How to Prepare for Commercial Roofing Materials Delivery

If you are the general manager of a commercial facility, it is usually your responsibility to ensure the safety of all the employees, contractors, and visitors on the property. You are also responsible for the facility and grounds. You likely already have safety strategies to prevent personal injury and property damage during day-to-day activities. But what about during special conditions, especially roof renovation projects?

While roofing companies are responsible for the training and use of fall protection equipment for their roofers, it's important for site owners and managers to provide a safe workplace environment and prevent property damage. Here are a few things you may need to do.

Understand roof frame load limits & delivery accessibility

The roofing materials will be delivered to your property and then hoisted up to the roof by a crane. Since the materials can be extremely heavy when they are centrally located, you'll need to make sure the roof frame structure can handle the weight. That way, the weight of the materials won't crash through the roof. Hire a structural engineer to inspect the frame structure of the roof to determine the load limits it can safely hold.

Sometimes, load limits vary in different parts of the roof frame, which may mean the roofing materials can only be placed on certain parts of the roof by the crane. Once these areas are determined, a representative from the roofing company will need to assess the property with you to determine the placement of the delivery vehicles, material handling equipment, and cranes, based on those areas.

Problems & solutions

In a perfect world, the entire roof frame will handle the load and there are no obstacles that get in the way. However, since the world is not perfect, be prepared for cases which may delay the start of the roofing renovation.

No part of the roof frame is sturdy enough for the load. You may think this is the worst-case scenario, but it's not. Keep in mind that the load limit is determined for the hoisting of the materials to the roof when the materials are in one mass, not when the materials are spread throughout the roof. This scenario does not mean that the roof frame will need to be replaced.

However, it does mean the materials will need to be hoisted to the roof in smaller masses or by using scaffolding. If either is necessary, you will need to determine a safe area for the materials to remain on the ground until they are needed on the roof. Use safety barricades, signage, and securing equipment to prevent personal injuries, property damage, and theft.

A local commercial roofing contractor will look at the various service and utility lines, as well as any surrounding structures that could hinder the use of the vehicles, equipment and cranes to hoist the roofing materials up to the specified areas of the roof that can handle the load. If there is no safe accessibility, this could result in a delay for the start date of the roof renovation project because you may need to make changes to your facility before work on the roof can safely begin.

For example, if the structural integrity of the roof frame on the only accessible side of the facility is not able to handle the weight of the roofing materials for placement on the roof by the crane, then you may need to provide access to the other side of the building. Depending on the circumstances, this may be done by removing trees and shrubs to clear the ground or by removing sections of fencing.