Spring Forward, Fall Protect

Spring arrived late here in Michigan, and before the weather — and construction — began to heat up, I saw a press release from MIOSHA indicating the second year of its “Stop Falls. Save Lives.” safety awareness campaign would focus on the roofing industry. I called Nella Davis-Ray, Director of MIOSHA Consultation Education and Training (CET) Division in Lansing, to ask her why.

“Nationally and at the state level, we are pleased to see that overall, when you look at general industry and construction, there is a downward trend in work-related fatalities and injuries, and we like to think we play a part in that downward trend,” she said. “Even though we are seeing this downward trend, when you look at roofers’ fall-related incidents, and particularly when you look at roof-related fatalities, their rate is 10 times higher than the rate for construction workers as a whole. So, if there is any trade we can talk to about falls, the data shows the one group we should be focusing on is the roofers.”

The statistics were sobering, but the overall message was hopeful. “Our message is that all falls are preventable,” Davis-Ray said. “We really do believe that in MIOSHA.”

The key is making sure every employee is properly trained, has the proper safety equipment — and knows how to use it — and follows the jobsite-specific safety plan. According to Davis-Ray, the MIOSHA can help with all of those things — and the services are free.

The CET Division works independently of the Enforcement Division. It provides guidance to employers and employees through a variety of methods, including classroom training and educational materials including literature, videos, and a fall protection website, www.michigan.gov/stopfalls. The greatest tool of all, noted Davis-Ray, is a staff of consultants who can provide individualized training.

“I’m surprised how many employers, particularly contractors, are not aware that all they have to do is pick up the phone and call us,” she said. “At their request, we can schedule a time and location for one of our construction safety consultants to come out and work with them directly on safety and health issues.”

Consultants can review written requirements, explain interpretations of the standard, and answer specific questions about a project and whether or not a contractor might be in compliance. They can also help in crafting a comprehensive safety program. “We always try to look at the big picture,” Davis-Ray says. “The overarching issue is to have an effective system in place so that you ensure that safety is considered as a part of every contract.”

Davis urges contractors in every state to explore the free educational resources OSHA can provide. Michigan contractors can call 800-866-4674 or visit www.michigan.gov/miosha to learn more.

 

National Women in Roofing Taps Into a Powerful Force

Photos: National Women in Roofing

In 2014, an organization devoted to helping advance the careers of women in the roofing industry was just an idea. Since then, the idea has become a movement. National Women in Roofing (NWIR) was officially launched at the International Roofing Expo (IRE) in 2016. The volunteer-based organization focuses on connecting and empowering women, and it has the support of more than 1,000 members — many of them men — and nearly two dozen sponsors. They all share the goal of working together to raise the professionalism of the roofing industry, bring more people into the field, and provide the education and training necessary to ensure its future success.

This February, Heidi Ellsworth handed over the position of NWIR chair to Shari Carlozzi. The two women shared their insights on the founding of NWIR with Roofing, detailing its current initiatives and plans for the future.

A Movement Is Born

Carlozzi and Ellsworth first discussed the idea of an organization to support women during a break at a meeting of the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association in 2014. As they shared their thoughts about working in a male-dominated industry,

Officers and directors of National Women in Roofing include (from left) Jennifer Stone, vice chair, executive committee; Jennifer Ford-Smith, secretary; Ellen Thorp, executive director; Shari Carlozzi, chair, executive committee; and Heidi Ellsworth, past chair, executive committee. Photos: National Women in Roofing

a light bulb went on. “We started talking, and we realized there are a lot more women in this industry than people give it credit for,” Carlozzi says. “There’s a lot of women! And we said, ‘We should start an organization where women can gather to network, to learn from each other, to mentor one another, and to help empower each other’ — because we are in an industry that we love.”

Ellsworth and Carlozzi shared the concept with Steve Little of Dallas-based KPost, who was then MRCA president. “He said, ‘That’s a great idea! We’ll help incubate you.’ And that’s how we got started,” Carlozzi remembers. “It went viral.”

As they traveled the country in their respective work roles — Ellsworth as a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com and Carlozzi as national sales manager for HAPCO Inc. — they soon realized that a lot of other women had the same needs. Many were even exploring the same idea. “At every trade show we went to, both of us would hear this from so many women,” Ellsworth says. “They would say, ‘We need to spend time together. We need to network.’ And networking is a big one because it’s sometimes a lot easier for guys to get together to network and women are left out. It was something that a lot of women truly believed in.”

Shari Carlozzi thanks the founding sponsors of the organization at NWIR Day. Photos: National Women in Roofing

After talking to others in the industry, it became clear the organization had to have a national presence. “We looked ahead to the IRE in New Orleans in 2015 and decided to have a little get-together and see if people are truly interested,” Ellsworth recalls. “We had 75 women show up. It just grew from there.”

The group formed a leadership committee and held meetings at industry trade shows throughout 2015. “It was at IRE in 2016 that we officially launched National Women in Roofing,” Ellsworth says. “We realized very quickly that there was a tidal wave — a tsunami — of women behind us who really needed this. We realized we had to take this to a national level, and we did.”

