Snowstorm in the Gym

I was recently introduced to Mike Pickel, co-founder of Texas Traditions Roofing in Georgetown, Texas. We were busy preparing case studies for our education issue, so I asked him if he’d worked on any interesting school projects lately. He replied, “Well, I did just get a call about a snowstorm in the gym.”

It took a second to wrap my head around that statement. A snowstorm. In the gym. In July. In Texas.

Now, that got my attention. I must admit, that wasn’t at all what I was thinking about when I asked about projects for our education issue. Our case studies usually put the spotlight on marquee projects like the new basketball arena at Ole Miss or the new indoor football practice facility at Liberty University covered in this issue. We were also following stories about a metal roof on a new construction project in Texas, a large hot-mopped modified bitumen re-roofing project in New Jersey, and a solar installation on a school in North Carolina.

But a snowstorm in the gym—I had to hear more about that. Talking with Mike Pickel reminded me that trophy projects are one thing, but there are a lot of less glamorous but no less important tasks that can make up the typical day in the life of a roofing contractor.

Texas Traditions had helped out at Summit Christian Academy in Cedar Park, Texas, before, solving some tricky leaks in the mechanical wells over the classrooms that had puzzled other contractors for years. “They started saying we were miracle workers,” Pickel recalls. “I said, ‘No, we’re just roofers, ma’am.’ But they just loved us from that day forward.”

So, it was natural that school administrators called Texas Traditions when an unusual problem revealed itself in the gym. “They called us and said, ‘We’ve got a problem out here. We don’t know what’s going on. It looks like it’s snowing in the gym.’”

Pickel doubted it was a roof leak, but he went out and took a look. “It did look just like snow,” he says.

Luckily, Pickel had seen this once before. Years ago, he had a residential customer with the same problem—army ants. “Sure enough, army ants were up there just eating away at that iso, and it was falling down like snow through any crevices or cracks.”

Working with the private school to handle small problems is just part of the job, notes Pickel. So is helping administrators manage their budget to prepare for necessary re-roofing projects. “In some cases, we have to patch these roofs and nurse them along until they have the money for a roof replacement,” he says. “You do what you have to do to help a client. So, now we’re a pest control guy as well.”

Replacing a roof is something building owners might do just once in their lives, so explaining what’s involved is critical, notes Pickel. “You’ve got to educate the owner,” he says. “You’ve got to go out and craft a custom solution for each client. That’s what we tell our residential roof advisors all the time: Stop selling and listen to the client. That’s key for us. We excel at listening to the client and problem solving.”

Listen to clients and come up with a plan to meet their specific needs. That’s great advice no matter what line of work you’re in.

New Roof and Building Upgrades Provide Security for Florida Day Care Center

The Joseph Caleb Center

The Joseph Caleb Center received a building envelope upgrade that included a new modified bitumen roof for the low-slope sections and a new standing seam metal roof on steep-slope sections at the perimeter. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

The Joseph Caleb Center in Miami caters to a very young clientele, but the building housing the early childhood education center was definitely showing its age. The existing roof was failing, the concrete walls were cracked, and the window seals were broken. The restoration project was a complicated one, with several roof and wall systems that had to be tied in together. Luckily, that’s just the type of project Errol Portuondo likes. Portuondo is the owner of Florida Building & Supply in Miami, which focuses primarily on commercial restoration and re-roofing projects. The company restored the building, topping it with a new self-adhered, modified bitumen roof system and crowning it with a standing seam metal roof around the perimeter.

“We handle the whole envelope,” Portuondo notes. “That’s what sets us apart. That’s our niche. We like to go into these projects that have four, five, six items—the kind of projects other companies avoid. Most people like to handle the easy stuff—get in and get out. We like to tackle the harder type projects that require a lot of thinking.”

Complicated Scope of Work

The project required a roof system that was Energy Star rated and would comply with South Florida’s requirements for high velocity hurricane zones. Furthermore, the building would remain open during the roofing installation process, so the roof system could not give off any fumes or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). A self-adhered modified bitumen roof system from Polyglass USA Inc. was chosen for the flat roof sections because of its high reflectivity, durability, and ease of installation, as well as the lack of any odor.

The existing roof consisted of a mechanically attached modified system surrounded by a standing seam metal roof. Florida Building & Supply first removed the metal roof system, as it partially covered the flat roof. After the steep-slope sections were dried in with 30-pound felt and Englert MetalMan HT self-adhered underlayment, crews began to tear off the old modified system. Everything was removed down to the lightweight insulating concrete (LWIC) that had been installed over the metal deck.

The day care center

The day care center was open during the restoration project, so the safety plan included moving the children’s playground during the roof installation. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

The specification called for adhering polyiso insulation directly to the lightweight with OlyBond 500 adhesive from OMG Roofing Products, so making sure the LWIC was in good shape was crucial. Core samples were taken of the roof and subjected to a series of adhesion and compression tests required by the county. “We passed all of the tests and got all of the approvals regarding the lightweight, and we installed the insulation and the Polyglass system on top of that,” Portuondo says. “We like using that system because it is easy to install and allows us to salvage the lightweight. It also gives you really great uplift resistance.”

Crews installed tapered polyiso insulation manufactured by Hunter Panels to a custom-designed layout provided by ABC Supply Co. Insulation ranged in thickness from more than 5 inches to a minimum of 1 ½ inches. After the existing roof system was removed, Portuondo realized that the deck could not be penetrated without potentially damaging the structure, affecting the placement of emergency overflows. “Some of the existing buildings weren’t designed like they are today, so you have to work with the existing drains and make sure you can take care of the water through emergency overflows if any drains should get clogged,” he says.

