“Many architects select a roof system primarily on initial cost. Although cost is an important element of a project, when cost is a governing factor in system selection, typically there are ramifications. If a less expensive system is selected, invariably something suffers in comparison with the system(s) that fell from consideration because of the greater cost. The cheaper system generally will not have the reliability or durability of other systems, it may be more maintenance intensive or it may not be as energy efficient.Over the life of the roof, the system with the lowest initial cost often is more expensive than other options that were discarded because of their higher initial cost.
In evaluating cost, it is important to look at the life-cycle cost (LCC). In addition to the initial construction cost, LCC includes energy consumption (for building heating and cooling), maintenance, repairs, length of service life, and disposal at the end of the roof’s life. Of these factors, the most difficult to assess is the design service life.
The service life can have a dramatic impact on the LCC analysis. For example, if a 40-year service life is assumed, but the roof fails after 15 years, the true roofing costs will be much higher than calculated. Lack of good data on design service life is often a significant limitation to developing a reliable LCC. It is difficult to have confidence in a manufacturer’s claim of, for example, a 30-year life for products that have been in the marketplace for only a few years. Accelerated aging testing is of limited help, as it has not progressed to the point where credible estimates of service life prediction can be made. The selection of a predicted service life should be conservative. For most low-slope systems, use of a service life in excess of 20 years should only be done with caution, evaluation and justification.
For most projects, the costs associated with eventual tear-off and disposal are seldom considered. Because some systems are inherently more difficult to tear-off than others, LCC analysis should consider this issue. Also, it may be possible to salvage or reuse some of the system components. For example, with a PMR [protected membrane roof], it would be reasonable to assume that much of the ballast and insulation could be reused on the replacement roof.
Although there are difficulties and limitations with the LCC approach, economic decisions based on LCC are preferable to those that only consider initial system cost. ASTM E 917, Standard Practice for Measuring Life-Cycle Costs of Buildings and Building Systems provides further information on LCC.” (http://www.wbdg.org/design/env_roofing.php).
When you obtain an estimate, please keep these factors in mind, and look for the best value for your dollar.Royal Roofing has an established record for giving customers real value. Which also means that we may not recommend the cheapest, but will always recommend the best.“Nothing but the best”TM.
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