Roof Inspection Surveys

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Roof Inspections - What equipment is needed?

What equipment is required to undertake a roof survey?

Most roofing surveyors carry out roof inspections for many different reasons, some being condition surveys, checks for quality compliance, investigations of performance issues and for routine audits.

The equipment that needs to be taken up onto the roof will depend on the objectives of the inspection. For some surveys, all that is necessary is a smartphone with its multiple apps and ability to take photographs. For other inspections however, basic tools that are widely available are necessary, with a few specialist pieces to carry out site measurements, to investigate details and then record the findings.

This Technical Note describes the equipment usually carried by a lot of roofing surbeyors.

Personal protective equipment

On most sites, we take responsibility for our own safety and should be expected to provide our own PPE. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, this also includes wearing a face mask and complying with local regulations.

On most construction sites, the following PPE is mandatory:

•Safety footwear
• Safety helmet
• High visibility jacket
• Eye protection
• Gloves.

When working from a mobile elevated working platform or inspecting close to an unprotected roof edge, where there is a fall restraint system, a full body harness must be worn, connected to the secure point with an appropriate lanyard.

It is good practice for the inspection equipment taken up to roof level to be carried in a daysack, leaving hands free for gaining access.

Measurement tools.

Equipment used for measuring the condition of the roof includes:

• 3m and lOm tape measures
• Pitch gauge
• Laser distance meter
• Crack width gauge
• Small level • Micrometer • Digital callipers
• Electrical resistance moisture meter
• Whirling hygrometer
• Wind speed meter.

Investigation tools

Equipment often used for roof surveys include:-

• Hand torch • Head torch • Blunt screwdriver
• Metal and plastic probes
• Wax crayons
• Sample bags.

Recording equipment

Having undertaken the measurements and investigated the details, the findings need to be recorded using the following:

• Digital camera with a zoom lens
• Video camera
• Clipboard with copies of roof plans and details for marking up
• Waterproof notebook and pencils
• Dictaphone - for recording audio notes • Tablet when working to a pro
forma survey.

For some roof types, other specialist equipment can also be of assistance:

• Capacitance meter, for measuring entrapped moisture on some types of membrane roofs
• An infrared camera for locating areas of missing insulation.
• A pneumatic seal tester to check fastener seals on metal roof cladding.

There can be a temptation to take too much equipment up onto the roof. The weight of the basic equipment listed and carried in a daysack is around 4kg. The specialist equipment would only be taken up as the need arises.

Many pieces of equipment are battery powered. It is good practice to check battery levels when returning to the office, and recharging or replacing them in advance of the next roof inspection.

Maintaining a good set of inspection equipment is important to be able to measure, investigate and record the actual condition of a roof in an objective and factual manner.