After the insulation was installed, the 20,000-square-foot low-slope section was ready for the Polyglass three-ply, self-adhered modified bitumen roof system. Elastoflex SA V, a self-adhered SBS modified bitumen membrane, was used for the base and interply sheets. The surface layer consisted of Polyfresko G SA, a white, self-adhered APP modified bitumen cap sheet manufactured with CURE Technology, a thin-film technology designed to improve the membrane’s durability, UV and stain resistance, and granule adhesion.

“What we like about the self-adhered system is that you can move on the roof quick and clean,” Portuondo says. “Sometimes the intake of the mechanical units is up on the roof, and with a hot asphalt application, you have to be careful with any fumes. That’s not a consideration with the self-adhered system. It’s very clean and very fast, especially if you are about to get a rainstorm. You can get a barrier installed very quickly on the roof as opposed to hot asphalt or a torch system.”

Details, Details

Once the new low-slope roof was installed, work began on the new standing seam metal roof manufactured by Englert. Tying in the metal roof with the modified roof was relatively easy, according to Portuondo, but other details were more problematic.

The last steps included perimeter metal trim and gutters. “We work closely with the manufacturers based on their inspection process and when there are certain details,” notes Portuondo. “In this specific project, there were a lot of details.”

Waterproofing the skylights

Waterproofing the skylights was tricky, as the glass extended under the metal roof and ended just a few inches from the new modified bitumen roof system. In these sections, Polyflash 2C, an odor free, fluid-applied flashing system from Polyglass, was used. Photos: Polyglass USA Inc.

Florida Building & Supply also handled repairing and painting the perimeter of the building. Hairline fractures in the concrete block walls were repaired with epoxy injections prior to painting. Crews also re-caulked and waterproofed all of the windows and skylights, including glass walls that extended under the metal roof at the top and ended at the bottom just a few inches from the modified roof system.

“That tie-in was very difficult because by the time you ended your base flashings for the modified, you were right at the glazing,” Portuondo says. “For those areas, the only solution was the Polyglass Polyflash 2C kit.” Polyflash 2C is an odor free, fluid-applied flashing system that is UV-stable.

Setting up the plan of attack in advance was crucial, notes Portuondo, but with any older building, you have to be ready to adapt as the job progresses. “You don’t really know structurally what you’re going to run into until you start to tear off,” he says. “Sometimes what you find under the roof turns out to be different than you expected, and you have to make changes in the field.”

Safety is always the top concern for both employees and members of the public, notes Portuondo. “We moved the playground area and set up a safety perimeter fence,” he explains. “We made sure the children would not be harmed while we were installing the roof, so that was a logistical problem.”

The company is used to overcoming logistical problems. “Our forte is re-roofing existing buildings, and so they are always active,” he says. “We strive to do quality work and stay on top of everything. We’ve just been doing this for so long that we know what we’re doing.”

Students Take the Lead on Roof Restoration Project

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating

NTEC Systems applied a high-solids silicone coating. The system was chosen because it would extend the life of the existing roof and cut utility costs for the building. The system was approved for a 20-year warranty.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Thomas Portaro is the owner of NTEC Systems, a company headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., that specializes in roof restoration projects. Portaro owns the company, but on a recent project on the campus of Georgia Tech, it was definitely the college students who were in charge.

Portaro was contacted by students who were researching different roof systems as part of a class project. Members of the class had been tasked to come up with ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on the school’s Atlanta campus.

Students were exploring all sorts of environmentally friendly building systems, including LED lighting and HVAC equipment. One group of students explored various building envelope modifications, eventually narrowing their focus to the roof system.

“This particular group of students showed the school and their professors how they were going to reduce carbon emissions and the energy footprint of the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building by doing a roof restoration,” Portaro said.

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

Portaro, a Georgia Tech graduate, was contacted by the group to provide some insights on the potential benefits of coatings. “I was asked to come down to the campus and give a brief lecture on the values of roof restorations, the types of coatings I was familiar with, how they were applied, and how they could restore this particular roof.

The building was built in 1998, and its roof was the original modified bitumen system. When students learned how a cool roof system would extend the life of the roof and save on utility costs for the building, they not only presented their findings to their professors but officials at the university. The school ultimately decided to fund the project.

NTEC Systems completed the installation of a high-solids silicone roof coating manufactured by GE. “The students pioneered all of this,” Portaro says. “This is an amazing group of kids. To be invited back to my alma mater and to execute this project really hit a chord with me. The project really worked out well, and it was really cool because I got a check from Georgia Tech. Think about all of the money I’ve paid them over the years. It was nice to get a little bit of that money back.”

Practical Application

One key concern for the university was achieving a 20-year warranty, so the first step was to ensure that the existing roof was compatible with the system. “One of the big value adds of GE Performance Coatings is that their tech side is very strong,” Portaro notes. “GE has great specifications, and they make it pretty simple for me as an engineer to go up and evaluate a roof and make sure it meets certain criteria. You have to evaluate each roof to ensure it meets the criteria for a restoration.”

“A great phrase—and I forget who coined it—is, ‘We do roof restorations, not roof resurrections,’” Portaro continues. “The existing roof has to be in a restorable condition.”

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoratio

Georgia Tech funded a roof restoration for the O. Lamar Allen Sustainable Education Building after a student project detailed the energy-saving benefits of a cool roof coating.
Photos: NTEC Systems

Infrared analysis was conducted to ensure the roof system was dry. Some minor repairs were needed, but overall the modified roof was in good shape. It was cleaned with pressure washer and primed with an asphalt bleed-blocker from GE Performance Coatings. NTEC crews then spray-applied two coats of GE Enduris 3502 high-solids silicone roof coating to a minimum thickness of 40 mils when dry. The system forms a monolithic coating that is self-flashing. “We detailed it all out, the inspectors inspected it, and at the end of the day it was all done, the 20-year warranty was in place, and everyone was happy,” Portaro says.

