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Commercial & Industrial Construction Blog

10 Reasons You Need Regular Safety Audits on Your Construction Site

Posted by The Ross Group on Mon, Sep 18, 2017

10 Reasons to Have Safety Audits on Your Construction Site

Safety audits and safe work practices play a key role in keeping your job site safe and ensuring the entire project stays on-track and within budget.

But, considering human nature, is it even possible to have a safe job site? Some doubt this. After all, it is estimated that over the course of a year, about 1 out of every 10 construction workers are injured, some fatally. The most common job site injuries include:

  • Falls
  • Electrocution
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Eye injury
  • Repetitive motion injuries

The sad thing about many of these common injuries is that they could have easily been prevented by following safety protocols and using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

Many in the construction industry claim that the nature of construction work makes accidents inevitable. Yet records prove otherwise. Many contractors who make safety a priority on their job sites report substantially fewer injuries than others. This is not a coincidence – safe work practices do make a difference!

Safety audits can make a huge difference on your construction site. Let's look at how these audits impact the safety of construction sites and why you should institute your own.

10 Reasons to Implement Regular Safety Audits Now

1. Evaluates Effectiveness of Safety Programs

An audit will help everyone learn from mistakes made by evaluating how accidents could have been avoided. It helps you to make your safety program stronger and more effective for future projects. 

Recommended Reading: Safety First: How to Keep a Jobsite Safe

2. Saves Money and Lives

It is better to find out about a safety risk during a regular audit than after an accident has already happened. It keeps workers safe and keeps costs low – a win-win on any job site.

3. Discover New Safety Hazards

Every year, new tools and construction equipment are rolled out. With these new tools and equipment come new hazards. In addition, each new job site brings unique challenges and hazards. A regular audit ensures that you stay in step with the regulations that OSHA sets forth for job site safety.

Recommended Reading: 5 Safety Tips for Performing a Commercial Building Inspection

4. Ensures That Equipment is Safe to Use

Equipment can pose a safety hazard if it's not properly maintained – dull blades, exposed wiring, and tools that don't work properly can lead to injury for the user. Larger equipment should be checked for damage prior to use. You should also make sure that all users receive the proper training for operating any large equipment.

Could you improve the safety of your equipment by making simple replacements? How about by ensuring all safety covers are in place? Is there any damage to tools or equipment that would make it unsafe to use? These are just a few of the things that you can watch for during regular audits.

5. Allows You to Evaluate the Level of Safety Training

Has everyone on your team – including supervisors and employees – received safety training? During your safety audit, check on who has attended safety training. If anyone hasn't attended safety training yet, or perhaps his or her training has expired, you should schedule up-to-date training sessions as soon as possible.

6. Keeps Everyone on High Alert

Safety is an area that often gets overlooked as soon as no one's looking. A regular audit of your safety program will ensure that everyone on the job site makes safety a priority and follows safety protocols closely.

7. Increases Productivity

A safe and clean job site allows workers to move around with ease and accomplish their tasks in record time. When everyone knows how to work safely – eliminating the delays and interruptions that job site accidents cause – the project can be completed on schedule.

8. Attracts New Clients

With the rising cost of job site injuries, it's no wonder that investors look for contractors with a reputation for safety. It keeps their costs down and ensures that the job will be completed on time.

Recommended Reading: How Excellent Construction Safety Helps Keep Costs Under Control

9. Verify OSHA Compliance

OSHA has required standards and strict rules for all construction sites. If your job site is not compliant with these standards, you could be facing a major fine on top of a delay in work while issues are resolved. A safety audit ensures that every part of your job site – from equipment to workers – are OSHA compliant.

10. Keeps Everyone Prepared

While audits are meant to cut down on unsafe work practices, accidents will happen. An audit also serves to prepare people for these occasions. For instance, if someone falls, everyone should know the steps to take to get the person the care they need. If your crew works around hazardous materials, such as lead, everyone should know what signs to look for to identify lead poisoning. These are the types of things an audit can prepare your crew to handle.

How does your construction safety program measure up? Perform your own safety audit and see the results for yourself!

The Ross Group has a high regard for safety. Our proactive safety program, maintained by our Safety Committee, has earned us multiple third-party safety validations as safe contractors. This year we were also proud recipients of the Excellence in Safety Award for the 3rd year in a row!

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Topics: General Construction, Safety

How to Outline the Scope of Work for Your Next Construction Project

Posted by The Ross Group on Mon, Aug 21, 2017

How to Outline the Scope of Work for Your Next Construction Project

Whether a new business is launching or an existing one is expanding, it's exciting to begin a new construction project to accommodate growth and progress. However, when constructing commercial buildings, things can get complicated very quickly. A solid plan that details work and expectations for each member of your team (commonly known as a scope of work or SOW) will help. 

Let's look at what a scope of work (SOW) is and how you can implement it. 

What is a Scope of Work?

Your scope of work, sometimes referred to as a statement of work, should describe in detail what is expected of the contractor and subcontractors. It will later be used as a measuring tool for your construction manager as your project progresses.

It is also helpful when you're in the bidding or planning stage of the project. Commercial contractors and design build firms will need to know what the project entails before they can offer a project bid.  

A basic scope of work should include the following components:

Project Overview – A brief statement that outlines a summary of the project and key objectives.

Project Deliverables – This portion of the SOW should outline in detail all of the expected objectives and targets for the project. This should include all relevant information that will help a contractor to understand the requirements of the project.

