Butterfly Roof and Metal Wall Panels Highlight New Multipurpose Facility

Sevier County Utility District’s new multipurpose facility sports a butterfly roof over the main event space and two lower roof sections that cover offices, conference rooms and the kitchen. Each end of the building is open, with overhanging roofs, allowing for mountain views. Photo: Denise Retallack

The centerpiece of Sevier County Utility District’s new multipurpose facility in in Sevierville, Tennessee is a large event space that can be used by the district or rented to the public. The building also houses large conference rooms, a training room, a fitness area, administrative offices and a catering kitchen.

The design features large clerestory windows that flood the interior with natural light and a front canopy supported by steel columns. The facility’s exterior is dominated by its striking, V-shaped standing seam metal roof and metal wall panels, which are accented by brick and fiber cement siding.

“The roof was a major design element on this project from the beginning,” says A.J. Heidel, project manager for BarberMcMurry Architects in Knoxville, Tennessee. “We used the blue butterfly roof to accent the main assembly space and we used the lower roof as a wrapping element for the support spaces.”

To execute the design, it took a talented group of construction professionals including two Knoxville-based companies: Denark Construction, the general contractor on the project, and Baird and Wilson Sheetmetal Inc., the roof and wall system installer.

Crews from Baird and Wilson Sheetmetal installed approximately 13,500 square feet of Petersen’s PAC-CLAD Tite-Loc panels in Berkshire Blue on the roof. Photo: Denise Retallack

BarberMcMurry, Denark Construction, and Baird and Wilson had teamed up on other projects for the Sevier County Utility District (SCUD) in the past, so they were a perfect fit for this new construction project. The roof system chosen for the building is comprised of Petersen’s PAC-CLAD Tite-Loc panels in Berkshire Blue.

“We chose a standing seam metal roof because its material properties allow for a range of colors and ribbing patterns, and because of its ability to act as a wall cladding as well as roof,” notes Heidel. “We were able to give different characteristics to separate volumes by changing from blue smooth flat lock panels to Musket Gray ribbed panels while maintaining a similar method of installation.”

The design team originally explored using insulated metal panels for the roof and walls. “We were asked by Denark Construction to price this project,” says Jim Galbraith, vice president of Baird and Wilson. “I priced the insulated roof and wall panels and Denark came back asking if there were potential savings through value engineering. We submitted pricing for single-skin roof and wall panels and it was accepted.”

To make sure everyone was on the same page, pre-construction meetings involving the architect, general contractor and roof system installer included a mock-up of the panel system. “We had a mock wall with all of the roofing and wall conditions, and we met with them on site to go over all of the details,” explains Heidel.

The Installation

Baird and Wilson installed approximately 13,500 square feet of Tite-Loc roof panels on the roof, as well as 3,500 square feet of 16-inch Snap-Clad standing seam wall panels. “We also fabricated and installed gutter, downspouts, horizontal flush wall panels, low and high soffit, and fascia,” notes Galbraith.

After the metal deck topped with a nail base, insulation, and ice and water shield, the roof panels were installed and mechanically seamed. “The slope was less than 3:12, so the Tite-Loc panel was a perfect fit,” Galbraith says.

The exterior of the is features a mix of materials, including seamed metal wall panels, flush wall panels, fiber cement siding and brick accents. Photo: Matt Horton, hortonphotoinc.com

Work began on the butterfly roof. The valley features an internal gutter, which drains through downspouts that penetrate through the soffit and go down the front of the building, where they drain through underground pipes. “At the entrance we installed some horizontal blue flush panels that matched the roof,” notes Galbraith. “We also installed the fascia and soffit in Berkshire Blue, which matched the roofs on other buildings on the campus, which were also that color.”

The roof-to-wall transition was designed to make it appear the roof was wrapping around the building. “The roof panels were 16 inches on center, and the wall panels were 16 inches on center,” Galbraith explains. “The seams on the wall panels and the roof panels had to line up perfectly all the way down, so that was a bit tricky. You had to pay attention and do the math as you were going down to make it all work.”

Challenging Site

The limited area surrounding the building proved to be a major challenge on the project. “The building itself takes up much of the buildable area, leaving little room for things like parking and site drainage,” says Heidel. “We were able to avoid a water detention pond by using rain gardens on the site.”

The rain gardens are located against the main road, with parking spaces designed to shed water to that area, which includes native plants that thrive in a wet habitat. The pipes from the building’s downspouts flow there as well.

Tennessee’s spring weather was also a concern. “Construction took place in early spring, and the wind was whipping,” says Galbraith. “It was also rainy, and there was a corner where water would sit, so we had to be careful moving our lifts so they didn’t get stuck in the mud. The most difficult problem was manhandling the long roof panels. Many were more than 50 feet long.”

Photo: Matt Horton, hortonphotoinc.com

Despite the challenges, the project went smoothly. “BarberMcMurry prioritizes long-term client relationships, and this project is a great example of that,” Heidel says. “We have a history of successful projects with SCUD, and we continued that pattern through this project, which was delivered on time and on budget.”

