Calculating Waste


#1

I’m back on this again. It really frustrates me regarding this ongoing argument with Insurance Companies. Many Adjusters that don’t understand roofing want to apply 10% waste to gables roofs, 15% to hip roofs with no consideration for the complexity of the roof. They expect this waste % to include starter, hip & ridge, the wasted layer under the valleys and scrap. Obviously, on many complex, cut up roofs with multiple levels and lots of roof penetrations, these %'s are bogus and not accurate at all.

The flip side is these same Adjusters get upset when a supplement is sent in after the roof has been completed. So they don’t want to agree to your number up front but then they balk at paying up after the fact when reality is presented to them. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

I’ve decided to try a more aggressive, proactive approach to “fighting” this upfront prior to building the roof. Part of my approach is to include several pages of calculations and “proof” that we will include with each estimate we submit. Assuming this can be done correctly, if they continue to fight applying the correct waste % prior to the roof build, it will hopefully make it easier to get the inevitable supplement approved after the fact.

I would add that some Adjusters understand and agree with our position on waste. Even so, company policy dictates they must apply 10% and 15% waste respectfully. They handle it by fudging the measurements a bit to allow for a couple of extra squares in their estimate. Personally, I think this is bullshit but at the end of the day, as long as we get paid for every shingle we put on the roof, I’m okay with it regardless of the path taken to accomplish that.

With all that said, I’d like some assistance in the way of opinions, experience, etc. for preparing my waste calculation presentation sheets we plan to use. These sheets are going to be done in Excel so we can plug in a couple of numbers and all the calculations will be automatic. Once this is completed, I will be happy to share these with anyone wishing to have a copy for their own use.

Okay, starter is straight forward, I figure 78 LF per bundle. Pretty simple, 26 shingles per bundle x 3. This is the reason we purchase 3 tab for starter instead of boxed starter. The boxed starter is over 100 LF per bundle. We often turn in our material receipts to support our supplement. On a bigger roof, we’ll lose one bundle in count if we used the precut starter.

We use 28 LF per bundle for hip & ridge. I believe this is accurate when you consider transitions and other factors.

The more difficult calculation is the one to determine the waste for the under layer in a valley. Whether you use some type of cut, or no cut, method for installing a valley, I don’t think the waste varies significantly. Per the manufacturer’s specifications, the end of the first layer of shingles must extend 12" minimum from the center of the valley, it is easy to see that for every 3 rows of shingles up a valley, you waste one. If you use a no cut valley method, they you have an additional shingle wasted for every 3 lf. So basically, and conservatively, I’ve been using the calculation of 2 wasted shingles for every 3 linear feet of valley. I would welcome some additional feedback on my assumptions for valley calculations in particular, I’m fairly certain my assumption of 2 wasted shingles per every 3 LF is conservative, perhaps too conservative.

Where I really need some help is countering the argument of recouping hip & ridge cap from trimming the rakes. Clearly, there is salvageable scrap with 3 tab but I haven’t come up with any reasonably accurate method for attempting to calculate it. I feel more certain, due to the variance involved, that it cannot be accurately and consistently calculated. If I had to throw a number out, I’d estimate in general you can salvage a tab from trimming the rakes from 33% to 40% of the rows.

I would appreciate any feedback, opinions, etc. you guys can provide on this. Perhaps I am being naive but I believe by presenting a fact based presentation to Adjusters will have a positive impact on how they scope the job. This correlates to less time fighting the battle and hopefully, more money in our pockets. I realize some will just ignore it but even if it helps with only 25% of the claims, that would be a significant amount of money that is added to our bottom line. Providing the documentation also gives the Adjuster who wants to do the right thing a tool they can present to their management to justify how they scope the job.

I’m tired of hearing Adjusters say “You’re the only roofing company doing this crap.” I get equally tired of saying back that just because the other ones you work with do it incorrectly doesn’t mean we will. It frustrates me, when talking to other roofing companies who do insurance work, I so often hear them say "we just do it for whatever the insurance adjuster ", no arguments up front, no supplements at the end. My own experience says that if one were to order from the insurance scope of loss as originally written, you’d be short material over 75% of the time. I’m baffled how so many roofers are willing to accept that. I realize a lot of those companies doing insurance work are Preferred Vendors and they are willing to just take it up the behind and say nothing in order to keep the gravy train rolling. But frankly, there’s no excuse for the rest to just accept this kind of crap.

