Pinnacle Limited - The Preeminent Authority on Forensic Roof Analysis



 

INTRODUCTION
For one large commercial property owner in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the results are definitely in the details.  After a large storm system dropped nearly 2” hail through the North East section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Owner of the nearly 110,000 SF distribution facility thought little about the affects it could have on his fairly new low slope commercial roof system.  He had experienced a few leaks here and there so he dispatched a local roofing crew to install the necessary patches.  At the request of an industry peer and satisfied Pinnacle Limited client, the property Owner contacted us for a professional investigation.

CASE DESCRIPTION
The large distribution center had been built just four years prior to hail event.  The relatively new building offered the insured comfort and security following the hail event as he assumed that the single ply thermoplastic roof system had held up to the large hail.  He even sent a local roofing company out to inspect the roof after the storm, and had inspected the roof himself not noting anything abnormal in the roof’s condition.  After a few sudden leaks were reported by the tenant, the insured contacted Pinnacle Limited to perform an inspection of the property and determine the cause and origin of the leaks.  Our inspection revealed that the roof had sustained irreparable damage to the single ply membrane.  We filed a claim for damages to replace the roof with the insured’s insurance carrier.

LIST OF ISSUES
Our initial inspection was with a local staff adjuster whose primary responsibility was that of residential claims.  We immediately requested that a large loss, or general adjuster be assigned to the claim.   Due to the large nature of the loss, the insurance carrier directed the large loss adjuster to retain the services of a local engineering firm to assist the carrier in the evaluation of the loss.  At the initial site meeting with the insurance carrier’s assigned parties, we pointed out that the large hail stones had impacted the roof at an approximate rate of 5 to 7 impacts for every 100 SF of roof area.  We were able to locate and mark hail impacts that punctured the membrane at a rate of approximately 1 impact for every 100 SF of roof area.  The engineer’s original assessment of the damage provided that the ‘dents’ (as he referred to them) in the single ply membrane did not actually damage to roof membrane and since the frequency of the punctures was very low, the roof could be repaired.

SOLUTIONS APPLIED
We located and marked several impacts on the roof that appeared to be large dents in the single ply membrane.  Upon removing the membrane, we were able to show that the force of the hail stones had caused a secondary impact fracturing the facer of the underlying insulation.  We were also able to show the engineer that the cross check on the back of the membrane had been stretched beyond its elongation point.  We argued that even though a fracture could not be seen with the naked eye, it was obvious the membrane had been stretched well past its elongation point since the impact areas had not reverted back to their original form prior to the loss.  We further explained that since the membrane was a thermoplastic, it was highly likely that the material had microscopic fractures and fissures that would affect the membrane in subsequent freeze-thaw cycles.  The adjuster agreed to take 3 samples to their in-house laboratory to inspect them further.  Not surprisingly, the in-house laboratory concluded that they could see no affects of damage from the hail stone impact.  We took our own samples and had forensic analysis performed which documented numerous fractures in the thermoplastic membrane under extreme magnifications.   We were able to photo document our findings and present them to the insurance carrier.  Still receiving resistance to pay the near seven figure claim, we employed the assistance of the roofing membrane’s manufacturer.  An additional site meeting with a technical resources director from the manufacturer, our firm, and the insurance carrier’s assigned parties confirmed our findings.  After reviewing our documentation and the field conditions, the manufacturer of the roofing membrane voided all warranties further substantiating the loss incurred by the insured.

OUTCOME
Utilizing our knowledge and expertise in Forensic Roof Analysis, we were able to document and prove the single ply membrane sustained microscopic fracturing at the hail impact areas dismissed by the insurance carrier’s retained expert.  These fractures reduced the roofing membrane’s ability to properly shed water in its intended original state.  Our due diligence turned a potential minor repair settlement into a near seven figure total roof replacement.

 

QUICK CONTACT

Pinnacle Limited
Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters
& Loss Consultants

Executive Office
2150 South Central ExpresswaySuite 200
McKinney,Texas 75070

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 3188 McKinney, TX. 75070

Phone: 1.800.918.7840
Fax: 888.370.6021