Commercial Roofing Supplements

Commercial roofing is a whole different animal compared to residential roofing. This is particularly true for storm restoration insurance claims. The size and scope of commercial roofing jobs makes this channel a great opportunity to grow your roofing business. Commercial roofing involves a similar process to residential flat roofing, which is a much different process than installing a pitched roof or sloped roof. Understanding the key differences between commercial roofing and residential roofing can ensure that you are bidding and installing the jobs correctly.

Commercial Roof


About Roofing Supplements

A commercial roof supplement is when a contractor asks for additional materials, labor, or trades to be added to the insurance claim for a commercial roofing job. An adjuster may not include enough material, labor, safety provisions, project management expense, etc. to get the job done correctly. In some cases, these missing items are required by local building codes or OSHA. When this happens, a contractor writes a new Xactimate Estimate to include those missing items and submits it to the insurance company for approval. Contractors must also include supporting documentation such as photos, measurements, local code requirements, OSHA requirements, and invoices to explain why these funds are needed.

The answer is simple: to get paid an accurate price on your insurance jobs. Because commercial roofing jobs are such large scale projects, small miscalculations in material quantities can result in contractors losing thousands of dollars. This can also happen when inexperienced adjusters make mistakes on the insurance scope of loss. When this happens, adjusters often select default materials in Xactimate, which may not be correct material. Commercial roofing jobs vary in size and type of roofing system involved. Commercial roofing can include flat roofing for office and retail, metal roofing for industrial buildings and shingle roofing for high-end retail or large multi unit residential buildings. Commercial roofing systems require specific components and materials that are not the same as slope roofs, and oftentimes these commercial roof components are more expensive than their slope roof counterparts. An inexperienced insurance adjuster will likely rely more heavily on the contractor’s input and expertise when settling a supplement, meaning that you as the contractor are in the driver seat on getting the correct components included in the estimate.
If your company works on large commercial roofing claims, you should definitely supplement every job. The scale of these projects could be worth the same amount of revenue as 10-50 single family home installs. Selling 50 residential roofs is more than most reps sell in a season. Can you imagine the impact of miscalculating 10-25% estimates for an entire season’s worth of sales? That can absolutely happen if you botch a large commercial roofing bid. A typical roofing contractor installs far fewer commercial jobs each year so it’s important to maximize potential on each one by running as accurate an inspection as possible and submitting a commercial roofing supplement if necessary.
Commercial roofing jobs require much more active coordination than a typical residential job. This may include coordination of several special trades and/or scheduling production on specific days of the week or time of day depending on the use of the structure. Many commercial jobs also require that a supervisor be present at all times during the installation. There are even specific Xactimate codes for commercial project management that, when documented correctly, may be included on the estimate.
Safety is a major consideration for commercial roofing jobs. There are several OSHA requirements to ensure the safety of both the crews and the tenants of the buildings. Safety perimeters and safety equipment are usually included in the adjuster’s estimate on most commercial insurance jobs and are often required by local building codes as well.
Understanding the material and equipment involved in a particular commercial roofing system is also critical in getting the correct amount approved by the adjuster. Taking core samples on a layered system is a great way to determine tear-off requirements and have a true understanding of the existing system. Specialty underlayment, insulation or caulk may be required and may have different costs than the adjuster’s initial Xactimate estimate.
On residential commercial jobs that have storm damage, such as condos or townhouses, you may have several emergency tarps installed to mitigate further damage. These are usually installed before the initial inspection and will need to be removed for the adjuster meeting and then reinstalled afterwards. For all of the above commercial roofing supplement examples, documentation (photos, invoices, etc.) is very important in getting those Xactimate line items approved.
There are two different times you can submit commercial roofing supplement: Pre-Production (before the install) and Post-Production (after the install, before depreciation is released). The optimal way to supplement a flat roof job is to file both Pre-Production and Post-Production supplements on insurance commercial roofing jobs.


Pre-Production supplements should be written or sent to a supplementing company as soon as the full scope of loss is received from the adjuster. It can take the adjuster and carrier several days to settle these claims so you want to avoid scheduling an install if there are expensive Xactimate line items that have not yet been approved. Contractors that have good commercial roof inspection processes tend to have the quickest turnaround times on Pre-Production supplements and also experience less scheduling issues. In addition to increased revenue and profit, Pre-Production supplements also can also benefit your business by improving cash flow on your jobs. Oftentimes, when a Pre-Production supplement is approved, the carrier will send an additional ACV check to the homeowner for the additional line items on the revised estimate. Commercial roofs can require the coordination of several additional specialty trades so beginning the process as soon as possible will allow you more lead time in scheduling those accordingly.
There are many reasons why it makes sense to hire a 3rd party to supplement your commercial roofing jobs. The number one reason is the size and complexity of these projects. Simple miscalculations in material or labor can cost contractors thousands of dollars per line item. Also, many roofing contractors do not have a lot of experience writing commercial roof estimates or understand the insurance process for commercial roofing jobs. Some insurance adjusters may not have a lot of experience inspecting certain types of commercial roofing systems or writing an accurate flat roof scope of loss.
Another obvious reason is that contractors are too busy to write new Xactimate Estimates for all of their jobs. Or they’re simply not that good at writing supplements. This is especially true for contractors for whom commercial roof installation is a small percentage of their overall work. For these contractors especially, a supplementing company can help ensure that newly hired sales reps are producing profitable commercial roofing jobs.
Even companies that have their own internal staff to write supplements may need a hand if a hurricane or 100-year hailstorm hits in their market. In this situation, you don’t have time to hire and train someone new, but a 3rd party insurance supplement specialist can easily step in and handle the overflow of claims. Legacy roofing & siding businesses that focus primarily in retail work sometimes have insurance jobs fall into their lap.

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