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One Last Question - "What About Interior Protection?"

As a professional working in the commercial re-roofing business have you ever asked the question, “Are we going to recommend Interior Protection for this project?” This is not your grandfather’s type of drape and cover with canvas tarps or 3 mil poly from the hardware store… I am talking about a Temporary Interior Protection System which allows people to work and manufacturing to continue below AND the re-roofing project to take place – all at the same time!


I was working in Florida at the time when I went to see what this “Dust & Debris Containment” company needed with all these scissor lifts and articulating boom lifts they were renting. I had never heard of something called “Interior Protection.” Evidently this building was home to a telemarketing firm and hundreds of people who worked the phones taking orders 7 days per week. I could tell a re-roofing project was about to start because in one corner of the parking lot were stacks of ISO insulation and other roofing materials. What I found inside was quite impressive. A crew of experienced installers all up on lifts hanging plastic – lots of plastic. They systematically installed their Temporary Interior Protection System in such a clever way to safeguard the call center employees and equipment below by catching all the re-roofing debris. I thought to myself, “This is like standing in a swimming pool with no water, underneath the cover.”


As a Regional Manager for an Interior Protection company I found that roofing contractors, estimators, and sales personal rarely ask their clients what activities are going on inside the building about to be re-roofed. The option of Interior Protection is not typically being discussed. As we read last year in Professional Roofing magazine, July 2009 – “Dealing with Debris” – we know dust and debris happens, now the question is, “What are you going to do about it?”


Over the past few years there have been several companies who specialize in this niche market advertise their services in commercial roofing trade magazines. I’ve seen these companies at all the big trade shows and if you talk to most any Roofing Consultant they are very familiar with the effects of falling dust and debris caused from a re-roofing job. So I think it comes down to introducing the idea of Interior Protection to all of you – the roofing contractors, the roofing estimators, and the roofing sales teams. Partnering with a reputable and qualified Interior Protection company just may be that added value needed to get you in the door at your local food plant or manufacturing facility where you have been trying to land their business!


So, why would you want to educate yourself about Interior Protection and recommend Dust & Debris Containment to your clients? I’m thinking, “Why on earth would you not?” Your clients look to you as their roofing expert, a trusted advisor. If you are not asking this one additional question and your competition is… then is it any wonder why you were not awarded the project?


It’s very simple and here’s the basic info you need to know: Find out what activities are going on inside. Are there workers at a food or manufacturing plant, shoppers at a retail store, employees and computers in an office, or students at a school? Any dust and debris which may fall and cause injury or contamination is concerning. Simply by offering this option to your clients will do two things. First, it will show that you are a reliable source and a knowledgeable professional in your trade. Second, and just as important, you have covered your bases. If you offer Interior Protection and they turn it down you can rest assured that when dust and debris starts falling inside you can then say, “Well I informed you that this would happen and you were not interested.”


2008 – I was making a few sales calls on commercial roofing companies one day and happened to stop at a well established roofing company which had been in business for many years. I was welcomed right into the owner’s office and hanging on a wall plaque was a rusty 10″ bolt. He said, “That is my million dollar bolt.” He explained to me that his company was contracted to re-roof an old building and that bolt must had been left laying up on a steel beam years ago. In the middle of the project that bolt was shaken loose and fell into a very expensive piece of machinery and the repairs cost him and his insurance company one million dollars! He told me the rusty bolt reminds him that every job his company bid from then on a Temporary Interior Protection System was offered.


2009 – I was called last minute by a commercial roofing company. I arrived to find existing dust was falling into the production area of a company which produced paper container products – hot dog wrappers, nacho cups, fancy cupcake cups, etc. Evidently, when the roofing company started to load the roof the entire roof was shaking due to the movement back and forth of the equipment and workers. It literally started snowing black dust on the inside of this building and all 30 employees walked out immediately. Who knows what contaminants remained up there from years ago by previous businesses? That re-roofing project was placed on hold until the under deck suspended ceiling cover was installed.


2010 – A Facilities Engineer at a very large food manufacturer, with multiple locations, told me the story of how they used to deal with re-roofing projects before they found Interior Protection. They started in January to plan, schedule, and bid the project so that in the spring they could shut down production on weekends to complete the re-roofing needed over the next few months. Their maintenance crew would have to drape and cover equipment on Friday nights. The roofing crew would have to work weekends, and then on Sunday nights the inside cleaning crew would work all through the night to get the plant ready to run production again Monday morning. This was very costly because of the overtime needed every weekend until the project was complete. A savvy roofing contractor looking to win the business introduced them to the idea of Interior Protection and now – no project is commenced without a Temporary Interior Protection System installed first. The roofing crew now works weekdays and the plant keeps producing without interruptions – all at the same time. Later, after the re-roofing job is complete the Interior Protection company returns and very carefully takes down all the suspended ceiling containment being very careful not to spill any of the captured debris.


Have you asked if your clients can afford to shut down or close during this re-roofing project you are bidding? What about a product recall, a bashing in the press of their product name and brand ID which they have built over the years – all caused by re-roofing contamination? In addition, read the fine print on your contract, if you cause a shutdown of production lines due to debris from your re-roofing project it just may cost you and your insurance company an exorbitant amount of money! All this can be avoided by training your sales team to ask one more question.


Here’s an idea, try this next time you are speaking to your attorney, your insurance agent, or your accountant…. Educate them about what Interior Protection is – talk about the issues and risks of falling Dust & Debris, then ask for their professional opinion. Ask if it’s a good idea to include this option, to attach a separate bid proposal, or include an allowance for Interior Protection. Ask if they think it is a good idea to partner with an experienced and reputable Interior Protection company and start asking more questions such as, “Are we going to recommend Interior Protection for this customer?” “What added risks are we taking and what could it cost us if we do not?”

I am of the opinion that if you start educating your clients about the benefits of a Temporary Interior Protections System you will be awarded more of those big projects and you may not even be the low bidder.


Source by Mark Nemelka




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