The Four Pillars

Overarching goals of the organization are exemplified by its four pillars: networking, mentoring, education and recruitment.

Heidi Ellsworth welcomes attendees to the inaugural NWIR Day, held February 4, 2018. Photos: National Women in Roofing

“Our four pillars we started with — networking, mentoring, education and recruitment — have been the focus of what we’ve wanted to do from the start,” Carlozzi says. “Some people are a little bit more involved in education, some people are a little bit more involved in networking — it all depends on what works for you. We’ve stayed true to our four pillars, and that has been extremely helpful in giving women opportunities to engage in what’s most important to them.”

Ellsworth agrees, pointing out that networking events and mentoring initiatives developed hand in hand. “Our first events were networking events,” she says. “One of our themes is ‘from the rooftop to the boardroom,’ and we had top leaders at companies including GAF, ABC, Owens Corning, Johns Manville — all of these ladies showed up early and then stayed on and helped to drive this. We partnered with 28 founding sponsors that first year.”

Mentoring relationships seemed to blossom. “I wish we could all take credit for it, but it just happened so naturally,” Ellsworth says.

Kelly Wade, CEO of North American Roofing, gives the keynote address at the National Women in Roofing’s Mentor Reception during the 2018 International Roofing Expo. Photos: National Women in Roofing

NWIR is launching a mentoring program this year, under the leadership of Mallory Payne and Melissa Walker, who head up the mentoring committee. “Mentoring has always been a big part of what we do,” Carlozzi says. “Men have more mentors than women do, and we want to change that.”

The education committee, led by Shelly Duhaime and Jennifer Keegan, is working on a full slate of educational sessions at industry events, as well as a series of webinars on topics such as networking, safety and business management. “Our education committee is on fire this year,” says Carlozzi. “People crave information. The only way we can excel in what we do is to keep learning.”

Carlozzi points to the NRCA’s ProCertification program as a model for educating the industry’s workforce and boosting professionalism. “We have to elevate the perception of the roofing industry,” she says. “We share the same values as the NRCA, and we want to speak with one voice to get the message across to people that this is a viable career option for you, whether you are a man or a woman in the trade, or whether you are looking for a career as a chemist, or an engineer, or a salesperson, or in data entry. It is a solid, reputable industry.”

It’s also an industry facing a worker shortage, so recruiting a new generation of workers is essential. The recruitment committee, led by Michelle Boykin and Chelsea Welsh, is active at employment fairs and career days, and NWIR is reaching out to other trade groups across the country to increase the visibility of the industry.

Part of the recruitment effort includes a commitment to helping women in crisis find employment and pursue a true career path.

Memberships and Sponsorships

The organization might be national, but it is also active at the local level. NWIR is developing councils across the country to cater to local educational needs and reach out to area community service opportunities. There are 29 local councils now, with a goal of reaching 50 by the end of 2018.

NWIR members participate in a breakout session at a mentoring workshop. Photos: National Women in Roofing

“It’s the best of both worlds for everybody because they get that national input through our epicenter — our newsletter and our website — and they can apply the information to what they are doing locally,” Carlozzi says. “We give local councils a lot of latitude to put together what works for them as long as they stay true to our four pillars and our national outreach program with women in crisis.”

Carlozzi and Ellsworth encourage all women and men to join the association. The membership fee is $60 per year. Half of the membership fee goes to develop and support local councils. “We made a very conscious decision to keep our membership dues very reasonable, and they are owned by the member,” Ellsworth notes. “If your career path takes you to another company, the membership goes along with you.”

Companies can help NWIR as sponsors. There are four levels of sponsorships. “We are also in the middle of our sponsorship drive, and that is a great way to get involved as a company,” Ellsworth says. “The value to the company — and its employees — is incredible.”

A Bright Future

Looking back at her tenure as the first chair of the organization, Ellsworth is proud of the group’s achievements and thankful for the friendships she’s made along the way. “It’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve had in my life,” she says. “The women I have met and the experiences we’ve had have been so empowering.”

Networking and mentoring have always been key areas of focus for NWIR members. Photos: National Women in Roofing

As Carlozzi takes the helm, she plans to lean on the talented team of women ready to take the organization into the future. “It’s a little overwhelming when you look at it at first because we came so far, so fast, and we have to keep that momentum going,” says Carlozzi. “In the process, we’ve had some exceptional, outstanding women who have stepped up and taken on the leadership roles that are needed to develop and maintain a national organization like this.”

When the industry taps into everyone’s talents, everyone wins. Carlozzi sees that spirit every day at NWIR. “Everyone comes up with new ideas of how to make things better,” she says. “Everyone is open to new ideas and assistance, and everyone is freely offering it. No one feels threatened — we’re all empowered. That’s the beauty of it.”

For more information about NWIR, visit www.nationalwomeninroofing.com.

Ponding Water Basics: Proper Drainage Design and Low-Slope Roofs

Roofing professionals install a new asphalt roof on the Broward County Stephen Booher Building in Coral Springs, Florida. Photo: Advanced Roofing Inc.