Again, I will happily provide the finished product, in the form of an Excel Spread sheet with formulas, to any one wishing to see it and/or use it. I will even include a brief user guide to explain how to use it.


#2

[quote=“Authentic_Dad”]I’m tired of hearing Adjusters say “You’re the only roofing company doing this crap.” Dad, I thought I was the only one who got accused of doing that “crap”.:wink: I understand your concern over the waste issue but assuming only 25% will ultimately respond positively and award you for the small (not insignificant) additional dollar amount, is it worth it? I’d simply include an explanation of waste reality with the charge on every claim with the expectation that they will pay based on the real math, then, if necessary, confront them with the real math if they refuse to pay. At an average 41% profit per job I can’t worry too much about the small difference even though, on principle, I agree with your point.

“Adjusters get upset when a supplement is sent in after the roof has been completed.” Tough, I don’t expect them to like me, however, I do expect them to respect me and the insured and pay what they owe and the majority of the time, they do just that - per my price schedule, not theirs or some “preferred” contractor who just doesn’t get it.[/quote]


#3

LMB, clearly, that’s just the response I was looking for. Really helpful.


#4

AD,

Do ever get paid for ridge cap? I know most carriers won’t allow for it on 3 tabbers but most (not all) will pay it on lams.

If they pay it you have to factor in at least in my area $3-5 per foot for ridge cap R&R.

That being said on a 50sq hip roof with a 15% waste factor for waste (real waste and starter shingles) your looking at 7.5 squares. 7.5 squares that’s almost half a pallet or over 21 bundles.

I’ve had a few adjusters on really cut up roofs with 3 tabs were they won’t pay for ridge cap allow a 20% waste factor. There estimate is not quite right but after getting them to agree to a half dozen more line items it’s right in line.

“Preffered Contractor”? What a joke! I’ve had a number of adjuster say they no longer recommend contractors on their list as a result of bad feedback from policy holders.


#5

douger, we just got one approved this morning where they paid for ridge cap on a 3 tab. Unusual for sure but not unheard of, probably happens about once or twice per month.

I put the waste factor I believe it should be and a line item for ridge cap into every estimate. I put in a line item for additional roof labor to clean up the site and one for a supervisor to visit the site twice per day (thank you Ray from Alltex for those tips!). What I’ve found is they don’t pay those items but it seems like since I’ve started doing that, they’ve paid a couple of items they used to not pay.

I’ve often said that if I bid a 50 SQ roof for a dollar, the Adjuster would come back and offer 80 cents. Like many other business transactions in life, it is a bit of a negotiation. That’s why I’m trying to create this documentation on waste, it is just more ammo to negotiate with.


#6

[quote=“Authentic_Dad”]douger, we just got one approved this morning where they paid for ridge cap on a 3 tab. Unusual for sure but not unheard of, probably happens about once or twice per month.

I put the waste factor I believe it should be and a line item for ridge cap into every estimate. I put in a line item for additional roof labor to clean up the site and one for a supervisor to visit the site twice per day (thank you Ray from Alltex for those tips!). What I’ve found is they don’t pay those items but it seems like since I’ve started doing that, they’ve paid a couple of items they used to not pay.

P.M’s A.D

I’ve often said that if I bid a 50 SQ roof for a dollar, the Adjuster would come back and offer 80 cents. Like many other business transactions in life, it is a bit of a negotiation. That’s why I’m trying to create this documentation on waste, it is just more ammo to negotiate with.[/quote]


#7

I just got done after three months dealing with State Farm for a Wind claim. They finally approved it. I was a 2k higher than their price, but they came and met mine right out of the gate. 45sq - 15.5k, SORT of complex. I was shocked.


#8

Perhaps it is my fault, and likely is, that I’m not getting my questions answered. They were buried too deeply in all the description. I’d appreciate some feedback on these questions though:

  1. Do you agree with using 78 LF per bundle of 3 tab shingles to calculate starter?

  2. Do you agree with using 28 LF per bundle of 3 tab shingles for ridge cap?

  3. Because of the “under layer” in valleys, I useO the figure of requiring 2 additional shingles for every 3 LF of valley? What would you guesstimate the waste is with valleys?

  4. On the average, when replacing a 3 tab roof, what percentage of the tabs needed for the ridge cap are recoverable from the scrap … for a gable? … for a hip?

  5. If you take out starter and hip & ridge cap from the waste factor, what % do you think would be applicable for the remaining waste (to cover valley and scrap)? … for a gable? …for a hip?

