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The Leader
April 2019: Keeping a Roof Over Your hEad

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Aim High: Keeping a Roof Over Your Head

This winter of heavy rains may be good news for California’s parched farms and dwindling reservoirs, but its wreaking havoc on the hundreds of Masonic lodges in the state. Each year, many of the 270 hall associations scattered throughout California face the threat of weather-damage to the buildings under their care. California’s Grand Lodge Real Estate Team explains the most susceptible part of your building to this kind of damage:

First Line of Defense
A roof is a hall building’s first line of defense from the natural hazards, such as wind, rain, snow, and extreme heat waves. It is also the most vulnerable part of a building as it is exposed to not just weather, but other factors (such as falling branches) that contribute to its deterioration. This can not only effect the roof itself, but the contents below.

And because many of our buildings are more than 75 years old, this can become a priority for hall associations. This year, we have seen an uptick in the number of halls experiencing both minor and major water leaks, due to the extreme weather much of California experienced during the winter season.

Roof damage is especially burdensome to our lodges because repairs to a leaking roof are not covered under our property insurance policy, as the insurance industry considers roof damage a wear-and-tear matter. In the last twelve-month period, the Masonic Properties Committee reviewed a total of 14 applications for property improvements exceeding $25,000, submitted by various hall associations. Five of the 14 applications relate to roof repairs or replacements.

Tips for Maintaining Your Lodge Roof

As hall association directors and property managers, it is your primary responsibility to protect the building against property damage. Given its susceptibility to damage, the health of your lodge’s roof should be assessed on a regular basis. Below are helpful tips from the Grand Lodge Real Estate Team on how to properly maintain your roof and—should the worst happen—how to seek repairs in the event of a disaster.

Be Proactive, Rather than Reactive

  • A building’s roof should be inspected every three to five years, in mid-spring. A roof inspection will help to identify and address common trouble spots.
  • Repairs should be scheduled before the upcoming rainy season, when roof work is difficult to conduct, and contractors are busy attending to active roof leaks and more urgent requests.
  • Try to stop problems before they start and fix them before it is too late. Most of the hall buildings are only used once or twice a week, so by the time a roof leak is discovered several days later, a lot of cosmetic and structural damage could be done.
  • A recoating or waterproofing job may extend the life of the roof a few more years, long enough for the hall association to plan for a roof replacement budget.

Seeking Repairs or Replacement
A best practice for roof work is to obtain at least three competitive bids using a detailed scope of work.

  • If the repair or replacement cost estimates are below $25,000, the project needs to be approved by the hall association board.
  • If the repair or replacement cost estimates exceed $25,000, the project requires the review and approval of the Grand Lodge’s Committee on Masonic Properties, prior to the start of the project. The Masonic Properties Committee, which is comprised of several volunteer members and a consultant, is a group of Masons with experience in construction, engineering, commercial leases, and real estate law, and can provide guidance to hall associations on matters related to real estate transactions.

The cost of inaction is far greater than having a pro-active plan in place and routinely maintaining the roof. For assistance with submitting a complete application for property improvements, please contact our Grand Lodge Real Estate Team at or (415) 292-9111.

Your April checklist

Stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Here’s your April checklist.

Executive Committee

  • Remind members to celebrate 2019 Public Schools Month.
  • Arrange a member outing to a local public schools celebration.
  • Attend, or make plans to attend, the Master & Wardens Retreat. Register now.
  • Prepare any proposed legislation for Annual Communication, due April 22.

Senior Warden

  • Begin preparing 2020 program plan.
  • Begin preparing 2020 budget, remembering to set aside funds for retreat attendance.
  • Begin preparing 2020 officer appointments.
  • Begin preparing 2020 installation of officers.
  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement.

Junior Warden

  • Begin tracking 100% officer giving to the Annual Fund, with officers setting an example through gifts that represent their capability as well as their commitment to our charitable programs.


  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due by January 1).
  • Send list of members with late dues to the master for the Retention Committee.
  • Send any suspension notices.
  • Charity Committee considers remissions.


  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly federal payroll tax form 941 (unless IRS has approved an annual filing of form 944, due in February).
  • If your lodge has employees, file quarterly state payroll tax form DE9/DE9C and deposit form DE88.
  • Prepare IRS form 990 and FTB form 199, both due by May 15 (unless your lodge has previously agreed to have Grand Lodge prepare these forms).

Audit Committee

  • Audit lodge books, to be completed by end of month.

Hall Association

  • Prepare form 200, due to Grand Lodge by May 15.
  • Prepare IRS form 990 and FTB form 199, both due by May 15.
  • Prepare insurance premium payment, due in May.

Questions? Contact Member Services at or (415) 776-7000.

For your Trestleboard

The fraternity’s signature event for Masonic education is just two months away! Make sure your members don’t miss it. Download this ad for the Symposium, additional ads for MCYAF and Acacia Creek.

This month:
Symposium: DeMolay: A History, Journey, and Legacy
Masonic Center for Youth and Families: Telehealth Services
Age Successfully at Acacia Creek

Share in your Trestleboard.

Find it on

Lodge halls are important assets, and navigating real estate decisions can be tough. Grand Lodge real estate services can help. Call (415) 292-9111 for:

  • Technical expertise and counsel to hall association trustees for the lease, purchase, sale, and improvement of their buildings; suggestions for negotiating transactions and structuring agreements .
  • Strategic advice to leverage the asset value of hall properties.
  • Help developing applications for the Grand Lodge Masonic Properties Committee.
  • Input on capital improvement and building operations issues, such as reserve funding, solar projects, etc.
  • Cost-benefit analyses of real estate projects.
  • Replacement cost estimates to determine appropriate coverage against property losses.

*New resources are available on, from applications to use agreements. Log into the Member Center, and select Forms, then Hall Associations.

Question of the month

Last month we asked how your lodge welcomes members of the public. Of those that responded:

  • 86% - We rent out space in our lodge
  • 55% - The lodge participates in public parades and festivals
  • 41% - The lodge participates in public ceremonies like cornerstone laying
  • 38% - We host public events like BBQs at our lodge
  • 17% - Other Answers