A low-slope asphalt roofing system is cost effective, durable and reliable. Multiple layers of weatherproof membranes protect a building, its residents and the property it houses. There are a few design elements that will help building owners get the most from their roofing system. Managing ponding water is essential to properly maintaining a roof.

Ponding water is defined as the water which remains on a roof 48 hours or longer. Water may accumulate on a low-slope roof due to rain, snow or runoff from rooftop equipment. Ponding water can have major negative consequences, regardless of the type of roofing system. Proper design, installation and maintenance of roofing structures can prevent this condition and its associated problems.

The adverse effects of ponding water on roofs can include:

  • Deformation of the deck structure:Ponding water can substantially increase the load on roof decks. As water accumulates, deck deflections can increase, thereby resulting in additional ponding water, which could compromise the structural integrity of the deck.
  • Damage to the roof surface:Ice formations develop and move constantly with changes in temperature. This movement can “scrub” the roof membrane to such an extent that considerable physical damage to the membrane can occur.
  • Growth of algae and vegetation:When water stands for long periods of time, algae and vegetation growth will likely occur, and may cause damage to the roof membrane. Additionally, vegetation can clog drains and cause additional ponding.
  • Accumulation of dirt and debris in the ponding area:Dirt, debris, and other contaminants can affect and damage the membrane surface. The can also lead to clogged drains.

Proper design and installation are crucial factors in roof system performance. This photo shows an Atactic Polypropylene (APP) modified bitumen membrane being applied by torch to a low-slope roof. Photo: ARMA

Ponding water may lead to accelerated erosion and deterioration of the membrane surface that can result in failure of the roof system. Allowing even relatively small amounts of moisture beneath the roof membrane may reduce the thermal efficiency of the insulation. More importantly, moisture intrusion can cause serious damage to the deck, insulation, and membrane as well as the building’s interior.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recommends that roof designs provide adequate slope (minimum of ¼ inch per foot) to ensure that the roof drains freely throughout the life of the building and to thereby avoid the effects of ponding water. Model building codes also require a minimum ¼ inch per foot slope for new construction projects, and require positive drainage for re-roofing projects. These requirements are intended to prevent water from ponding on roof surfaces.

Managing Ponding Water

Here are a few best practices to manage ponding water:

  • Adequate sloping should be taken into account during the design process. A roof’s structural frame or deck should be sloped, and drainage components like roof drains and scuppers should be included in the design.
  • In addition, secondary (or emergency) drains may be required by local plumbing codes to help reduce the risk of a structural failure due to clogged drainage systems. Talk to your roof membrane manufacturer and/or roof system designer to determine the proper location of these components.
  • If a deck does not provide the necessary slope to drain, a tapered insulation system can be used. A combination of different approaches — single slope, two-way slope, and four-way slope — is often used to achieve the necessary slope and to allow for moisture drainage.
  • Additionally, crickets installed upslope of rooftop equipment and saddles positioned along a low-point between drains, can help prevent localized ponding in conjunction with a tapered insulation system.
  • Building designers and owners should work with contractors and roof manufacturers to determine which methods are best and appropriate for a roof assembly’s long-term performance, whether it’s a new construction or re-roof project.

The NRCA Roofing Manual: Membrane Roof Systems—2015, states the following: “NRCA recommends that designers make provisions in their roof designs for positive slope.”

The manual spells out that slope generally is provided by:

  • Sloping the structural framing or roof deck
  • Designing a tapered insulation system
  • Proper location of roof drains, scuppers and gutters
  • A combination of the above

By following the proper drainage practices detailed above, building owners can positively impact their low-slope roofing system and help to ensure it will remain durable and reliable throughout its service life.

To obtain specific information about ponding water on particular products and systems, contact your roof material manufacturer. For more information about low-slope asphalt roofing systems, visit www.asphaltroofing.org.

Proper Storage and Handling of Polyiso Insulation

Photo: SOPREMA

Punxsutawney Phil certainly got it right this year; we have had six more weeks of winter — and then some — particularly in the Northeast. As winter turns to spring, building and repair projects which frequently involve the roof get underway. As you commence these new and re-roofing initiatives, here are a few key considerations about the storage and handling of polyiso roof insulation on a jobsite.

Storage

Polyiso insulation is typically shipped protected by a plastic wrap, plastic bag or both. This factory packaging is intended for handling the polyiso in the manufacturing plant and during transit; it should not be relied upon as protection at jobsites or other outdoor storage locations unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer.

Material delivery should be carefully coordinated with the roof application schedule to minimize outdoor storage. When short-term outdoor storage is necessary, whether at grade or on the roof deck, the following precautions should be observed:

  • Bundles should be stored flat above the ground utilizing included feet or on raised pallets. If possible, the bundles should be placed on a finished surface such as gravel, pavement, or concrete rather than on dirt or grass.
  • Unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer, cover the package and pallet with a waterproof cover, and secure to prevent wind displacement.

Note: Polyiso insulation is fully cured and fit for installation upon delivery. No additional storage time is required.

