townhall_120Taxpayers may be on the hook for a new roof for the The Lansing Town Hall.  Lansing Councilman Doug Dake reported to the Town Board Wednesday that a major shingle failure on the south side of the building and the west side of the L-shaped part of the Town Hall is causing damage including a leak in the small courtroom and possible damage to walls.  Supervisor Kathy Miller says the building is only 14 years old, but much concern was expressed that the Town will not be able to hold the manufacturer responsible.

"The manufacturer could come back and pull up six or seven areas of shingle and notice that it wasn't nailed right, and immediately that voids the warranty," Dake said.  "Legally that's on the bottom of the shingle wrapper.  You see that a lot where tiles are pealing up or the carpet is not right.  Typically the manufacturer's got an out which ends up being 'that wasn't put in right'.  But there typically is a warranty and that is something we should look into."

Dake said that minor repairs have been repeatedly made, especially to the section above the small courtroom.  But he said the damage to the roof is significant enough to replace it.

"The shingles are actually curling at this point, and there is a leak in the small courtroom," Dake said.  "We have patched it successfully several times, but it would be a band-aid to continue doing so.  Over the last couple of weeks we've talked about addressing fixing this roof.  It would be in the best interest of the Town and the Town Hall to do so."

Dake said that Code/Fire Enforcement Officer & Building Inspector Lynn Day has inspected the building and expressed concerns about venting issues preventing proper air flow through the soffits.  Insulation has shifted over time to block venting.  Dake told the board that Day has found other issues, including with the drip cap at the edge of the shingles that appear to have occurred during construction of the 14 year old building. 

"Typically that's what happens when shingles fail -- there are venting issues," Dake said.  "Those things are going to need to be addressed in the short term to remedy the issue."

There was no discussion about pursuing the contractor.  But Dake said that the fact that the roof has failed so drastically after only 14 years should be of concern.

"That is disconcerting as well, in my eyes," Dake said.  Shingles are typically warrantied to 25 to 30 years, especially architectural shingles, which are on this building."

Lansing Town HallThe 14 year old Lansing Town Hall already needs a new roof. The worst of the damage is to the rear of the building and on the west side (to the right of the main entrance in this picture)

He said there is a warranty on the shingles, but said that it could easily be voided.  Dake, a contractor, said he has seen manufacturers claim circumstances in their installation that void their warranties over the years.   He added that another serious problem might be in the side walls along gable lines where the flashing that was installed is not long enough.

"That's more disconcerting than anything because it is such a glaring issue," he said.  "But there is nothing we can do about it short of fixing it."

Officials are considering replacing the shingled roof with a metal roof, which is expected to be more expensive than simply replacing the shingle roof, but which would last longer.  Two options would be screwed-on applied fasteners or a standing seam roof.  He said that the latter would be ideal, but a lot more expensive.

Dake added that a major roof repair could be an opportunity to address issues with the large skylights in the main courtroom/meeting room.  He said that when it rains the noise makes it difficult for people to hear during meetings.  He also said that during the day light from the skylights makes it very difficult to see projected presentations, and the skylights contribute to the room getting too hot when the sun shines through them.

"It's very hard if you have a program during the day and you're showing pictures or movies and the sun is beaming down," Miler said.  "Our new projector is much better.  But there is so much light coming in that you can't see.  But the bottom line (on what happens to the skylights) is going to boil down to what we need to do for the leaky roof."

"They're nice skylights, but are they worth these issues?" Dake asked.

Councilman Ed LaVigne asked whether Highway Department employees could do some of the work to reduce costs to the Town.

"Absolutely," Dake said.  "However during this time it is their busy season.  Certainly we'd have to involve them in the conversation.  There is no reason not to.  There is plenty of knowledge and plenty of roofing experience and mechanical knowledge in the Highway Department, so that is absolutely a possibility."

Miller also noted that if the Town buys the materials sales taxes would not apply, another opportunity for savings.  She added that taxpayers will have a voice in whether or not the money should be spent.

"When we go to spend the money to fix it, it will be subject to a permissive referendum," said Supervisor Kathy Miller.  "But obviously a roof has to be fixed."