Tropical storm Hilary brought something Arizonans have not seen much of this year, rain. Before our recent rainy spell, Arizona had been going through an unprecedented heatwave with 31 consecutive 110F days. As Mesa roofing contractors our company as well as many roofing contractors in the Valley are used to working in hot weather. However, this recent heat wave has proven to be a challenge even for the most experienced Arizona contractors. If this summer’s heat becomes commonplace it will require contractors who work outdoors to readjust the way they run their business from contractor safety to expectations for job completion.
Excessive heat warnings are not a new thing for Arizona contractors. High temps mean working until the late afternoon was never really possible. A roofer normally starts a job early in the morning when temps usually peak at the low 90s but usually stay in the mid-80s. This isn’t comfortable weather to work in but these few hours of respite from three-digit temperatures are essential for contractors to complete jobs on time. Starting early allows us to work longer. However, this summer has made it impossible for contractors to start early to fill more hours because until recently temps have not been dipping below 100 degrees. Starting a job at 4 a.m. and it is still 100 degrees is a challenge for any manual laborer. Persistent excessive heat means contractors are working fewer hours. Our teams would start at 4 a.m. and we would be done no later than 1 p.m. In the past, our teams would work until 3 or 4 p.m. Losing multiple hours of work each day means jobs will take longer to complete. Contractors work hard but any contracting company should put the health and safety of their crew over completing a job quicker. Heat is a killer and we live in one of the hottest places in America. Sustained excessive heat means contractors are going to have to change their schedules. Early and shorter shifts are a necessity and teams can make up the hours during cooler weeks in the summer as well as picking up more jobs in Spring, Fall, and Winter. Contractors will also have to do more to ensure water, freeze pops, cooling wraps and extra sun shade materials. Working conditions for contractors are tough enough as it is which means people such as roofing company owners and their foremen need to do everything in their power to ensure a well-hydrated and cool team. Employee retention is hard enough for contractors and excessive heat will draw workers away.
Excessive heat also is a detriment to materials and equipment that are essential to complete a job. For example, our company uses many rubber-based tars that if left in a truck bed for long periods of time will melt. This means we have to store fewer materials on site and have to head back to our office to get them. Extra trips to get materials increase the time it takes to complete a job.
Lastly, if excessive heat increases job completion times there is the worry that it will increase customer impatience; however, I find this worry to be overblown. The main solution to this problem is setting accurate expectations. If you think excessive heat will slow down a job then it is important to be honest with the customer about that. Clients are people and they don’t want your team overexposed to heat any more than you do. Adjust your job completion times accordingly and be upfront about them with the customer. If there are variables that are hard to account for let the customer know. Everyone is dealing with the heat so customers will understand.
If the record-breaking heat Phoenix experienced becomes more commonplace it will continue to pose a challenge for contractors in the area. Heat will increase job times and put contractors at increased risk. This means contracting company owners need to adjust accordingly doing everything they can to help their teams stay safe from the heat.
Author: Mike Halliday is the owner of Halliday Brothers Contracting a roofing company in Mesa Arizona. Halliday Brothers Contracting has been an expert in residential and commercial roofing for over 20 years. Visit their Contact Us page.