Thanks.


#9

[quote=“Authentic_Dad”]Perhaps it is my fault, and likely is, that I’m not getting my questions answered. They were buried too deeply in all the description. I’d appreciate some feedback on these questions though:

  1. Do you agree with using 78 LF per bundle of 3 tab shingles to calculate starter?

  2. Do you agree with using 28 LF per bundle of 3 tab shingles for ridge cap?

  3. Because of the “under layer” in valleys, I useO the figure of requiring 2 additional shingles for every 3 LF of valley? What would you guesstimate the waste is with valleys?

  4. On the average, when replacing a 3 tab roof, what percentage of the tabs needed for the ridge cap are recoverable from the scrap … for a gable? … for a hip?

  5. If you take out starter and hip & ridge cap from the waste factor, what % do you think would be applicable for the remaining waste (to cover valley and scrap)? … for a gable? …for a hip?

Thanks.[/quote]

  1. Yes

  2. Yes

  3. Hard to tell. As we all know, all valleys are different.

  4. I would say maybe 10% and that is if it a roofer who cares. Most guys do not even think about that stuff.

  5. Once again, hard to tell because it depends on the roof. I usually bid between 10 - 15% depending on the complexity of the roof. A job in a few weeks is 62 square exact. I ordered 71 and I am still uncertain it will be enough.


#10

[quote=“Authentic_Dad”]Perhaps it is my fault, and likely is, that I’m not getting my questions answered. They were buried too deeply in all the description. I’d appreciate some feedback on these questions though:

  1. Do you agree with using 78 LF per bundle of 3 tab shingles to calculate starter?

  2. Do you agree with using 28 LF per bundle of 3 tab shingles for ridge cap?

  3. Because of the “under layer” in valleys, I useO the figure of requiring 2 additional shingles for every 3 LF of valley? What would you guesstimate the waste is with valleys?

  4. On the average, when replacing a 3 tab roof, what percentage of the tabs needed for the ridge cap are recoverable from the scrap … for a gable? … for a hip?

  5. If you take out starter and hip & ridge cap from the waste factor, what % do you think would be applicable for the remaining waste (to cover valley and scrap)? … for a gable? …for a hip?

Thanks.[/quote]

1). Yes, I normally figure 1 sq to be 100’.

2). For standard size 3-tabs yes.

3). I think that is accurate but it would be easier to just figure 1 1/2’ x the length of the valley.

4). I have no idea but you should get less waste with 3-tabs than laminates.
If it is a straight gable roof you will have 5 usable tabs for every 6 courses from the rake ends if stepped.
If racked every other course will provide a minimum of 1 usable tab on one end of the gable, the other end will vary depending upon how the roof is layed out.
What is cut off of one end can usually be used on the other end.

5). I don’t agree that starters & cap are waste they are an accessory that is required.

For starters it could be argued (if cut out of field shingles) that each bundle that is cut into starter counts as 2 bundles.
The shingles need to be cut and part is used as a starter and part is used as a finisher, and they are installed in different places on the roof.

The amount of waste you have is largely determined by the crews installation techniques than anything else.
We normally come in at around 4-5% on gables and around 8-9% on cut up roofs.

When you use crews that charge by the square you will usually have a higher waste factor because it is not in their interest to keep the waste to a minimum.
You can see this when you go to the job and see that it is done with the exception of the valleys and rakes being cut, that is a lot of waste right there.


#11
  1. Yes
  2. Yes
  3. Never thought about it. I just added from 1 bdl. to 1.5 sq. epending on lenght.
  4. Little to none. What I cut from a gable, always stayed on the roof and went to the other gable, a wall, or the dumpster.
  5. What Axe said…" I don’t agree that starters & cap are waste they are an accessory that is required.

For starters it could be argued (if cut out of field shingles) that each bundle that is cut into starter counts as 2 bundles.
The shingles need to be cut and part is used as a starter and part is used as a finisher, and they are installed in different places on the roof.

The amount of waste you have is largely determined by the crews installation techniques than anything else."

I add 4% to 10% extra into many jobs.

But I’ve never put all this stuff down to a number. Nor argued with the adjuster too much either. I always just got the contract and insisted they pay.


#12

Sorry Dad, didn’t mean to blow you off…

Once clarified (and not quite so deep), BamBamms reply sounds reasonable to me. If famous hasn’t beaten me to the customers house, I simply charge as high as the highest lr in the area then add 12 to 15% waste on all jobs on everything then add for the wicker baskets on the rear deck, etc, etc. Everything! At that point, I can afford to reduce my price somewhat but still make great money.

