Archive for August, 2012

OSHA Issues Fines After Man Dies from Roof Fall

JC Silva Remodeling Services in Bridgeport Connecticut has received more than $70,000 in fines for violating fall-protection standards at 2 work sites. Three separate OSHA inspections revealed that workers did not have adequate fall safety equipment and lacked fall hazard training.

While installing a skylight on a 2 story condo, one of Silva’s employees fell to his death, prompting the initial inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 46 year old Francisco Amarel fell 39 feet while on the roof of Sunwood Condominiums in February.

Police Called OSHA To Scene of Death

OSHA inspectors visited JC Silva’s other two sites after receiving complaints to the Bridgeport office.

The Department of Labor issued a stop-work order at the jobsite at Sunwood Condominiums when they found the workers did not have workers compensation insurance and the company misclassified workers as independent contractors.

Another jobsite in Norwalk revealed the workers were performing roof repairs and on a ladder jack scaffold with no fall protection. JC Silva Remodeling was cited with “willful violations” since they had already been cited for similar hazards. Other violations included employees using pneumatic nail guns with no eye protection.

JC Silva Remodeling has resumed work on the 168 unit Sunwood Condominium complex. The complex is receiving major renovations including new roofs. Since being issued the citations on Friday, the owners of JC Silva have 15 days to schedule an informal conference with OSHA.

Choosing A Roof Contractor

If you are searching for a local roof contractor you probably know they come about a dime a dozen, but quantity isn’t always equal to quality. In fact, choosing the right roofer for your roof repair can be a tricky task when weeding out the good from the bad.

Getting The Good

The first place to start when searching for a local roofer is the Better Business Bureau. Looking at reviews and rating from the BBB can give you an idea of who is already regarded as some of the best in your area. If a company has any customer complaints or grievances, you will find them through the BBB.

Once you have a list of who is rated highly by the BBB, call a few contractors and ask for a bid. When they come out to evaluate your roofing job, request proof of their license or registration to ensure they are a legitimate company. Also, ask for references and call previous customers to confirm their expectations were met or exceeded.

At this point, you may still have several companies in mind. Look for who can offer you the best quality product and warranty for an affordable price. Going with the cheapest roof materials isn’t always the best choice and you may find spending a little more for higher quality materials at the same labor cost is more worthwhile.

Crematorium Roof Catches Fire

In Lake Havasu City Arizona, the roof of Lietz-Fraze Funeral Home and Crematory caught fire on Friday night. Three engines responded to the fire, upon arrival the fire commander called for a second alarm to get additional firefighters to the scene.

Firefighters were able to get the fire under control within 45 minutes of arriving, but were there for another three hours helping clean up the debris. Two firefighters received minor injuries, one was treated at the scene from being overcome by the heat and the other sustained a knee injury and was taken to a local hospital.

Fire Broke Out During a Communal Pet Cremation

Although the exact cause is still to be determined, the fire was contained in the crematory area where an employee was cremating stray dead animals. A security guard outside the funeral home noticed the smoke and called the fire department.

Funeral Director Kristen Lietz-Westwood said she spent most of Saturday calling loved ones and letting them know the fire was contained to the crematorium and no human or animal bodies were damaged in the fire.

Estimated damages by the fire department are around $75,000 for the roof repair and water damage. Actual cost won’t be determined until the insurance company has a chance to come out and look at the damage.

Our Future With Solar Power

solar roofThere has been much attention in recent years to protecting the environment and reducing our dependence on traditional energy sources. When it comes to roofing, solar panels and green roofs can certainly do their share for reducing our carbon footprint, so why aren’t they more common?

Misunderstood Materials

Solar roof panels are made up of several individual photovoltaic cells, which convert the sun’s rays into electrical power. Manufacturing of these panels can be expensive, one of the main reasons why people shy away from using them on residential homes. Some argue that the manufacturing process uses a lot of energy itself, thus nullifying the benefit of the product once produced. While these arguments cannot be disputed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that solar roof panels are not a better option in the long run.

First, consider the average household and its electrical use. A 10 by 10 foot solar panel can generate enough electricity to power the average American home for 24 hours. Think about the reduction in the utility bill when the average electrical use per day is provided by the solar panel. Over all, the cost of installing a solar roof panel is far cheaper than one will spend in a lifetime of paying for traditional energy.

Not only will homeowners save money, but they will be using less than 10% of traditional energy sources than before the installation of solar panels. This is extremely helpful during hot or cold weather when traditional electric sources may go off the grid for a period of time with rolling blackouts. When the dependence on traditional energy sources is reduced, the use of coal and other hazardous material manufacturing will be reduced.

Just imagine the outcome we could achieve if more homes and commercial buildings installed solar roofs.

Installing a Green Roof

When you are thinking of adding a green roof to your home there are a number of things to consider. Intensive and extensive are the two main types of green roof.

An intensive green roof can hold a rooftop garden, trees, bushes, benches and paths by adding additional support to your roof. You will need to consult a roof contractor or engineer to determine if your home will need additional structural changes to support the extra weight on your roof.

An extensive green roof requires less support and usually only has indigenous ground cover. If you can ensure your roof is able to hold 27 pounds per square foot, you may be able to add this type of roof yourself. If in doubt, check with a professional and always follow your local building codes.

