4  FM quick reads on Roofing

1. How To Prepare and Inspect a Roof in High-Wind Situations


Today's tip is about how to prepare a roof for a hurricane or other high-wind storm, and how to inspect it afterward for damage. As we now know, after August's devastating Hurricane Irene, even northern cities like Philadelphia and New York City should be prepared for high-wind events.

The most important task when a high-wind event is impending is to secure any loose rooftop equipment. Walk the roof before the storm and take down any unsecured equipment. Pick up any loose items, like screws or loose pieces of metal flashing. Make sure that HVAC equipment is secured as tightly as possible. HVAC equipment that comes loose and cartwheels across a roof during a storm is a major source of damage, both to the roof, and to the facility interior when the roof leaks. Additionally, any other loose rooftop equipment can become a missile that attacks either your building or adjacent buildings.

Secondly, make sure to secure the services of a contractor you know will be available after the storm if worse comes to worse. This may mean finding a contractor outside the area as a backup in case contractors in the storm-affected area are too busy to provide immediate repairs.

It's also a good idea to educate building occupants about preparing the facility in case a leak occurs. This may mean covering furniture with plastic, moving items off the floor and removing expensive electronic equipment altogether. Remember, the value of a roof isn't the value of the roof itself. The value of a roof is that it protects the value of everything inside the building.

After a storm, get back up on the roof as soon as it's safe. Do a thorough walk-through to see where there may be obvious damage that may lead to further problems. Especially check around all penetrations and around the roof's edges - where peel-back may result in leaks. If repairs are required, get in touch with the contractor as soon as possible. And always keep upper management informed about progress.


2.  The Focus on Sustainability is Changing Roofing Strategies, Products

Today's tip is about how the avalanche of environmental regulations and rating systems is changing some of the roofing industry's standard operating procedures.

Expert roof consultant John D'Annunzio of Paragon Roofing Technology explains that due to increased requirements for reflectivity and emissivity, both in required energy and building codes and in voluntary green building rating systems, many manufacturers are stepping up their efforts to develop products that conform. One example of that modified bitumen manufacturers are developing new cap sheets with factory-applied reflective coatings, says D'Annunzio. That saves time in the field, and money for the owner, because the contractor doesn't have to field-apply the reflective coating so that the roof is compliant with its local energy code.

Another area where environmental initiatives are changing long-held roofing practices is in regards to fastening methods. Roof adhesives that emit volatile organic compounds are being used less frequently, so manufacturers are beginning to develop new adhesives with zero VOCs. Additionally, mechanically fastened roof systems are becoming more prominent. Facility managers should be sure that proper fastening methods are used to avoid "wind flutter" - or the wind getting under gaps between fastener and causing the roof to flutter, and eventually pull or peel off.

If facility managers install photovoltaics on their roofs, they should understand that in some cases increased UV energy from the PVs at points adjacent to their installation has caused premature failure of some single-ply roofs, says D'Annunzio. To combat this problem, manufacturers are developing UV-resistant modified bitumen and thicker thermoplastic membranes specifically for roofs with PVs on them.

3.  What Is RoofPoint?

Today's tip is about a new rating system developed by an organization called the Center For Environmental Innovation in Roofing.

RoofPoint is similar to the LEED rating system in that it awards points for sustainable strategies. For roofs, this means everything from added insulation to vegetated roofs. The goal is to give facility managers a guide to environmentally responsible practices in roofing that isn't specific to any particular roofing system, membrane type or region of the country. The system is also valid for either new construction or existing buildings. Since approximately 2 to 3.5 billion square feet of roofing projects in the U.S. are re-roofing jobs, according to the Center, RoofPoint can be a very important tool for facility managers with aging roofs.

The system awards points in several categories, including energy management, materials management, water management, durability / life[cycle management and environmental innovation.

RoofPoint is currently in a pilot phase, but several projects have still been certified. For more information on RoofPoint and the Center, visit www.ceir.org

4.  How To Pick The Right Roof

Today's tip is about the considerations facility managers should consider when thinking about roofing products. Considerations can be separated into four categories: Construction, Contractor, Climate and Owner.

First, in the construction category, consider what type of deck there is, what the slope is, and how well the roof currently drains. Consider how the actual construction will take place vis a vis how materials and workers will get to the roof, and how debris will be removed. Think about how flashings will be done and if there are parapet walls. If the system is structural, what is its load-bearing capacity? And finally, how will ongoing maintenance be performed and what abuse might the roof have to endure over its life?

In the contractor category, find out if there are in fact contractors in your area with experience installing the type of roof you're considering. Are there projects nearby that illustrate that contractor's experience that you can visit? Also, try to ensure that the contractor you hire uses a crew familiar with the roofing product. It's not enough to just ensure the contracting company itself has done installations with that type of product.

Thirdly, in regards to climate, find out first and foremost what the code requires in terms of wind and fire rating for your roof. Determine the ratio of heating degree days and cooling degree days, which can help you calculate whether it makes sense to add insulation. Finally, is hail a threat? If so, you may need to choose a thicker roofing product.

Finally, in the category of things to check with the owner (assuming you're not the owner), find out if the building is insured by a Factory Mutual company. This will add a bit more rigor to how the roof is designed and installed in order to maintain compliance. Also, find out if the owner's planning to hold on to the building long-term. If that's the case, first cost should definitely not be the most important criterion in the selection process.


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Roofing , Hurricane , Inspection , HVAC , Roofing Contractor

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