Survey Practices Considerations

Survey Practices Considerations

1. Objective of survey

1.1. Examine

Examine roof systems and products to evaluate and determine the cause and extent of natural aging, normal wear, or damage related to either wind, hail, fire, cold weather or other event.

1.2. Collect

Collect data and document conditions of the roof systems at that point in time.

1.2.1. Report on observed conditions

1.2.2. Compare to prior data and documentation, if available, to observe patterns of damage and weathering

2. Prepare for the survey


2.1.1. Recent and past storm reports

2.1.1.1. Public data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

2.1.1.1.1. National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly NCDC) (www.ncdc.noaa.gov)

2.1.1.1.2. Storm Prediction Center (SPC) (www.spc.noaa.gov)

2.1.1.1.3. National Weather Service (NWS) (www.weather.gov)

2.1.1.2. Proprietary storm data—available from several vendors

2.1.2. Aerial roof measurements and photos—verify in field

2.1.3. Obtain previous building permit history, if available



2.2.1. Determine:

2.2.1.1. Main site contact and obtain phone number

2.2.1.2. Steep slope or low slope

2.2.1.3. Approximate roof and eave heights

2.2.1.4. Roof escort, if needed

2.2.1.5. Is there existing roof access, internal building hatch, or external ladder?

2.2.1.6. Is there a parapet? If so, what is the height since it can alter access via extension ladder?

2.2.1.7. Locations of skylights or other roof openings, if any

2.2.1.8. Company policies including site/roof/safety requirements

2.2.1.9. Request desire to do closing conference on preliminary findings


2.2.2. Request the following information:

2.2.2.1. Available roof and building documentation

2.2.2.1.1. Known issues, leaking, etc.

2.2.2.1.2. Age of roof covering

2.2.2.1.3. Reason for new roof install (if not original)

2.2.2.1.4. Roof type

2.2.2.1.5. Manufacturer of roof covering, installation requirements, system approvals

2.2.2.1.6. Building history

2.2.2.1.7. Maintenance history

2.2.2.1.8. Roof penetration and skylight locations

2.2.2.1.9. Warranty information

2.2.2.1.10. Previous weather event roof performance history

2.2.2.2. Give notice to building occupants, tenants, and security personnel

2.2.3. Obtain written permission from building owner for the date and time of site visit, and bring proof with you


2.3.1. Ladder or other access to the roof

2.3.2. Bag or tool belt

2.3.3. Digital camera

2.3.4. Notepad and pens

2.3.5. Gloves

2.3.6. Standard or laser tape measure

2.3.7. Small ruler or scale for photographs

2.3.8. Digital level or pitch gauge

2.3.9. Compass/GPS

2.3.10. Chalk, grease pen, or other device to mark on roof

2.3.11. Cell phone

2.3.12. Weather-appropriate and highly visible clothing, sunscreen

2.3.13. Steel toe, steel plate safety shoes, or other appropriate footwear as needed

2.3.14. Proper fall protection

2.3.15. Bug spray/hornet spray

2.3.16. Moisture meter

2.3.17. Thermal imaging camera

2.3.18. Spreader boards

2.3.19. Pads

2.3.20. Manlifts

2.4. Know expected weather conditions before you arrive

3. At the site/Conducting the survey

3.1.1. Review documentation—roof info, as-built drawings

3.1.2. Identify areas of concern to owner/rep


3.2.1. Walk around buildings to identify safety issues related to your personal safety as it relates to the survey and if it will impede your investigation

3.2.1.1. Clearly state that purpose of the investigation is not a life safety survey, but report safety hazards to building owner/occupant/authority immediately as it relates to personal safety and if it will impede your investigation

3.2.1.2. Note any roof staining or discoloration on steep slope roofs that may be slick or hazardous to walk on

3.2.2. Identify material types, unusual features

3.2.3. Take note of sheltering structures or other features (topography)

3.2.4. Collect photographic documentation with corresponding notes

3.2.5. View underside of deck from inside the building

3.2.5.1. Examine ceilings for water leaks and stains

3.2.5.2. Obtain access through hatch, mechanical/electrical/utility room, or through removable tiles in suspended ceilings, if available

