Professional Roofing Contractors Donates a New Roof and So Much More

Matt Brinck (left) and Jonathan Price plan Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook roof giveaway with Dawn Holley of United Way of Bedford County. The giveaway would not only provide a free roof to a family in need, but also would contribute funds to United Way of Bedford County for every Facebook “like” on Professional Roofing Contractors’ page during the promotion.

Matt Brinck (left) and Jonathan Price plan Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook roof giveaway with Dawn Holley of United Way of Bedford County. The giveaway would not only provide a free roof to a family in need, but also would contribute funds to United Way of Bedford County for every Facebook “like” on Professional Roofing Contractors’ page during the promotion.

Everyone should have the charitable spirit of Jonathan Price, vice president of Professional Roofing Contractors, Shelbyville, Tenn. Price prides himself in giving back to the community he grew up in and that supports his business. His roofing contracting company, which was established in 1996 and has a 70 percent commercial focus, has donated roofs to charitable entities like Habitat for Humanity, and Price is a member of the local Rotary Club and United Way of Bedford County’s board of directors.

Shelbyville is not a large town—20,105 residents per the 2010 census—and Price, who manages the contracting company’s marketing, found Facebook easily facilitates conversation between Professional Roofing Contractors and the community. “I hear daily from people in the community who say it was awesome that we did this or that,” Price says. “They’re picking up our activities from Facebook.”

In 2013, Price decided to take the lead on a charitable roofing giveaway that he would run through Facebook. “We basically asked for a photo of the existing roof and a 100- to 200-word explanation about what was going on, why they needed a roof and why they should win,” Price recalls. He enlisted United Way of Bedford County to help with promoting the giveaway and offered the organization $5 for each Facebook “like” Professional Roofing Contractors received during the promotion.

John Morris (left), the local rep for Atlas Roofing, and Matt Brinck, residential sales for Professional Roofing Contractors, congratulate Jo Gentle, winner of Professional Roofing Contractors’ roof giveaway. Based on the success of the contest, Professional Roofing Contractors plans to make the roof giveaway an annual event.

John Morris (left), the local rep for Atlas Roofing, and Matt Brinck, residential sales for Professional Roofing Contractors, congratulate Jo Gentle, winner of Professional Roofing Contractors’ roof giveaway. Based on the success of the contest, Professional Roofing Contractors plans to make the roof giveaway an annual event.

“We were excited about the opportunity,” says Dawn Holley, United Way of Bedford County’s executive director. “Not only would there be a family that truly needed but couldn’t afford a new roof, but contributions from the ‘likes’ would come back to United Way to be divvied out among 20 agencies that provide valuable services throughout the area.”

In addition to promoting the giveaway on Facebook and their websites, Price and Holley recorded commercials for a local radio station; the station’s hosts also talked about the giveaway on air. Holley promoted the giveaway to United Way of Bedford County’s 20 partner agencies, and the local newspaper wrote several articles about the giveaway before and after the winner was chosen.

During the month-and-a-half-long promotion, Professional Roofing Contractors received 20 entries on its Facebook page. Price chose a panel of judges—Holley; Laurrie Batey, Professional Roofing Contractors’ accountant; and John Morris, the local Atlas Roofing rep—to narrow the entries to three finalists. “We kept narrowing them down; it was a challenge because we could see the need in every one of the entries,” Holley notes.

Dawn Holley, executive director of United Way of Bedford County, receives a check for $500 from Larry Price (middle), president, and Jonathan Price, vice president of Professional Roofing Contractors, Shelbyville, Tenn. The roofing contracting company donated $5 to United Way of Bedford County for each “like” added to its Facebook page while collecting entries for a charitable roof giveaway.

Dawn Holley, executive director of United Way of Bedford County, receives a check for $500 from Larry Price (middle), president, and Jonathan Price, vice president, of Professional Roofing Contractors. The roofing contracting company donated $5 to United Way of Bedford County for each “like” added to its Facebook page while collecting entries for a charitable roof giveaway.

“After the three finalists were chosen, we opened the contest up to a vote on Facebook,” Price says. “To vote, visitors had to ‘like’ our page. Then we counted up the votes.” The winner of the free roof—valued at $5,000 with materials donated by Atlas Roofing Corp., Atlanta, and labor provided by Professional Roofing Contractors—was Jo Gentle of Brownsboro, Ala. (The other two finalists also received prizes donated by the local Sears, United Grocery Outlet and Victory Nissan.)