Handling

Photo: Johns Manville

Exercise care during handling of polyiso insulation to prevent breaking or crushing of the square edges and surfaces. Remove the polyiso bundles from trucks with proper equipment. Other means of mishandling, such as pushing pallets off the edge of the truck or “rolling” the pallet across the roof deck, must be avoided.

Product Application

Polyiso should always be installed on dry, clean roof decks in dry conditions. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding product application to ensure performance to the intended design life of the roofing system. Apply only as much polyiso roof insulation as can be covered by completed roofing the same day.

Construction Traffic

Avoid excessive traffic during roof construction of or on a completed roof surface. Although polyiso has been designed to withstand limited foot traffic, protection from damage by construction traffic and/or abuse is extremely important. Roof surface protection such as plywood should be used in areas where storage and staging are planned and heavy or repeated traffic is anticipated during or after installation.

Photo: Johns Manville

Some designers and membrane manufacturers specify the use of cover boards as a means of protecting the insulation. If specified, installers should ensure the cover board used is compatible with all components of the roofing system, is acceptable to the membrane manufacturer, and meets specified fire, wind, and code requirements.

Polyiso roof insulation, like other roofing materials, requires a proper understanding of storage, handling, and application to result in a properly constructed roof system. To find additional information about the proper storage and handling of polyiso insulation and for more technical information on polyiso roof and wall insulation, please visit www.polyiso.org.

Custom-Engineered Accessories Available for KnuckleHead Rooftop Supports

Green Link introduces a family of custom-engineered, molded straps and caps for securing pipes and struts for its KnuckleHead rooftop support product line. Straps have been designed for both Heavy Pipe and Strut Support KnuckleHeads, while a cap design was developed for Lite Pipe Supports. All are molded from tough, weatherproof urethane and feature a striking “safety yellow” color.

The Heavy Pipe KnuckleHead strap secures a 3-inch outside diameter pipe, while the Strut Support strap fits steel or aluminum Unistrut-type channel. The Lite Pipe Support cap is designed to secure a single 1-inch nominal pipe or two 1/2-inch nominal pipes. Pipe supports are attached with standard stainless-steel sheet metal screws, which are supplied with the heads. The Strut Support straps are available in nominal pipe sizes ranging from 1/4 inch to 6 inches. Custom straps are available by special order. These elastomeric straps slide into the strut channel and snap in place, eliminating the need for screws.

“We custom engineered these products to fit the unique shape of our head designs,” said Ondrej Pekarovic, Green Link design engineer. “There is growing interest in securing rooftop mechanical installations in the face of high wind conditions and seismic events. These straps will greatly increase the stability of pipes, conduit, channel and related mechanical equipment. Additionally, they satisfy local code requirements.”

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.greenlinkengineering.com
Call: (888) 672-9897
Email: sales@greenlinkengineering.com

IRE and R&D

The conventional wisdom is that when the overall economy is strong, manufacturers feel more comfortable investing their resources in research and development of new products. I don’t have hard numbers to back that assertion up, but in my experience, at least anecdotally, it seems to be borne out. During the Great Recession years of the last decade, the number of new products coming to market seemed to decline. If the array of new products I saw at this year’s International Roofing Expo (IRE) in New Orleans is any indication, we could be in for a banner year.

The IRE makes it easy to keep tabs on new developments with its New Product Pavilion. The depth and breadth of offerings in that area was impressive, but I saw products being unveiled all over the show floor. Time will tell if they will turn out be a flash in the pan, a category-changing development, or something in between — but for the Roofing team, it was a very interesting show to cover, as there were a lot of excited responses when we asked, “What’s new?”

Innovative products on display included a pre-weathered fastener from Lakeside Construction Fasteners that matches aged Corten panels, so installation and repairs don’t leave bright silver dots on the rust-colored surface.

Carlisle showcased its Rapid Lock Technology, which uses a Velcro attachment system to secure the company’s EPDM and TPO membranes without using a bonding adhesive, doing away with temperature restrictions.

OMG Roofing Products unveiled its RhinoBond Hand Welder, which can be used to install the company’s induction welding fastening system in hard-to-reach areas, such as spaces below signs, pipes and rooftop equipment.

Georgia-Pacific showed off enhancements to DensDeck Prime that make the cover boards more resistant to water and increase their vertical pull strength.

Roof Sentry announced the launch of a solar-powered roof vent that provides moisture detection and data monitoring services. It can also remove moisture from low-slope roof systems.

On the residential side, new developments included GAF’s shingles with StainGuard Plus, which uses copper granules with time-release technology to fight algae growth.

Tie Down Engineering offered the Ergo Stripper, an ergonomically designed tool for removing shingles that improves leverage and eases strain on the back.

The Roof Umbrella rooftop canopy system is designed to be installed in less than 30 minutes on jobsites to prevent weather delays. It can be customized with the contractor’s logo.

These are just a few of the items that caught our eye at the IRE. We will be showcasing them in this issue and future issues of the magazine as part of our editorial mission to keep readers up to date on new products hitting the market. If you saw a new product you’d like us to be aware of, just email me at chris@roofingmagazine.com.

