5 Ways to Keep Your Cool

Summer heat is no joke. Working in glaring sun and high humidity is a grind for all construction workers, but working all day on the roof of a commercial building usually means limited to no shade and intensified temperatures. Taking precautions to ensure our crews are safe in all types of weather is a priority for Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal. Here are five tips to keep in mind as the summer heats up this year.

Use Sun Protection

Application – and frequent reapplication – of a high SPF sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and American Academy of Dermatology to reduce your risk of burns, skin cancer and other damage. UPF clothing for construction workers is also available and can help keep you cool while providing protection from harmful UVB and UVA rays.

Hydrate, Hydrate & Hydrate Some More

Be sure to drink plenty of cool, plain water throughout the day. Sports drinks can be good for helping replenishing electrolytes too. Avoid sugary, caffeinated drinks, as they can dehydrate your system and work against you. 

Eat Right

After working in the heat, heavy meals usually don’t sound appealing. They take longer to digest and can make you feel sluggish. Go with lighter meals and plenty of vegetables to give you the energy you need to get through the day.

Take Shade Breaks

Five to 10-minute breaks in the shade can help keep you from dangerously overheating. If you can find a spot with a fan or in an air conditioned space or vehicle, even better! 

Been on the Lookout for Heat-related Illnesses

Heat exhaustion can kick in when the body loses too much water and salt. Even more serious is heat stroke, when the body can no longer thermoregulate. Both conditions are serious. If you or any of your co-workers experience the following symptoms of heat stroke, you should seek immediate medical attention.  

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • Lack of sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat 
  • Shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

Stay safe and keep an eye out for your co-workers as the thermometer rises this summer. For more information on Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal’s safety practices, visit https://im4.8d3.myftpupload.com/safety-policy/.

Getting “Schooled” in Commercial Roofing

Since Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal was founded in 1927, we’ve completed thousands of commercial roofing and building projects for diverse purposes and industries. In addition to a wide range of various general commercial, healthcare and government buildings, Cornell has developed strong expertise in projects within the educational and academic institution building space.

Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal has partnered with multiple school districts, colleges and university systems across the Kansas City region. Our crews are skilled in new construction, re-roofing and specialized projects for educational facilities from elementary, middle and high schools to housing, learning, recreational and research buildings on university campuses.

We are extremely proud of our work with these institutions of learning. To learn more about Cornell’s portfolio of work, check out our gallery of some recent projects here, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Longevity: 4 Keys to 94 Years in Business

Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal is among a handful of locally owned and operated businesses in Kansas that have sustained across multiple generations, nearing or past the 100-year mark. As a business that has been operating for over 94 years and is still growing, we are sometimes asked about our key to success. This kind of longevity can’t be attributed to one single key; it involves many factors in addition to sheer hard work and determination.




Here are four keys to our success at Cornell:

Team of Champions

The people at Cornell are what drives our success. Our engaged group of skilled professionals are passionate about their crafts. We’re united in delivering the highest quality results for our customers. Giving your team the respect they deserve and resources they need to grow and thrive in their careers will go a long way.


Change is the one constant in business. Being open to new ideas, methods, technologies and processes not only gives you a competitive edge, it can also help you improve your service to customers and optimize your bottom line. 


Expect the unexpected. As so many companies have seen over the last year, changes outside your control can drastically impact your business. Consider the what-ifs, have a contingency plan, get creative and be ready to shift gears as needed to protect your business and continue your commitment to customers.


Never forget where you came from. Being involved in your community is not only good for business, it is vital to creating an environment for success in which your company – and your community – can thrive. This includes investing time and donating to local community efforts as well as supporting industry associations that provide resources for your company and team. 


Whether you’ve been in business nine months or over 90 years, these keys can help you stay grounded and serve as a foundation for growth. At Cornell, we are excited for what the future holds and celebrating the milestones ahead. To learn more about Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, visit www.CornellRoofing.com or call 816-252-8300.

Finding the Positives: A Look Back at 2020

Just about anyone will tell you they are ready to be done with 2020. It was a challenging year for so many. Despite the trauma and drama of the year, there were still positives to be found. People and businesses discovered ways to be resourceful to take care of customers and each other. In the commercial roofing industry, Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal is fortunate we were able to keep our crews working and building for the future. 


Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal had wins to be celebrated in 2020. We began the year with the momentum of hitting a major milestone of 1,000 jobs completed in 2019, as well as being recognized as the third-largest roofing company and 23rd-largest woman-owned business in the Kansas City region. This year, we were also able to continue our legacy of giving back to our community with Cornell’s first $25,000 gift to the Builders’ Association Scholarship Foundation to support career development in the trades. In addition, our Owner and President, Mary McNamara was honored as a 2020 Rainmaker by Ingram’s Magazine for her leadership in Kansas City business.