Professional Roofing Contractors’ giveaway not only gave Gentle the roof her family’s home desperately needed, but it also provided $500 to United Way of Bedford County based on 100 likes added to the roofing contracting company’s Facebook page during the promotion. That money was distributed among United Way of Bedford County’s 20 partner agencies.

“When you have a small United Way like ours, partnerships like the one with Professional Roofing Contractors are vital,” Holley says. “When you give to United Way, those dollars are going to so many different organizations and touching so many lives. This promotion did so much more in our community beyond helping the family that received the roof. I just want to give a big thank you to Jonathan and Professional Roofing Contractors for including us in the promotion.”

Jo Gentle’s roof was about 20 years old and had many leaks, resulting in rotten decking. In her Facebook entry, Gentle uploaded a photo of a giant hole in her ceiling’s sheetrock, with which Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook followers obviously sympathized when they selected her the winner of a new roof.

Jo Gentle’s roof was about 20 years old and had many leaks, resulting in rotten decking. In her Facebook entry, Gentle uploaded a photo of a giant hole in her ceiling’s sheetrock, with which Professional Roofing Contractors’ Facebook followers obviously sympathized when they selected her the winner of a new roof.

Jo Gentle's new roof with materials donated by Atlas Roofing and labor donated by Professional Roofing Contractors.

Jo Gentle’s new roof with materials donated by Atlas Roofing and labor donated by Professional Roofing Contractors.

PHOTOS: Professional Roofing Contractors

New Year, New Magazine

Happy New Year, and welcome to the first edition of Roofing!

Although we may be new to many of you, Roofing actually is the next iteration of a successful regional roofing magazine called Carolinas Roofing. (Check out our back issues in digital format.) Since the first issue of Carolinas Roofing mailed in March 2010, we were approached several times to bring the magazine to a broader audience. Last summer, we decided to evolve Carolinas Roofing into a national publication.

The magazine’s goal, which is highlighted in our tagline, “The Industry’s Voice”, is to provide insight from your peers (roofing contractors, architects, roof consultants, building owners and facility managers). We hope as you receive and read each issue of the magazine you feel like you’re having a conversation with other members of the roofing community. We hope their voices inspire, challenge and sometimes even irritate you. With each article and shared experience, Roofing hopes to drive the roofing industry forward.

Roofing will mail bimonthly, and we plan to keep in touch with you regularly. Our dynamic website is updated daily with news and product information. We’ll be posting online exclusives, as well. If you want to be made aware of these updates, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. And of course you can follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

We know everyone is busy these days, so we’ll strive to bring you the best content in the most efficient manner. You’ll notice the magazine contains many short columns that impart knowledge quickly. For example, did you know someone can be suffering from hypothermia but be fully alert? I didn’t until I read Michael Rich’s “Safety” column. James R. Kirby shares efforts by ASTM D08.24 to develop standards specifically related to sustainable roofing in “Environmental Trends”. Craig Dallas helps you brush up on leadership skills with four great tips in “Business Sense”. And an anonymous author reminds us why safety on the job site is of utmost importance in “It Happened to Me”.

Even our feature articles are short and sweet. Get to the gist of some amazing hospitality and entertainment projects, including the 8-acre Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn. Baker Roofing’s crew was challenged by rolling hills, 30-foot parapet walls and a vegetated section. “Tech Point” explains why penetrations in the roof in the form of skylights and rooftop monitors can be beneficial to buildings. And get Solar Installer Matthew Bennett’s perspective about why roofing contractors and solar installers make good partners in “Cool Roofing”.

There’s a lot of good stuff in this issue but we couldn’t have put it together without help from roofing industry professionals. Therefore, I urge you to contact me with your stories. I know you’ve read that before and probably thought the editor doesn’t really mean it. I do! To live up to our tagline of “The Industry’s Voice”, Roofing depends on your wisdom and in-the-field experiences. If you enjoyed reading this issue, please submit something for the next one. Call me at (630) 308-4602; email me; post a comment on our website; and/or Facebook and tweet us your ideas. This magazine—and your peers—are counting on you!

Roof It Right’s Famous Roofing Dogs

Roofis was Roof It Right's original roofing dog.

Roofis was Roof It Right’s original roofing dog.

James Guindon and his husky, Roofis, moved to Las Vegas from Palm Springs, Calif., in 1994 for the construction boom. Guindon was accustomed to bringing Roofis—who actually climbed ladders to join crews on the roof—to work, but he met some resistance from Las Vegas roofing contractors when he sought a job. “Some companies wouldn’t hire me because of Roofis, saying there were insurance reasons or they can’t bring their kids to work so I should play with my dog at home,” Guindon remembers. “I finally was hired by a company that only cared that I showed up and was a good roofer, and some of their customers thought Roofis on a roof was the cutest thing they ever saw.” Those customers called the local media outlets and suddenly Roofis was famous.