Project Scope – This should include all quantifiable goals for the project. Plan out certain milestones of when specific aspects of the project will be completed. 

Project Schedule – This should outline a schedule of all the required tasks for the project and when they should be completed. It should also include the overall expected project duration, as well as delivery dates and certain restrictions.

Project Management – This section includes details about payments (when and how payments will be made), change orders, and contract and legal requirements. This area can also specify time management and contract administration.

Recommended Reading: Top 7 Advantages of Commercial Design Build Construction

Let's now look at 5 tips that will help you to execute a solid scope of work for your upcoming project.

5 Important Tips to Plan Out a Scope of Work for Your Construction Project

1. Use Clear, Unambiguous Language

Make sure that your entire SOW is clear and concise. Don't leave any room for interpretation. Outline which deliverables are expected and when, as well as clear objectives for the project. 

If you want to convey that an action is mandatory, use words like must or shall. Define any terms that your team might find confusing; this ensures that everyone is on the same page as to what is required.

The SOW can later be used for insurance purposes, as well as potential litigation. This makes it imperative that your language be straightforward and unambiguous. 

2. Define Your Goals

First, outline your goals in broad terms. Don't get wrapped up in the tiny details during this initial step. Start with a basic model of which crews will be working on the project. This could include:

  • Foundation
  • Framing
  • Electrical
  • Insulation
  • Plumbing
  • Drywall
  • Interior finish trim

Once you have a general idea of who is involved, start to fill in some of the more minute details. For example, when do the electricians need to finish in order for your insulation team to do their job? What specific materials does the insulation crew require and what is the budget?

This is where SMART goals come into play. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, and Time-Based. When planning out your scope of work, use the following SMART guidelines:

  • Specific – All details are well-defined and unambiguous to anyone with knowledge of the project. 
  • Measurable – Materials, budget, and deadlines should all be clearly defined for each stage of the project.
  • Agreed-Upon – All parties should agree upon the terms of the scope of work.
  • Realistic – The objectives need to be sensible. For example, can your drywall team realistically achieve its objective in the given time and on-budget? 
  • Time-Based – Make a reliable schedule and make sure each team has the time needed to complete their stage of the project.

Recommended Reading: 7 Keys to Finishing Your Commercial Construction Project On Time

3. Make All of Your Expectations and Requirements Clear

Who is responsible for materials? Who is responsible for rental equipment? How much labor is required? Assign these responsibilities ahead of time to members of your team. 

While these may seem like small details, if there is any confusion about who is responsible, it can cause major delays and even affect your bottom line. Instead, nail down all of these details before the project begins. It will help the whole project run much smoother. 

4. Consult with Your Teams

All teams, from framing to drywall, should be involved in writing your SOW. After all, they are the best qualified to outline the phases and requirements of their work. For example, consult with your drywall subcontractor to get details such as interior finishes, designs, prices, required materials, special requirements, and deadlines.

Subcontractors are masters at their profession and may be able to offer valuable advice on how to do things better or more on budget. Sit down with your subcontractors to go over the SOW and get their professional input.

Recommended Reading: 5 Dos and Don'ts for Hiring General Commercial Contractors

5. Get Signatures

If there are any arguments later on, you will then have evidence that they read and agreed to the requirements you had laid out. Have each subcontractor sign a copy of your SOW to confirm that they received it and agree to abide by it.

There are many components to a commercial construction project. Don't get buried in the details – create a clear scope of work, which will keep your entire project on track right up until your grand opening!

Free Construction Consultation

8 Cost Saving Tips for Expanding Industrial Buildings

Posted by The Ross Group on Mon, Jul 24, 2017

8 Cost Saving Tips for Expanding Industrial Buildings

Are you contemplating an expansion of your industrial buildings? First of all, congratulations! Expansion is the goal of any thriving business – it means that your company is growing and ready for an exciting change. But how can you expand your current facility without shelling out a fortune?

If you opt for expansion over relocation, then there are some ways to keep your current and future costs low – and therefore maximize the ROI of your expansion project. Consider the following tips that will save you money, both in the short and long term.

How to Save Money When Expanding Your Industrial Buildings

1. Develop a Sustainable Master Plan

A master plan is meant to be a roadmap that guides decisions throughout the construction process and beyond. The goal of a master plan should be to maximize the efficiency of your facility. A plan keeps your whole team on track for both design and construction, and helps you to avoid major, expensive changes down the line.

Start out your plan by identifying key objectives. Consult with managers and supervisors within your company to get an accurate picture of your current and future needs.

As you craft this master plan, ask yourself:

  • Where do I see my company 10 years from now?
  • Is the focus of this expansion on aesthetics or efficiency?
  • What future equipment or technology will the expansion need to support?
  • How do I want my facility to appear to employees and customers?
  • What is my budget for this project?

Once you have a plan in place, it's time to start the design and construction process.

2. Design and Construct Shrewdly

A solid master plan will come in handy as the design stage of the project begins. Bring this plan with you when you meet with your architect. It can also be helpful to hire a design/build firm to ensure consistency from the design phase right on into construction. 

Another way to limit unnecessary expenses is to create a safe work environment. Make sure that everyone on your team knows that safety is a top priority on your job site. Accidents create delays, and could lead to extra fines – all of which can be avoided with some extra safety precautions.

