Roofing Technological Advances

  March 7, 2012

I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is roofing technological advances. Technological advances in roofing over the last several years have created an opportunity not only for reduction in energy costs but also for managers to make a positive environmental stewardship contribution.

The significant increases in the use of photovoltaics (PV) in the United States appears to be environmentally friendly, but maintenance and engineering managers must ensure the incorporation of the PV systems does not significantly affect the performance of the roof system.

Research programs that monitor "in place" systems long-term provide a true test to the technological advancements in the roofing industry. It's also important to be aware that not all laboratory test and warranties cover what nature has in store.

Additionally, as technology advances, so do roofing codes.

Although codes have become more stringent in the evolution of the "I" codes (increased wind speeds, etc.) the greatest improvements have been the fine tuning of the critical components, such as attachment of sheet metal components and requirements for detailing.

The actual impact will mean slightly higher costs during construction to provide better detailing and a decrease in costs in annual maintenance and damages related to weather elements. The vast majority of leaks occur at the penetrations and terminations. So the greatest efforts in design, construction, and maintenance should focus on these areas.

Sustainability also plays an integral role. Managers must use time-proven systems properly installed with a proactive maintenance program. Mangers must stay focused on the long-term service life achieved through proper design, construction, and maintenance.

Facility managers have the greatest potential to achieve a successful roof installation by hiring qualified, independent, design professionals to develop a non-proprietary bid package with complete specifications and detailed drawings. The process also requires competitively bidding to a least three pre-qualified contractors. This step should be combined with independent, objective, milestone or full-time inspection services, including final and one year inspections.


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