For Cornell, our most shining moments in 2020 are the many projects our expert crews were able to work on and complete. Cornell crews were hands-on in projects that enhanced the commercial infrastructure landscape, transformed the skyline and helped support the economic development of Kansas City. We could not be more proud to play a part. Just a few of the major projects completed in 2020 and/or currently in process include:

  • Children’s Mercy Research Institute 
  • Harry S. Truman Presidential Library
  • Fort Osage School District (High School, Fire Prairie, Elm Grove)
  • Kansas City Zoo (Meerkat, Sting Ray and Elephant Exhibits)
  • Commerce Tower
  • Kansas City Missouri City Hall
  • Loews Convention Center
  • Kansas City Museum
  • McCownGordon Construction Offices (sheet metal)


As a company that has been in business for nearly 100 years, Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal has weathered many changes and tumultuous years. 2020 challenged us all, but also proved we can still rise to the challenge. And there are always positives, you just need to look for them. Here’s to the promise of a new year and a bright 2021 ahead!


To learn more about Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, click here About Us or call 816-252-8300.

Re-roofing City Hall – Cornell Roofing

Commercial roofing, commercial roofers, KCC roofing, Kansas City Roofers, KCChambersThe challenge:

Facing the re-roofing of City Hall in Kansas City. The building opened at a cost of around six-million dollars. This was 30% over budget, but hey, these were the Pendergast years. Such spending was not uncommon given the 30 million-dollar bond package that was pushed through with many cries of tampering and fraud. This funded City Hall, Municipal Auditorium and numerous additional projects at the time.

At 30 stories and 443 feet, KC’s City Hall is the third largest building in the city. It is also still one of the tallest city halls in the nation. When it was completed in 1937, it was the tallest building in the state. The sheer height created some special challenges Commercial roofing, commercial roofers, KCC roofing, Kansas City Roofers, KCChambersfor Cornell Roofing. From both safety and equipment standpoints, our team was up to the challenge!

Iconic Architecture:

Neoclassic architecture with incredible interior and exterior art deco details and imported stone from around the world, made the building one of the most beautiful to this day. The story of the development of the city’s third city hall (the first two were in what is now the River Market), is still impressive to this day, leaving many first-time visitors in awe.

In order to accomplish the task of re-roofing City Hall, Cornell brought in one of the largest cranes in the Midwest. And, we’re not talking about any regular crane. Weighing in at 550 tons, The Blue Hat Crane’s impressive reach allowed the Cornell team to reach the 443 foot roof with height to spare. This allowed our team to safely bring materials up and debris down in order for safety during the process of re-roofing City Hall.

When not in operation, it covered almost the entire South side of the building, along with one lane of Locust street.

The Nitty Gritty:

The assembly of the crane was captured in the video below. Taken from the roof and set to fast motion, it is hard to tell what you are looking at. From this vantage point, men appear to scurry back and forth.  In a little over one minute, you can see the day passing while the re-roofing of City Hall was underway. Look close and you can also see a crane we needed just to assemble this beast! A day-long effort just to prepare for the job ahead.

Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal is proud to play a part in maintaining one of Kansas City’s true architectural masterpieces.




Safety on the Job At Cornell


Safety on the job site is a must when you are hundreds of feet in the air. Roofers and team members, each with his or her own job to do to, move past one another. Roofing equipment and supplies are also in the mix on the job site. Today, job site safety is a team effort and it all starts with a mindset: No one gets hurt today.

Different job sites present different challenges. At Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal, safety planning is part of every job’s roofing process.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), sets Standards, Guidelines and Regulations all employers and employees must follow to help keep their employees safe.

At Cornell, our team members and roofers take classes and maintain study habits to stay informed and up to date on their certifications. OHSA has 10 and 30-Hour Certification programs. Annually, OSHA also ranks it’s most violated OSHA Standards. Year after year, Fall Protection is the number #1 OSHA Standard cited.Roofers, roofing material, metal roof, Kansas City roofing, roofing safety, safety regulations, commercial roofing, roofing system, fabrication, Cornell safety, osha, osha roofers, roof systems

Mary McNamara, President of Cornell commented, “At Cornell we continue to invest the time, training, certification support, and equipment needed to keep our people safe.” Cornell just added the “All-In-One Rail System” from Leading Edge Safety. This job site addition adds to our employees safety on the job site.

Mary added, “We are proud of our team. Working together, we’ve had one of our safest years on record.” Some construction fencing was added to help keep debris from blowing off the roof.

For the FULL LIST of Construction Industry Regulations(Standards) visit the OSHA laws and regulations page.


One look through the OSHA Standard Number 1926 and you’ll see just how important and serious staying on top of the regulations are for the safety and comfort of roofers and other employees in the construction industry.

To the entire Cornell Family, other trades and suppliers, keep up the great work and stay safe on your job sites!

Commerce Tower

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Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal Loves a Challenge!

Roofing the Iconic Commerce Bank Tower, a Postmodernism architectural masterpiece in Downtown Kansas City was a challenge and an opportunity. With its slopping metal roof rising above the 20-story structure at over 258 ft, the logistics, timing, safety planning, and challenges were all taken into consideration during the planning phases.

Scaffolding had to be erected around the entire building’s Penthouse and roof for both safety and logistical reasons. Applying Wall panels to the side of a building while over 200 feet up requires the kind of steely nerves that experience and Cornell’s and the Trades’ on-going training and certification programs help provide.