Recommended Reading: How Excellent Construction Safety Helps Keep Costs Under Control

3. Think Long Term

As you choose materials and styles for your expansion, consider what challenges these will pose over the long term. Weather, labor, and energy efficiency should all be part of your long-term thought process.

Invest in materials that will be easy to maintain through the roughest of seasons – and inexpensive to replace when the need arises. Reflect on what materials will require the least amount of labor for your efforts (hint: you may want to consider number 6). And even further down the road, choose materials that will give you the biggest savings in energy efficiency.

4. Bring Your Commercial Contractor in Early

There are many benefits to including your contractor early on in the design process. It helps you to avoid costly mistakes, as well as disruptions to your timeline.

Because contractors are familiar with the ins and outs of the construction industry, they can tell you which materials are best (and most cost efficient) for your expansion project. They are also up to date on current building codes, which can minimize redesign and other issues later.

Recommended Reading: 5 Dos and Don'ts for Hiring General Commercial Contractors

5. Maximize Vertical Space

If you're in an area that is already pushing the limits of development, then start looking inward for expansion potential. Many facilities, especially commercial warehouse-style buildings, have a great deal of unused vertical space that can be tapped into.

Review your building's extra space and ask yourself such questions as:

  • What does my floor plan look like?
  • What are my current storage arrangements?
  • What are the dimensions of my unused space?

You can also organize your warehouse layout and free up more space to use for expansion. Once you have an idea of the space you have available, you can begin to invest in storage equipment, such as shelves and racks. If you're interested in a more extensive overhaul of your facilities – such as structural changes – check with your local government's building codes to see what they will allow.

6. Construct with Pre-Engineered Metal Buildings

Pre-engineered metal buildings, or PEMBs, are often an inexpensive solution to expansion. All components of PEMBs are created for projects of all shapes and sizes, and might be the answer to your construction woes.

The bottom line is that PEMBs:

  • Go up quickly and easily
  • Require less labor costs
  • Facilitate future expansion
  • Are well-insulated for maximum energy efficiency
  • Stand up under harsh weather conditions
  • Last longer than traditional commercial building materials

This sturdy, first-rate material is one of the best investments you can make in your expansion project.

Recommended Reading: Pre-Engineered Metal Building Costs: What You Should Know

7. Utilize Green Components

Building green is more than just environmentally friendly; it is also full of cost benefits. For example, triple-glazed windows will keep more warm or cold air inside your buildings, and cut down on energy costs. Also, LED lights will last longer than normal bulbs, and don't require as much power to light your industrial space. 

In addition, many areas offer advantageous tax incentives to businesses who use green building materials.

Recommended Reading: 5 Green Building Materials to Consider

8. Plan Your Construction During the Off-Season

As part of your planning, you will have to decide when to break ground on your expansion project. While it may be easier to do it in the full swing of the construction season, there are definite cost-savings to be had when you choose to begin in the off-season.

Materials and labor can be less expensive during the off-season. It will also limit delays, since there will be less competition for materials and deliveries. 

Recommended Reading: Why Winter is the Best Time to Start a Commercial Building Project

You can expand your current industrial buildings to accommodate your thriving business without worrying about a hefty price tag. Keep these shrewd and cost-effective tips in mind throughout your design and construction process.

Interested in expanding your buildings with pre-engineered steel buildings? Check out this brochure to learn more.

Download the CECO Brochure

Topics: Steel Buildings, Pre-Engineered Buildings

7 Ways to Give Your Commercial Building More Curb Appeal

Posted by The Ross Group on Mon, Jun 19, 2017

7 Ways to Give Your Commercial Building More Curb Appeal

How would you describe your commercial building? More importantly, how would visitors to your business describe it? The curb appeal of your building is a big deal – it can either attract new customers or keep your business hidden in the background.

Building improvements go beyond aesthetics and can affect your bottom line. By making just a few cosmetic improvements to your building's exterior, you can:

  • Increase customer traffic
  • Increase the value of your property
  • Attract high-quality tenants
  • Make your building stand out among competitors

How does that sound? Let's look at seven specific ways you can improve the look and feel of your building.

7 Ways to Improve the Appearance of Your Commercial Building

1. Schedule a Pressure Wash

If your building is more than 10 years old, chances are dirt and grime from all those years of rain, snow, and wind have built up on the exterior. A quick pressure wash can solve that problem and reveal the beautiful original building underneath. 

2. Invest in Landscaping

A freshly-manicured look and well-placed greenery can draw the eye of passers-by and welcome customers to do business with you. Your landscaping says a lot about your business, so it's important to keep up with it.

Well-placed flowers can add color to otherwise bland surroundings. Manicured bushes and lawns improve the aesthetic value of your property. Pathways and borders of pavers, bricks, or stones are another wonderful way to enhance curb appeal. 

3. Update Exterior Signage

Your signage is your introduction to new customers. If you've kept the same sign for ten plus years, it's likely outdated and shows signs of wear and tear. Invest in an updated sign that properly reflects the branding and messaging of your business. For instance, if your business revolves around technology, your sign should convey a high-tech and modern design.

4. Update Fixtures and Fenestrations

Lighting is an important component of your building's curb appeal. It can make your building more inviting, discourage crime, and help people to easily identify your business. Install lights around the entrance of your building – this creates a focal point to draw people's attention. You may also consider smaller lights along your pathways or around landscape features. LED and solar-powered lights are a cost-efficient and bright option.

