Less snow means fewer roof leaks on campus

This ceiling leak in James Dunn Hall is one of few on campus this season. Director of facilities management Bill MacLean said there are less leaks this year because of less snow built up on roofs. (Nathan Paton/AQ)

Despite a drip by the skylight in James Dunn Hall at St. Thomas University, roof leaks aren’t nearly as bad as they’ve been in the past, according to facilities management.

“No worse than usual. It’s been pretty good this year, actually,” said Bill MacLean, director of facilities management at STU.

Two weeks ago, a blue mop bucket collected the drops from the roof of JDH. As of last week, the bucket was gone, but a small part of the ground floor of JDH was cordoned off.

MacLean said the buildings with different architectural design, like the skylight in JDH, are more likely to have leaks.

“The more architecture features, the more likely drips are to occur. Like Margaret Norrie, where there are more features such as skylights and different designs exist.

“With flat roofs it’s fairly common to have little drips. Holy Cross had some. If you were upstairs in JDH, they had a little drip spot in one of the tiles in the third floor in the back of classroom.”

The cost to repair leaks depends on which area is leaking, but the typical leak costs a couple hundred dollars, MacLean said.

Leaks can happen for a number of different reasons.

“Sometimes it’s just insulating a pipe, sometimes it’s just sweat from a pipe.”

Other times, if it’s a roof drain, a maintenance worker can find a loose bolt and tighten it up to stop the leak.

He attributed fewer leaks this year to less snow built up on roofs.

Older roofs in Harrington Hall and George Martin Hall have recently been repaired. MacLean hopes the Vanier Hall roof can be fixed next.

He said leaks aren’t dangerous and since they are able to catch them early, they can fix them immediately.

“[There has been] nothing severe, like the loss of a wall or mould growing. It’s why we are very interested in finding them and fixing them.”

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