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How Do Commission Your Roof?

July 5, 2012 - Roofing

Today's tip, from David Reid and John Wilkins of Gould Evans Architects, is about strategies you should consider when it comes to commissioning your roof.

Most facility managers understand "commissioning" as a strategy that only applies to HVAC systems. But commissioning roof installations is a critical component of a water-tight and energy efficient roof.

Reid and Wilkins suggest three areas to examine when commissioning roofing.

First, look for "weak links" in the integrity of the roofing system, as most of the failures result here. Look at roof terminations, penetrations, flashings at corners, intersections, eaves, curbs and parapets, and drainage systems.

Secondly, especially if you’re installing a green roof, but really for any roof, double and triple check that the waterproofing membrane truly is water tight. Perform a leak-detection test appropriate to the type of membrane you've installed. For example, flowing tests flow water continuously over the surface of the waterproofing membrane for a minimum of 24 hours without closing the drains or erecting dams. Electric field vector mapping pinpoints breaches in the roof membrane by tracing the flow of an electric current across the membrane surface.

Thirdly, part of commissioning the roof is creating a plan to protect the membrane until construction is completed and all components - including HVAC, etc. Reid and Wilkins suggest a product called protection board to make sure the roof isn’t penetrated or damaged during the rest of the installation or construction process.


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