New windows and doors, or fenestrations, also go a long way in modernizing the appearance of your building. The glass in windows and doors can fog or become pitted and scratched over time, giving your building a dirty, run-down facade. As a bonus, newer fenestrations make your building more energy efficient and are easier to maintain.

You may also be interested in reading our blog post, 5 Green Building Materials to Consider

5. Recoat Your Roof

Your roof is an important part of your building's appearance. After years of intense sun and storms, your roof likely needs attention. Over time, the protective coating of your metal roof begins to wear away. If left uncoated, this can leave your roof prone to extensive and costly damage. A simple recoating is a quick and inexpensive option that extends the life of your roof and improves its appearance.

If you're concerned about the condition of your roof, check out our blog post, 5 Tell-Tale Signs That You Need a New Industrial Metal Roof.

6. Rebuild or Repave Outdoor Pathways

Years of intense weather and foot traffic can lead to frost heaves and broken pathways. Not only does this detract from your building's curb appeal, but it also can be a hazard. If it's an asphalt pathway, you can simply repave it. You might also choose a new pathway material, such as stone or brick.

7. Remodel or Retrofit Your Building

Want a completely new look? Would you like to expand your building to accommodate a growing business? If you have a pre-engineered metal building (PEMB), this is a quick and easy process. PEMBs are created to easily expand and update existing structures. They are made with aesthetics in mind, so you can completely update your building's appearance with specific colors and designs.

For more information, check out our blog post, How to Retrofit & Update Your Pre-Engineered Metal Building.

Have pride in your business again – and enjoy the many fringe benefits that come with an attractive and updated commercial building.

Download the CECO Brochure

Topics: Property Maintenance

5 Safety Tips for Performing a Commercial Building Inspection

Posted by The Ross Group on Mon, May 22, 2017

5 Safety Tips for Performing a Commercial Building Inspection

Commercial building inspection time is no time to skimp on safety. No doubt the well being of your employees is first in mind, but just how can you keep things safe for all when it comes to inspecting your commercial property? We've gathered five vital safety tips, along with checklists, to help you make safety a priority.

June is National Safety Month, and we're getting a head start so you can practice safety the whole month long and keep it fresh in mind moving forward.

We at The Ross Group have a high regard for safety in all aspects of commercial building maintenance and inspection. Our attention to safety is why we have been honored with the Excellence in Safety Award for the third year in a row.

Let's go over how you and your team can be safe while you keep on top of your building's maintenance.

How to Stay on Top of Safety During a Commercial Building Inspection

1. Keep Ahead of Schedule

So many businesses only give attention to maintenance issues when problems arise – following the old adage, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

This can lead to problems and issues that put people's safety at risk. To stay ahead of maintenance issues, create a schedule for the following routine maintenance checks:

  • Roof inspection
  • HVAC inspection
  • Grounds inspection (especially after storms, when safety hazards could pop up in walkways and roads)
  • Interior inspection (check for frayed carpets, water damage, damaged stairways, etc.)

2. Follow Safety Guidelines When on the Roof

The roof is an especially high-risk area, and an inspection is no exception. From falling hazards to loose nails, there are several dangers to watch for.

The following are safety precautions that will protect you during a roof inspection:

  • If using a ladder, follow ladder safety precautions – don't position it in a walkway, use caution tape, and make sure the top of the ladder reaches a few feet above the roof.
  • Never go on the roof alone.
  • Wear a helmet in case of a fall.
  • Wear boots with good traction and a protective outsole.
  • Wear work gloves and kneepads – if a roof has not been swept, there could be nails or sharp debris lying around.
  • Do not walk on parts of the roof that appear damaged. 

Click here to learn more about roofing hazards, and how to protect yourself against falls.

3. Keep Safety Equipment on Hand

Make it easy for yourself and others to be safe while performing routine maintenance and inspections. Always keep safety equipment on hand for a variety of interior and exterior tasks. This equipment could include:

  • Work gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Hearing protection
  • Respiratory protections (dust masks)
  • Safety, high-visibility vests
  • Hard hats 
  • Caution tape

Another thing people often overlook is fire safety. Make sure all of your fire extinguishers are up-to-date and all of your commercial building's tenants know how to use them.

Click here to learn how construction safety can keep costs under control.

4. Be Aware of Dangerous Toxins/Gasses On-Site

While a safety discussion may conjure classic images of falls and injuries, toxins and gasses pose just as great a danger during a commercial building inspection. You should be aware of what toxic chemicals are present within your building, and take all precautions as recommended by the manufacturer.

Gasses like carbon monoxide are odorless and invisible, but deadly if not caught in time. Use a carbon monoxide detector on your property to be alerted at the first sign of trouble.

5. Hire a Contractor Who Values Safety

Whenever you need to hire a professional to do work on your commercial facility, make sure that he or she has a solid reputation for safety.

Before hiring anyone, have an honest conversation about what safety precautions they plan to take for the project. 

Click here to learn how to make safety a priority on the jobsite. 

Safety can be practiced by anyone and should always be a priority. Make sure all work and maintenance done on your building – including your commercial building inspection – are performed as safely as possible. 

Schedule your free roof inspection today, confident in the knowledge that safety is our #1 priority for all of our jobs!

Get Your Free Roof Inspection

Topics: Safety, Inspection, Property Maintenance

10 Tips to Prevent Commercial Roof Leaks in Your Indiana Building

Posted by The Ross Group on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

10 Tips to Prevent Commercial Roof Leaks in Your Indiana Building

April showers bring May flowers... yet we've seen more than our fair share of showers this year. Whether you are a fan of this wet weather or are in survival mode until the bright days of summer, all this rain creates stress on your building's commercial roof.

