Working with homeowners associations can be challenging. From conception to completion, such projects are lengthy. Homeowners associations often have a board of directors to answer to and appease, further complicating projects.
In addition to communicating with diverse personalities within an association and board of directors, there are multiple residents to consider during all project phases. Accepting such a project requires more than exceptional roofing skills—it requires keen communication and ability to meet the expectations of all involved.
When Chandler's Roofing, San Pedro, Calif., accepted the challenge to reroof the 13-building complex at The Pines Townhomes, Lomita, Calif., it exceeded the homeowners association's expectations in every way.
Developing a rapport
Working with a property management company, Chandler's Roofing had been performing maintenance work on The Pines Townhomes' wood shake roof systems for several years. About two years ago, Chandler's Roofing informed the company the roofs were in poor condition and repairing them was a waste of money.
The homeowners association began the process of trying to formulate a reroofing plan and budget. Chandler's Roofing, along with several other companies, was asked to provide an estimate for reroofing the 50 townhome units, which comprise 12 buildings and a pool house.
A specifications sheet was not provided, so every company recommended a different roof system, manufacturer, budget and warranty. The homeowners association's board of directors became confused with the different options offered, so it formed a roofing committee to research different roof system types, as well as life cycle costing.
After more than a year of meetings and due diligence, the homeowners association narrowed the potential companies to Chandler's Roofing and four other contractors.
"We invited all five contractors to present their proposals during a special homeowners association meeting," says Wil Vincenty, president of The Pines Townhomes' board of directors. "Everyone was impressed Chandler's Roofing brought its president and project supervisors and offered an innovative solution to the low-slope roof portions of the project."
Although Chandler's Roofing's bid was about $140,000 more than other proposals, the homeowners association was looking for long-term results. The fiberglass-reinforced asphalt shingle roof system Chandler's Roofing proposed extended the association's reserve funds because the roofs would not need to be reroofed as quickly as originally planned, ultimately saving the residents money and allowing the association to earmark the funds for repainting the townhomes' complex in the near future.
Impressed with the proposal and presentation, The Pines Townhomes awarded the $400,000 project to Chandler's Roofing.
"Early on, we established a terrific rapport with the homeowners association, its board of directors and roofing committee," says Trevor Leeds, Chandler's Roofing's president. "Ultimately, we earned the project over our competition, and that's rewarding."
Leeds and the homeowners association agreed detailed communications with the 50 residents would be critical to the project's success. Chandler's Roofing created a Preparation for Reroof document for the residents about what to expect during the project and held meetings in the clubhouse.
"We held town hall meetings to review our Preparation for Reroof document," says Blake Welstead, project manager for Chandler's Roofing. "We discussed the need for healthy communication throughout the process, as well as safety precautions and preparing for the inconveniences to the residents' garages and parking areas."
Welstead, Vincenty and Jorge Pena Sr., Chandler's Roofing's superintendent and project manager, also thoroughly walked every roof on the complex to visually confirm the existing conditions described by Chandler's Roofing's initial inspections to be sure everyone was aware of the work to be performed.
The tear-off process began in October 2012. All but two buildings in the complex have a combination of low- and steep-slopes, and three buildings have large, nearly vertical mansards. Chandler's Roofing removed the existing 30-year-old cedar shake shingles from the steep-slope areas and hot-mopped built-up roof from the low-slope areas.
Tearing off material was tricky because adjoining buildings' garages share the same driveway, so access points were tight. Trucks were strategically placed to allow dumping of debris directly into them.
The mansards are nearly 30-feet-high and required ladders and planks for access. Removing the material in phases during a five-month period made the tear-off process easier. Chandler's Roofing also held preparation meetings every Monday with each building's tenants where work was to be performed. Addressing tenants' concerns before the work began ensured a smooth tear-off process.
Crews up to 25 workers removed the material down to the plywood decks. Nearly all perimeter plywood, 10 percent of the overall decks, more than 1,000 linear feet of 2- by 10-inch fascia boards, rain gutters and several rafter supports were replaced because of dry-rot issues caused by the old wood shake roof.
During the tear-off process, it was discovered the wood fascia board running between the upper and lower tiers on the roofs' edges had a metal step flashing underneath but no wood blocking. Several beehives were found in the attic area behind the fascia.
"It was a previous installation error we had never encountered before," Leeds says. "The residents could never figure out how the bees were getting inside the property. There had to be significant heating and cooling losses."
Reroofing multiple slopes
Following tear-off, on the steep-slope areas, Chandler's Roofing installed a GAF Lifetime Roofing System comprising Tiger Paw™ synthetic underlayment, a StormGuard® film-surfaced leak barrier, Pro-Start® starter shingles, Timberline® American Harvest® Lifetime Shingles in the color Cedar Falls, Cobra® Ridge Vents and Ridglass® ridge cap shingles.
On the low-slope roof areas, an IB Roof Systems™ 80-mil-thick, white single-ply PVC membrane was mechanically fastened. Boots, patches, edge metal and vents also were installed.
Additionally, 15 Lane-Aire Manufacturing Corp. skylights were installed. Chandler's Roofing provided each resident the option of installing a standard acrylic double-domed skylight at the homeowners association's cost or upgrading to a more energy-efficient, low-emissivity glass model with an optional electronic operation for an additional cost at the resident's expense.
When working on the steep-slope areas, crew members were tied-off and secured using Occupational Safety and Health Administration-compliant safety harnesses and ladder anchors. While working on the low-slope areas, workers used perimeter warning lines, and a safety monitor was present at all times.
In addition to working on low and steep slopes, the crew faced mansards that are nearly vertical and have several protruding boxed-in windows, some extremely close together, which made them difficult to flash and shingle.
"Another unique part of the structures were the mansards, for sure," Leeds says. "Initially, it was a bit tricky, but once we figured out the first mansard, the rest became fairly simple."
The closely spaced windows created a 6-inch-wide gap, requiring dexterity on the part of the installers. Working from scaffolding and tied-off at all times, crew members applied mastic for extra shingle adhesion, and the nailing requirement for each shingle was increased to six nails. Coordination with GAF's technical team and inspector ensured mansard installation was performed according to GAF recommendations.
Deliveries were coordinated with Chandler's Roofing's distributor, G&F Roof Supply, who worked closely with Pena and Brady Woodside, Chandler's Roofing's operations manager. Similar to the tear-off process, deliveries were coordinated to accommodate tight driveway access to the property. Again, preparation meetings with tenants to be sure everyone was aware of anticipated deliveries resulted in a smooth reroofing process.
The Pines Townhomes project officially ended in March 2013, taking a bit longer than anticipated because of intermittent rain delays. Chandler's Roofing had made an agreement with the homeowners association to be as noninvasive as possible and to manage the entire project one building at a time to ensure traffic, parking and weather delays all were controllable, eliminating weather exposure and leak issues.
The painstaking planning was well worth it—The Pines Townhomes is one of Chandler's Roofing's most successful projects to date.
"As it turned out, The Pines Townhomes was one of the smoothest projects of this size and scale we have ever undertaken," Welstead says.
Having performed an exceptional juggling act of coordinating communications, delivery, tear-off and reroofing processes while maintaining a safe environment for residents and workers, Chandler's Roofing received praise from The Pines Townhomes' homeowners association.
"Chandler's Roofing is professional and knowledgeable," says Patricia Rue, a member of The Pines Townhome's roofing committee. "And they get kudos for dealing with the homeowners association board!"
Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor and NRCA's director of communications.