Roofing Specification: The Impact of Sustainability and Standards
By Jerry Beall
Maintenance and engineering managers involved in specifying roofing systems for institutional and commercial facilities must consider numerous factors in making a final decision. Among these factors is the impact sustainability has had on the manufacturing of new-generation roofing systems.
If sustainability has had any effect on new-generation roofing systems, it’s been one of extreme caution. “New” or “new and improved” do little to enhance a sustainability profile. It takes an extended track record of performance coupled with durability to really to claim a sustainable profile.
Managers also must be aware of changes in building codes and standards that affect their decisions. It seems the codes and standards have always been dynamic. But over the past 20 years, changes regarding energy and wind have really escalated installation costs. The energy aspects of the codes have been the easiest to address. Reflective roofs with more insulation are pretty simple to specify.
The challenges for specifiers have been a little more difficult, due to continuing changes for wind design within ASCE/SEI 7, Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures. The issue of ultimate versus allowable wind velocities when engineering a rooftop seem to confuse even the best specifiers, resulting in overengineered systems that often carry a premium price tag because these enhanced expectations often extend to the roofing manufacturers in the form of enhanced-wind-speed warranties.
Jerry Beall is product and technical specialist FiberTite Roofing Systems, www.fibertite.com.