and we set out to determine what could cause the abnormality in range of costs.
To solve the problem, we first evaluated each roofing contractor’s bid. Through these reviews, we determined that there were two main reasons for the discrepancy: properly prepared documents were not provided to the bidders, and because of this, each bidder had made their own decisions for the roof system and scope of work for the project. Hence, the cost for each bid was a different amount. These decisions were made regardless of whether they were appropriate for this specific building, and did not reflect the property manager’s best interests when it came to the long-term cost and longevity of their roofing.
The initial mistake we discovered through our discussions was that the property manager of the retail building had not provided the bidders an appropriate set of bid documents. These documents should have included construction details, specifications, and scope of work, and by not being provided with this information, the bidders were left to come to their own scope of work and roof system selection.
Additionally, due to the fact that the roof was leaking, the property manager assumed that this meant the entire roof had failed, and would need to be completely replaced. When this assumption was expressed, each roofing contractor agreed that the whole roof was in need of replacement. All the roofing contractors were directed to provide a bid that concerned replacing the roof. However, they did not have any construction details, scope of work, or specifications to make their bid tailored specifically to this roof’s situation and needs.
Due to this, each bid involved a different scope of work, which led to the large difference in costs. The three bids that were the cheapest (such as the one estimated at $145,000) were based on keeping the existing roof, and applying a waterproof coating over the old roof. This roof coating application came with a five year, material-only warranty, and every five years, the roof would have to receive a new coating.
The bids which were more expensive (such as the one estimated at $530,000) were based on the removal of the existing roof system. Appropriate insulation would be applied, and then installation of a new roof system would be conducted. This came with a twenty year, No-Dollar-Limit warranty, a warranty which would include both materials and labor.
This is why the bids from the roofing contractors were at such a discrepancy. Through our reviewing services, we questioned whether the fact that there was leakage in every area of the roof meant that the entire roof had to be replaced. A complete replacement came at a high cost, however, if the property management firm selected the cheapest bid, the total cost of repeated coatings over twenty years would have cost even more than installing a proper roof system. Neither of these options served the property owners’ best interest.
After concluding our evaluation of each roofing contractor’s bids, we recommended that the property management firm of the retail center reject all five. We suggested that we could provide a professional and unbiased third party inspection of the building, to determine whether the entire roof had indeed failed.
We also recommended that the property management firm conduct a re-bidding of the project once they could provide the bidders with specifications, construction details, and scope of work, and that each of these documents be properly and thoroughly prepared.
The Results of Our
The property management firm enlisted our comprehensive and unbiased inspection services. Once completed, we found that a large section of the retail center’s roof had indeed failed, and it did need to be replaced. However, the leaks that were causing the most severe problems were being caused by improper wall flashing, not by an entire failed roof system. A simple and inexpensive repair was all that was required to restore the large leaking area to a watertight condition, and the rest of that roof section could be kept intact. Other sections of the retail center’s roof system did need to be replaced.
There was only one roof system on the retail center. Due to building code, a second roof would be allowed to be constructed on top of the first. This reduced further expense, by taking away the need to remove the existing roof.
Not only did these two conclusions reduce the bid amount, but they also enabled the owner of the retail building to extend the longevity of their existing roofing system.
The Bidding and Construction
As part of our third party design services, we helped the property management firm create completely new, customized bidding documents to present to the bidders. We also led the on-site walk-throughs with each roofing contractor. After this, all the bids were comfortably within the $280,000 to $290,000 range. This cost included repair of the improper wall flashing. The individual roof sections that required replacement received a twenty-year, warranted roof system that helped keep the retail building watertight, and which conformed to building code.