“We work with our clients on designs that fit their brand, reflect their use, and are fully functional as well as beautiful,” Heidel continues. “That outlook is reflected in this project, too, through the overall design of the spaces and our creative use of materials. Finally, BMA is committed to sustainability and stewardship through design. In this project with SCUD, you can see sustainable design elements in the rain gardens, which filter and control the release of storm water as it leaves the site, and in the building’s clerestory windows and shaded curtain wall, which take advantage of daylighting.”

The project also showcases the quality workmanship of Baird and Wilson. Galbraith cited a quote from Charles R. Swindoll that serves as a company motto: “The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.”

TEAM

Architect: BarberMcMurry Architects, Knoxville, Tennessee, www.bma1915.com

General Contractor: Denark Construction, Knoxville, Tennessee, www.denark.com

Roofing Contractor: Baird and Wilson Sheetmetal Inc., Knoxville, Tennessee, www.bairdandwilson.com

MATERIALS

Roof Panels: PAC-CLAD 24-gaugeTite-Loc panels in Berkshire Blue, Petersen, www.PAC-CLAD.com

Wall Panels: PAC-CLAD 24-gaugeSnap-Clad panels in Musket Gray

New Synthetic Slate Roof Tops Historic Owatonna City Hall

The city offices in Owatonna, Minnesota, are housed in a historic building that underwent a complete roof replacement as part of an ambitious restoration plan. Photo: Lakeshore Drone Services

The massive brick complex in Owatonna, Minnesota, that currently serves as its city hall has an interesting past. According to Aaron Fitzloff, facility manager for the City of Owatonna, the structure was originally built in 1886 as the Minnesota Public School for Dependent and Neglected Children. The facility closed in 1945 and later became the Owatonna State School. “The state closed it in 1970, and the city of Owatonna took it over in 1974,” notes Fitzloff. “In 1975, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

The complex now houses administrative offices for the city and the Minnesota State Public School Orphanage Museum. Asphalt shingles had been installed on the roof at some point in the 1990s, but leaks developed over the years, and the city budgeted for a complete roof replacement as part of an ambitious restoration plan. “The intent was to get the building back to its original state,” says Fitzloff.

Specifying a New Roof

The city consulted with Adsit Architecture and Planning, a full service architectural and interior design firm located in Minneapolis. When the firm completed a condition assessment for another historic building in Owatonna— the Firemen’s Hall —that project led to a request from Fitzloff to look at the city’s administration building.

Crews from Schwickert’s Tecta America installed more than 29,000 square feet of DaVinci synthetic slate. Photo: Lakeshore Drone Services

“Aaron realized that all of the roof systems were in need of replacement at this point,” says Gunstad. “He wanted to make sure, first and foremost, that we mitigated any moisture problems that were occurring up in the attic space. The project was about insulation as well as roofing.”

Finding the right roof system was crucial. Evidence suggested that the original roof was comprised of slate, but that couldn’t be confirmed due to a fire that had destroyed the main building in 1904. “Even before we did our research, we knew from our first look at the building that an asphalt roof on a building of this mass and scale did not look right,” Gunstad says.

Adsit Architecture specified a synthetic slate roof system manufactured by DaVinci Roofscapes. “Right off the bat we felt that given the scale of the building that slate would have been prohibitively expensive for them, and they agreed,” Gunstad recalls. “We knew with the cost, ease of installation, the warranty, the weight — all of that — the synthetic slate would be a really good fit, and DaVinci had an enormous amount of color choices for the blends we needed.”

DaVinci’s Color Visualizer Tool was used to help determine the colors. A European blend of gray shades and purple was installed. As the project got under way, the hunch that the original roof was slate was confirmed. “When we got into reconstruction and were up digging around in the attic, we did find some old slate pieces,” Gunstad recalls. “Oddly enough, they were a perfect match for the colors we had chosen.”

Installing the Roof Systems

The installer on the project was Schwickert’s Tecta America, headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota. “We ended up being the only bidder on it, which of course you don’t know at the time,” notes Scott Haefner, Schwickert’s steep slope project manager.

The scope of work on the project included 60-mil Carlisle EPDM, new gutters and custom-fabricated metal trim. Photo: DaVinci Roofscapes

According to Haefner, the difficulty of the project is what made it appealing for the company, which thrives on projects others turn away from. “Those are the ones we look for — the ones that have some complexity to it,” says Haefner. “That’s where we can shine. We have our own metal shop, we can do all our own metal fabrication, and we can do the types of things that can really set us apart. It gives us an advantage because we don’t have to farm some of that work out, and we have complete control over the whole process.”

The scope of work included installing more than 29,000 square feet of the DaVinci synthetic slate. The roof also included low-slope areas, and for these a 60-mil EPDM from Carlisle was installed. Sheet metal work included new gutters and custom-fabricated metal trim.