New Commercial Insulation Board Designed for High Load-Bearing Applications

Kingspan Insulation has expanded its commercial product offering by introducing GreenGuard Type VII XPS Insulation Board. The product is designed for high load-bearing engineered applications requiring insulation with a minimum compressive strength of 60 psi. According to the manufacturer, Type VII XPS is primarily used in commercial roofing applications, such as protected membrane and pedestal paver systems.

According to the manufacturer, the insulation board offers an R-value of 5.0 per inch of thickness and meets ASTM C578 Type VII requirements. The product retains its insulating properties over time, has high water resistance and is HCFC-free. In addition to commercial roofing applications, it also is suitable for low-temperature freezer floors, cold-storage facility floors, ice rinks and parking decks.

“Kingspan continues to be committed to our customers and expanding our product offerings to the North American market,” said Ryan Sullivan, managing director, Kingspan Insulation North America. “Our recent investment into a new, state-of-the-art XPS insulation manufacturing line is allowing us to increase capacity and expand our GreenGuard XPS product portfolio to include insulation board with higher compressive strengths.”

Kingspan Insulation has expanded its commercial product offering by introducing GreenGuard Type VII XPS Insulation Board. The product is designed for high load-bearing engineered applications requiring insulation with a minimum compressive strength of 60 psi. According to the manufacturer, Type VII XPS is primarily used in commercial roofing applications, such as protected membrane and pedestal paver systems.

According to the manufacturer, the insulation board offers an R-value of 5.0 per inch of thickness and meets ASTM C578 Type VII requirements. The product retains its insulating properties over time, has high water resistance and is HCFC-free. In addition to commercial roofing applications, it also is suitable for low-temperature freezer floors, cold-storage facility floors, ice rinks and parking decks.

“Kingspan continues to be committed to our customers and expanding our product offerings to the North American market,” said Ryan Sullivan, managing director, Kingspan Insulation North America. “Our recent investment into a new, state-of-the-art XPS insulation manufacturing line is allowing us to increase capacity and expand our GreenGuard XPS product portfolio to include insulation board with higher compressive strengths.”

LEARN MORE

Visit: www.kingspaninsulation.us
Call: (678) 589-7320
Email: info@kingspaninsulation.us

Building to Last With Asphalt-Based Roofing

The property owner of this building opted for a BUR/modified-bitumen hybrid system with reflective white coating. Photos: Johns Manville

The advantages of a built-up roofing (BUR), modified bitumen, or hybrid roofing assembly include long life, a variety of maintenance options, and outstanding puncture resistance. This durability means property owners will spend less time worrying about fixing leaking roofs and the associated hassles — lost productivity, disruption in operations, slips and falls, repair bills, and other liabilities.

Recommending clients install a roof system that gives them the best chance of eliminating unproductive distractions is a good business decision for design/construction professionals. A more durable roof will enable property owners to focus on making profits instead of dealing with the aftermath of a roof leak.

“I have no problem endorsing asphalt-based roofing,” says Luther Mock, RRC, FRCI and founder of building envelope consultants Foursquare Solutions Inc. “The redundancy created by multiple plies of roofing is really what sets systems like BUR and modified bitumen apart.”

One can argue BUR’s closest cousin — the modified bitumen (mod bit) assembly — is actually a built-up roof made on a manufacturing line. The reality is the plies of a BUR create a redundancy that can help mitigate any potential oversights in rooftop workmanship.

BUR systems are offered in a variety of attractive and reflective options with a proven track record of performance. Photos: Johns Manville

“I’ve replaced BURs for clients I worked with 30 years ago,” says Mock. “We recently replaced [a BUR] specified in the early 1980s. And the only reason was because some of the tectum deck panels had fallen out of the assembly. Meanwhile, the roof was still performing well after 30 years.”

According to the Quality Commercial Asphalt Roofing Council of the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), one of the main drivers of the demand for BUR systems is the desire of building owners for long life cycles for their roofs.

“A solid core of building owners and roofing professionals in North America continue to advocate asphalt-based roofing systems because of their long lives,” says Reed Hitchcock, ARMA’s executive director.

Benefits of Asphalt-Based Roofing

Over the years, asphalt-based roofing assemblies have earned a reputation for reliability with building owners, roofing consultants, architects, engineers, and commercial roofing contractors. The original price tag tends to be greater than other low-slope roofing options, but these assemblies offer competitive life-cycle costs. BUR enjoys a track record spanning more than 150 years; it provides a thick, durable roof covering and can be used in a broad range of building waterproofing applications.

An aerial view of a reflective roof membrane. Photos: Johns Manville

Available as part of fire-, wind-, and/or hail-rated systems, BUR and modified bitumen assemblies offer proven waterproofing capabilities, high tensile strength, long-term warranties, and a wide choice of top surfacings (including ‘cool’ options). Their components include the deck, vapor retarder, insulation, membrane, flashings, and surfacing material. The roofing membrane can be made up of a variety of components, including up to four high-strength roofing felts, modified bitumen membranes (hybrid systems) and standard or modified asphalt. Hot-applied asphalt typically serves as the waterproofing agent and adhesive for the system.