In 1997, Guindon established Roof It Right, which has five human employees and focuses 70 percent of its efforts on residential projects. Naturally, Guindon made Roofis the star of the company. Roofing spoke with Guindon about Roofis (who passed away in 2006) and Roofis’ son, Bullet, who has taken over as Roof It Right’s resident roofing dog.

Roofing: How did Roofis and Bullet become comfortable with ladders and on roofs?

Guindon: Roofis would follow me around wherever I would go. When he was 4-months old, I went up on my house’s roof and he climbed up the ladder behind me.

Roof It Right's owner James Guindon, who is also an artist, includes his dogs in marketing materials, including this Christmas card.

Roof It Right’s owner James Guindon, who is also an artist, includes his dogs in marketing materials, like this Christmas card he illustrated.

I took Bullet to a job site when he was a puppy. We tried to get him to follow Roofis up the ladder but he wouldn’t do it. I kept bringing Bullet to job sites anyway. One day, I went up on a roof and I heard a dog coming up the ladder. I assumed it was Roofis but it was Bullet. Six months later, Roofis died. The day after Roofis died, Bullet filled Roofis’ “shoes”.

Roofing: How do you keep Bullet away from dangerous situations?

Guindon: I have been careful of what roofs I let him onto. If I think Bullet’s going to get hurt, I won’t let him up. We did a job on a 3-story building recently and Bullet was climbing up the 32-foot ladder to get to us. If the ladder is straight up and down, I won’t let him go up because he can fall backward.

Roofing: Do you use your dog(s) in your marketing materials?

Guindon: I’m an artist, so I created our logo with Roofis in it. The last three or four years, I’ve included Bullet on the custom Christmas cards I create and send to my clients. Both dogs are on the company website. My TV commercials include Bullet. My answering machine’s outgoing message starts out with ‘woof woof’. I’m having some fun with it.

Also, when people drive by and see a dog on the roof it’s definitely a headturner. They often stop and ask how the dog got up there. It blows their minds when they see him climb the ladder.

Bullet is Roof It Right's current roofing dog.

Bullet is Roof It Right’s current roofing dog.

Roofing: Do you get jobs specifically because of Bullet?

Guindon: I get calls from animal lovers. They don’t usually tell me they’re going to hire me right away because they’re afraid about how I might price the job. I’ve also been in business for 17 years, so I’m established around here, but I have to admit some of my business is probably because of the dogs.

Roofing: Do you plan to continue using dogs in your business?

Guindon: I got Roofis’ sperm frozen so when Bullet, who is 9 years old, goes to doggie heaven I’ll probably get one more roofing dog and after that I’m going to retire. Then I’ll have hunting dogs instead of roofing dogs.

View Bullet’s TV appearances on Roof It Right’s website.

IMAGES: Roof It Right

ASTM International and Sustainable Roofing

ASTM International is a well-known standard-writing organization for the construction industry and other industries. As the building design and construction industries have moved toward more sustainable methods and products, it follows that more standardization of sustainability is necessary. This is certainly true for the roofing and waterproofing industry. ASTM now has a group devoted to developing standards for sustainable roofing.

Organizationally, ASTM is divided into numerous committees, each having a specific focus. The ASTM D08 committee is responsible for roofing and waterproofing standards. Within the D08 committee, there are multiple subcommittees that focus on a segment of the roofing/waterproofing industry—from asphalt shingles to spray polyurethane foam to modified-bitumen membranes to single-ply membranes and more. D08.24 is the subcommittee that is developing standards specifically related to sustainable roofing.

Further division of each subcommittee into Task Groups allows narrowly focused groups to develop standards for very specific topics. There are currently four Task Groups within D08.24:

  • D08.24.01 Guidelines for Sustainable Design
  • D08.24.03 Recycling Practices and Reporting Methodology
  • D08.24.04 Durability
  • D08.24.05 Selection Criteria Vegetative Roof Membranes

Process

Standards are developed by Task Groups with active participation by attendees at the semi-annual meetings. Typically, a draft standard (called a work item until it is an approved standard) is initially sent out for ballot to the Task Group to obtain comments that will improve the draft standard. After balloting to the Task Group, the draft standard is balloted to the full D08 membership. At times, a standard is simultaneously balloted to the Task Group and the full membership. During the balloting process, comments and negative votes are reviewed and dealt with according to ASTM protocols. Standards development is a very linear process that works well to achieve a consensus in the D08 committee. Once a consensus is reached, the standard is published for use.