3.2.5.3. Examine deck for water leaks or stains, paying close attention to roof penetrations, perimeters and corners

3.2.5.4. Examine insulation for water leaks or stains

3.2.5.5. Examine deck for diffuse sunlight

3.2.5.6. Identify areas of possible damage to structural support

3.2.6. Occupied space examination for water leaks and stains

3.2.7. Roof-level examination


3.2.7.1. Overview of roof

3.2.7.1.1. Types of roofing materials

3.2.7.1.2. Roof topography and hazards

3.2.7.1.2.1. Roof edges

3.2.7.1.2.2. Drops, steps, changes in elevation or slope

3.2.7.1.2.3. Penetration locations, penetrations created by dislodged or missing roof-mounted equipment

3.2.7.1.2.4. Overhead obstructions, particularly electrical power lines

3.2.7.1.2.5. Trip and fall hazards (cables, plumbing lines, etc.)

3.2.7.1.2.6. Exhaust fumes

3.2.7.1.2.7. Hazardous materials or equipment


3.2.7.1.3. Skylight locations

3.2.7.1.3.1. In-plane translucent panels without curbs

3.2.7.1.3.2. Curbed skylights

3.2.7.1.4. Verify roof measurements from aerial report or draw field diagram

3.2.7.1.5. Document roof penetrations and drains and quantify


3.2.7.2. Evaluate the roof system

3.2.7.2.1. Roof assembly components, such as:

3.2.7.2.1.1. Coatings

3.2.7.2.1.2. Membranes

3.2.7.2.1.3. Perimeter edge flashing/fascia; step and valley flashing

3.2.7.2.1.4. Gutters

3.2.7.2.1.5. Transition flashing between cover and roof-mounted equipment or penetrations (AC units, roof hatches, skylights, chimneys, curb-mounted equipment, etc.)

3.2.7.2.1.6. Slip sheets

3.2.7.2.1.7. Insulation, base sheet, and cover boards

3.2.7.2.1.8. Air or vapor barriers

3.2.7.2.1.9. Ventilation

3.2.7.2.1.10. Decking

3.2.7.2.1.11. Cladding or roof covering

3.2.7.2.2. Verify installation/attachment of roof components as able

3.2.7.2.3. Weathered condition—see individual roof material sections for information on typical weathering patterns

3.2.7.2.4. Physical conditions

3.2.7.2.4.1. Watertightness

3.2.7.2.4.2. Openings/gaps

3.2.7.2.4.3. Seams and seals


3.2.7.3. Evaluate roof-mounted equipment (AC units, curb-mounted equipment, satellite dishes, photovoltaic panels, etc.) to determine if they were involved with any noted damage



3.3.1. External structural overview

3.3.1.1. Identify building materials used for walls and roof

3.3.1.2. Identify and document materials and systems that were damaged and those that were not damaged

3.3.1.3. Identify patterns of damage typical of wind, and document/quantify items

3.3.1.3.1. Displaced or missing facade materials (e.g., siding), or window screens

3.3.1.3.2. Broken windows or tree branches

3.3.1.3.3. Breached garage doors

3.3.1.3.4. Gouges, cuts or dents in materials

3.3.1.3.5. Missing, loose or deformed perimeter edge metal, fascia, parapet coping, gutters or downspouts

3.3.1.3.6. Missing or loose roof coverings, insulation and roof deck

3.3.1.3.7. Penetrations or other wall openings directly below areas of roof covering or edge metal/fascia failure where pressurization may have occurred

3.3.1.3.8. Attic ventilation or roof damage locations that may coincide with interior water damage

3.3.1.4. Identify patterns of damage atypical of wind, and document/quantify items (these could be indicative of man-made damage or improper maintenance or installation)



3.3.2. Interior overview

3.3.2.1. Identify, quantify and document materials and systems that were damaged because of breaches or openings in the building envelope




3.4.1. Evaluate spatter marks, where oxidation film or coating has been removed

3.4.1.1. Size

3.4.1.2. Direction

3.4.1.3. Shape/splay


3.4.2. Evaluate dents

3.4.2.1. Size

3.4.2.2. Direction


3.4.3. External structural overview

3.4.3.1. Identify exposed surfaces

3.4.3.2. Identify, compare and document materials that were damaged and those that were not damaged

3.4.3.3. Identify patterns of damage typical of hail, and document items and quantity

3.4.3.4. Identify patterns of damage atypical of hail, and document items and quantity—these could be the result of natural aging and weathering, accidental or intentional mechanical damage, or due to poor maintenance