He points out that the GE silicone coatings rarely require a primer. “This is the only type of roof that requires a primer, and the only reason it does is that asphalts tend to bleed through silicones and can tobacco-stain them,” he notes. “It’s aesthetics—that’s it. The GE system is one of our ‘tried and trues’ in part because for 99 percent of the roofs we do, it’s a primerless system. So, we save that step, which saves us time and ultimately saves the owner money.”

NTEC Systems excels at large, high-volume jobs, and the company is always looking for tools to make it more productive. “We are highly automated here,” Portaro says. “That’s our strength. It’s what we do. We have the ability to do a ton of square footage in a short period of time because we have the latest and greatest machinery. We’ve actually created our own method of going from ground to roof and getting coatings spray applied.”

The company has modified some industrial machinery to move large volumes of high-solids silicone under control, according to Portaro. “Now, it’s not robotics,” he explains. “It still takes artistry. It still takes an expert pulling the trigger. We have guys that are very talented, and now the machinery is keeping up. We can do four or five times as much work in a day as we used to do just a few years ago. Our production levels have blown up.”

A Learning Experience

Photos: NTEC Systems

Photos: NTEC Systems

One of the challenges on this project was taking the time to use the application as a teaching tool. “The students were there the entire time,” Portaro remembers. “We were surrounded by some of the smartest people in the world. I’ve never had so many managers on a project in my life. These students brought a passion to the building industry like you’ve never seen before. They believe they are going to change the world, and they probably will.”

Portaro also shared his passion for environmentally friendly roof systems. The students apparently took that message to heart. “These kids are something special,” he says. “They went to Washington, D.C., to present this project to the Congress of the United States. These kids weren’t happy with just affecting one building on the campus of Georgia Tech. They wanted to share the story. This project got national recognition. I was really proud of these kids, who I met for the first time on this project. My hat’s off to them.”

Portaro has installed a lot of cool roofs, but the Georgia Tech project was special. “This was certainly the coolest project I’ve ever done,” he says.

Liberty University Taps Experienced Team for Indoor Practice Facility

Liberty University

Photo: Leah Seavers. Copyright Liberty University

While he was a student in the 1970s at Liberty Baptist College in Lynchburg, Va., Craig McCarty took a job with a roofing company to help him pay his way through school. One of his business courses required students to set up a model business, so McCarty set up a fictional roofing company.

When a recession forced his boss to close down the company where he worked, McCarty turned his classroom project into reality. He got his contractor’s license and formed his own roofing business at the age of 20. More than 40 years later, he is installing roofs on the same campus he once took classes for a college now known as Liberty University.

McCarty is the president of McCarty Roofing, headquartered in Lynchburg, Va. This year the company installed the standing seam metal roof on Liberty University’s new indoor football practice facility, the fourth building the company has worked on at the school. McCarty has always been fascinated by metal roofs, and he estimates that 70 percent of the company’s business comes from the metal segment of the market. “It’s our passion, and we’re really good at it,” he says.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field.

Liberty University’s new indoor practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field. The structural metal roof system is made of panels that run the entire width of the building.

He’s found a great place to ply his trade in Liberty University, which has made roofs manufactured by Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems into something of a signature architectural style. Other Fabral roofs at the university include those on Williams Stadium, Hancock Welcome Center, Jerry Falwell Library, and the LaHaye Recreation and Fitness Center.

According to Jerry Wandel, Fabral’s Mid-Atlantic territory manager, based in Richmond, Va., Fabral and distributor NB Handy in Lynchburg have partnered to provide architectural metal enclosure systems for 13 buildings on the campus since 2010.

The new practice facility encloses an entire regulation football field, and the design for the structural metal system on the vaulted barrel roof called for panels—many as long as 240 feet—that would run the entire width of the building.

Fabral’s Stand’N Seam 24-gauge panels in Dark Bronze were specified for the project. According to Wandel, the product features a unique stainless-steel clip design and double lock-seamed side joints that allow panels to expand and contract throughout their entire length. The system had been installed successfully on indoor practice facilities at other colleges, including Georgia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia Military Institute.

“When you run a panel that long, clearly one of the biggest concerns is expansion and contraction,” Wandel says. “Our Stand’N Seam product just lends itself to a project that has 240-foot panels. This one was right in our wheelhouse.”

Riding the Curve

The first task for McCarty Roofing was drying in the metal deck. Crews installed two layers of 2 ½ inch polysio and covered the insulation with Blueskin, a self-adhering underlayment manufactured by Henry.

The metal panels were fabricated on the site. Fabral supplied the roll former and brought in Ray Berryhill to operate the equipment. “Ray has done all of these jobs for us,” notes Wandel. “We want to make sure the contractor is in position to have a quality installation. Ray has so much knowledge about these jobs. He was the perfect person to execute this one.”

The panels were fabricated on the site.

The panels were fabricated on the site. The roll former was lifted into place at the edge of the roof by crane, and panels were rolled directly onto the roof and stacked for installation.

A crane was used to lift the roll former into place at the edge of the roof. “We were able to set the front two feet of the roll former in the built-in steel gutter, and then drop the back end of the machine down to the proper angle so we could roll the panels right onto the roof,” McCarty explains. “About every 15 or 20 feet up the roof we would stack some insulation, so the panel would float across the roof. Once it hit the top and went down the other side, it could just ride the roof down.”

