Our project manager did, and he was flabbergasted. On a recent industrial building project, we had specified a standing seam metal roof system with a 20 year weathertightness warranty. The project included 4 large buildings with over 95,000 SF of standing seam roof for each building. These buildings are critical parts of the client’s operations and roof leaks would be quite detrimental, so the weathertightness warranty is very important. The specification stated, “manufacturer agrees to repair or replace standing seam metal roof panel assemblies that fail to remain weathertight, including leaks within specified warranty period.” Similarly there was a 20 year warranty requirement for the exposed panel finish. The manufacturer’s standard form of warranty appeared to be a joint warranty by the manufacturer and the roofing contractor. This warranty included several exclusion clauses that related to the workmanship of the contractor while installing the standing seam roof panels, and had nothing to do with the building owner’s responsibilities. Some of the exclusions included:

  • “Gutters, downspouts, roof curbs, vented ridge, hip, peak, endwall conditions, flashing to existing wall or roof”
  • “If any panels or other parts are installed to allow water to cascade on any part of the roof system”
  • “Damage caused by metal chips, shavings and other metallic debris left on the roof to oxidize”

You get the picture! Many of the conditions that the warranty was excluding are part of the construction documents and are part of the scope of work for the contract.

The most objectionable clause of the warranty stated “The manufacturer’s and roofing contractor’s aggregate total cumulative liability under this 20-year weathertightness warranty is limited to: (First) Manufacturer for the dollar amount of the original payment made to the manufacturer for material furnished by the manufacturer excluding the cost of original weathertightness warranty and (second) for the original cost of the installation of those materials. In no event does the toal cost of such repairs exceed the total square footage of the roof system multiplied by $5.00 per squarefoot.“ The current cost of the standing seam roof system for this project was much higher than the $5.00 per squarefoot.

Luckett & Farley’s team rejected the warranty by marking the above clause as not in conformance with the contract documents. The manufacturer argued that the designer of record should have specified the “Level 4” warranty because their “Standard” warranty is “Level 2” warranty, and demanded additional funds for “upgrading” the warranty. Incidentally the Level 4 warranty states “THIS WARRANTY WILL BE FULLY SATISFIED BY REPAIRS OF THE ROOFING SYSTEM AND ANY SUCH REPAIRS SHALL CARRY A WARRANTY AGAINST LEAKS ONLY FOR ANY REMAINING BALANCE OF THE ORIGINAL WARRANTY PERIOD.” This is exactly what the specifications required in the first place.

The owner and Luckett & Farley’s team stood firm. The general contractor also sided with Luckett & Farley’s interpretation of the contract requirements and the need for the so called Level 4 warranty. The general contractor, roofing contractor and the manufacturer worked on their financial agreement and provided Level 4 warranty.

LESSONS LEARNED:

  • SPECIFY ROOFING WARRANTY REQUIREMENTS IN DETAIL
  • CONSULT INDUSTRY STANDARDS AND PRACTICES
  • VERIFY THAT THE BID INCLUDES APPROPRIATE WARANTY AND ASSOCIATED COSTS
  • READ THE ROOFING WARRANTY CAREFULLY AND VERIFY ITS FULL COMPLIANCE WITH THE CONTRACT DOCUMENTS, PREFERABLY BEFORE AWARDING THE CONTRACT

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