The safety plan was crucial, as the building would be open during the construction process. “You start with the safety plan,” says Haefner. “With staff and members of the public walking in and out, it is critically important in your pre-construction meetings to address those issues with overhead protection in certain areas, and blocking off certain areas when you’re working above them for the day.”

The safety plan incorporated scaffolding and personal fall arrest systems, as well as overhead protection for pedestrians. Photo: Schwickert’s Tecta America

Coordination with the city staff was critical. “Aaron Fitzloff helped us tremendously in that area,” says Haefner. “We had a standing meeting every Tuesday morning at 9, and that was always a big part of the conversation — safety and the sequence of what we were going to do that day. Aaron and I would also see each other every day also, typically. He was a great attribute to the whole project, for sure.”

Safety equipment included scaffolding and PFAS. “The vast majority of the building was scaffolded,” Haener says. “Fall arrest was anchored to the roof in areas we didn’t have scaffolding, and even where we did, the roof pitch was steep enough that everyone was always tied off with anchors and fall arrest systems.”

Work began in the late fall and progressed in sections. “That’s part of the beauty and charm of the building — its different additions and roof sections,” notes Haefner. “That also allowed us to focus on one area at a time. That’s typically what you do — you start and do a section that’s kind of an easy one to just get your feet underneath you and get a feel for how it’s going to go. There were some big, long planes of roof that we were able to get a start on and get a feel for the whole sequence.”

Schwickert’s steep-slope division handled the composite slate roof installation, while its flat roof division tackled the EPDM roofs.

Tying in flat and steep-slope roof systems was critical. Steep slope-crews completed most of their work first, using a Grace Ice & Water Shield product that is compatible with EPDM. “Let’s say you know the EPDM is going to go let’s say two feet up the slope of the roof, from flat to transition up the steep slope,” Haefner explains. “We’d leave off the bottom two or four courses of shingles, and leave the ice and water shield exposed, but not adhered.”

Photo: DaVinci Roofscapes

Low-slope crew members would just flip up the ice and water shield and install the EPDM. Steep-slope crews would then install the metal flashing, adhere the ice and water shield, and add the final courses of shingles.

A snow retention system from Rocky Mountain Snow Guards was installed in several sections of the roof.

Re-roofing the large turret was made easier by DaVinci’s turret package, which supplies pre-cut tiles. “You give them some basic information, including the circumference and the pitch,” Haefner says.

It worked well on the project, with one minor hitch that was quickly remedied. “This one was a little different because it has a sort of witch’s hat appearance to it, where the pitch changes at the bottom,” Haefner says. “It’s not a typical cone shape. When I sent in the request for the package, I didn’t take that into account, and we needed to order some more shingles to finish the turret.”

The large finial on the turret was taken down, painted and replaced.

A heat mesh system was installed in certain areas that had been subject to ice dams in the past. The Warmquest Zmesh system consists of woven copper mesh, which was installed below the tile, sandwiched between layers of ice and water shield. “That was a tricky part of the installation,” says Haefner. “We had to run big transformers, electrical panels, and run conduit to these areas from the old attic.”

The Minnesota weather brought things to a halt in the mid-winter, and work concluded this spring.

Mission Accomplished

Haefner points to this project as proof of his company’s ability to complete projects with multiple scopes of work. “With steep slope, flat roof, sheet metal work, new gutters, insulation, and the electrical portion involved with installing the heat mesh system — it shows perfectly how we can install multiple complex systems that have to go together in a certain way,” he says. “That type of complexity is where we shine.”

The city and its residents have been pleased with the result, according to Fitzloff. “Feedback has been nothing but positive,” he says. “We cleaned all of the limestone around the whole building as well, and it looks fabulous.”

Gunstad notes that the project fulfilled its design goals: making the building sound and restoring it to its former glory. “Performance and maintenance of the project were our primary concerns, but design-wise, looking at this building, which is rather grand, we knew it lacked something — and that something was a substantial roof,” says Gunstad. “We wanted to give that visual prominence back to that building, which is a hallmark of the city.”

TEAM

Architect: Adsit Architecture and Planning, Minneapolis, Minnesota, www.adsitap.com

Roofing Contractor: Schwickert’s Tecta America, Mankato, Minnesota, www.schwickerts.com

MATERIALS

Synthetic Slate: Single-Width Slate, DaVinci Roofscapes, www.davinciroofscapes.com

Low-Slope Roof: Carlisle 60-mil EPDM

Leak Barrier: Grace Ice & Water Shield

Underlayment: Titanium UDL

Snow Retention: Rocky Mountain Snow Guards

Community Center Sparkles With New Metal Roof

The community center was re-roofed using a structural sub-framing system from Roof Hugger that allowed the existing metal roofing to remain in place while the new roof system was installed above it. Photos: Roof Hugger, LLC

Just down the road from Pigeon Forge, Gallatin, Dollywood and other popular attractions in the Smokie Mountains is the thriving community of Sevierville, Tennessee. This beautiful mountain town has a community center and a civic center that hosts multiple events throughout the year. The community center is housed in a 1985 vintage metal building manufactured by American Buildings. Due to its age, the building recently underwent a complete re-roofing with metal in a process commonly known as a metal-over-metal retrofit. The building was originally constructed using American’s trapezoidal standing seam profile, so the decision was made to utilize a structural sub-framing system furnished by Roof Hugger, LLC. This type of retrofit allows the existing metal roofing to remain in place. The structural sub-framing is installed over the existing roof and then a new metal roof system is installed, which becomes the finished weathering surface.