The background on the process is necessary to understand the activities of the D08.24 subcommittee. Because the subcommittee was only recently established, all standards are still in the development stage.

Task Group Specifics

The D08.24.01 Task Group is developing a new standard, work item WK26599, which is currently titled “New Guide for Design of Sustainable, Low-Slope Roofing Systems”. The current scope is:

  • This Standard provides guidance for designing sustainable low-sloped roofing systems, including exposed membrane roofs, membranes covered with vegetative (green) overburden systems, ballasted roofs and protected membrane roofing assemblies. A sustainable roofing system minimizes environmental impact, conserves energy, and has maximized service life.

The scope recognizes the roof’s primary function is to weatherproof the building’s top surface.

The document provides a sequential process for designing sustainable roof systems. The document does not provide a prescriptive approach, but “attempts to help the user define and consider roofing system demands and environmental life cycle impacts, and integrate these with features that contribute environmental, energy conservation, or other benefit in service” through a number of considerations, which include roofing demands, functional expectations, end-user requirements and site restraints. The document is big-picture, technology-neutral and process-based.

The D08.24.03 Task Group is developing a new standard, work item 24614, currently titled “New Guide for Recycling Practices & Reporting Methodology”. The intent of the document is to unify common practices and develop an industry-accepted reporting format for recycling common roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles. The document is in its infancy and has not been balloted to date.

The D08.24.04 task group is developing a new standard, work item 26595, currently titled “New Guide for Roof System Durability”. The task group is still evaluating the specific scope but will focus on PVC and EPDM membranes in two separate documents. The intent is to provide methodology to evaluate the variables that lead to increased durability of PVC and EPDM roof systems. Neither document has been balloted yet.

The D08.24.05 Task Group is developing a new standard, work item 29304, currently titled “New Guide for Selection of Roofing/Waterproofing Membrane Systems for Vegetative (Green) Roof Systems”. The document will provide technology-neutral considerations for selection of appropriate membranes for vegetative roofs. The Task Group is expected to begin the balloting process soon.

Liaisons

The ASTM D08.24 group works with other groups, like E60 on Sustainability and the Built Environment Advisory Committee, to ensure continuity of ideas with all ASTM committees. Specifically, E60.01 on Buildings and Construction and E60.80 on General Sustainability Standards are in the focus of the D08.24 liaison efforts.

The ASTM sustainability standards are intended to be used by the roofing, construction and design industries to formalize the efforts toward more sustainable roofs and roofing. It is hoped that other roofing groups, such as ARMA, CEIR, ERA, NRCA and SPRI, will reference ASTM’s sustainability standards in their documents.

I encourage everyone in the roofing industry to not only join ASTM, but to participate in the development of the standards our industry uses each and every day. ASTM D08.24 needs your input as the roofing industry moves further toward sustainable products and activities.

Correct Side Lap on a Slate Roof

I’ve been asked to examine slate roof installations all across the U.S., and one of the most disheartening things I’ve observed is how often incorrect side laps are used. For example, the photo shows a slate roof that was installed less than one year ago and already has more than a dozen leaks. Why? Among one of the most basic problems is the side lap.

This slate roof was installed less than one year ago and already has more than a dozen leaks. One of the most basic problems is the side lap.

This slate roof was installed less than one year ago and already has more than a dozen leaks. One of the most basic problems is the side lap. PHOTO: John Chan

The side-lap detail drawing that appears on this page is from the National Slate Association’s Slate Roofs: Design and Installation Manual, page 86, Detail 5-B. The side lap also is referred to as a side joint, vertical joint, keyway, bond line or rain course. As defined in the glossary of the NSA manual, it’s “the longitudinal joint between two slate shingles”.

Whenever one is installing a slate roof, it is absolutely imperative the side lap is a minimum of 3 inches. As seen in the detail, if the lap is less than 3 inches, water will flow in between the two slates and leak into the building. When I’m asked to inspect a problematic new slate roof, I find the side and head laps are the problems on a majority of all cases across the country.

If you’re installing a single-sized slate, such as 20 by 12 inches, the slates should be installed so the joints are exactly split in two; the side laps on the whole roof should be 6 inches. Similarly, if the roof has 10-inch-wide slate, the side laps should be 5 inches. Whatever the width, the side lap should always be one-half the width on a single-sized slate.

