Why wasn’t the liquor store roof replaced after the hail storm?

Northfield Liquor Store A pesky citizen approached me last week during my morning office hours, wondering why the liquor store roof was not replaced after the big hail storm in 2006. The store’s roof is now targeted for replacement as part of the store’s $55-65K upgrade(Nfld News article).  We discussed it briefly on our podcast with Mary Rossing and this roofing contractor, and I followed up with Interim City Administrator Joel Walinski. Joel wrote in an email: (continued)


joel-walinski1 In 2005, we had the liquor roof inspected and at that time the 25-30 year old roof was identified as being at the end of its useful life and in need of full replacement. Since the hail storm (2006) we have had that roof, along with all the City facilities with flat roofs inspected 3 times to look for evidence of damage caused by the hail storm. As to date, only the Waste Treatment Plant sustained some minor damage to the rubber roof that was quickly repaired for companies as Bell Roofing, which can be contacted online. The other roofs did sustain minor denting to the metal edge flashing which in some case the damage was repaired. As a result of the hail storm, all city owned buildings with asphalt shingle roofs have been replaced: park pavilions, library, NCRC, etc.

Regarding City insurance, the City’s insurance for this type of damage is pooled with other cities to help spread costs and limit annual insurance payments. The one unfortunate problem with this insurance is claims due cause an increase in annual rates for a number of years later. One calculation and consideration in looking at submitting a claim is what the implications are on the insurance rate structure for future years.


  1. norman butler said:

    Joel: What?

    February 13, 2009
  2. kiffi summa said:

    Norm: I think what Joel was trying to do was give a ‘political’ explanation, which in this recent era of confused politics, came out just that way, i.e. confusing.

    I would think the answer is this; damage to the flat roofs was negligible, or variable, and considering that the ‘endgame’ (and I do mean game) of the liquor store was in flux, it was assumed that the prudent move was to let the roof remain as-is, and see whether the facility would be moved to a new site.

    I always thought that was a dicey decision, because if the city was going to sell the current building (assuming moving to a new site) it would be wise to have it in good condition/repair. Knowingly allowing a building to remain with a leaking roof for an extended period of time is not the way to instill confidence in a buyer.

    Wha’da y’think, Norm?

    Oh, and by the way, Happy Birthday to Momma’s little British Bundle of Joy on Valentine’s Day!

    February 13, 2009
  3. John S. Thomas said:

    There is a HUGE difference between a hail damaged roof, and a leaky roof.

    Does everyone here know for a fact that the roof leaks?

    Hail creates impressions and shortens the lifespan of the roof, but the integrity of the roof may still be sufficient for a few more years.

    The roof has been inspected THREE TIMES, and has been found to be sufficient enough for a few more years of use.

    February 13, 2009
  4. kiffi summa said:

    John: Our building downtown has an almost flat roof with a modern membrane surface that was only about three years old when the hailstorm hit. The building insurance company insisted that it must be replaced although the surface was only dented on the underlayment; the integrity of the membrane surface was not compromised . The resulting air spaces from the discrepancy between the dented underlayment and the membrane surface will cause temperature differences, condensation, deterioration of the underlying surface, and then the structural components beneath.

    It seems that the wait in the roof repair was predicated on the possibility of the move; maybe not. It may be just fine, but with all the tortured decision making around the liquor store issue, it may be questionable.

    February 14, 2009
  5. John S. Thomas said:

    There is also a difference between private business insurance, and the “pooled” insurance mechanism that the city participated in.

    Because you have a business, and because you may or may not have a loan lien on the property, the lien holder (bank) requires the repair. (I am not 100% aware of your ownership, so I am just speaking in general terms).

    For example, on my home, since I had a loan out from the bank, I had no choice but to have my roof repaired. I could not put off the work. The mortgage holder even sent a letter within 10 days of the storm.

    Whereas the city, being the sole owner of the property, has the discretion to have the roof inspected, and can differ repairs. This decision is based upon a cost benefit analysis between the claim return value vs the increase in premium from the claim.

    I am just trying to point out the difference between privately held insurance and city “pooled” insurance. There are different requirements and mechanisms.

    February 14, 2009
  6. kiffi summa said:

    FYI, John……… no mortgage holder on my DT building. Insurance company insisted that it possibly prevented larger future damage, and was the most responsible action to take.

    February 14, 2009
  7. John S. Thomas said:

    I am interested in learning more about the methodology of City Pooled insurance. I think I will ask one of the Actuarials at work on Monday, and see what I can learn about it. Maybe they can shed some light on why the city went this way. I will post if I get any useful information.

    February 14, 2009