In this episode of If Walls Could Talk, Walls & Ceilings Editor John Wyatt speaks with Tom Harris, of Tom Harris PUR Consulting about retrofit roofing.

Resilient construction is a term being used these days to help define a direction for new construction. We need to build resilient structures. But what role does retrofit roofing play?

In most of the country, this spring and summer is turning out to be some of the wettest months on record. Now remember, in the commercial market, most roofs don’t get repaired or replaced until they leak. And this year, there are a lot of leaks, so a lot of retrofit roofing opportunities.

Is this a good thing?

Repairing and upgrading commercial/industrial roofs to make them leak-free and more resilient is a good thing. But I think we’re missing the point, says Harris.

“Leaks are a local issue, happening on my roof, at this location. Productivity is down, due to water intrusion, safety issues are a big concern with standing water, and the entire underside of my roof is wearing a diaper. It’s like we’re working in a 200-year-old building,” he said. “These are local issues and to fix them, we reroof. But there’s a bigger picture under resilient buildings. We need to consider the energy conservation opportunity when we reroof. It’s a local issue driver – for sure, but if we are going to include the concept of resilient construction, we need to consider the environmental impact and energy conservation aspects of reroofing.”

Don’t we do that with codes and adding insulation?

Yes, Harris said, but when building owners ask the roofing contractor how much energy will this save, and how many tonnes of CO2 will the added insulation save, some roofing contractors have a hard time answering that question.

If anyone wants more information on the BEAT Roofing Audit, visit or