It gets a little trickier on a random-width slate roof. Slate widths can be as narrow as 6 inches or as wide as 20 inches or more. When dealing with 6-inch slates, the joint obviously must be split exactly in the center, so there are 3 inches on each side. If you question the width, pull out a tape measure; this will save you and the building owner lots of money and headaches. When there are inadequate side laps, inevitably, the owner, architect or general contractor gets concerned, and then I get a phone call to do a full roof survey on the slate roof.

Click to download a larger version of this side-lap detail drawing from the National Slate Association’s <em>Slate Roofs: Design and Installation Manual</em<, page 86, Detail 5-B.

Click to download a larger version of this side-lap detail drawing from the National Slate Association’s Slate
Roofs: Design and Installation Manual
, page 86, Detail 5-B.

As slaters become more advanced, they are able to eyeball 3 inches extremely well, but until that point, installers should use a tape measure, or they should stick with using single-sized slates. It might seem too easy, but this is one of the most common errors I encounter. If a slater studies Detail 5-B and adheres to it, he or she will avoid having this problem with slate roof installations.

Too often, slate is given a bad name because of poor installation. Hopefully, this article and detail will resolve that problem.

How to Identify and Treat Hypothermia

Cold environments present a real hazard to workers. Just being in the cold can limit a person’s range of motion, creating a possible workplace hazard. Illnesses caused by the cold include trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. The most serious of the cold stress illnesses is hypothermia, a condition in which core body temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions. Symptoms of hypothermia vary depending on the level of hypothermia: mild, moderate, severe and critical. To ensure a safe winter workforce, you must be able to identify the symptoms of hypothermia and treat them.

Mild Hypothermia

When a person’s body begins to cool, the body’s natural reaction is to shiver to create internal heat. As the body cools, surface blood vessels begin to shut down to prevent the further loss of heat through the skin. Numbness to the extremities occurs, resulting in a loss of dexterity. Although the victim will be alert, other symptoms of mild hypothermia include a body temperature of 97 to 93 F and pain from the cold.

Moderate Hypothermia

As the victim’s body temperature decreases, shivering will become more violent. Movements are slow and labored, accompanied by a stumbling pace and mild confusion, although the victim still may appear alert. Surface blood vessels contract further as the body focuses on keeping the vital organs warm. The victim becomes pale. Lips, ears, fingers and toes may be blue. His or her body temperature now is around 93 to 90 F.

Severe Hypothermia

The victim now is showing obvious signs of the cold. Less blood flow causes confusion. Other symptoms include:

  • A body temperature of 90 to 82 F.
  • Shivering has decreased or stopped.
  • Confusion and loss of reasoning.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Semi-conscious to unconscious.
  • Muscular rigidity.

Critical Hypothermia

This is a life-threatening condition. The victim will die if not treated. Symptoms include:

  • A body temperature of less than 82 F.
  • Unconscious and may appear dead.
  • Little breathing.
  • Slow pulse.
  • Dilated eyes.
  • Rigid body.

Treating Hypothermia

The basic principles of rewarming a hypothermic victim are to conserve the heat he or she has and replace the body fuel he or she is burning to generate heat.

Victims of mild to moderate hypothermia are still conscious and can be treated without medical attention. Follow these guidelines:

  • Handle the victim gently and minimize his or her exertion.
  • Remove wet clothing and get the victim into warm, dry clothes. Wrap the victim in warm blankets, ensuring his or her head is covered. Place something warm and dry under the victim. Move him or her to a warm environment. Do not make the victim exercise to warm up.
  • Do not suppress shivering, even if violent. Shivering is the most effective way to generate body heat.
  • Do not massage the extremities (hands, arms, legs, feet, etc.) or the trunk.
  • Do not place the victim in a warm bath or shower.

Victims of moderate to severe hypothermia have an altered level of consciousness and fluctuating changes to their heart and respiratory rate. They may be shivering and their core body temperature is usually below 91.4 F. If someone is suffering from critical hypothermia, dial 911 immediately. Then follow these steps:

  • Handle the victim gently. Rough handling can cause heartbeat irregularities and death.
  • Check for airway obstructions and breathing or circulation problems and take appropriate action if there are any abnormalities. Initiate CPR only if no pulse is present after a one-minute assessment.
  • If CPR is necessary, assist breathing at 10 to 12 breaths per minute. Do not start cardiac massage unless it can be continued effectively without a break. It is more dangerous to start, stop and restart CPR rather than to wait until proper care is available.
  • Remove all wet clothing and replace with dry, warm blankets or a sleeping bag. If this is not possible, cover the victim with warm dry clothing, ensuring his or her head is covered. Place something warm and dry under the victim.
  • Move the victim to a warm, dry environment.
  • Do not suppress shivering, even if it is violent. Shivering generates body heat.
  • Do not give anything by mouth because of the high risk of vomiting.
  • Do not massage the trunk or extremities of the victim.
  • Do not place the victim in a hot bath or shower.
  • If available, heated, humidified air or oxygen should be administered.
  • Continue first-aid treatment even if the victim appears lifeless. The body can sometimes survive for hours at very low body temperatures without signs of life.
  • Arrange rapid transport to the nearest medical facility.