The original plan was to install the panels as they came off the roll former, but McCarty decided it would be more efficient to run all of the panels, stack them on the roof, and install them once all of the panels were fabricated. “We had a large crane on site that was costing us money, and we had the people from Fabral there,” he recalls. “I went to the construction manager and said, ‘It’s going to make a lot more sense if we get all of the panels for the project up on the roof as quickly as possible.’”

The 4,000-pound metal coils typically supplied enough material for 8-10 panels, so Berryhill would run 8-10 panels at a time as crews from McCarty Roofing stacked them. When the roll former was lowered to the ground to load another coil, workers would strap the panels into place, figure out how much area the panels would cover, and set up again another 20 feet or so down the roof to receive the next batch. “We had a series of 15 or 20 straps for each bundle of panels,” says McCarty. “We had to be careful, but with eight people, you could pick up the panel and gently set it down.”

After the roll forming crew was done, the panels were pulled off of the stacks and installed. “It was a pretty extreme radius, but the panels just laid down on the roof perfectly,” McCarty recalls. “The design worked out really well.”

Liberty University

Photo: Joel Coleman. Copyright Liberty University

The built-in gutter gave crews a good location to set the bottom edge of the panels. “At the eaves, the roof pitch was very steep—maybe 12:12—and it was almost flat at the top,” notes McCarty. “We had to be tied off 100 percent of the time. We used retractables, but the safety equipment still limited our movement. It was pretty difficult for the guys working the first 30 or 40 feet.”

The roof featured large skylights, which made the metal panel layout critical. The design also featured upper and lower sections that stepped down around large windows, which made for some tricky details. “At the gable ends, we had to make the cuts at an angle,” McCarty notes. “We cut the panels in place with drill shears and hand turned them with tongs to lock then onto a cleat.”

The schedule was tight, and weather was also a concern. “It was in the dead of winter,” McCarty recalls. “We started laying panels in January. Fortunately, we had a mild winter, but at times it was like a wind tunnel. You’re not going to pick up a 240-foot panel in 35 mile-an-hour winds, so there were days we just weren’t able to work.”

The project was wrapped up at the end of May, and McCarty credits the decision to stack the panels as one of the keys to meeting the deadline. “It was the right call,” he says. “The time we saved made up for the lost days due to the weather and helped us complete the job on time.”

TEAM

Architect: VMDO Architects, Charlottesville, Va., VMDO.com
Construction Manager: CMA Inc., Lynchburg, Va., CMAinc.us
Roofing Contractor: McCarty Roofing Inc., Lynchburg, Va., McCartyroofing.net
Distributor: NB Handy Co., Lynchburg, Va., NBhandy.com
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Fabral Metal Wall and Roof Systems, Fabral.com

Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome Improves Drain Performance

OMG Roofing Products introduces the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome

OMG Roofing Products introduces the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome for retrofitting OMG Hercules Drains. The new strainer dome with built-in vortex breaker technology is designed to improve water flow from the roof. According to the manufacturer, independent studies demonstrate that when upgraded with the Vortex Breaker Strainer Dome, Hercules Drains offer up to 2.5 times greater flow capacity than Hercules Drains without vortex breaker technology. Faster water flow off the roof also means that the drains get excessive weight off the roof faster. In addition, the integrated vortex breaker technology greatly reduces the chugging effect that occurs when a vortex collapses, which can overload the plumbing system.

Vortex Breaker Strainer Domes are made of heavy-duty cast aluminum for long life on the roof. The safety yellow powder coat makes them easily visible on the roof, so they do not pose a trip hazard. The new domes are compatible with all 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-inch OMG Hercules and OMG Aluminum Classic drains, including thermoplastic coated versions, and are installed using only a screwdriver with a #2 square drive.

For additional information, please call the Customer Service team at OMG Roofing Products at (800) 633-3800.

Miami-Dade County and ARMA Team Up to Update High-Wind Codes

ARMA awarded the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources Department the 2017 ARMA Public Partnership Award.

ARMA awarded the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources Department the 2017 ARMA Public Partnership Award. Aaron R. Phillips, Corporate Director of Technical Services at TAMKO Building Products and chair of the ARMA Codes Steering Group, presented the award to Michael Goolsby and Miami-Dade team members who worked on the project. Pictured at the ceremony are (from left) Eduardo Fernandez, Gaspar Rodriguez, Michael Goolsby, Aaron Phillips, Alex Tigera and Jorge Acebo.

In the aftermath of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, the entire building code for South Florida was rebuilt from the ground up. When it was launched in 1994, the South Florida Building Code was a groundbreaking document that set new roofing application standards and testing protocols for every component and system in the building envelope. More than two decades later, it was clear the building code for Miami-Dade County’s high-velocity hurricane zone (HVHZ) needed to be updated. Beginning in 2014, Miami-Dade County officials worked with the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) and others in the roofing industry to ensure the current code language was clear and up to date.

Two-and-a-half years later, their work is complete. The 2017 Florida Building Code is scheduled for implementation on Jan. 1, 2018, and it will include every one of the proposals and public comments jointly submitted by ARMA and Miami-Dade. As a result of this successful collaboration, ARMA presented the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources Department with the inaugural ARMA Public Partnership Award in 2017 for their work together in updating the building codes for the HVHZ.

Members of the joint task force on the project shared their thoughts on the experience with Roofing, including Mike Fischer, ARMA’s Vice President of Codes & Regulatory Compliance; Michael Goolsby, Miami-Dade Board and Code Administration Division Director; Jorge Acebo, Roofing Product Control Examiner; Alex Tigera, Roofing Product Control Examiner; and Gaspar Rodriguez, Code Compliance and Training Officer, Roofing.