Your roof was built tough, and is meant to withstand the rough treatment that nature throws its way. But no roof is impervious to the constant onslaught of the elements, especially those that we've been experiencing throughout the Midwest lately. This, combined with natural wear and tear, can lead to major inconveniences, temporary building closures, and costly damage. 

Let's take a quick look at what warning signs may mean that your roof is in danger, and what you can do to protect it.

Warning Signs That Your Roof Needs Some TLC

So how do you know if your roof needs attention, or if it's good to go for the rest of the year? Here are a few warning signs that your building may need repairs.

  • Bubbles or blisters -- This could indicate that there is moisture trapped under the surface of your roof. If not addressed, these areas are vulnerable to future storms, and could lead to major roof leaks.
  • Tears or cracks -- The constant barrage of weather and gathering debris can wear down a roof and cause tears and cracks to form. 
  • Damaged or missing flashing -- Flashing is the metal strips that run along the edge of your building, which holds down the roof and creates a seal that prevents water and debris from getting in.
  • Pooling water -- Every flat roof is going to pool a little bit, but if you notice substantial pooling that doesn't resolve within a few days, you've got a problem.

If you're not quite sure what you're looking at, it's a good idea to bring in roofing experts who will easily be able to detect problem areas. In the meantime, the following are some pro tips to help prevent leaks in the future.

Recommended Reading: Commercial Roof Replacement Costs: What You Should Know

How to Prevent Leaks and Keep Your Commercial Roof Up to Snuff

1. Remove Debris

The roof can be a collection site for all sorts of debris, such as dirt, gravel, leaves, and twigs. When left up there, this debris can collect water that leads to roof damage, cause algae or mold to grow, and even cause water to pool.

2. Clear Drains

Make sure water always has an escape route. Every couple of months, check and clear away blockages from all field drains and auxiliary drains. You may think this is excessive, but it only takes a wind-blown bag or a small collection of leaves, to cause a blockage that leads to thousands of dollars of damage.

3. Walk the Perimeter of Your Roof

As you walk the edge of your building, inspect the perimeter for signs of damage, such as soft spots, mold, and algae. Check the flashing on walls and curbs for any tears or punctures where moisture could invade.

4. Inspect the Surface of the Roof

Every roof is different, so know what to look for on your type of roof. For instance, on rubber or PVC roofs, look for holes and cracks. On built-up roofs, be on the lookout for areas of missing gravel or exposed felts. Look for cracks and holes in all roof seams and transitions, and have these repaired.

5. Inspect Roof Penetrations

Roof penetrations are spots on the roof where pipes, drains, and other building components extend through the roof surface. These penetrations are particularly vulnerable to leaks. Keep a close eye on HVAC units, conduits, gas lines, and all other pieces of equipment that extend to the roof. 

6. Check Out Roofing Sealant

Roofing sealant is a strong protection for your roof, but it wears away as the years go by -- and may require replacement. Check for any cracking, openings, or deterioration in your roofing sealant or caulking -- and schedule roofing professionals to reapply the roofing sealant if needed.

7. Be Proactive

You don't have to wait for a problem to creep up before you address it. Seek out weak areas on your roof where you could have potential leaking problems in the future. Repair these areas when the problems are small -- before they grow into larger, more costly issues.

8. Trim Back Surrounding Branches

Look around your commercial building -- are there any tree branches or other hanging elements that are hovering above or resting on the roof? Get these trimmed back and removed so they don't lead to water damage.

9. Inspect the Underside of Your Roof

Look for signs of a leak inside your building as well, under the roof. Water stains, streaks, and mold or mildew are tell-tale signs of a leak.

10. Set Up a Regular Roof Maintenance Schedule

If you currently have no leaks, that's great. Keep it that way by scheduling regular maintenance that will keep your roof safe and leak-free through all the inclement weather to come.

Recommended Reading: Two Ways to Guard Yourself from the #1 Roofing Problem

Don't let this rainy weather put a damper on your commercial roof. With regular inspection and maintenance, your roof can remain top-notch, and your commercial activities can continue uninterrupted.

Our roofing experts would be more than happy to help you with you roofing questions and needs. Schedule your roof inspection with us today!

 

Schedule Your Roof Inspection

5 Dos and Don'ts for Hiring General Commercial Contractors

Posted by The Ross Group on Mon, Mar 27, 2017

5 Dos and Don'ts For Hiring General Commercial Contractors

Are you ready to embark on a new commercial construction project? Many big decisions will need to be made – the first being your choice of general commercial contractor. The person you choose will be your right-hand man (or woman) for the duration of the project, so it's a weighty decision. 

Where do you begin this search? What do you ask a potential contractor? What do those who go before you wish they'd known before making their own decision? If questions like these are causing some decision paralysis, don't worry. You're not alone. And we can help. We've collected the 5 most important dos and don'ts when it comes to choosing a contractor. 

Trusted General Commercial Contractors: How to Find One

1. Do Your Research

A commercial contractor is a big investment, so do your homework before you decide whom to hire. There are a number of ways you can research prospective contractors. 