May drive some adjusters crazy (greedy damn contractors :evil:) but all I’m doing it working hard to get the insured paid everything their ins co promised to pay - no more and certainly, no less.


#13

Sirs,

No direct math formula for calculating waste or even squares. As a former Calculus/Trig teacher and math whiz, I can definitely tell you to throw out all your formulas. It’s totally up to your crews. I used to believe you could bid exact to the bundle and soon discovered it was impossible. Depends on the crew and times the squareness of the roof. It also depends on what the crew expects the roof to be. Many times I have seen the crew have less than 1 square left to do with 6 bundles remaining and have to dig through the drops for extra shingles. Subconsciously, the shinglers adjust the roof as they go. I have even hid bundles under trash and watch them stretch their supply for laughs.

My best strategy so far is to measure as close as possible and add my waste/shrinkage. I then inform the crew that they are tipped for every full sheet of decking or bundles left over at 50% cash for beer money…


#14

Obviously, the crew has an impact on the waste. What I’m trying to get a handle on is the theoretical waste. Obviously, that varies as well, to a degree, based on the geometry of the house. To top all of that off, you then have the variables in measuring and calculating the area of the roof.

With all that said, the one thing I’m sure of is that you can’t simply say that waste for all gable roofs is 10% and all hips is 15% as many if not most of the insurance companies want their Adjusters to push for. My effort is to put together some fact based documentation to dispute their argument and support our own. The alternative is to simply proceed with opinion based debate and fighting for the supplements after the fact. Or accepting the scope for what it is (as many, many roofers do).

There are other reasons for wanting to do this as well. It can help the material orders be more accurate. There is a real downside to under ordering for the job but there is something to what famous said about the crew “adjusting” to the material available. We end up with anywhere from 2 to 5 bundles left on approximately 90% of our jobs. I’d like to make that number some fraction of a bundle to 3 bundles without substantially affecting our rate of having an adequate amount.


#15

Dad,

Just a thought but have the crew leader verify squares before job and offer a bonus for accuracy. You also confirm he has right house before tearing off. Either way, your math will always lie. I can tell you that I have a crew that almost always comes way under on what insurance company says on laminates. I started watching how he cuts and sets his racking. He doesn’t waste anything on laminates. He offsets by 1/3 and cutoffs always start his next staircase. His oddballs will be thrown over to the valleys or chimney crickets. Sometimes his cutoffs get a little small and I jump on him to start a new offset.

I can tell you my 2/3 trick in measuring valleys. Go 2/3 up valley and shoot tape across. Measure from ridge to drip edge and make rectangle. I can go out with my boy and measure roofs in minutes. Most accurate way and super fast. If roof is same front and back just run tape from drip edge to drip edge. Count your pipe jacks and go…


#16

Our crews are pretty good with the waste. I think to push them much harder would be a diminishing returns thing. The problem with the incentive thing is the possibility they would start sacrificing quality for incentive $. That’s the problem with any incentive, you have to consider what areas may take hits due to the focus on the incentive.

famous, the majority of our jobs are multi level and quite cut up. I don’t think your method for measuring would work out too well on most of those. Doesn’t matter, we now measure using Pictometry and calculate the roof area using Xactimate sketch or RoofCAD.


#17

Here’s what I have thus far (assuming I can get this link to work). I plan to attach this to the estimate we give to Adjusters to aid our guys in their efforts to negotiate a suitable result. I hope to add some more things to this as time goes on.

This is a good example of why 15% as a standard waste calc for a hip isn’t correct. This is a real roof, one we’re meeting with an Adjuster on this Wednesday.

What you see is a pdf file which was needed to post it in dropbox. I’d be glad to provide the original excel workbook to anyone who wishes to utilize it for their own purposes. You simply enter the numbers in the boxes under Roof Waste Calculations, the remainder of the math is done automatically.

Let me know what you think and any suggestions you may have for improvements.


#18

Maybe it is just me AD, but I couldn’t get the link to work.


#19

Yeah, damn dropbox. LOL

I believe this will work:

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Just click on the image when it takes you to the website, it will expand to bigger so it is readable. As I stated, I will gladly send a copy in the Excel format to anyone who might find it useful.


#20

Looks like that worked. When you get to the site, you click on the image to make it bigger.