Hypothermia Prevention

Hypothermia can happen on a mild winter’s day or damp day in fall or spring. The basic principle for preventing hypothermia is to stay warm and dry and be prepared for a sudden emergency. You must know how to assess hypothermia and give help when it is needed, even if the victim resists help. He or she may be confused and unaware of what is happening, so it is up to you to recognize the signs of hypothermia and administer treatment.

I Experienced a Fatality on a Job Site

A fatality on a job site is something I never thought I would experience. I’ve worked in architecture/construction/real-estate development for more than 12 years and a rusty nail through a work boot was one of the worst events I had encountered. I’ve been lucky. However, a roofing worker on a job site where my team recently was working lost his life and it was an incident that could have been prevented.

Our firm was hired by a client to act as an owner’s representative observer for a reroofing project. Thankfully (from a business owner’s standpoint), we were only hired to observe, photograph and document progress for the building owner. Our company was not the general contractor or the roofing contractor; therefore, we had no capacity to be in a supervisory role or have any say in means, methods or logistics of the roofing project.

The building was a high-bay industrial property that was due for a new roof membrane and insulation. Because the roof was fairly large in size and the weather was less than optimal, the roofing project was being completed in sections. Work progressed for several weeks in fits and starts and was generally behind schedule but was nearing completion.

One morning, in the process of what would seem to be catching up on the schedule, one worker became lax in using fall protection. Although the sections of the roof that were being stripped were cordoned off with flags, the worker was in an area that had a previous repair to the steel deck. A replacement section of steel deck had been used to cover up an old penetration or previous roof-deck repair. As the worker picked up a piece of underlayment, he stepped onto the replacement piece of steel deck, which had not been welded into place and did not overlap the hole any significant amount. As the worker stepped onto the replacement piece of steel deck, it slipped. Because there was little overlap, the piece of steel deck twisted as it slid and fell through the hole. The worker fell almost 30 feet to a concrete floor.

I’m not exactly sure what the survival statistic is for falling from that distance onto a hard concrete surface, but I can imagine that it struggles to reach double digits. Others on the site scrambled off the roof and performed CPR but, unfortunately, it was not enough to save the worker.

A recent study, “Fatal Falls from Roofs among U.S. Construction Workers”, from the Center for Construction Research and Training offers some startling statistics about roofing falls. From 1992-2009 nearly one-third of all fatal construction accidents were falls from roofs. The study states 76 percent of all deaths in the roofing industry are fall-related, and there is a higher incident of falls among foreign-born workers. Language barriers may be an issue in some instances. The sad fact is a good number of these fatalities could have been prevented with appropriate safety gear, clear communication and by avoiding cutting corners.

The construction field is a dangerous area where the risks of serious injury and even death are prevalent on a daily basis. The problem becomes worse when workers become complacent in their jobs; they know the associated risks but still make decisions that put them in harm’s way. I’m pretty sure the worker on this particular job site didn’t wake up that morning thinking it may be his last day alive. It’s just not something you think will happen to you until it’s too late.

Safety on the worksite should be the No. 1 priority of any company. Supervisors who are lenient about safety rules need to be retrained and held accountable for their job-site safety record. Above all, if you see something, say something. If a member of my team noticed this worker was not wearing fall protection, I would like to think they would’ve said something. It’s easy to dismiss reporting a safety violation to those in charge. Too often we think, “It’s not my job site; it’s not my employee; it’s not my problem”. However, someone’s life is at stake, and that someone deserves to go home to his or her family just like we do.

Polyiso Roof Insulation R-value Update

An update to ASTM C1289, “Standard Specification for Faced Rigid Cellular Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation”, (ASTM C1289-13) features important improvements regarding the prediction of Long-Term Thermal Resistance (LTTR) for a variety of polyiso insulation roof boards. Members of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) began reporting LTTR values in accordance with ASTM C1289-13 on Jan. 1, 2014.

