This is a guest post on green roof contractors by Duane Craig at The Construction Informer, thanks Duane!
There are a number of ways you might consider installing a green roof. One is to hire the waterproofing and heavy work for someone else to do, leaving the lightweight stuff for yourself. You could also do everything yourself, except for the reinforcement and waterproofing. Another option is to hire someone to do the entire installation.
At the start of your green roof project you need to have the roof framing assessed for adequate strength by a structural engineer or architect. If the roof needs reinforcement, and you plan to contract the whole job, you will be looking for a green roof installer who also does structural work, or one who has relationships with contractors who do structural work. If you are going to do some of the work yourself then you need to identify those parts of the project where you will hire the work done.
Keep in mind the more people you have involved in the project, the more potential problems there can be, both during installation and afterward. So, keep it simple. Identify the work you feel confident you can do yourself and then consider hiring no more than two other parties to do the remaining work. If you can get just one, that’s even better. Once you know what part, or parts, of the project you are contracting out you can begin searching for the right partners.
When looking for reinforcement contractors you will often be looking for a general contractor. Check with family, neighbors and friends to see if they have recommendations. Ask your architect or engineer for referrals. When hiring a contractor for this work you can keep things simpler if they can also do the waterproofing.
If you have a roofing contractor who you want to work with and they are not certified in green roof installation but you want to have some peace of mind you might suggest they use the National Roofing Contractors Association Green Roof Systems Manual. This covers the best practices in waterproofing technologies so you, and they, can be assured the job will stand the test of time.
Once you have the reinforcement done and the waterproofing completed you might consider hiring the rest done by someone who specializes in green roofs. Members of the American Association of Landscape Architects are very involved in the green roof industry. The association even has a green roof on its headquarters in Washington D.C. that it uses to track performance data. Local plant nurseries may know of contractors who are doing green roofs.
You might also consider hiring contractors that have some type of green building certification, and there are many places where you can find them. Builder associations like the Associated Builders and Contractors have programs that certify green builders.
There are also organizations such as Green Advantage that certify builders. Check into local and regional non-profit associations that bring together green resources and sponsor green educational events and networking. These organizations list local and regional certification programs like Build It Green, a California green builder certifier. Universities are operating certification programs like the ones at Colorado State University and San Diego State University.
The United States Green Building Council maintains a long list of green builders and contractors that is searchable by area of the country. It includes an extensive list of companies under its Green Roofing category. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities certifies green roof professionals and maintains a searchable list you can use to locate one near you.
If you have decided to hire all the work done then you might consider a company that specializes in green roofs. Companies that sell green roof systems often do the design, installation and maintenance using divisions across the country to position themselves close to the field work. Since they handle everything, having all parts of the roof covered by one company can offer some peace of mind so you are not left with one person pointing the finger at another if something goes wrong. Other companies source all the materials from the best suppliers for your project and focus exclusively on the service of installing and maintaining your green roof.