The local community leaders were not new to this type of re-roofing for aged metal roofs because of their experience with a 2017 project at Lanier Elementary School in nearby Maryville. This project was designed by Chuck Howard of Metal Roof Consultants (MRC) from Cary, North Carolina, the same company selected for the community center re-roof. MRC has years of experience with retrofit roofing of existing metal roofs, as well flat roofs that receive an engineered light-gauge steel framing system to create a sloped roof plane. On the community center project, MRC consulted with Doyle E. Jones of Sevierville, the architect and roof consultant on the Lanier Elementary project.

Morristown Roofing was awarded the community center project through a public bid process in early 2019. Founded in 1962 by the late Paul Horner, Morristown Roofing now has a footprint of quality roofs in six states throughout the Southeast. With an overall staff of about 55 employees, the company installs all types of roofing from single-ply membranes to metal. The company’s motto: “No project is too large, nor too small for Morristown Roofing.”

According to Ashley Horner of Morristown Roofing, this project was only the company’s second Roof Hugger installation. The job went smoothly, even with the building’s roof geometry having had sloped rakes, varying slopes, multiple valleys and other difficult transitions. Horner went on to say the Roof Hugger product has the ability to increase snow loading and has little to no impact on the occupants of the building. It also helps control the contractor’s liability by eliminating the need to remove the existing metal roof. In addition, with existing trapezoidal metal roofs that are notorious for varying center-to-center major rib spacing, the Roof Hugger sub-purlin design compensates for this issue. Factory oversize notching of the Z-shaped sub-purlin’s vertical web permits easy installation directly over the existing roof panel high ribs, allowing for base flange attachment into the existing purlins. The result is a structurally correct, low-profile, finished retrofit framing assembly ready to receive the new metal roof panels.

The project finished out with 54,000 square feet of 24-gauge  System 2500 metal roofing by MRS Metal Roofing Systems, Inc. Approximately 12,720 linear feet of Roof Hugger’s standard Model “D” sub-purlin with a 4.5-inch web height was installed. The new roof included a ColorGard snow retention system manufactured by S-5!

TEAM

Consultant: Metal Roof Consultants (MRC), Cary, North Carolina, www.metalroofconsultants.net

Roofing Contractor: Morristown Roofing, Whitesburg, Tennessee, www.morristownroofing.net

MATERIALS

Structural Sub-Framing: Roof Hugger, LLC, www.roofhugger.com

Metal Roof: System 2500, MRS Metal Roofing Systems Inc.,  www.metalroofingsystems.biz

Snow Retention: ColorGard, S-5!, www.S-5.com

Re-Roof of Busy Post Office Facility Becomes Award-Winning Project

Crews from Roofing Solutions replaced the 300,000-square-foot roof on the United States Post Office General Mail Facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photos: Sam Barnes

The United States Post Office General Mail Facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, manages mail for the entire Greater Baton Rouge area. When the roof on the 300,000-square-foot building was nearing the end of its useful life, it was clear the roof replacement project would pose some big challenges. It was a given that the new roof system must prove durable and reliable to protect the mail delivery system that businesses and individuals rely on every day. It was also critical that the re-roofing work would not interfere with mail processing at the facility, which operates around the clock.

Architect Crump Wilson and Wharry Engineering specified an asphalt roofing system for the project — a two-ply modified bitumen system manufactured by SOPREMA. All parties agreed that asphalt was the best roofing solution for the facility due to its longevity, durability, and long-term dependability.

Roofing Solutions, LLC, headquartered in Prairieville, Louisiana, was invited to bid on the project. “We were the successful low bidder,” says Tupac de la Cruz, the company’s founder and operations manager. “When we started working on the planning and phasing, we realized the job was going to be an undertaking because, number one, it was a big-size job, and number two, the facility works 24-7.”

Completing the project without interrupting operations would be the biggest challenge on the project. Crews could not interfere with traffic flow and mail deliveries, and would have to protect people and sensitive machinery inside.

“Before beginning the re-roof project, we were given a full tour of the facility,” de la Cruz says. “It was an eye-opening experience to see the equipment, systems, and personnel that manage the mail delivery process from start to finish. You had to coordinate with the facility manager, the transportation manager, and multiple stakeholders to make sure that you did not interrupt all of the conveyor lines sorting all of the mail coming in and out of that facility every day.”

