Many factors play into the overall functionality, durability and lifespan of a commercial or industrial roof. Generally most issues stem from environmental pressure or design flaws.
RAM Systems (Roof Asset Management) are set in place to help maintain long term performance. Routine functionality checks can prevent small problems from turning into big ones and can save businesses time and money.
While architects design roofs with weather conditions in mind and routine maintenance checks consider environmental impacts, an often overlooked area of roofing maintenance is bird control.
Adding bird control to your routine maintenance checklist can save your clients money and prove to be a lucrative add-on service on for your roofing business
Why Birds Choose Roofs?
Rooftop areas are ideal for birds in suburban and urban areas as they offer a handful of key survival elements. Birds like to perch on high structures as a vantage point for predators and food. Roof peaks, ledges and parapet walls are perfect lookout points.
Roofs also provide safe nesting areas. Recesses and overhangs provide shelter from the elements for raising young. HVAC units provide warmth, water, and at times gravel which is sometimes ingested by birds to aid digestion. Then there are birds that will nest right out in the open such as gulls.
Many may think that a few birds on the roof is hardly worth the time or attention for a roofing professional, but Its important to consider the impact birds can have on roofs. The longer birds inhabit in area, the greater chance they have of causing damage and the harder they will be to remove.
Damage Caused By Pest Birds
Bird droppings can cause major damage to roofs. The acidic content of bird waste can eat into tar-based roofing material and other building materials such as concrete, brick or stone. Not only can the highly acidic droppings eat through these materials over time, they will also stain surfaces. This is a major problem on historical buildings.
Bird droppings can also damage HVAC units, attic ventilation turbines, skylights, solar panels, and solar water heaters. The buildup of bird droppings and nesting materials themselves can at times prove to be too heavy for roofing structures. Consider the story of the Vacaville, CA gas station whose roof canopy collapsed late 2011 due to an accumulation of bird feces.
Pest birds can also severely damage rain gutters and spouts. Pigeons, starlings and sparrows will frequently build their nests in these areas, causing water to rise and leak under roofing tiles or pool in flat areas.
There's also the danger of fire. The straw, twigs and dried droppings found in bird nests can be very flammable. Nests built near AC units or other rooftop electrical equipment can create a potentially dangerous fire hazard.
Health Risks Associated with Pest Birds
An HVAC unit surrounded by bird droppings can pose a major health risk to building inhabitants.
HVAC units are a favorite spot for birds as they provide water and shelter. If you have birds nesting near ventilation systems, you run the risk of having dried feces sucked into your building. Dried bird feces can transmit disease, and pose a health risk to employees with compromised or weak immune systems.
Bird Droppings are potential a health risk to anybody that comes in contact with them. Anyone that services roofs with a build up of droppings or nesting materials on a regular basis are strongly advised to wear the necessary protective gear such as respiratory masks and gloves, and to do a thorough wash up after contact.
Where to start
The key to keeping a roof bird free is diligence. When someone is performing routine maintenance checks, they should be trained to look for signs of pest birds by noting areas where bird droppings or nesting materials have accumulated. If its confirmed that birds have chosen a roof as a nesting site or perch, there are many options for taking care of the problem.
The first step is speaking with your client about the potential risks birds cause roofs and the benefit of taking care of the problem now, before real damage has occurred. Taking a proactive approach to the situation will save them money in the end, as birds are territorial.
Its important to make an informed decision when choosing the correct product, as not every bird deterrent works for every situation. Companies such as Bird-B-Gone, Inc. can help you choose the correct product for the specific problem.
Bird Deterrents are Easy to Install
Roofing contractors work with a variety of materials in a number of settings. Adding bird deterrents to your arsenal of tools will come easy.
Most bird deterrents are simply glued or nailed into place and do not require assembly. Products such as bird spikes, electric track bird deterrents and other systems can be fairly easy to install with a little general contracting knowledge.
Subcontract the Bird Work
If you do not have the time, resources or confidence to tackle a bird problem, you can consider subcontracting the work out to a professional installer. Bird-B-Gone, Inc. trains and works with an extensive network of authorized installers that can help. There are also construction companies that have experience in installing bird deterrents.
Get Free Training on Bird Control
US manufacturer of professional bird control products, Bird-B-Gone Inc. can train you or your staff how to install bird deterrents. Bird control is often seen as a natural add on service for roofing contractors and Bird-B-Gone has trained many roofers in the art of bird control.
Bird-B-Gone university is a free all day training course that will teach you all the basics. From evaluating a site, choosing the correct product, proper installation, and even proposing the services to your clients, Bird-B-Gone University is a great resource for roofers looking to expand their services.
Saving Time and Money
Addressing a pest bird problem as it is noticed can save your client time and money. The longer birds are allowed to inhabit an area, the harder it will be to get them to move on. Train your crew to spot and report pest bird problems and consider adding bird control to your routine maintenance checklist.