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Warranties are normally prepared to limit the manufacturer’s liability to a narrow scope of provisions rather than to provide protection for the building Owner. Warranties typically preclude claims based on other theories of liability, including negligence and breach of contract. In addition, warranties typically exclude the implied and express warranties established by the Uniform Commercial Code.
Warranties are almost always provided in standard language provided by the manufacturer’s legal department and changes or deviations are extremely difficult. It is important to evaluate warranty coverage as part of the criteria to select the roofing material manufacturer before specifying. Most warranties contain several unfavorable provisions, the most significant being:
- Exclusion of consequential damages (including damages to building interiors and contents, and business interruption)
- Limitation of wind coverage to wind speeds that are typically well below the design wind speed prescribed in the building code. Coverage limited to very low wind speeds sometimes listed as only a “gale”, which can later be interpreted to exclude any damages from winds exceeding 31 mph.
- Exclusion of hail damage (see Figure 13)
- Limitation of leak repairs to patching the membrane rather than removing and replacing wet insulation
- Only the manufacturer can determine the applicability of the warranty
- Inclusion of several provisions that could result in the building owner’s inadvertent nullification of the warranty.
- Unreasonable limitations on the owner’s right to make emergency repairs without voiding the warranty.
- Unrealistic requirements (often in very fine print) for meticulous record keeping and maintenance.
Complete voiding of the warranty if an “unapproved” roofer makes even a small modification.