Once upon a time, a “standard warranty” was indeed the industry standard for weather tightness warranties in the metal roofing realm. To make a long story short, this meant that manufacturers supplied a “manufacturer’s standard warranty” based on an initial review of the details to ensure that the roof could be properly installed but left it up to others to ensure that the details were followed. If the roof was not properly installed and resulted in a leak then the manufacturer’s warranty did not cover it. At this point, the project had been closed out and the installer was long gone, sometimes even out of business. The owner, architect, general contractor, installer and manufacturer were then at odds with each other leading to dissatisfaction and frustration all around.
In the mid ’90s, the Single Source or Day One warranty was born and quickly caught on throughout the metal roofing industry. Generally, this warranty required that the roofing contractor come to the manufacturer’s training course to be trained in the proper installation of their roof system(s). In addition, the manufacturer typically required inspections at the beginning, middle of the roof installation with a final inspection just before the crew demobilized from the project. Once the warranty was issued, the manufacturer was responsible to the building owner from the date of substantial completion for the weathertightness of the roof. To be sure, there are still terms and conditions to the warranty, just like with any type of product warranty. For instance, the warranties don’t cover leaks caused by natural disasters or damage caused by other trades on the roof. These warranties provide very good coverage and the best part is that the inspections greatly reduce the chance of a leak in the first place, which is what any building owner would want.
There is an overwhelming agreement on all sides that the evolution toward the Day One warranty has been a good thing for the industry. It has forced installers to do things right from the outset and has compelled manufacturers to come up with good, clear details for some of the more complex architectural elements that architects want to use such as dormers, hips, etc.
Manufacturers all want their roof installations to go smoothly, to look good, be trouble-free and perform as expected for many years. To that end, they are willing to work with specifiers, roofing contractors and others to provide assistance, training and job specific help as needed. To ensure that the roofs are properly installed, the specifiers and contractors need to work together with the manufacturers to ensure good communication about the requirements for the specific project and what each party needs to make the project successful.