McHenry roofers aiming high

McHENRY – Metalmaster Roofmaster Inc. of McHenry earned three of the commercial roofing industry’s most highly coveted awards.

The company was among just 262 contractors throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico to earn a 2012 Firestone Master Contractor Award. In addition, Metalmaster is among just 28 master contractors to receive both the Inner Circle of Quality Award and President’s Club Award.

The Master Contractor Award recognizes outstanding Firestone licensed contractors for the total square footage of quality roofing systems installed, and the quality points accumulated for receiving exceptional inspection ratings on Firestone roofing system installations. Inner Circle recipients installed a minimum of four warranted Firestone roofs in each of the last five years, maintaining at least 2 million square feet of Firestone roofs under warranty and achieving an annual “quality incidence rating” of 2.0 or less.

The Firestone QIR measures each contractor’s quality performance based on warranty repair incidences per million square feet under warranty.

Finally, the President’s Club Award is given to master contractors who accrue the highest number of quality points for exceptional inspection ratings and total square footage of warranted roofing system installations completed over the past year.

Metalmaster Roofmaster was selected from more than 3,000 Firestone-licensed roofing contractors. Celebrating its 25th year, the Master Contractor program has singled out roofing firms for attaining Firestone’s high standard. The Inner Circle of Quality Award identifies 170 Master Contractors throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. The 31 firms that far exceeded Firestone expectations and attained the highest number of Quality Points also earned the President’s Club Award.

About 80 percent of Metalmaster’s business is commercial clients. Past projects include the Walmart Superstore at 3801 Running Brook Farms Boulevard in Johnsburg, at which the company’s workmen installed about 183,612 square feet of thermoplastic roofing membrane. It also roofed the Crystal Lake municipal building, Algonquin Commons and the new addition at Centegra Hospital – McHenry. Chicago projects include Soldier Field, Navy Pier and a large number of museums and high-rises. It even lined the inner basin of the iconic Buckingham Fountain with lead.

“We do the tough, tough jobs that no one wants to do,” Smeja said. “We started with residential sheet metal over canopies and gutters. Then we got into more commercial. Some have not been the greatest jobs, but we needed to build our reputation.”

In the last nearly 35 years, the business has expanded from George and Gloria Smeja’s basement in McHenry to a 30,000-square-foot building in the Prime Parkway business park to 100,000-square-foot office/warehouse facility in 2004 – located on a street in McHenry that bears its name. The third-generation business now boasts 150 employees, overseen by George Smeja’s sons – Michael and Daniel – and grandson, Rock. The building houses estimating, sales, drafting and engineering, project management, accounting, legal services dispatching, inventory, fabrication, welding and a full time, in-house auto service center to maintain its fleet of delivery trucks that cover about a 150-mile radius.

It also has more than 50,000,000 square feet of roof under warranty, with one of the lowest warranty-backed repair ratios in the industry.

“We usually take care of it [concerns] ourselves to keep the customer happy and to keep our incidence rating really low,” Rock Smeja said. He urged people to be wary of “shady operators” who even go so far as to forge roofing license numbers and reputations to get jobs.

Rock Smeja credits Metalmaster Roofmaster’s success to its reputation and relationship with about 20 manufacturers, including John Mansville, GAF and Firestone.

The Better Business Bureau of Chicago recommends doing your homework, avoid being pressured into making a quick decision and get at least three to four estimates based on specifications and materials. Check out references that are at least one year old and verify that the contractor is required to be licensed to do work in your area.

“Be careful allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work,” said Tom Joyce, vice president of marketing and Communications of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Many fly-by-night contractors’ below-cost bids seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work or use substandard materials.”

A written contract is a must. It should include the company’s name, address, license number and phone number. Your estimate or proposal also should include the type of roof covering, manufacturer and color; materials included in the work (such as underlayment and an ice dam protection membrane ; any flashing work; the installation method, payment procedures, who will remove the old roof and dispose of that material, and the warranty length.

“Firestone congratulates the 2011 Master Contractors for consistently completing jobs with superior craftsmanship and professionalism,” said Ken Weaver, president of Firestone Building Products. “Commercial roofing contractors who attain this accolade truly are firms that demonstrate superior drive and outstanding skill and should be a building owner’s first point of contact when considering a new commercial roofing project.”

“Achieving the Master Contractor, Inner Circle of Quality and President’s Club Awards are truly testaments to the unwavering level of quality execution and dedication to roofing excellence Metalmaster Roofmaster Inc. adheres to,” said Tim Dunn, president of Firestone Building Products in a written statement. “Building owners, roof consultants and specifiers should feel assured that this outstanding firm provides expert installations, supreme craftsmanship and top-notch client service.”


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