ASTM C1289

ASTM C1289 was first published in 1998. The standard is a series of physical property tests, including the measure of an insulation’s LTTR, conducted to ensure a polyiso product’s performance meets a minimum standard. The standard is used to predict an insulation’s R-value equivalent to the average performance of a permeably faced foam insulation product during 15 years.

To provide a comprehensive approach to predicting long-term R-value throughout North America, the updated ASTM C1289-13 standard incorporates two test methods: ASTM C1303-11 and CAN/ULC-S770-09. Each of these methods offers a similar approach to predicting the long-term thermal performance for foam insulation materials that exhibit air and blowing-agent diffusion or aging across time.

ASTM C1303, “Standard Test Method for Estimating the Long-Term Change in the Thermal Resistance of Unfaced Closed Cell Plastic Foams by Slicing and Scaling Under Controlled Laboratory Conditions”, is, in part, the result of a research project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The project was co-funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, PIMA, NRCA and the Society of the Plastics Industry.

CAN/ULC S770 is the result of work in Canada. This method is also based on the same thin-slicing and accelerated aging concept as ASTM C1303 but it also accounts for the effect of permeable facings, or skins, on the LTTR of foam insulation in addition to a number of other factors. Considered to be a prescriptive way to perform ASTM C1303 (a more narrowly defined procedure within the bounds described in the ASTM standard), CAN/ULC S770 predicts what the foam’s R-value will be after a five-year aging period—the equivalent to a time-weighted thermal design R-value of 15 years.

Based on extensive research during the past five years, including bias and ruggedness testing, most researchers now agree ASTM C 1303 and CAN/ULC–S770 provide similar and consistent results predictive of actual aged performance.

LTTR and Polyiso

The polyiso industry uses the newly revised ASTM C1289-13 standard for determining the thermal insulation efficiency of permeably faced products. LTTR represents the most advanced scientific method to measure the long-term thermal resistance of foam insulation products using blowing agents.

The use of an LTTR value provides numerous advantages:

  • It provides a technically supported, more descriptive measure of the long-term thermal resistance of polyiso insulation.
  • The thin slices are taken from current production insulation samples. Prior methods used samples that were at least three-months old with some up to six-months old.
  • Determining an LTTR value is fairly rapid and, depending on a slice’s thickness, can produce an LTTR design value for 2-inch-thick polyiso insulation board in about 90 days.
  • A formula is used to determine the aging time period for a particular thickness of insulation, instead of using the same conditioning period for products of all thicknesses as was done in the past.
  • It applies to all foam insulation with blowing agents other than air and provides a better understanding of the thermal performance of foam.

PIMA QualityMark

The PIMA QualityMark certification program is a voluntary program that allows polyiso manufacturers to obtain independent, third-party certification for the LTTR values for ASTM C1289 Type II, Class 1 and Class 2 permeable-faced polyiso foam insulation produced with EPA-compliant blowing agents. Participating companies are required to include each of their manufacturing locations in the PIMA QualityMark certification program. Polyiso is the only insulation to be certified by this program for its LTTR value.

The PIMA QualityMark program began reporting LTTR values in accordance with ASTM C1289-13 on Jan. 1. To participate in PIMA’s QualityMark certification program, a Class 1 roof is suggested to have a design R-value of 5.7 per inch.

FM Global, one of the world’s largest independent commercial and industrial property insurance and risk-management organizations, is the PIMA QualityMark certification administrator. Polyiso insulation samples are randomly chosen from each plant of a participating manufacturer in accordance with the program’s guidelines. An accredited testing laboratory then establishes and certifies to FM Global the 15-year LTTR value in accordance with ASTM C1289-13.

Reroofing Is One of the Few Opportunities to Improve the Built Environment

All of us get misled by catch-phrases, like “Save the Planet” or “Global Warming” or “Climate Change”. Although phrases like these are well intended, they can be misleading; they really are off topic. Something like “Save the Humans” is more to the point and truly the root of the entire sustainability movement. Let’s face it: The efforts to be more green are inherently aimed at a healthier you and me, as well as our children’s and grandchildren’s desire for continued healthful lives and opportunities.

The discussion about green and sustainability needs some context to make it real and effectual. The question to ask is: How does green construction help humans live a healthier and happier life? The answer is: It is because of the co-benefits of building (and living) in a more environmentally appropriate way.