The roofing membrane is protected from the elements by a surfacing layer — either a cap sheet, gravel embedded in bitumen, or a coating material. Surfacings can also enhance the roofing system’s fire performance and reflectivity ratings.

Another surfacing option is gravel, commonly used in Canadian applications where the existing roof structure can handle the extra weight. There are also several smooth-surface coating options, the most popular of which are aluminum or clay emulsion products offering greater reflectivity than a smooth, black, non-gravel-surfaced roof. These reflective roof coating options are typically used in warmer regions when required by code. Reflective white roof coatings are also becoming more popular.

Cold-Process BUR

Cold application of BUR has provided an alternative to traditional hot-applied systems for more than 48 years. The term ‘cold-applied’ means the BUR roofing system is assembled using multiple plies of reinforcement applied with a liquid adhesive instead of hot asphalt. These cold adhesives are used between reinforced base/ply sheets to provide a weatherproof membrane.

The owner of this shopping mall chose BUR primarily due to its redundancy. Multiple plies of roofing can provide extra insurance against water intrusion. Photos: Johns Manville

In BUR cold-process roof systems, manufacturers typically require that only fully coated, non-porous felts (such as standard base sheets) are used as base and ply sheets. Generally, an aggregate surfacing or a coating is then applied over the completed membrane to provide surface protection and a fire rating for the roof system.

“In the re-roofing market, we’re definitely seeing more cold-applied systems being specified, particularly with modified bitumen,” says Mock. “It’s a natural alternative when a building may be occupied during the reroofing process and hot asphalt is not an option.”

Adhesives can be manually applied with a squeegee, brush, or spray application equipment. When numerous roof penetrations or rooftop access become issues, manual application of adhesives is usually the best option. Proper coverage rates are vital to a successful, long-term, cold-applied roof system. Both spray and manual application methods require the proper amount of adhesive material be installed. If too little adhesive is applied, there is a potential for an improper bond to be formed between the felts. If too much is applied, then the potential for longer setup times and membrane slippage is increased. Additionally, ambient temperatures must be 40 degrees Fahrenheit (5°C) and rising before installation. This limits, but does not preclude, use of cold-process BUR in much of the northern United States and Canada.

“I’m also comfortable specifying BUR, because I’m confident I will have a seasoned contractor on the job,” says Mock. “The commitment in terms of skilled labor and equipment is simply too great for these contractors to be first-timers.”

Flashings are another critical component of every roofing system, particularly in cold-weather applications. Four-ply BURs use modified bitumen flashings almost exclusively. These membranes are predominantly styrene butadiene styrene (SBS)-modified and offer greater elongation in frigid climates where it counts most — at the interface of the roof system with other building components.

Use of a modified-bitumen base ply is one way of handling general flashing requirements, although modified bitumen cap sheets are more common.

BUR Repair and Maintenance

Like all roof systems to some extent, the life expectancy of a BUR system depends on the property owner’s commitment to routine maintenance. All roof systems can benefit from an owner willing to undertake a proactive management plan. BUR installed over an insulation package lends itself well to non-destructive testing in the future (e.g., infrared) as a means to maximize service life.

“Asphalt roofing systems have the potential for a very long life, and preventive maintenance is the key to realizing that potential,” says Hitchcock.

Non-gravel BUR surfacing options include aggregate, a mineral surface cap sheet, or a smooth, surface-coated membrane. Photos: Johns Manville

The goal is for problem areas to be detected and fixed before they develop into leaks. Inspections can reveal potentially troublesome situations, such as a loss of gravel surfacing, which could lead to felt erosion or brittleness. Less commonly, punctures and cuts to the membrane can occur, so it is wise to remove sharp objects and debris from the roof. Clogged drains or poorly sealed flashings also present problems that are repaired easily. The effects of chemical exhausts on roofing materials should also be monitored.

Preventive maintenance actions can help catch problems before they damage larger areas of the roof system. Inspections should be performed not only on aging roofs, but also on newly-installed roofs to guard against errors in installation, design, or specifications.

BUR and modified bitumen also have a long history of proven performance in the northern United States and Canada, where snow and ice buildup are common. Perhaps more than any other roof membrane, the BUR system shrugs off minor abuse.

BUR has proven to be a low-maintenance roofing system, and it can also be effectively repaired when needed. This means property owners can usually get more life out of a BUR. The ability to enhance the performance of existing BUR membranes with coatings, mod bit cap sheets, or flood coats of asphalt explain the long service lives of these systems in demanding applications.

“Property owners rarely have to replace a four-ply BUR until it is absolutely, positively worn out,” says one roofing contractor who asked to remain anonymous. “Based on experience, these asphalt-based systems ‘hang in there’ longer than less-robust roof options.”