Working in Sections

The deck was exposed to the interior, increasing the risk of dust falling onto the equipment, so Roofing Solutions crews installed a 6-mm protective film using a Spyder lift. “We installed special sheathing underneath the deck to protect the conveyor systems and all of the equipment,” noted de la Cruz. “We also had to protect the workers and make sure that there was no noise, no dust, or any disruptions from anything to do with the roof replacement.”

Sunbelt Vacuum Service was contracted to remove the rooftop gravel. Then the old built-up plies were then cut up and removed by hand. “We had a metal deck, and we couldn’t put any heavy equipment on it,” de la Cruz recalls.

Work proceeded in sections to ensure everything remained watertight. “You had to cover everything you’d demo the same day,” de la Cruz says. “In the summertime in Louisiana, it can rain almost every afternoon.”

The new roof system included two layers of mechanically attached polyiso insulation, which was topped with SOPRABOARD, an asphaltic cover board, which was adhered with COLPLY adhesive. The two ply system was comprised of a base play and a cap sheet Designers chose SOPREMA’s Solar Granule cap sheet membrane, which provides the benefit of high reflectivity. Torches were not allowed on the project, so the membrane was set in cold adhesive. “Because we could not use any torches, all of the laps for modified bitumen cap had to be sheet welded with a robot like you were doing single-ply,” notes de la Cruz.

The roof system specified for the project was a two-ply modified bitumen system topped with SOPREMA’s Solar Granule cap sheet membrane.

Most of the roof area was clear sailing, but access at the jobsite was limited due to the busy transportation routes. “It was a nice, wide roof,” says del la Cruz. “The hardest part was getting the material from one end of the roof to the other, because we only had access at one point. No motorized vehicles were allowed up there, but we were able to use carts to move material from one end to the other.”

The roof features four large raised sections framed with clerestory windows, and the multiple levels sometimes made moving material difficult. “In some cases, you had to bring the material across one level, bring it up to another level and back down again,” says de la Cruz.

The existing skylights were replaced with new single-slope skylights manufactured by KalWall.

Safety and Security

The safety plan utilized mix of guardrails, perimeter flagging, and safety monitors, depending on the configuration of each section. “We also had to have a flagging man on the bottom to make sure we were not interfering with the 18-wheelers coming in and out with their packages,” de la Cruz says. “The project extended over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you couldn’t imagine the amount of trucking that goes through that facility during Christmas.”

Making sure everyone was on the same page was crucial. Weekly planning meetings were supplemented with daily huddles. “We met with the facility manager every morning to make sure we let him know where we’d be and what we were going to do that day,” de la Cruz explains, “Every afternoon, we’d let him know what the plan for the next day was so they could plan ahead. It was a very proactive approach.”

The crew, which included 20 men during the peak of the project, usually accomplished 3,000 to 3,500 square feet of demo and roof replacement per day. The project was completed in seven months — three months ahead of schedule.

The project was recognized by the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association as the Silver Award winner in the 2020 ARMA Excellence In Asphalt Roofing Awards program, which recognizes industry professionals for their high-performing steep-slope and low-slope asphalt roofing projects across North America.

“We had such pride in completing that project because it was so large and we had zero injuries, no issues, and the client was very happy. We decided to submit it, and we got the award,” says de la Cruz.

“We finished the project about three months ahead of schedule, and we were able to complete the job with no interruptions to the facility. We knew if we could do that, in the end it would be a successful project.”

For more information about submitting a project for the Excellence in Asphalt Roofing Awards, visit www.asphaltroofing.org.

TEAM

Architect: Crump Wilson, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, www.crumpwilsonarchitects.com

Roof Consultant: Wharry Engineering, Garland, Texas, www.wharry.com

Roofing Contractor: Roofing Solutions LLC, Prairieville, Louisiana, www.roofingsolutionsla.com

MATERIALS

Membrane: SG Solar Granule Cap Sheet, SOPREMA, www.soprema.us

Cover Board: SOPRABOARD, SOPREMA

Skylights: Kalwall, www.kalwall.com

Acoustical Smoke Vents Are Key Priority for School’s Theater Renovation

The renovation included the construction of a new visual arts wing that integrates a rich cross-section of artistic disciplines with a gallery, studio and classroom spaces. Photos: Sarah Hamlin/Everchangingphoto

Roofing experts are well aware smoke vents can save lives and reduce the amount of property loss. While life and property safety are their primary function, acoustical smoke vents also play an important part in noise mitigation. When Middlesex School in Massachusetts renovated the 55,000-square-foot Bass Pavilion for the Arts and Danoff Visual Arts Center, the architectural team from CBT Architects selected four acoustical smoke vents manufactured by The BILCO Company.

“The features that were included in the smoke vents were geared to student safety,” says Michelle Oishi, the lead architect on the project for CBT. “That was of paramount importance. They were also space considerations, and the automated aspect of the vents was important due to the fact that we wanted very few things interfering with the rigging sets.”