  • Look at online reviews. There are a number of reputable websites where you can research contractors and their businesses. Sites like the Better Business Bureau will show you a basic grade as well as what people have said about each contractor's work. Take reviews with a grain of salt, though. One bad review could be the result of a simple personality clash. 
  • Ask around. Do you know anyone who has recently completed a commercial project? Ask them who they used. Would they recommend the person? What problems did they run into?
  • Find out how long they've been in business. You don't want to be someone else's guinea pig.
  • Find out what qualifications they have. For example, what licenses do they carry? Are they bonded? You can find out what licenses and other building requirements your area requires by checking with your local building department or with the consumer protection agency.

Don't wing it

Scams are everywhere. Don't make this decision on a whim or based on an ad you find. Remember, anyone can build a fancy website that looks legit. Make sure to meet with a legitimate, long-standing, reputable contractor in person to go over the details and get your questions answered. 

2. Get Several Estimates

You want the best deal – an experienced contractor at a competitive price. With that in mind, ask for quotes from several different contractors. This is a normal practice, and a good contractor will understand, give you a fair price, and help you understand the logistics of it.

Don't take the lowest bid

It might be a tempting price, but a bargain-basement price can be a red flag. Especially in commercial construction, cheap often means low quality, which leads to more expenses down the road. If they try to pressure you into a decision or offer to use "leftover" materials, your "scam" alert should be sounding.

Remember, too, that reputable contractors pay high insurance fees and have many overhead costs. You may end up paying more for the good contractor, but there's a reason for that. Most will negotiate the price a little bit, but don't be quick to undervalue their work. 

Before accepting a low bid, read our blog post, 7 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Low-Bid Contractor.

3. Ask Questions

As with any relationship, the time to ask questions is before right at the beginning. Find out everything you can before you enter into a professional agreement with a contractor. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time. These questions may include:

  • How many similar projects have you worked on before? 

  • How many have you completed in the last year? 

  • How long did your past projects take? (if it seems like too long, ask why)

  • Can I have references of past customers?

  • What permits will you need for this job?

  • What types of insurance do you have? (and ask for proof)

Want to know what other questions you should ask? Read our blog post, 4 Questions to Ask in Your Search for a Reputable Contractor.

Don't forget who the expert is

You have every right to ask questions, and you should to make sure you'll have the best person for the job. But when you've made your decision, trust his or her judgement. Don't forget, every project has its hiccups. Trust your contractor to handle them.

4. Get a Written Contract

You need a written contract, regardless of whether your state mandates one. Your written contract should include:

  • The contractor's information (name, address, phone number, and license number, if applicable).

  • The estimated start and end date of the project.

  • The payment schedule for contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers.

  • A detailed list of materials to be used.

  • How change orders will be handled.

  • Warranty information.

  • Everything you discussed in person or over the phone (people's memories can get fuzzy, written documents won't).

Don't sign a contract without understanding it completely

As you may have gathered from the above list, contracts can get confusing. If the contract uses terms and jargon that you're unfamiliar with, you may want to hire a lawyer to make sure the contract is fair and that you understand what you agree to before you sign.

5. Keep Careful Records

When doing business with contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, lines can get crossed and people can get confused. Don't be on the losing end of that confusion. You should keep all paperwork, including:

  • Copy of your contract.

  • Change orders.

  • Any correspondence with your contractors and suppliers.

  • All receipts.

You may also want to consider keeping a log of all phone conversations so you can point to the exact date when something was agreed on. It's also a wise course of action to take photos before, during, and after the project to have visual documentation along the way.

You may also enjoy reading our blog post, 8 Key Qualities of Successful Commercial Contractors.

There you have it – our years of experience, wrapped up in 5 do's and don'ts. Now you know what to do and what to avoid when hiring a contractor. You are ready to meet general commercial contractors and find the right fit for your project.

Free Construction Consultation 

Topics: General Construction, Design Build

6 Reasons Your Facility Should Use Metal Warehouse Buildings

Posted by The Ross Group on Tue, Feb 21, 2017

6 Reasons Your Facility Should Use Metal Warehouse Buildings

In recent years, there has been a growing need for warehouse buildings, and with all the construction options available, it can be difficult to choose the best one for you. We recommend steel buildings, whether you mean to rent the space, or use it for your own storage needs. Allow us to show you why metal warehouse buildings are the way to go.

The Benefits of Metal Warehouse Buildings

Quick Turnaround

The traditional construction process can be long and stressful. But prefabricated warehouse buildings can be put up at an incredible rate of 1,000-1,500 square feet per day! This means that for a project of 12,000 square feet, an average crew could do everything from wall columns to roof sheeting in about 12 days.

This cuts out the stress of a long project and makes the building ready for your use almost immediately. 

Cost Efficiency

Imagine the cost savings that result from quicker assembly and less manpower. Because it doesn't take as long to erect, you won't pay the long-term construction and labor costs that are associated with other methods. 

Owners of metal warehouse buildings don't pay as much for general maintenance, repair, or replacement costs, either. From the high-quality metal roof to the durable walls, these buildings are designed to last upwards of 50 years. The material also reduces the risk of fire, pest, and rot damage.

Consider another long-term savings feature you'll enjoy: Insurance companies often reduce their policy premiums for steel-framed buildings – this is a savings that will continue to add up for years to come.

Durability

Steel is an inherently sturdy material. It will never suffer from rot, mold, mildew, or pests like wood will. It also stands up well under virtually any weather threat – including heavy snowfall, seismic activity, rain, and heavy winds. Oftentimes, these metal buildings are the last ones standing after major hurricanes and other big storms. This is why such buildings are often used as evacuation areas. Who can beat that kind of dependable durability?

