2 Buildings, 3 Roofing Types, 1 Complex Property Claim


Recently, Guardian’s forensic construction and engineering expertise was required at the scene of a two-building, oceanside apartment complex that was alleged to have sustained hurricane damage. After obtaining location-specific weather data, Guardian’s Property & Casualty Group immediately dispatched to the subject property.


The apartment’s maintenance supervisor escorted Guardian’s forensic construction & engineering expert on a visual site inspection that included all property exteriors and the roofs of both buildings. While the perimeters appeared to be in good condition, observations recorded from one building included:  two different types of roofing — ballasted tar and gravel and modified bituminous membrane, gravel displacement, mostly at the corners, on the ballasted tar and gravel roofs, accumulation of gravel around the elevator shaft, and exposed and weathered underlayment at the perimeter and corners of the ballasted tar and gravel roof. Additional observations included: signs of previous repairs in several areas on the modified bituminous membrane roof, some air bubbles and loss of adhesion, cracking, and weathering on the modified bituminous membrane, no membrane venting, roof edge flashing was torn out in spots, and there was no membrane venting on either of the roof types.

Observations regarding the other building included:  three types of roofing — ballasted tar and gravel, modified bituminous membrane, and a single-ply white thermoplastic membrane, the latter torn off at the south edge, signs of black waterproofing patches and some ponding on the thermoplastic membrane roof, multiple and widespread air bubbles and loss of adhesion. Additional notations included: advanced weathering and age with cracked tar in certain areas on the ballasted tar and gravel roofing, edge flashing torn out in spots on the south facing elevation, and as with the first building, there was no venting in any of the three different roof membranes.


Fifty-nine photographs provided the visual documentation required to support Guardian’s expert’s distinctions between storm-related damage and that attributable to building/material age, deterioration, and care. There were, of course, notable exceptions to these: wind damage observed on the thermoplastic roofing membrane on the south façade of the Ocean Building was deemed to be caused by the high velocity winds associated with the hurricane,  damaged flashing sections were found to be the result of impacts from flying debris also brought on by the storm’s high velocity winds.


When in-house property claim adjusters, TPAs and carriers need immediate response and expert determinations of cause and origin, they often rely on the forensic construction and engineering experts at Guardian Group, Inc. With nearly 30 years’ complex claims experience, Guardian makes quick work of your property claims, with cause and origin reports always delivered in a plainspoken manner, promptly and professionally. Count on definitive findings and clear communication. Count on Guardian Group, Inc.

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