They all believe this collaboration between industry and government could serve as a successful model for other industry trade associations and other code bodies to follow. “This kind of cooperation between a public regulator and a private trade association is rare enough,” says Fischer. “The overwhelmingly positive results are unprecedented.”

The Problems

Miami-Dade staff and ARMA representatives both saw shortcomings in the roofing requirements for HVHZ. There were outdated references that needed to be removed, including test standards that were out of date. This often resulted in questions that slowed down the product approval review process. Members of the roofing industry also wanted to explore coordinating the Miami-Dade HVHZ protocols with other national testing requirements to further streamline testing procedures.

Fischer summed up ARMA’s goals this way: “ARMA is a responsible advocate for the asphalt roofing industry. We take that role seriously. We are an advocate. Our job is to represent the collective interests of the producers, but we try to be responsible about it. And it’s that drive to be responsible which led us to this partnership with the Miami-Dade staff.”

At the first meeting between ARMA and Miami-Dade, Fischer tried to break the ice. “The first thing we said when we came into that meeting was, ‘Hi, we’re from industry and we’re here to help,’” Fischer recalls. “I will tell you that when we started that meeting in the morning, the Miami-Dade staff was probably skeptical of what we were there for. By the end of the day, we had laid out a project plan of how we were going to work together, and that set the tone for the rest of the project.”

Fischer knew it would take the two entities working together to get things done. “In the Florida process, we knew we had to work with Miami-Dade, as they are a key stakeholder. We brought in other roof covering manufacturers for some of the discussions, and we also talked to the FRSA, the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association—the contractors—so they were at the table for quite a bit of this as well.”
ARMA set up a special task group to focus on the Miami-Dade protocols. The task force went through documents one by one with members of Miami-Dade group, identifying problems and sections that were out of date. They hashed out compromises when they didn’t agree.

Protecting the Public

Goolsby worked on the project on behalf of Miami-Dade along with members of his team including Acebo, Tigera and Rodriguez. “We cover a lot of territory,” notes Goolsby. “We maintain the building code and write the building code, but we also oversee all of the contractor licensing in Miami-Dade County. We have about 15,000 local licensed contractors. Of course, we handle product approvals, and we also service all of the boards here. We have a board of rules and appeals. We also oversee 35 building departments throughout Miami-Dade County. We try to make sure the code is uniformly enforced in all of those jurisdictions. So, we cover a lot of bases.”

The top priority is protecting the public. “In a general sense, we provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public,” Goolsby says, “But it’s these issues of life safety that are the most critical.”
Evacuating South Florida is difficult, so the residential portions of the code were written under the assumption that many people might have to ride out a storm in their homes. “We wanted their home to be just as strong as any commercial structure,” says Goolsby.

Acebo notes that ensuring the code is properly followed is as crucial as the code itself. He believes the inspectors’ role includes reassuring homeowners that systems are being installed correctly. “It’s important to us to fulfill our role to provide independent corroboration that the work is being done and installed properly,” he says. “The great thing about this particular effort is that it was truly collaborative. It was great to work with them and establish the language that was common with other jurisdictions or other certification agencies.”

Promising Results

Members of the joint task force agree that the changes make the code easier to understand. They also should streamline product approvals process.

“These updates definitely help the manufacturers get through the product approval process, specifically for Miami-Dade HVHZ requirements,” Fischer states. “It also helps the roofing contractor because we made sure the documents have the installation language updated, so it gives better direction to the installers of the products. And that trickles up to the general contractors in new construction, as it speeds up their processes and takes out some burdens.”

“At the end of the day, as a responsible advocate, one of ARMA’s main motivators was to make sure their industry’s products get installed the way they are intended to be installed,” Fischer continues. “That benefits the end user—the building owner and building occupant.”

Acebo agrees that the approvals process helps everyone—homeowners, contractors, manufacturers and inspectors. “If questions come out of the field from homeowners, manufacturers or contractors as to whether something is being applied or used properly, we can serve as that independent third party that doesn’t really have a stake in it other than to serve as an arbitrator who can clearly indicate whether something is right or not according to what has been provided and tested.”

The collaboration was so successful that the task force is already looking at other changes in the future. The Miami-Dade code is used as a model for other code bodies, and the joint task force could serve in that role as well, according to Fischer. “This is a model of collaboration between a governmental agency and private industry groups that will serve us well,” he says. “We are going to continue to do this with other groups, and frankly we’re going to continue doing it with Miami-Dade because this process isn’t ever done. Things will always be changing and we always have to keep up to date.”

Planning and Teamwork Are Essential in Tackling Retail Project

Peach State installed a mechanically attached TPO system over the existing modified bitumen roof system on two buildings totaling approximately 75,400 square feet.

Peach State installed a mechanically attached TPO system over the existing modified bitumen roof system on two buildings totaling approximately 75,400 square feet.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Peach State Roofing Inc. has 15 branches and covers clients across the nation. The company specializes in commercial and industrial roofing, and excels at large-scale single-ply jobs. The goal of every branch is to provide the same level of service for clients no matter where they are in the country, as exemplified by a recent project at a large retail mall in South Carolina.

Peach State’s Charlotte branch is located in Rock Hill, S.C. The company has re-roofed three of the five roofs at Gaffney Premium Outlets in Gaffney, S.C., including two roofs completed this year in just two weeks. Anthony Wilkerson, the branch manager, and Blake Wideman, strategic accounts, shared their insights on the project.

Peach State’s Charlotte branch focuses primarily on re-roofing, service and maintenance work for existing customers and property managers. Most of the company’s work involves TPO, EPDM and PVC, but crews have to be able to handle almost every type of system on the market. “If there is a hotel with some shingles or metal on it, we want to be able to complete every facet of the job, but most of our work revolves around single-ply roofing,” Wilkerson states. “We are certified with every major single-ply manufacturer.”