Recommended Reading: 11 Factors: Pre-engineered vs. Conventional Metal Buildings

Design Flexibility

Say goodbye to the plain square box of yester-year. You can design your building to fit your company's exact needs. If you just need straight warehouse storage space, that's a basic design. But, if you would like to develop it into different bays of storage space, office spaces, etc., the versatility of its design can fit perfectly to your needs.

You don't have to make all of these decisions right away. The flexibility of these buildings allows you to add on or change the design down the road. So you may start out with a plainer design, and will easily be able to expand on or further develop the existing structure with virtually no hassle.

Clear-span Ability

When considering a warehouse building, you obviously want the maximum amount of space, without poles and posts in the way. Metal warehouse buildings can extend for 100 feet without any need for load-bearing poles or posts inside the buildings. In some cases, clear span can even be extended to upwards of 150-300 feet.

Eco-friendly

Steel is an eco-friendly product from beginning to end. From the point of its production, steel is made using recyclable materials. Even when the building has served its purpose, those same materials will still be 100% recyclable.

But what about everything in between? The metal roof's reflective coating prevents absorption of the sun's UV rays, and decreases your cooling bill by as much as 50%. Prefabricated warehouse buildings also include vapor barriers installed at the building's roofline to keep warm and cool air inside the building, and insulation to keep the building at a constant temperature. This is especially helpful if you mean to house expensive machinery that requires storage at a steady, fixed temperature.

Steel buildings also come ready for solar panel installation, should you desire. 

Want a visual example? Click here to check out our photo gallery of a facility built using this method.

Metal warehouse buildings are truly the modern solution for your modern building needs. We don't tell time with sundials anymore, so why build with inferior materials? The fast construction, cost efficiency, and durability of this choice make it a no-brainer.

Download the CECO Brochure

Topics: Steel Buildings, Pre-Engineered Buildings

Commercial Roof Replacement Costs: What You Should Know

Posted by The Ross Group on Mon, Jan 23, 2017

Commercial Roof Replacement Costs: What You Should Know

A commercial roof replacement is a major investment – one you want to enter into with eyes wide open. What is involved in installing a new roof? Will you be tearing off the existing roof, or simply installing the new one over the old? What type of roof do you want? All of these and more affect your bottom line.

Let’s delve right into some of these questions. First, what kinds of roofs are on the market today, and how long are they expected to last?

Your Choices in Commercial Roofing

Let's look at your options for flat roofs. Most commercial buildings use these flat roofs because they cost less and are easier to maintain. In truth, though, no roof is completely flat -- or at least it shouldn't be. Most "flat" roofs are pitched between 2 and 10 degrees to prevent water from pooling and causing costly damage. Let's take a look at a few of the common commercial roofing options.

Built-up Roof

This roofing system consists of alternating layers of roofing felt, waterproofing material, and hot tar (or bitumen).

  • Pros: Fire resistant, inexpensive, and will last for 10 plus years.
  • Cons: Installation is messy and materials give off a strong odor.

Single-Ply Roof

This type of roof consists of a single layer. This layer could consist of EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), or TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin). For an easy way to keep these single-ply options straight, check out our Roofing Material Cheat Sheet, which outlines the differences.

  • Pros: This roofing system is flexible, easy to install, and usually lasts between 20-30 years, depending on weather and surrounding conditions.
  • Con: This type of roof is only one ply, which leaves you more vulnerable to punctures and damage.

Sprayed Polyurethane Foam

Also known by its acronym, SPF, this roofing system is a liquid sprayed over an existing roof, and then treated with a protective coat to help it last longer.

  • Pros: It’s lightweight, flexible, and insulates well.
  • Con: Although it can last 20 years or more, the protective coating needs to be reapplied every 10-15 years.

Asphalt Roll

This is one of the oldest forms of roof, and consists of a flat layer of granulated rolled roofing. 

  • Pro: This system is cheap and quick to install.
  • Con: It usually only lasts about 10 years, depending on the structural slope of roof.

Sheet Metal

Also known as standing-seam roofing, this type of roof consists of interlocking panels of steel, aluminum, copper, iron, and other metals.

  • Pros: These roofs are known to be lightweight, durable, and to last 20 plus years, depending on the slope of the roof.
  • Con: This roofing system is one of the most expensive roofing choices on the market.

Roof Installation Costs to Expect


  • Roof Removal and Disposal - $1.00-$4.00 per square foot, depending on how many layers need to be removed.
  • Built-Up Roof - $2.50-$5.00 per square foot
  • Single-Ply Roof - $3.00-$4.00 per square foot
  • Sprayed Polyurethane Foam - $1.50-$6.00 per square foot
  • Asphalt Roll - $1.50-$2.50 per square foot
  • Sheet Metal Roof - $5.00-$10.00 per square foot

Please note, these cost estimates are conditionally based on the thickness of roof, surrounding conditions, as well as other factors mentioned below.

Factors That Affect The Cost Of Your Roof

Size and Type

This one may seem obvious, but nonetheless it's an important factor in determining cost. Although a larger square footage means more materials and labor, the overall price per square foot may go down as the size of the roof goes up.

Structure

How many objects protrude out of your roof? These mean more work, and more areas to cut around and seal. Does the slope of the roof leave it prone to pooling water? Costs may rise if the slope needs to be increased, or if a drainage system needs to be installed.

