Project Planning for Roofing Projects

Build Your Business

Author: Dan Stout | May 1, 2023

It's one thing to call yourself a roofing professional, but it's another thing entirely to run your roofing projects professionally. Managing all the details of a commercial roofing job can be challenging. But with a strong project plan, you'll impress your client, your crews will appreciate you and your bank account will look healthier than ever.

A team checking a plan on a construction site.
Project planning is essential for commercial roofing projects.

The key to achieving professionally run roofing jobs is efficient project planning. This is a holistic process tied to every step of the project, from the estimate to installation to warranty work.

The good news is that the basic elements of project planning are the same no matter the size of the project, from shingling a garden shed to reroofing a 50,000-square-foot warehouse. Here's what you need to know about building a project plan.

Define the Scope of Work

Typically, your sales team and estimator will work with the client to establish the scope for sales purposes. Some companies bring in the project manager at this point, while others wait until after the contract signing stage.

A material takeoff specifying all materials needed for the job, from tear-off and demo to the installation, is essential to the estimate and scope. Digital systems like Estimating EDGE can make this process faster, but you still need to be thorough and double-check the information provided. Be sure to account for accessory materials, such as fasteners and flashing, as well as site-specific needs, such as roll-off dumpsters or scaffolding.

Roofers who don't fully understand or communicate their scope of work can run into misaligned client expectations, delayed work schedules and arguments over warranty terms.

Obtain Codes and Permits

Understand which code-governing body has jurisdiction over your roofing projects. Pull permits and line up inspections as needed, and compare the manufacturer's instructions with the code requirements. If there are any conflicts, resolve them before starting work.

Failure to adhere to code can result in work stoppages and fines and can potentially derail an entire project's schedule.

Practice Safety Measures

The larger the roofing project, the more intense the government scrutiny (and potential fines). You need to follow all OSHA guidelines, including having a safety plan, safety meetings and appropriate job safety equipment on-site. Neglecting safety features will result in fines and penalties. Even worse, they can cause serious injury to a worker or bystander. Don't put yourself in the position of being responsible for an injury.

Use Efficient Technology

Today's roofers have a major advantage over previous generations: access to time-saving technology.

Aerial Tools

Drones allow for easier site planning and roof measurement than ever before. No drone? No problem — measurement services use high-quality aerial photography to determine pitches and surface area.

Visualization Software

Software like Beacon 3D+ allows homeowners to visualize the appearance of their new roof with 3D modeling.

Communication Solutions

Large roofing projects can require coordination with facility managers, tenants, crew leads and more. Dedicated project management software keeps everyone on the same page and creates a paper trail in case of disputes.

Build Contingency Plans

On complex jobs, there are countless ways for things to go wrong, including cost issues, bad weather and site issues, and each one can cause a ripple effect of delays and headaches. You can't eliminate every possible problem, but you can have a plan in place for unexpected speed bumps.

This is even more important if you're working on the road. If you run a week over schedule, the cost of hotel rooms and meals can be a painful hit. You could even run into a situation where the hotel is booked and you're unable to extend your stay.

Engage in Professional Behavior

Project management isn't just about paperwork and planning. It also includes setting expectations on the jobsite with regard to professional behavior. This is especially important for properties that the public will use during a roofing project. Professional behavior on roofing projects includes everything from portable toilet placement to what construction materials are visible to the public. Coarse language, loud music or other behavior can interfere with the client or tenant's ability to conduct business, and that's bad business for your roofing company.

Keep in Touch With Clients After the Installation

Once you've finished the job and been paid, it can be easy to forget about that client. But happy clients mean more work in the pipeline. A facility manager may have other buildings to roof, or they may want to outsource roof inspections and maintenance, creating a steady, subscription-based income stream for you. Build a project management plan that spells out warranty and maintenance options, and don't lose contact with your satisfied customers.

Your Key Player: The Project Manager

Project planning can go a long way to making sure your roofing projects are effective and profitable. Commercial jobs generally have complex planning procedures, but they're ultimately no different than the humblest shingle job when it comes to creating a project plan.

The key person in charge of making this happen is the roofing project manager. With this essential team member, you'll stay on track and ensure your project plan is followed to the letter.

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