As Cornell’s Tradesmen and Tradeswomen complete this Downtown KC Icon’s roof, we promise to bring you some of the stunning shots that have made Commerce Bank Tower such an important part of the downtown skyline.

Today Marks the International Women’s Day of 2019

Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal is celebrating the 2019 International Women’s Day (IWD), by supporting this year’s theme; “Balance for Better.” According to the day’s official website, the holiday is “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” The first unofficial celebration of the day was in 1911. Beginning in 1913, the IWD has been celebrated each year on March 8th.

A Global Perspective

From its very beginnings in Copenhagen, the IWD has been, and is, a truly global event. The United Nations celebrated the IWD for the first time in 1975. The women’s movement has changed over the long history of the IWD. The globalization of media access, possibly best highlighted by the rapid growth and expansion of social media, has helped heighten the awareness of women’s issues.

A 21st Century Focus

Recognizing much has changed, both here at home and around the globe, the IWD is committed to celebrating more than a day marking the accomplishments of women. That realization is reflected in today’s focus on gender parity, an issue that impacts people in all countries regardless of gender. This focus will remain as one of the IWD’s top priorities moving forward.

All of us at Cornell wish women both here in the Greater Kansas City area and around the globe, a wonderful and prosperous day, not just on March 8th, but throughout the year.  In more and more fields including both the public and private sectors, women are taking on leadership roles, breaking through barriers and working side-by-side with their male counterparts to get the job done.

For more on the IWD and how you can get involved and for events surrounding today, click: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/About

There you will find additional links. From watching inspirational videos to lists and videos of women who have made a difference in many areas, the IWD urges us all to think globally but act locally on the issue of gender parity.[fts_facebook type=page id=117559644971824 access_token=EAAP9hArvboQBAG2FnnoJvrmEBJ1rWunhq7rmS5UDStZCPjQ7kj9MTfLdjvppPglZAAr8UhNqs0a3fMXHiYNU11dzyV83xeWI3ZCaaysZBUXgkCGRjcCQu6cxG9w38vBp33F6VTDY8SPXbzZBQLJ0LzZCBynirxJigZAn9OkMZAVEaAZDZD posts=6 description=yes posts_displayed=page_only]

Taking Extra Care For Extra Special Families

Currently Cornell Roofing & Sheet Metal is working over St. Luke’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). We are working with JE Dunn on this project and my men and women on this job understand the sensitivity of the site we are working over.

We are working with extreme caution to create as little noise and to minimize any and all distress we may cause these parents of our tiniest little fighters. We have laid down extra materials at our own cost so there is no migration of smell.

The job is a “silent”, meaning only talk when necessary. Extra hand wringing is practiced in the event of rain. If it is raining 100 miles away we are taking ZERO risks to avoid accidently creating a leak.

I just want to thank all of our men and women on this job.  We are working at such a special part of the hospital.  Your extra care and concern is greatly appreciated.It was sunny out on September 25th, but rain was predicted and we stayed away.  We want to also thank JE Dunn for understanding our extra weather precautions.    Mary McNamara

Rainscreen Wall Systems and the KCP&L Training Center

kcpl training center

Rainscreen Wall Systems and the KCP&L Training Center

Cornell Roofing and Sheet Metal completed one of its largest projects in late 2015, the Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) Safety and Training Center. Working as the installer of the wall panels for Mays Maune McWard, Inc., Cornell Roofing finalized the 53,000-square-foot implementing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) principles. The $22-million education center was completed in an impressive 18 months, on budget and ahead of schedule!

Featured at the core of this project was CENTRIA’s Rainscreen Wall Systems. The Rainscreen Wall System consists of an outer element that helps to shed and control the majority of rainwater, working in tandem with the inner element which serves as the final barrier against water, air, vapor and temperature fluctuations. That means this commercial wall system can withstand almost any challenge Mother Nature serves up.

Today, the Rainscreen Wall System has evolved into a leading design choice in construction with numerous components, methods, materials and assemblies available based on aesthetic preferences and environmental/climatic conditions. This was one of the defining characteristics that drew in Project Manager Amy Gilbertson to choose CENTRIA.

CENTRIA provided nearly 80,000 square feet of building products for the exterior of the building. The Rainscreen Systems were chosen due to their clean aesthetic and wide variety of product options for custom design, used to accent wall in areas with industrial applications. There are a multitude of benefits to using the MetalWrap Rainscreen System too! These include:

  • Matchless temperature control
  • No need for batt or board insulation
  • Quick and easy installation with factory pre-punched panels
  • Low cost with a single-source product
  • Steel face and liner creating a drain plane for protection from water issues

And of course, the entire system is back by CENTRIA’s Advanced Thermal and Moisture Protection technology in the MetalWrap™ Insulated Composite Backup Panels that integrates effortlessly with the Rainscreen Wall System. All and all pulling together a massive project using state-of- the-art products and processes. You can learn more about CENTRIA and their Rainscreen Wall System by visiting their website, http://www.centriaperformance.com/.

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