Location

Certain factors of the location can raise the price. Perhaps your commercial structure is located in an area that requires more permits. Or maybe the weather at your location makes it harder to work -- bad storms or cold conditions can raise the costs of a roof replacement. These factors can cause the cost of a replacement roof to fluctuate by upwards of 30%.

Contractor

It’s important to find a contractor who specializes in the type of roof your choose. A contractor who specializes in commercial flat roofs will be able to better gauge prices and offer the best deal on this type of roof.

Now, because a complete roof replacement will obviously raise your costs, make sure you do everything in your power to maintain or restore your existing roof. To find out how to maintain your roof and avoid high replacement costs, check out our blog post, Commercial Roofing: 7 Fall Tips to Avoid Costly Winter Damage.

Avoid the cost and time involved in a commercial roof replacement -- schedule regular maintenance checks, and keep up-to-date on roof repairs. We can help with that.

 

Get Your Free Roof Inspection

 

Topics: Roofing

Your Quick Guide to Winterizing Your Indiana Commercial Facility

Posted by The Ross Group on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

Your Quick Guide to Winterizing Your Indiana Commercial Facility

Nobody knows better than us how brutal Indiana winters can be! Make sure that your Indiana commercial facility is ready for the onslaught. How do you know what in your building needs attention? We’ve compiled this guide to help you through the ins and outs of winterizing your building to withstand everything this season throws at it.

Winterizing Your Indiana Commercial Facility

Prepare HVAC for Heating

Winter means extra hard work for your HVAC unit – and that’s definitely not a system you’d want to go without during Indiana’s harsh winters. So make sure everything is in good working order before the winter freeze sets in. Test your thermostat to ensure the heat turns on quickly and adjusts to your desired temperature. If it doesn’t, or takes too long, you may want to get it checked out by a professional.

Check your air vents – both fresh-air-supply and return-air vents – to ensure nothing is blocking them. Large objects like office furniture could obstruct your air intake, and make the unit work harder. Also, replace air filters once a month, even if they don't seem dirty.

A little attention to detail and minor investment now can save you big in the long run. A well-maintained HVAC unit will mean lower energy costs, fewer occupant complaints, and an increase in the lifespan of your system.

Check Unoccupied or Empty Spaces

If you have a space that isn't leased yet, don't forget about it during winter! Because these spaces aren’t used very often, problems can easily develop without your knowledge. Even though a problem might start out small, when ignored it can develop into larger, more costly issue. To that end, check all of your empty space several times throughout the winter season – especially after a storm – to make sure everything is up to snuff.

Check for and resolve any leaks. Make sure none of the insulation is wet and check for cracks or wet spots across the whole ceiling and along the walls.

Get Preventative Maintenance Inspections

Stay on top of all aspects of your commercial facility, so that problems don't creep up on you. In fact, a good maintenance schedule can cut down on operating costs and extend the life span of your equipment, no matter how old it is.

Many of the things already mentioned in this guide can be used for regular preventative maintenance. Other things you should regularly inspect include:

  • Small leaks and unusual noises in the plumbing
  • Electrical wires and outlets – this should be checked by a professional to ensure that switchgear, panel boards, and connections are all in good working order.
  • Fixtures in bathroom, including internal mechanisms that may need to be replaced.
  • Light fixtures – make sure exterior lighting has all screws and hardware in place, and is still water tight.

Get a Building Envelope Inspection

A building envelope typically includes walls and ceilings, floors, doors, and windows. Doors and windows are the main sources of energy loss for any building. Check these openings carefully for worn weather stripping, deterioration or rot of materials, cracks, and worn or broken hardware.

If your floor is concrete, check for wide, regularly spaced cracks, as well as cracks located near the building’s columns. If your floor is carpet, be on the lookout for frayed edges, worn areas, stains, and damaged portions. Check your entire ceiling for cracks and wetspots, which are indications of a much larger problem.

Resolve All Issues with Exterior Surfaces

Winter has the nasty habit of taking advantage of your building’s exterior vulnerabilities, so it’s important to minimize these as much as possible before winter gets here in full force. This isn’t limited to your roof (although we’re going to address your roof needs in a moment). Check your building’s exterior walls for cracks, wet spots, staining, and bulges. Also check your building’s foundation for weak spots and cracks.

Check all painted or stained surfaces for peeling, cracks, and alligatoring. Keep an eye on decorative elements of your building as well -- make sure there's no rust or corrosion of metal surfaces, and no rot or deterioration of wooden surfaces.

Get a Roof Inspection

Your roof is all that stands between your building and the elements. Avoid costly damage to your roof and other related areas with a comprehensive roof inspection. Check for loose shingles and areas where water could collect. If you have a low-sloped roof, be sure to check that leaves and debris have not clogged your drains.

To learn more about why this is important, check out our blog post, Why You Should Protect Your Business From Winter Roof Damage.

If your roof is metal, look for signs of rust, corrosion, or punctures in the metal, and make sure that all the joints and seams are unbroken. If you notice that the protective metal coating has worn off, make plans to recoat your metal roof as soon as possible.

Check out our blog post, Is Your Roof Ready for Winter? Your Fall Preparation Checklist, for more great tips on how to prepare your roof for winter.

A thorough inspection and repairs throughout your building can give you valuable peace of mind throughout the winter season. Make sure your Indiana commercial facility is ready for whatever this winter throws its way.

Topics: Roofing, General Construction, Property Maintenance

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