The Hairy Roof
Feb. 12, 2018
No, this is not a new LEED certified “green roof”. Most of you will have spotted the obvious – that the plant material growing on this roof is not supposed to be there. Most of you will have also surmised that a roof drain is clogged allowing water to pool on the roof, providing an ample water source for the grass plant material to grow. Thinking about it further, you probably realized that the ‘soil’ in which the plants are growing is coming primarily from the tree growing behind it and depositing its needles on the roof, which then decay and combine with blowing dust, dirt and water to create a suitable environment for plant growth.
This is all pretty obvious, but what does it really mean? The immediate concern, of course, is that there is a clogged roof drain, which has allowed water to pool and promote plant growth and that this has probably led to some roof damage and leaks, and if it hasn’t yet, it will soon. But more important than that, it is a symptom of a much bigger problem: Why was it allowed to get this way?
Is there a maintenance program in place that calls for regular inspections and preventive maintenance of rooftop equipment that is not being followed properly? Did the roof or rooftop equipment get omitted from the inspection route for some reason? Does a maintenance plan exist at all? There is insufficient evidence from this one photo to determine that, but this should trigger further investigation at the very least.
And until then, best get someone up to that roof to clean it up, clear the drain and consider pruning the tree back a bit.