Anthony Wilkerson (left) and Blake Wideman of Peach State Roofing’s Charlotte branch inspect the completed project at Premium Outlets in Gaffney, S.C.

Anthony Wilkerson (left) and Blake Wideman of Peach State Roofing’s Charlotte branch inspect the completed project at Premium Outlets in Gaffney, S.C.

According to Wilkerson and Wideman, Peach State’s strength lies in building relationships with its clients by providing quality workmanship and excellent customer service. “We do that through our project management, our expertise and our training,” says Wilkerson. “We put a lot into training our employees so that they know how to do the technical details that the manufacturers are asking for.”

Wilkerson believes Peach State offers the best of both worlds—flexibility at each branch and the depth of knowledge from the large corporate organization. “We’re independent, but I work with the corporate office every day,” says Wilkerson. “We have local representation around the country, but at the same time we have that teamwork, so you’re still getting the same quality from each office that you’re getting from the corporate office. We try to be as close to the way Atlanta does things—the Peach State Way—all across board, all over the country.”

Landing a Big One

In the case of the recent project at Gaffney Premium Outlets, the work was an outgrowth of the company’s previous successful projects, including a re-roofing job at the same complex last year. “Our bid was what they were looking for,” Wideman says. “We gave them the price they were looking for and the quality they wanted. That’s how we were awarded this project.”

This aerial view shows the five buildings of the Gaffney Premium Outlets mall. Peach State Roofing re-roofed the two buildings on the left this year, after completing work on the building at the far right last year.

This aerial view shows the five buildings of the Gaffney Premium Outlets mall. Peach State Roofing re-roofed the two buildings on the left this year, after completing work on the building at the far right last year.

The mall is made up of five buildings, and the company re-roofed two this year totaling approximately 75,400 square feet. Peach State installed a mechanically attached TPO system from Firestone over the existing modified bitumen roof system. “We came up with a plan to cover the old roof with a half-inch high-density cover board,” Wilkerson says. “Then we mechanically attached a Firestone 60-mil white TPO system over the cover board.”

The system was chosen for its durability, according to Wilkerson. “They were looking for a long-term solution,” he says. “We went with a re-cover because it was more cost-effective for their budget, but we could still offer them the same warranty and the same guarantee that the system would be just as effective if they had torn the old system off and started from scratch.”

The company used 8-foot rolls of TPO on the project for several reasons. “We went with 8-foot rolls on this project because it was easier to apply the rolls,” notes Wilkerson. “They are not as heavy as the 10-foot rolls. It’s easier to let the rolls relax when you roll them out and easier to keep them tight when you are securing them to the deck.”

Fasteners were installed every 12 inches on center at the edge of the TPO sheets, and the next sheet was heat welded over the top of the screws and plates, and then mechanically fastened at the other end.
Extra care had to be taken with the details, especially walls and curbs. “We tore all of the old membrane off the curbs and off the walls, and we used bonding adhesive to go up the walls,” Wilkerson explains.

At the walls, the field sheets were run up the wall 12 inches and mechanically attached. “We adhere a sheet to the wall, and we heat weld that to the field sheet,” explains Wilkerson, “At the top of that, we use a water cutoff behind the sheet, and we use a termination bar. The termination bar is installed 12 inches on center, and then we use a sealant at the top of the termination bar. We came back with a surface-mount counterflashing, which basically just goes over the top of the termination bar. It has a little kick-out on it, so once that’s attached, it gives you double protection where your membrane is terminated.”

Curbs were handled in a similar fashion. “With the curbs, you run the field sheet right up to the curb, and then you mechanically attach it 12 inches on center,” Wilkerson notes. “Then we use bonding adhesive to install a piece of membrane on each side of the curb. We don’t do one piece and wrap it all the way around. We use four separate pieces, and we adhere them to the curb. Then we heat weld those pieces to the field sheet. For the curbs, we use a flashing that goes underneath the curb itself, and we attach that 12 inches on center all the way around. That lets the water shed over the HVAC unit and then down onto the membrane past the flashing, so there’s nowhere for the water to penetrate.”

Meeting the Challenges

The sheer size of the project was a challenge, but Peach State is used to handling large-scale projects. Logistics and scheduling were also demanding due to customer activity at the mall. “It was a good project for us, but I’d say one of the biggest challenges was that the mall remained open the whole time we were doing the roof,” Wilkerson says. “We had to check in with each tenant in every building to make sure everything was OK from the night before.”

Extra care had to be taken with the details at walls and curbs. Bonding adhesive was used to install a piece of membrane on each side of the curb. Then those pieces were heat welded to the field sheet.

Extra care had to be taken with the details at walls and curbs. Bonding adhesive was used to install a piece of membrane on each side of the curb. Then those pieces were heat welded to the field sheet.

The project called for roofing specific sections each day to make sure the roof stayed watertight at all times. “We sealed the roof up every night 100 percent, so if it rained in the evening, it had to be like we had never been up there,” Wilkerson recalls. “If we took three air conditioners apart in a section that we did one day, at night before those guys went home the air conditioners were wrapped back up, the flashing was put back around the air conditioner and all of the edges of the roof were sealed to the old roof so everything was watertight.”

Safety was also a concern, especially with pedestrian traffic below. “We had to make sure all of our safety procedures were in place for our crews and for the members of the public going in and out of the doors,” Wilkerson says.

The crews used safety lines at the perimeter, and anyone outside the safety lines had to be tied off at all times. “We had to make sure we had a man strictly watching out for the safety of the crews. You have to make sure any little pieces of membrane don’t blow off the roof. You have to make sure all of that is being cleaned up steadily as the job is going on. You don’t want the public to see anything except the flag stands on the roof.”