When BUR Is Not the Best Option

There is no roofing product solution that will fit every building specification, and that certainly holds true for BUR. Probably more than any other roofing system (except spray polyurethane foam), the built-up roofing application is more of a skill than a science. As alternative systems have been introduced into the market, the job of finding experienced BUR contractors has become more difficult. This is especially true for the hot mopping of multi-ply BUR systems.

BURs are labor intensive and their installed cost will fluctuate with crude oil prices. However, as oil prices have continued to fall, BUR manufacturers have enjoyed the lowest asphalt pricing since the 2008-09 recession. (The price of oil peaked at about $117 a barrel in September 2012 and is $50 a barrel at this writing.) Typically BUR manufacturers will pass on a portion of these savings to their customers.

BUR has always held up well in life-cycle cost analyses. However, if a roof is not expected to last 20 years or more, it usually does not make sense to specify a premium four-ply BUR.

On larger projects, gravel-surfaced BURs are typically not practical from a cost standpoint unless a source of gravel is available locally. Projects where roof access is difficult often present challenges when roofing kettles are used. And despite the preponderance of low-fuming asphalts and kettles, re-roofing occupied buildings is often unacceptable to neighbors and/or the property owner.

Built-up roofing systems have sufficient strength to resist normal expansion and contraction forces that are exerted on a roof; however, they typically have a low ability to accommodate excessive building or substrate movement. Rephrased, if the roof must be used to “hold the walls” together or if the use of “loose-laid insulation” has a benefit, then a traditional three- or four-ply built-up roofing system is not a good choice.

A built-up roof typically provides high tensile strength with low elongation. Guidelines about where expansion joints should be installed in the roofing system should not be ignored by the designer. These guidelines include installing expansion joints where the deck changes direction, approximately every 200 feet (61 meters), although many consider that this dimension can be expanded for single-ply roofing membranes; where there is a change in deck material; and, anywhere there is a structural expansion joint, etc. Based on these requirements, on some projects it simply isn’t practical to use a BUR.

BUR materials must be kept dry before and during installation to prevent blistering in the roof system. Proper storage is the key: Do not overstock the roof; use breathable tarps to cover material on the roof; store material on pallets to minimize the possibility of material sitting in water; and store rolls on-end to prevent crushing. In general, polymeric single-ply membranes like TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) are less susceptible to storage issues.

Many roof consultants and product manufacturers clearly state that there should be no phased construction of a built-up roof. If phasing is required, then a BUR should not be specified. This is a clean and simple rule to understand; if the roof being constructed is a four-ply BUR, then only as much insulation should be installed as can be covered the same day with all four of the plies in the built-up roofing membrane. Phased construction of a built-up roof greatly increases the potential for blistering of the membrane and does not allow for the total number of plies to be installed in a shingled fashion. Phased application contains other perils, such as roofing over a small amount of overnight precipitation or dew that, even with the best of intentions, can cause harm.

As stated above, costlier modified bitumen materials should be specified for flashings and to strip in metal. Stripping in two plies of felt will most likely result in splitting at the joints in a gravel stop because the two-ply application cannot accommodate the movement in the edge metal. On new or existing buildings where significant expansion/contraction is expected, a TPO, PVC or EPDM roof membrane can save the property owners money and eliminate premature roof failure due to roof splitting.

Conclusion

Manufacturers across North America are making asphalt roofing systems like BUR better and more versatile for architects, builders, contractors, roofing consultants, and building owner/managers. Thanks especially to the addition of polymers that add stretch and strength, architects can now specify a commercial, low-slope roof as part of a multi-ply BUR system any way they want it — hot, cold, torch, or self-adhered (hybrid BUR) — to meet the individual low-slope roofing project’s needs.

Most importantly, asphalt-based roofing products offer exceptional life-cycle cost performance. They have proven to be reliable, easy to maintain, and are trusted to perform exceptionally well in extreme weather conditions.

Working From Home

After more than three decades working in an office setting, I recently joined the ranks of the people working from home. The situation has its obvious advantages — my commute time has been cut down to less than a minute — but I must admit I’m still getting used to it.

There are a few problems I’ve encountered in my home office that I didn’t have to cope with before. The other day our cat, Boo, ran across my keyboard and renamed a file “;;;;////.” Luckily it jumped to the top of the folder I was working in, or I’d probably still be looking for it. I’ve gotten better at timing the delivery of a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter to keep our dog, Josie, from barking during phone interviews, but it still sometimes happens, especially when packages are delivered on our block.

Working from home and working in an office have their challenges, but I realize how lucky I am. Every week I talk to people who work at the top of buildings large and small, making the roof of a commercial building or a home their temporary office. I’ve learned each jobsite has its own obstacles and its own set of risks. Each project also has its own rewards.

This issue puts the spotlight on hospitality and entertainment projects, and as a sports fan it was a thrill to cover stories about new construction projects including the PVC roof installation atop U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and MB Arena in Chicago, the practice home of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, which sports a TPO roof and two garden roof systems.

This issue also explores the roof renovation that took place at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, known as “The Q.” The project was completed during the Cavaliers’ historic NBA World Championship run and while the Cleveland Indians were hosting the World Series right next door at Progressive Field.

