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I love it when a plan comes together


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Just got an email from a former client.

I'd done his home for him about 2007 and about a year or two ago he hired me to look at a couple more for him.

He wasn't sure if he wanted to hire me for the first of those two - A $1.2M house on Lake Sammamish - 'cuz he thought he'd learned enough from me the first time to go on his own and he didn't want to spend the money. He sent me a couple of emails to ask me a couple of questions about flat roofs and I'd answered.

Then he asked a few more that kind of put the hair up on the back of my neck - nothing special, just that I grew uneasy with the picture of the roof I was forming in my mind. At that point I told him to get in touch with Lee Cooley, the best flat roof guy in these parts, and not to waste any money on me. He contacted Lee but then called me back and asked if I could come out and be there when Lee comes. Always happy to get paid for something that doesn't require writing a report, I complied.

Went out there on the day in question and met Lee for the first time after having recommended him to countless persons over the years (He'd been recommended to me by both the Firestone and the Goodyear factory folks.).

The house was what they call a "northwest contemporary" with a rooftop deck. Slab sided without any overhang eaves in a part of the country where it rains 9 months of the year with vertically applied tongue-and-groove redwood siding.

One went up an open stairwell carpeted with indoor-outdoor carpeting to a sort of open mudroom with a narrow roof above it (I was reminded of coming out of a boat onto a deck) and then walked out onto that roof. The whole thing was covered with a modbit cover and the deck area was separated from the rest of the roof by a 42-inch high parapet. The legs of the deck rested on rubber isolation pads.

Even before Lee whisled softly and said, "Whooey, the idiot that put this roof on needs to find another line of work," I could see there were problems. The scuppers were so low on the sides and so narrow that any tree debris at all (This house was surrounded by tall firs) was going to clog them solid and they'd overflow the sides into the walls. The roof parapet at the edge was only a few inches higher than that with copings that were way too short.

Fifteen minutes later I was in my car, check in hand, on my way home very glad that I'd recommended Lee to the guy. Several weeks later I inspected another house for him in the same neighborhood which he bought. He hasn't had any problems with that one.

This morning I had an email in my inbox from the client. He asked if I remembered that house I'd referred him to Cooley for and then mentioned,

"I randomly met the people who just finished building a house next door to that one -- I bought a bookcase from them on Craigslist. I mentioned that I had almost purchased the house next door, and they volunteered that just after the people who ended up buying the house moved in, they had a significant leak from the roof that cost them quite a bit of money to deal with. Apparently it was not localized to one spot and caused a big mess."

As Hannibal Smith would say, "I love it when a plan comes together!"



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