3.4.4. Differentiating between hail damage and non-hail damage on the roof surface

3.4.4.1. Identify marks and anomalies with certain characteristics:

3.4.4.1.1. Indications of hail damage, weathering and aging will vary by roof type—see individual material sections for detailed descriptions

3.4.4.1.2. Indications of accidental mechanical damage may be the result of fallen trees or limbs on or near the home, footfall or dropped tools during the repair or installation process, golf balls, etc.

3.4.4.1.3. Indications of intentional mechanical damage may be in the form of repeated patterns of damage (same size, shape, or depth of mark, same location on pieces, same locations on roof, etc.)

3.4.4.1.3.1. Well-defined edges (possibly caused by tools)

3.4.4.1.3.2. Occur in areas that were not exposed to hail


3.4.4.2. Examine anomalies under magnification to determine origin

3.4.4.3. Consider the anomalies in context of their surroundings (near roof-mounted equipment, along valleys or areas of expected foot traffic, in areas of expected maintenance activity)



3.5.1. External structural overview

3.5.1.1. Investigate exterior locations for evidence of fire. Areas to inspect include roof covering, exterior siding and materials in the under-eave and rake-end area.

3.5.1.1.1. Observed deposition of smoke and / or soot on exposed surfaces?

3.5.1.1.2. Evidence of charring on exposed wood or other members?

3.5.1.1.3. Do near-building trees or other landscaping vegetation show evidence of burning?

3.5.1.2. Identify, evaluate, and document fire severity as a function of location.1


3.5.2. Interior structural overview

3.5.2.1. Investigate interior locations, including attic and crawl space, if present, for evidence of fire.

3.5.2.1.1. Observed deposition of smoke and / or soot on exposed surfaces?

3.5.2.1.2. Smoke odor in building at time of inspection?

3.5.2.1.3. Evidence of charring on exposed wood members?

3.5.2.2. Identify, evaluate, and document fire severity as a function of location (attic space, rooms, areas within or between room)1.

3.5.2.3. Investigate the presence and operation of a fire suppression system and/or smoke/fire detection system.


3.5.2.3.1. If there is a system, was it connected to a central monitoring station?

3.5.2.3.1.1. If yes, was the fire department properly notified?

3.5.2.3.1.2. Did it operate properly?

3.5.2.3.1.3. Was the fire suppression system adequately designed for the occupancy it is protecting?

3.5.2.3.1.4. Was there an improperly closed sprinkler control valve? Was there a significant decrease in the water supply?

3.5.2.3.2. Were there other factors contributing to the severity of affected area?



4. After the survey

4.1. Organize and label photographs

4.2. Review additional weather data as needed

4.3. Consult with design professional or component manufacturer as needed

4.4. Report on findings

4.4.1. Report safety hazards to building owner/occupant/authority immediately as it relates to survey personal safety and if it impeded your investigation

4.4.2. Clearly state that purpose of the investigation is not a life safety survey

Disclaimer: This manual has been prepared for informational purposes only. RICOWI, IBHS, and the participating roofing industry organizations expressly state that they have no liability, in negligence, tort, or otherwise, with respect to the use of any of the information and/or practices described in this article. The information set forth in this manual is provided in good faith. The user assumes the sole risk of making use of the information provided in this manual.

Users of this manual are strongly urged to follow accepted safety practices, refer to applicable local building codes and standards, and relevant manufacturers’ instructions for appropriate technical requirements, and to work with a qualified professional in order to operationalize the information contained herein. Photographs and examples contained in this manual are provided for illustrative purposes only and do not guarantee the condition of any specific product or the effectiveness of any repair or installation. Nothing contained in this manual is intended or written to be used, nor may it be relied upon or used, by any person and/or business as legal advice.

NOTE: The manual is being completed in sections, and will be released in stages. Check back often to see the most up-to-date edition of the guide.
Please report broken links or other issues to Simon Kellogg (skellogg@ibhs.org).