One key component of building environmentally appropriate buildings is that, collectively, we use less energy. Less energy use means no need to build another power plant that creates electricity while spewing pollution into the air. Less pollution in the air means people are healthier. It also means the water and soil are less polluted. We drink that water and eat what grows in the ground. We also eat “stuff” from the rivers, lakes and oceans. Healthier people means reduced costs for health care. Reduced sickness means fewer sick days at the office, and fewer sick days means more productivity by employees. And, dare I say, happier employees are all because of the environmentally appropriate building, or a “human appropriate” building.

So what does all this have to do with roofs? Rooftops, because they are a significant percentage of the building envelope, should not be overlooked as an important and truly significant energy-efficiency measure. Building owners and facility managers should always include energy- efficiency components in their roof system designs. There are few opportunities to improve the building envelope; reroofing is one of those opportunities, and it shouldn’t be missed.

According to the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, Washington, D.C., and building envelope research firm Tegnos Inc., Carmel, Ind., roof systems have the potential to save 700-plus trillion Btus in annual energy use. Too many roofs are not insulated to current code-required levels. If our rooftops were better insulated, these energy-saving estimates would become reality. Imagine the co-benefits of such a significant reduction in energy use!

But how do we know we’re doing the right thing? RoofPoint and the RoofPoint Carbon Calculator will help. The RoofPoint Carbon Calculator uses seven inputs to compare an energy-efficient roof with a baseline roof: insulation, thermal performance, air barrier, roof surface, rooftop PV, solar thermal and roof daylighting. The outputs from the RoofPoint Carbon Calculator are total roof energy use, energy savings due to the energy- efficient roof design, energy savings during peak demand, and CO2 offset for the energy-efficient roof design. This can be used to compare an existing roof (the baseline roof) to a new roof design (the energy-efficient roof), and this will help verify the energy savings and reduction of carbon output. It’s an excellent tool for verifying how green a new roof can be.

Don’t just take my word on this co-benefits idea. The Economist recently published a blog about the EPA and rulings on interstate pollution. The article cited a claim that by 2014—if pollution rates were half of those in 2005—hundreds of thousands of asthma cases each year could be prevented and nearly 2 million work and school days lost to respiratory illness could be eliminated. And just think, improving your roof’s energy efficiency is key to the reduction of power-plant use and the pollution that comes from them. So, yes, a roof can help your kids and your grandkids be healthy and happy.

Impacts of Substance Abuse

Studies show an estimated 10 percent of U.S. employees have a chemical dependency, costing employers upwards of $100 billion each year. The most basic losses are attributed to the fact that, on average, an employee who partakes in substance abuse provides approximately two-thirds of the productivity of a sober employee.

Look at it this way: A worker’s salary is the price a business pays for the worker’s contribution to the company. If his or her salary is, for example, $60,000 per year but he or she is only contributing two-thirds of what the employer is paying because of the impacts of substance abuse, the company is looking at a loss of $20,000 each year for a single employee.

In addition, the on-the-job productivity losses don’t include extended behaviors. Other statistics show employees with substance-abuse issues:

  • Leave work early twice as often
  • Are absent from work twice as often and are tardy three times as often
  • File workers’ comp claims five times as often
  • Have an increased likelihood of being the root cause of workplace accidents
  • Have an increased likelihood of stealing or damaging company property

Employees with chemical dependencies also affect their coworkers. One in five employees has had to work harder, redo finished work or has been injured (or nearly injured) as a result of the behavior of a coworker who is under the influence.

Workplace substance abuse can have a stronger impact on small businesses that may not have the written policies or financial means to address accidents, injuries, and loss or damage of company property.

Spotting Substance Abuse

The signs of substance abuse range from vague to completely obvious and depend greatly on the degree to which an employee uses (from casually to compulsively). It is important supervisors are well-versed in recognizing signs so they can address the matter. Some signs to look for may include:

  • Perpetual tardiness or early departure
  • Unknown whereabouts in the middle of the day, doesn’t return after lunch
  • Constant complaints regarding health
  • Complaints from other employees regarding the abuser’s behavior
  • Irrational responses to constructive criticism, ranging from irritation to belligerence or aggression
  • Clear decrease in efficiency or a fluctuating level of performance
  • Repeated injuries on and off the worksite
  • Obvious financial problems (wage garnishment, loss of vehicle, borrowing money from coworkers)
  • Obvious alcohol or illegal drug odors

Keep in mind: Short of actually witnessing an employee drinking or using drugs at work, many of these signs could be attributed to problems that have nothing to do with substance abuse. Certain medications, for example, may present odors that are similar to that of alcohol. It’s vital to never use these signs to jump to conclusions because they’re merely a starting point from which to begin addressing a problem.

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