Broad Scope

The primary objective of the project aimed at improving the existing theater and creating a space where the school’s entire 400-plus students and nearly 100 faculty members could assemble. The previous structure was built in the 1960s. The school opened in 1901.

“There’s a commitment to theater and the arts,” says Steve McKeown, the school’s project manager. “It’s not any different than our commitment to clubs, sciences or athletics. We provide spaces for students who are interested in a variety of things. There’s a lot of cool opportunities for students to find their promise.”

Middlesex School recently completed an extensive renovation project of the school theater. The project included six double-leaf acoustical smoke vents manufactured by The BILCO Company.

Architects, engineers and contractors needed a large dose of creativity to execute the project. The theater’s original roof structure and perimeter walls needed to remain standing. In essence, the renovation was a major do-over of the existing space without adding additional square footage. “We had to work within the confines of the existing roof structure and the surrounding walls,” Oishi said. “A certain amount of the existing building was out of character with the rest of the school.”

The acoustical smoke vents used in the Middlesex School renovation are 6-foot-by-6-foot double-leaf smoke vents with motorized operation that allows them to be opened and closed from a remote location. They also include limit switches, which allow for monitoring if the vents are in the open or closed position.

Automatic smoke vents protect property and aid firefighters in bringing a fire under control by removing smoke, heat and gases from a burning building. This ensures better visibility, evacuation time, and protection against fire spread, as well as reduced risk of smoke inhalation and structural damage. They are activated upon the melting of a fusible link, and are ideally suited for large expanses of unobstructed space such as factories, warehouses, auditoriums and retail facilities.

Acoustical smoke vents, however, take on the added quality of controlling noise. They are used in theaters, concert halls and other projects where it is important to limit noise intrusion.

Know Your Ratings

Acoustical smoke vents and their ability to block out noise are determined by ratings in Sound Transmission Class and Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class. For acoustical smoke vents, the OITC rating is the more important figure for architects to consider.

OITC rates the transmission sound between outdoor spaces and indoor spaces in a structure. Like the STC rating, OITC measures sound intensity loss in decibels. The OITC rating was developed in 1990 and is typically used to measure sound transmission loss over a frequency range from 80 to 4000 hertz. It is most applicable for measuring the prevention of low frequency exterior sounds such as automotive traffic, construction, and low-flying airplanes through exterior building surfaces.

STC measures the extent to which sound is prevented from being transferred from one area to another. The higher the STC value, the less that sound can be transferred through a building product. STC is typically used to measure sound transmission loss over a frequency range from 125 to 4,000 hertz and is most applicable for interior areas that experience mid to high frequency noises, such as conversation, television, telephones, and office equipment.

“OITC is the preferred rating when addressing sound insulation from exterior noise — especially when transportation noise sources are impacting a building facade with significant low-frequency (bass) sound,” says Harold Merck, principal and acoustician for Merck & Hill Consultants of Atlanta. “While STC ratings may be fine for typical interior noise sources such as voices, STC doesn’t adequately address the extended low-frequency noise contribution of aircraft, traffic or even large roof-top equipment. The OITC better addresses low-frequency noise impacts and is the more applicable sound rating for roof mounted automatic smoke vents.”

The BILCO Company recently unveiled a new acoustical smoke vent, with an STC rating of 50 and an OITC rating of 46, that provides the highest level of protection against exterior noise intrusion. In addition, the product has also received an ISO-140-18 sound rating when tested against rainfall sound. The rating measures the impact of sound insulation on building materials — such as roofs, skylights and roof/ceiling systems — incur when exposed to artificial rainfall.

Checking All the Boxes

From the roof on down, the completed project at Middlesex checks all of the boxes that were the target of the two-year renovation.

The main stage now includes balcony seating that allows the entire student body and faculty to fit comfortably as an audience for performances, guest speakers and all-school assemblies. It features a motorized orchestra pit that can be raised up to the stage level.

There are gallery space and pin-up areas as new arenas to celebrate and encourage the artistic pursuits of students. There is also a new “mindfulness” space that will provide “emotional and intellectual space to reflect and recharge,” according to the architect. Workers also improved a courtyard to provide accessible entry to adjacent buildings which includes a terrace that serves as an exterior performance venue.

Thanks to the acoustical smoke vents, it also includes important life and property safety features that also limit exterior noise.

“It’s an awesome space,” McKeown said. “The entire community gathers there on a weekly basis, and it’s very comfortable. It provides a space where our community can gather, and that’s something that is very important to our school.”

About the author: Thomas Renner writes on building, construction, and other trade industry topics for publications in the United States.

