Challenges on the Roof

We all know that every roof is different and creates a new challenge. I thought I would post some more obvious challenges for us when we get on the roof.

The first two pictures show a flat roof of a hospital doctors building. This roof is a single story building and is at least 25 years old. As we can see, this roof has a top covering of gravel with an under layer of membrane and tar over metal decking.

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This roof provides a challenge for ventilation because of obvious reasons. The built up membrane and tar with the layer of gravel will make this roof difficult to vent. Even if we can easily scrape away the gravel, the tar and membrane will challenge our saw technique and maintenance. If we are not prepared and not using the correct blades our saws will gum up and make cutting impossible.

The next few photos show skylights that we will mostly see on large, open span buildings. They allow natural lighting and are common in the “big box” buildings that we see in home improvement stores and large grocery and retail stores.

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In some instances these vents/skylights can blend in with the roof surface and become difficult to distinguish from what it is in regards to the actual roof. These are especially dangerous during darkened and smokey conditions. Use caution and these are another reason for building familiarity.

These are not the only challenges that we face, but we will discuss more at another time in a future post.

Take some time and discuss how you would operate on these roofs with your crews.  Are there some experiences that you might have had on these types of roofs that you can share?

Stay safe, train hard and be careful.


  • Mike Morton says:

    These are great pieces of evidence to indicate the importance of preplanning for truck company ops. If I know of existing openings that will achieve the results I desire, then I can make plans to use those rather than eat up precious seconds making a tough cut. If I know where those openings are because I’ve seen them before, them I’m less likely to get confused about their location or the techniques I’ll use to open them.

    Military pilots would never want to fly blindly into and over hostile territory; they would request whatever intel is available. Preplanning, along with size-up, is our way of performing recon where we intend to go to battle.

  • dc802 says:

    Greats points and thanks for sharing your experience. Stay safe out there and take care.

  • This is a valuable post. It’s nice posting it. Thanks =)

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