How to extend your college building's roof life

Being a facilities manager or commercial building owner is hard enough; imagine having to deal with weather, aging infrastructure and 4,000 restive college students. When considering commercial roof maintenance of a college building, some of the hazards are unique. Three proven strategies can help you extend the usable life of a college building’s roof.

Know the Function

The roofs of some college buildings, like those protecting the astronomy, floriculture or electrical engineering departments, may put their roofs to use. Telescopes, greenhouses or solar panels may be normal rooftop structures for these departments. This means their roofs get a significant workout nearly every day (and, in the case of astronomy, into the night).

Selecting the right material to withstand the foot traffic is a good first step. Getting your commercial roofer to evaluate the current condition of the roof helps, too, as does a diligent schedule of commercial roof maintenance. Your roofer may suggest walkways to restrict traffic to protected areas. Other solutions include treating the surface like a plaza deck, or waterproofing it for extra strength.

Roof Hacking

Entire books have been written about roof and tunnel hacking at colleges. Written off as typical college hijinks, these rooftop escapades take a tremendous toll on college roofs. The need for more frequent commercial roof maintenance is only one aspect of the problem. Other issues:

  • Student safety — slips and falls can occur on low-slope roofs
  • Vandalism — Flashing and seams are targets for unthinking students
  • Mechanical systems failure from unintentional damage by students

While determined undergrads may eventually get through, ensure every door, elevator shaft and roof access ladder are securely locked against roof hackers. Regular security patrols can dissuade the more timid students from attempting rooftop hacking.

Join the 21st Century

College buildings are notorious victims of “deferred maintenance” and outright neglect, usually due to uncertain revenues. A commercial roofer can partner with a facilities manager to change the typical view of a college roof from commercial roof maintenance burden to a revenue stream:

  • Green roof — A rooftop garden can produce flowers, fruits and vegetables for student consumption and sale
  • Rooftop gathering spot  —  restaurant, student center, over-21 bar
  • Communications hub — leasing rooftop space to cell phone operators, broadcasters

Contact Jewett Roofing to learn more about the unique problems presented by college roofs. We have experience, ideas and — yes — the right education to solve your commercial roof maintenance challenge.