Staging was complicated, but luckily the jobsite offered ample space for trucks and cranes to be moved between the buildings. The key was to tackle high-traffic areas early in the morning and move to less busy spots as the day wore on.

Proper staging is crucial to jobsite efficiency, notes Wilkerson. “We like to stage the material as we put it on so we’re not dragging it across the roof,” he says. “It’s all right there for them, laid out as they go.”

Support and teamwork are essential up and down the line. “We work really well as a team, so if anyone has any small questions, they can ask the superintendent and call me, so we can make sure we take care of it the Peach State Way.”

Flexing Their Muscles

The project went off without a hitch, says Wilkerson. The mall traffic was never disrupted. “Not one leak, not one complaint on this project,” he says. “Our project management on this project was spot on. Our superintendents held their own out there. And our guys—it’s the attention to quality and all the time we put into training our guys that allows them to do this and make it look almost seamless. It’s one of those situations where you want it to look easy while you’re doing it, but when you’re in the mix of it and you’re trying to get it all done, it’s not as easy as it looks.”

Customer service was crucial. It wasn’t just the property management company that had to be kept informed—it was each individual retailer in the building. “There were so many people to deal with,” notes Wideman. “Every manager of each of those units had to be kept informed of the process. Roofing is not as hard as people think, but keeping up with the owners, keeping people happy, letting people know ahead of time what’s going on is a big challenge. We had to make friends with everyone ahead of time and let them know where to call with any questions.”

“The project, as far as roofing goes, was pretty straightforward,” concludes Wilkerson. “The key is to keep up with everyone on a daily basis and let them know what’s going on so if there is a small problem, it doesn’t keep brewing until it’s a big problem.”

Photos: Peach State Roofing Inc.

Re-Roofing of Shopping Center Poses Logistical Challenges

Southgate Shopping Center: Sebring, Florida

The re-roofing project of the shopping center totaled 79,556 square feet.

The re-roofing project of the shopping center totaled 79,556 square feet.

Roofing contractors often find themselves tackling re-roofs at shopping centers in piece-meal fashion, doing sections over the years as the budget allows. When property manager Southern Management and Development decided to remodel the entire Southgate Shopping Center in Sebring, Fla., in conjunction with Publix Markets’ replacement of their existing store at the location, they looked to Advanced Roofing to get the job done.

The scope of work included re-roofing three large sections of the retail plaza and a drugstore on the property. The roofing portions totaled 79,556 square feet.

Roof System

The roof specified was a two-ply modified bitumen system from Johns Manville. In the three large sections of the plaza, the existing built-up roof was completely torn off, while the drugstore was a re-cover project, notes Andrew Vik, estimator and project manager with Advanced Roofing’s Tampa branch, which operates under branch manager Michael Landolfi.

Roofing work started in November 2016 and was completed in February 2017. After the existing roof was removed, crews installed 2-inch polyiso to the steel deck. “We mechanically fastened that with a half-inch USG SecuRock cover board through the steel deck,” notes Vik. “The two plies of modified bitumen were then torch applied, a smooth base sheet and a white granulated cap sheet.”

On the drugstore, the roof was vacuumed, and the cover board and two plies were installed over the top of the old roof system.

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork. “We had our own HVAC people working with our roofing crews, so it was easy to coordinate everything,” notes Vik. “We had HVAC installations on three of the buildings, and we remounted existing units on two of the buildings. There was also a lot of demolition on the south building, as there were several derelict units that
had been sitting there for quite some time. Those had to be hoisted off there and taken out.”

A Challenging Project

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork.

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork.


Logistics are often a challenge with a shopping center that remains open to the public, notes Vik. “You have to load and unload multiple levels of the roof at different times,” he says. “Customer relations is also a challenge; you have to keep everyone happy and ask a lot of questions. The construction manager has to do a lot of P.R. when he’s there.”

Demolition portions of the project were done at night and application during the day, so business at the mall was never disrupted. Traffic in the parking area was also a key concern.

“Setup areas had to be barricaded and marked off while we were loading and unloading,” Vik says. “There was even a drive under bridge connecting two buildings that had to be re-roofed, so we always had to be mindful of people below.”

Parapet walls did not surround all portions of the roof, so safety precautions included a safety perimeter; employees outside the perimeter had to be harnessed and tied off to a portable fall protection anchor system by Raptor.

The project went off without a hitch, according to Vik. “The mall was 100 percent open during the entire project,” he says. “Things went very smoothly— especially for everything that was involved. One of our mottoes is, ‘The harder the job, the better.’ We like a challenge. We take on a lot of projects other companies shy away from.”

The keys to his company’s success are coordination and versatility, states Vik. “We do it all,” he says. “We didn’t have to get anybody from outside the company to work on the project. We did all the roofing, all of the HVAC, and all of the hoisting was done in-house. We’ve also got lightning protection inhouse, and we have a solar division. We have a great team. Everyone does their part to get the bids out and get the jobs done. It’s the best team I’ve ever worked with.”

Team

Roofing Contractor: Advanced Roofing Inc., Tampa, Fla.
Consultant: CBA Roof Consulting LLC, Lake Worth, Fla.
Roof System Manufacturer and Technical Support: Johns Manville, Denver

Innovative Roofing Insulation Appeals to Owners, Architects

Because Rich-E-Board roofing insulation is light and easy to install, it lowers the cost of delivery and handling and can reduce labor costs by more than half.

Because Rich-E-Board roofing insulation is light and easy to install, it lowers the cost of delivery and handling and can reduce labor costs by more than half.