TEAM

Architect: CBT Architects, Boston, Massachusetts, www.cbtarchitects.com

Contractor: J.S. Mortimer Inc., Auburn, Massachusetts, www.jsmortimer.com

MATERIALS

Smoke Vents: Acoustical Smoke Vents, The BILCO Company, www.bilco.com

Shingles: Landmark, CertainTeed, www.certainteed.com

State-of-the-Art Wall System Protects New Gymnasium Complex

The new $6 million gymnasium complex at Pacific Christian School features Enerfoil Wall Insulation and the AquaBarrier AVB System from IKO. Photos: IKO

A state-of-the-art $6 million gymnasium for Pacific Christian School in Victoria, British Columbia, replaced the school’s existing facility, constructed nearly 40 years earlier.

The new facility created a double-sized gymnasium with a mezzanine, changing and locker rooms, and a commercial kitchen. The school has 900 students enrolled from preschool to grade 12.

The Pacific Christian School project demanded a wall system that would perform well with the wet weather conditions of the Pacific Northwest. Since school was in session during the project, a fixed timeline was imperative. Brytar Contracting worked around the school’s daily routine, and certain parts of the school were off limits, with only one door accessible to construction staff.

For the building’s walls, Brytar Contracting proposed IKO’s Enerfoil system because of its superior R-Value and ease of installation. According to Brytar Contracting Business Development Manager Les Starling, the company full service general contracting company that specializes in wall panels. “Our work includes lots of multi-family and high rise projects, so we were looking for an alternative to a rigid wall solution for this project,” he says.

In all, approximately 8,640 square feet of wall systems were installed on the project, which qualified for an IKO AquaBarrier Waterproofing Material Warranty. “While we used AquaBarrier AVB on another school project, this was Brytar’s first time to install the IKO Enerfoil insulation product,” notes Starling. “Both are outstanding products and performed perfectly. As we see it, all-insulated wall systems are the way of the future.”

This was the first significant project supplied by Roofmart in Victoria using IKO Enerfoil and IKO AquaBarrier AVB, according to Rob Strickland, Regional Manager, Roofmart Vancouver Island.

TEAM

Architect: HDR, Vancouver, British Columbia, www.hdrinc.com

General Contractor: Kinetic Construction Ltd., Victoria, British Columbia,www.kineticconstruction.com

Wall Contractor: Brytar Contracting, Vancouver, British Columbia www.brytarcontracting.com

Distributor: Roofmart, Vancouver, British Columbia, www.roofmart.ca

MATERIALS

Wall System: Enerfoil Wall Insulation and AquaBarrier AVB System, IKO, www.iko.com

Ford Plant Transformed into Museum and Hotel Is Crowned by Rooftop Deck

Built on the site of a Ford assembly plant, the 21c Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City is crowned by a rooftop deck that provides access to the plant’s original water tower. Photo: Mike Schwartz

The 21c Museum Hotel in Oklahoma City encompasses a contemporary art museum, a 135-room boutique hotel, event spaces, and Mary Eddies Kitchen x Lounge. It also features a rooftop deck with stunning views of the city.

The hotel was built at the site of an idle Ford Motor Company assembly plant originally designed by Albert Kahn. The building was refurbished to serve as the hotel and museum in the first phase of an ambitious development project. The Ford plant’s original water tower was retained during the renovation, and it is accessible via a catwalk from the rooftop deck, which also frames a green roof area.

The deck’s 1,500-square foot wood paver system was manufactured by Bison Innovative Products and installed by Elevated Paver Systems (EPS), headquartered in Oklahoma City.

According to Adam Fink, president of EPS, the company was founded in 2011 to serve the pedestal-set rooftop paver market in Oklahoma. The company specializes in difficult hardscape projects including rooftop pavers, pavers at grade, and architectural stone, including cut-to-size marble and granite. EPS was tapped for the deck installation by Lingo Construction, the general contractor on the project.

“It is a really unique venue and it was a unique construction project,” Fink says.

The building is crowned by its rooftop deck, which is comprised of 2-foot-by-2-foot, eight-plank Ipe Wood Tiles set on Bison Versadjust Pedestals. The pedestals were installed atop steel I-beams that were erected above the newly refurbished roof, which features a 60-mil PVC roof system manufactured by Johns Manville. The beams were installed along with the catwalk and an integrated railing system.

“This was a unique project for us because we are usually installing our systems right on top of the roof membrane,” Fink says. “Here we had a newly installed steel substrate that our pedestals rested on.”

Proper placement of the beams was crucial. “The flat part of the beam was pretty narrow, all things considered, so the biggest challenge in the whole scenario was to make sure that the steel was exactly right,” notes Fink.

The steel beams had to be at the correct elevation and proper spacing throughout their length, with a tolerance of plus or minus a quarter inch. According to Fink, the key to success was communication between the design and installation teams. “We worked carefully on the shop drawings and dictated the on center spacing,” Fink recalls. “Little things that usually don’t matter very much were critical here because the tolerances were so tight. The steel subcontractor did an excellent job.”

The pedestals were adhered to the beams using Dow Corning 795 silicone sealant, and the wood tiles were then locked into place. Crews used an automatic laser to make sure the tiles were level, using shims in areas where the steel beams were slightly off.