Decide What You Want to Grow

Both types of green roof involve placing a waterproof barrier between the roof decking and soil to prevent water from damaging your roof. It may also include a root barrier and drainage or irrigation system. Next is a growing medium and then the plants.

Both roof systems last longer than conventional roofs. They provide additional insulation and help reduce your energy costs by keeping the temperature of your rooftop cooler in the summer months. The greenery also improves air quality by removing pollution and producing oxygen. Green roofs also absorb storm water keeping it from overburdening city sewer systems. They also create a habitat for wildlife.

Historic Cabrini Mansion Getting Tile Roof

The focal point of the Radnor Pennsylvania Cabrini College Campus is the mansion formerly known as the Woodcrest Mansion. The mansion was designed by Philadelphia architect Horace Trumbauer and build between 1901 and 1903.

The school chose to replace the 25 year old asphalt shingles with clay tiles to give the school a better roof system. Howard Holden director of facilities at Cabrini said “we felt it deserved the best roof system we could install.”

Restores the Look of the Mansion

About 10 years ago the Woodcrest estate stable and carriage house received a new roof and the shingles were replaced with clay tiles. According to President Marie George, “it puts a fine bonnet back on the grand old lady.”

Originally the mansion was built for Widower and financial leader James W. Paul Jr. where he and his 3 children lived. In 1925 the mansion was sold to the President of Campbell Soup Company Dr. John T. Dorrance.

In 1953 the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus purchased the mansion and surrounding property for use as an orphanage and retreat house. In 1957 the sisters founded Cabrini College and enrolled 43 women in the first class. The college now has approximately 3,500 students.

School For The Blind Gets A New Roof

A Philadelphia roofing company has taken part of architectural history by restoring a near 300 year old building that houses the Overbrook School for the Blind. A Pennsylvannia roofer, Russell Roofing, helped restore the Main Entrance of the building, which was in desperate need of roof repair.

Recapturing History

In 1832, a young teacher for children who are visually impaired migrated to America to open an institution of learning. What is now known as the Overbrook School for the Blind serves many children in the Philadelphia area, offering a variety of educational and recreational programs.

The school’s main entrance roof has been in disrepair for quite some time. In need of a new metal roof, Russell Roofing was able to rebuild the 1,700-pound copper roof and restore it to its former glory. Not only does the building boast a new roof, but all of the original details were able to be replicated during the restoration process.

With the weight of the crumbling roof off of their minds, the Overbrook School can spend more time and energy providing their students with the experiences they deserve.

Teal Out Copper Color In for New Roof

Racine Wisconsin, the Racine City Council has spent another hour debating whether the new Festival Hall roof should remain the original teal or change to copper. In June the aldermen voted to keep the roof teal to avoid ruining the city’s ‘branding’.

On July 17th the Civic Center Commission and Design and Review Committee’s chairman James DeMatthew asked the aldermen to reconsider the roof color. Saying the current stale look has turned off some customers and the copper color will give the new roof distinction.

Teal Color Still on Railing, Fencing, Light Posts

While some still believe the teal color is an identity for Racine, they voted 9-1 to change the color to copper. The roofing contractor hired to do the roof job said the city would end up saving from $10,000 to $20,000 by using the copper color instead of teal.

The replacement roof is designed to last 25 years and construction is expected to start sometime this year.

The Festival Hall is located on 5th street downtown right off Lake Michigan. The hall is used for weddings, concerts, festivals and other special events.

Two Ohio Roofers Hit by Lightening

2 roofers were hit by lightning in Dayton Ohio on Saturday August 4th. They were up on the two-story un-shingled roof trying to cover it with tarps when the storm rolled through. The roofing crew had been up on the roof at 3101 East Fourth Street most of the day doing roof repair. The vacant house is undergoing renovations.

It is unclear if the men were hit or the roof they were standing on was, but witnesses say they saw lightening “traveling through their body”. One of the roofers fell off the two-story roof and sustained serious injuries while the other roofer was able to get back inside the attic of the vacant home.

Fire Captain Said Don’t Worry about Water Damage, Protect Yourself

Co-workers tried to assist the two men but were unable to get the one man off the roof. Both men were taken to Miami Valley Hospital by ambulance. Police said they are lucky to be alive and firefighters said both men will survive.

A small fire was also started on the roof by the lightning strike. Dayton Fire Captain Bob Cockayne said the fire was very minor and put out quickly.

Roofers See Boost In Summer Business

Most roofing companies don’t hurt for business, especially during the summer months. After frozen winters and spring storms, homeowners begin to notice their roof may need some extra TLC. Even if the roof doesn’t appear to be damaged a few hot summer days could quickly lead a small repair into a big job.

Summer Sales

The problem most homeowners face is minor damages that are not visible to the naked eye. Without routine inspection a small crack in a roof shingle could easily lead to bigger problems, like water damage and mold.  Homeowners should always take the time to inspect their roof or have a professional look it over for any damage. Most roofers charge minimally for routine inspections and may even be able to save the homeowner money by catching a minor problem early.

Roof contractors are pleased with the increase in summertime business and many are still making great profits without the need for a complete roof repair. Even small repairs can mean big bucks for the roofer if the homeowner comes back for repeat service in the future. The relationship between homeowner and roofer can be a mutually beneficial one, if the service is done honestly and responsibly.