The logic behind purchasing roof supports is pretty simple: Doing it costs far less money than not doing it. But some building owners need convincing. If you’re trying to negotiate purchasing rooftop supports with a building owner who’s trying to cut costs, here are some persuasive, bottom-line talking points to help you make your case.
1. Roof Supports Aren’t There to Look Pretty; They Play an Essential Role in Protecting the Roof
Piping expands during the day and contracts when temperatures fall at night. That expansion and contraction can cause movement of up to an inch throughout a single day. Other rooftop equipment moves or vibrates as part of its design. Just as a shoe that rubs on your foot will eventually cause a blister, that much movement causes damaging wear and tear to the surface of your roof, eventually leading to puncturing of the membrane. Supports absorb and distribute that movement, providing a buffer between the equipment and the roof itself.
Bottom line: It costs less to buy roof supports than it does to repair or replace a damaged roof – especially since placing equipment directly on the surface of the roof (or on inadequate supports) will probably void your roofing warranty.
2. Properly Engineered and Installed Supports Also Protect Your Rooftop Equipment
Inadequate roof supports can break, buckle, or fall over, dumping the equipment onto your roof. And the supports don’t even have to break to cause damage. If you use too few or put too much space between them, for example, piping can bow and, eventually, crack.
Bottom line: Trying to cut corners on supports can lead to damaged equipment. That damaged equipment, in turn, can cause further damage to the roof, as in the case of pipes that crack and spill their contents.
3. The Indirect Costs of Inadequate Roof Supports can be Astronomical
Replacing a roof and the equipment on it can be extremely costly, especially if it isn’t covered under the roof’s warranty. But the ramifications don’t stop there. Imagine a leak that damages computers, paperwork, or other hard-to-replace data. Or a leak that damages inside equipment that’s essential to running the business, causing a complete shutdown until that equipment is repaired or replaced. And then there’s the possibility of a roof collapse, causing your business to grind to a halt, damaging everything inside, and possibly injuring workers.
Bottom line: The price for investing in quality roof supports is both quantifiable and finite. The potential costs of skimping on them are almost incalculable.
4. Walkways and Steps Play an Essential Role, Too
Walkways aren’t there just to keep maintenance workers from having to step on a hot roof. Their main role is to protect the roof’s surface. Rooftop equipment has to be inspected and maintained, and that additional foot traffic can cause premature damage to the surface. Walkways and steps solve that problem in two ways. First, they provide a buffer between traffic and the roof (similar to what supports do for piping). Second, they act as a traffic guide, showing maintenance workers where to walk and discouraging them from wandering around on the roof.
Bottom line: Whether you think of them as an insurance policy or a vaccination, walkways protect your investment. And they cost a lot less than a new roof.
Building owners are notorious for not wanting to spend more money than they have to on their buildings. A few are gamblers – they prefer the risk of a future problem to making an investment now. Most, however, tend to be pretty logical when it comes to finances. Once they understand that it’s a lot more expensive to fix a roofing problem than it is to prevent it, they’ll be ready to sign that check.