Working from home has its small hurdles, but making sure the jobsite looks pristine when viewed from a blimp is not one of them.

That was the case in Cleveland, where crew members worked on their hands and knees to restore the roof under the giant LED sign at The Q before the World Series. It was also the case in Chicago, where Willie Hedrick of All American Exterior Solutions in Lake Zurich, Illinois, was proud to see his work on display during aerial views televised during the Stanley Cup playoffs. “When the Blackhawks went to the Stanley Cup championship and the blimp was hovering over the arena, I could see a couple of my projects on TV,” he noted. “It reminded me of all the time, effort, attention to detail, and collaborative hard work that it took to produce the final product.”

Remind me never to complain about my cat ever again.

Why Planning Ahead for Post-Roofing Fall Protection Matters

Incorporating permanent fall protection systems into the overall construction plan benefits workers during the initial construction phase and while conducting building maintenance. Photos: MSA, The Safety Company

The majority of new and existing buildings require safe access to the roof area for ongoing building maintenance, as well as to service equipment such as telecommunications masts, skylights, air conditioning units, elevator machinery, and PV panels.

As such, failing to plan is planning to fail—especially when it comes to incorporating fall protection systems into the design, construction, and maintenance of a facility.

Without question, construction is a high-hazard industry and worker safety is, of course, paramount. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) helps ensure workplace safety standards by requiring fall protection equipment, fall arrest systems, and fall protection training for workers at height in the construction industry.

And yet there are pervasive numbers of architects, builders, general contractors, and building owners who are simply unaware that incorporating fall protection systems into their overall construction plan is not only possible, but highly desirable—not just to the benefit of the construction worker or roofer, but also to the overall building aesthetics, as well as ease and safety of ongoing building maintenance.

When it comes to commercial and infrastructure construction, the most important safety concerns are prevention of fall- and falling object-related accidents. In fact, 100 percent of fall-related accidents are preventable; yet, statistics show that falls are the leading cause of construction-related deaths.

That’s why OSHA holds fall-prevention planning in such high regard, as evidenced by its Fall Prevention Campaign, which urges construction employers to “plan projects to ensure that the job is done safely,” including “how the job will be done, what tasks will be involved, and what safety equipment may be needed to complete each task.”

Planning for, and incorporating, fall protection systems into the building design before construction offers these four key benefits:

  1. It allows for appropriate and proper safety equipment outfitting and training of the worker at height at all phases of construction and maintenance, giving building owners and facility managers peace of mind that maintenance staff have the safety systems they need to carry out their duties.
  2. It maintains the integrity of the original building design, giving architects more aesthetic control over the building.
  3. It saves the cost, confusion, and chaos of retrofitting buildings with OSHA-required at-height fall protection systems, allowing for the planning and implementation of high-quality, versatile systems.
  4. It protects roof structures from potential damage caused by post-construction add-on systems.

Mitigating Risk

From trips to slips, and from falls to fatalities, the most often cited OSHA fall-related violations involve skylights, steep-slope roofs, and unprotected edges.

To reduce risk, it is imperative to plan and implement a comprehensive, engineered fall protection system specific to the building design. Components may include such fall-protection products as:

  • Designated walkway systems
  • Energy-absorbing force posts
  • Engineered horizontal lifelines
  • Fall arrest systems and fall limiters
  • Fixed ladder fall protection
  • Guardrail systems
  • Hands-free anchors
  • Overhead protection systems
  • Safety net systems
  • Self-retracting lifelines
  • Vertical lifeline systems

Training everyone on the proper use of safety systems is a crucial part of the process. Remember, workers at height are always at risk of falling, and it’s your job to protect them. Early-stage planning helps make sure that the systems used are perfectly integrated into the building to not only protect the worker but also to seamlessly fit with the building design.

Best Practices

Here are some best practice recommendations when planning an engineered fall protection system:

  • Start early. Your in-house specification team should work with your solutions provider to assess your building’s unique installation requirements.
  • Design to requirements. Ask your solutions provider to design a system that meets both pre- and post-construction requirements. Stipulate that your provider help with CAD concepts, working drawings, and plans, as necessary.
  • Confirm the approach. Request a “checking service” to make sure that the recommended approach is the absolute best available for your particular application.
  • Ensure versatility. Since access requirements vary by build or retrofit, make sure your solutions provider has the ability to adapt to a wide range of roofing shapes, materials, and contours.
  • Confirm safe access post-construction. While construction-related safety is important, it’s also critical to ensure total safety for workers with a system that allows safe access to the finished roof.
  • Consider building aesthetics. Ask your safety solutions provider to consider form as well as function; namely the appearance of the building and surrounding areas. For example, components of safety systems, such as bodies and base plates of our posts, can be powder-coated to soften their appearance against the roofing material.

When specifying fall protection systems, make sure you consider all aspects of a well-engineered system, from quality, versatility and lifespan, to aesthetic appeal, teamwork, and innovation.

About the Author: Anne Osbourn is an Industrial Marketing Manager at MSA, The Safety Company, http://us.msasafety.com.