It’s exceptionally thin and easy to install. It delivers an R-value of 50 to commercial, industrial and government buildings. Now, Rich-E-Board, the innovative new roofing insulation, is enjoying a groundswell of interest from building
owners, contractors and architects seeking to drive down construction costs and boost energy efficiency.

Rich-E-Board recently received a patent for its proprietary Vacuum Insulated Panel—two polymeric foam cover boards that sandwich the panel—and the adhesive ribbons that bind the boards and panel together. This ultra-thin insulation offers a certified alternative to a huge commercial roofing market—billions of square feet in construction every year—challenged with
meeting stringent standards for energy efficiency.

While conventional insulation requires a thickness of 15 inches to reach an R-value of 50, Rich-E-Board achieves the same result at just 1.5 inches thick. Rich-E-Board can be installed on most roof deck types, including ballasted roof systems, and can support all conventional low-slope roof systems.

Rich-E-Board’s design delivers significant advantages:

  • Lower energy bills: Achieving an R-value of 50 can cut a building’s heating and cooling costs by 8 to 10 percent, according to the GSA.
  • Simpler retrofits: Rich-E-Board enables retrofitted structures to achieve required R-values in less time, with fewer materials, and without costly and destructive building modifications.
  • Reduced construction costs: Because Rich-E-Board is light and easy to install, it lowers the cost of delivery and handling and can reduce labor costs by more than half.
  • Design flexibility: With its slim profile— especially compared with multi-layer insulation— Rich-E-Board saves space, expanding the design options for architects.

Rich-E-Board is also fireproof and water and mold resistant, notes Joanne Collins, president and CEO of R-50 Systems, maker of Rich-EBoard. “Our team focused on creating a game-changing alternative,” Collins says. “Rich-E-Board fills a significant
void in the marketplace by providing an insulation system capable of meeting today’s tougher energy standards.”

Success in the Field

Rich-E-Board has made a successful transition from the drawing board to the marketplace. Owners and architects have taken advantage of the insulation’s slim profile and high R-value on several building projects.

At a government building in Chicago, for example, owners chose to install 3,600 square-feet of Rich-E-Board as part of a roof retrofit aimed at lowering lifetime energy costs. Rich-E-Board’s slim profile also cut construction costs by more than $20,000 by streamlining design and installation.

At the Cohen Courthouse in Camden, N.J., Rich-E-Board was selected for the roof retrofit, eliminating the need for expensive building modifications that would have been required for conventional insulation. The decision lowered the project cost by $200,000.

Earlier this year, Rich-E-Board was awarded a patent for its design. More recently, the insulation earned its first LEED 4 designation.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in Rich-E-Board as the roofing market learns more about the benefits it brings to the commercial roofing,” Collins says. “This product fills a significant void by providing an insulation system capable
of meeting today’s tougher energy standards.”

Collins notes that, in addition to the $5 billion annual market for commercial roofing, Rich-E-Board can be used in walls and other building applications. Rich-E-Board is 99 percent recyclable and made entirely in the U.S.

PHOTOS: R-50 SYSTEMS

The Beer That Saved My Life

Did I ever tell you about the beer that saved my life?

One day, the freezer motor in my refrigerator started to make a horrendous shrieking sound. I opened the freezer door, grabbed a pound of frozen ground round, and threw it at the back wall of the freezer. The noise stopped. Problem solved.

Unfortunately, the shrieking episodes continued and became more and more frequent. When I began dating Patti, the lovely woman who later became my wife, she was not impressed. “What are you going to do about that?” she said, hooking a thumb at my musical freezer. “What do you mean?” I replied. “I’m just never going to thaw that ground round.”

I knew that wasn’t a good long-term answer, but a new refrigerator was just not in my budget. However, Patti did some research and found out that a new freezer motor was relatively inexpensive and easy to install.

After purchasing the motor, I pulled out the refrigerator to install it. The galley kitchen was tight, so I had to reach around the refrigerator blindly to unplug it. I removed the back panel of the freezer and took out the old motor without too much difficulty. It was thirsty work, and remembered I had some beer in the refrigerator that would still be cold. I opened the door to pull one out, and realized with alarm that the refrigerator light was on. The unit was still plugged in!

Suddenly I wasn’t very thirsty any more. I realized that I had unplugged the microwave instead of the refrigerator. I was lucky not to have been shocked. It probably wouldn’t have been fatal, but I guess it possibly might have been, and it makes a better story to tell it that way. In any event, after unplugging the unit, I was able to complete the repair. We thawed the ground round and cooked up some hamburgers that night to celebrate.

What does this have to do with roofing? Unfortunately, too much. Many building owners think of their roofs much like I thought of my refrigerator. It is the job of roofing professionals to educate them so they can avoid these common mistakes:

  • Out of sight, out of mind: Roofs are often overlooked by building owners unless a problem crops up. But that’s often too late. Routine maintenance can be the key to spotting minor problems before they become major ones. It can also be a necessary component of the warranty.
  • Using stopgap measures: If a problem does crop up, owners might try to repair it themselves and cause more harm than good. As the roof becomes a platform for not only HVAC equipment but solar arrays, cell towers and satellite dishes, damage to the roof becomes more and more likely.
  • Not consulting a professional: Roofs face potential damage from extreme weather, debris, foot traffic, and a host of other problems. To get the most out of their investment, building owners need expert advice. Planning ahead can make budgeting a future repair or roof replacement much easier.
  • If you are a roofing professional with clients who might not be getting the most out of their roofing assets, stop by and talk to them about the benefits of a roof inspection or a maintenance program. Invite them out for a beer to talk it over. Of course, drinking alcoholic beverages on the job is never advisable under any circumstances, but a beer after work never hurt anyone. Who knows, it just might save someone’s life.