Despite righteous indignation about the manufacturer allegedly shirking responsibility for the numerous roof leaks at the Peachtree City Library, the City Council Thursday night voted to spend $261,000 to replace the entire 7-year-old product.
Several city council members lamented the city’s seeming inability to exact retribution for the leaks, particularly since a representative for manufacturer Johns Mansville claimed that one of the holes in the roof was caused by a rock that was thrown onto the roof.
“… To me the product is defective if a child’s rock causes a hole in it,” said Councilwoman Kim Learnard.
Councilman George Dienhart said he does not believe a thrown rock onto the roof would have caused such damage.
The company that installed the roof seven years ago is no longer in business, and City Attorney Ted Meeker said the city is most likely unable to file an action against the project architect because of an eight-year time limit under Georgia law. The matter of filing suit against Johns Mansville is whether the roof material was sold within 10 years of a lawsuit being filed, and the city would have to prove the roof was defective, Meeker said.
Dienhart said he wanted the city to look into the matter because a rock should not be enough to pierce the roof.
“So some kid, standing in the parking lot, throws a rock in the air and it comes down and punctures a hole in the roof?,” Dienhart asked. “I don’t believe that.”
“Me neither, that’s my point,” said Community Services Director Jon Rorie, who detailed more than a dozen holes in the roof and showed photos of multiple repair spots, including one spot that has developed a second hole. Tests showed that moisture has intruded through the roof into the top layer of insulation in seven areas.
“If a child’s stone penetrated that material, we got sold a bill of goods from day one,” Learnard said.
A John Mansville representative has offered to contribute $5,000 toward roof repairs if the city decided to go that route, according to Rorie.
Rorie noted that city staff failed to meet requirements of the roof warranty in terms of notifying the manufacturer of roof leaks after the initial two-year installer’s warranty. He noted that until 18 months ago, the recreation department was in charge of handling the project, which is now under the umbrella of public works instead.
Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch said she wasn’t as mad at the roofing manufacturer as she was at city staff for not handling the matter according to the warranty so John Mansville “could be held accountable.”
“We have a roof on the recreation administration building that is three years old and I don’t know what kind of documentation we have for that,” Fleisch said. “We have a new roof on the tennis courts. What are we doing to be better? We can’t be replacing roofs every seven years. This is ridiculous.”
The city has to do a better job of following the warranty regulations, Rorie agreed, suggesting that specialized software might help track those requirements.
Rorie noted that the library has a flat roof though he thinks a pitched roof design would have worked better.
There is a silver lining to the project, at least to a degree. The city will be reimbursed $100,000 from the state via a grant for library building improvements.
Also, the new roofing product that would be installed over the library is the same as was put over City Hall seven years ago, which the city has not had any problems with, Rorie said.
Although the new roof installation project was awarded to the lowest bidder, that company’s qualifications have been vetted by city staff, Rorie said.