The green roof was also supported by a steel substructure. Since the roof framed the rectangular garden area, coordination was crucial here as well. The goal was to ensure that the tiles fit optimally. “We coordinated the shop drawings to make sure we didn’t have any small pieces,” notes Fink.

Safety concerns were minimal, as the area was surrounded by a large parapet wall and railings, and material could be brought to the roof by the freight elevator. The biggest concern for EPS crews was the trip hazard posed by the steel beams. “It was kind of like working above a kids’ jungle gym,” says Fink. “But it’s nothing we couldn’t cover in our toolbox talks.”

The deck installation went smoothly, and Fink credits detailed planning for the successful outcome. “Coordination was the key,” he says, noting that precise shop drawings and pre-engineering meetings were the most crucial elements of the project. “Once the steel was in place, we just took out field measurements and went at it from there,” he says. “It was all a downhill slide after that.”

Fink points to in-house drafting capabilities as a key strength of EPS. “We pride ourselves on our pre-construction submittals,” he says. “This job went really well. There weren’t any glitches because we prepared a very good plan and executed it.”

TEAM

Architect: Deborah Berke Partners, New York, www.dberke.com and Hornbeek Blatt Associates, Edmond, Oklahoma, www.hornbeekblatt.com

General Contractor: Lingo Construction Services Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, www.buildwithlingo.com

Roofing Contractor: Coates Roofing Company Inc., Seminole, Oklahoma, www.coatesroofing.com

Roof Deck Installer: Elevated Paver Systems (EPS), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, www.okeps.com

MATERIALS

Pavers: Ipe Wood Tiles, Bison Innovative Products, www.bisonip.com

Pedestal System: Versadjust Pedestals, Bison Innovative Products

Roofing Membrane: 60-mil PVC,Johns Manville, www.JM.com

Massive High School Re-Roofing Addresses Urban Heat Island Concerns

Martin-Tomlinson Roofing Company recently re-roofed 195,000 square feet of the Marcus High School campus. Photos: Johns Manville

Marcus High School is one of more than 65 facilities that comprise the Lewisville Independent School District (LISD). Located north of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the massive127-square-mile district serves more than 53,000 students. Over a decades-long partnership, Johns Manville and Martin-Tomlinson Roofing Company (M-T) have built a great track record with LISD and have completed dozens of roofing projects for the school district together.

On this project, the roof systems were replaced on several attached buildings with a roof area totaling approximately 195,000 square feet. This massive project covered only half of the Marcus High School campus, and there were very few places where M-T had flat surfaces to work on. With the client requiring minimal disruption to students, most of the work was completed over summer break. Then, exceptional care was taken once school was back in session to keep students and faculty apart and safe from the jobsite where M-T’s 10-man crew continued to progress.

The new roof also needed to be highly reflective and compliant with the International Energy Conservation Code, as required in the southern United States. The heat island effect is a concern under the relentless Texas sun.

The New Roof System

After evaluating the roof, Martin-Tomlinson and a third-party roofing consultant determined that some of the existing insulation could be left in place and that the tear off only had to go down to the cover board — not down to the roof deck, a few inches below. Salvaging existing insulation benefited the school financially, and it is better for the environment since fewer materials had to be discarded and replaced. Additionally, not removing those additional inches from the roof saved time, which lowered the installation cost for the school district. Before starting the tear off, specialized equipment was brought in to remove loose gravel to create a clean working surface. Then, the existing four-ply built-up roof was removed.

The two-ply SBS heat-welded modified bitumen roof system from JM features a highly reflective surfacing to help minimize the heat island effect. The new roof is Energy Star certified.

The updated roofing system is a two-ply JM SBS heat-welded modified bitumen roof system with highly reflective surfacing. JM ENRGY 3 polyiso roof insulation and DensDeck cover board were applied with JM RS Urethane Adhesive low-rise foam. The roof was covered with the SBS roofing system, which consisted of one-ply each of JM DynaWeld Base and DynaWeld Cap FR CR G. Heat island concerns are diminished with the cap sheet, and the roof is Energy Star certified.

M-T Vice President Jesse Byrd credits the technical knowledge of his JM sales rep and the outstanding service of his JM support person with the success of this job. “I never needed to call technical support with questions,” he says. “I went right to Joel Lewallen, the most knowledgeable roofing guy I know, and I know lots of them. We never had to stop work waiting on materials. JM technical representative Andy Austin was always available for support and he made sure we could keep working.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Martin-Tomlinson Roofing Company, Dallas, Texas, www.m-troofing.com

MATERIALS

Modified Bitumen Roof System: DynaWeld Base and DynaWeld Cap FR CR G, Johns Manville, www.JM.com

Insulation: ENRGY 3 Polyisocyanurate, Johns Manville,

Cover Board: DensDeck, Georgia-Pacific, www.buildgp.com

Recycling Membrane Saves School District Money and Protects the Environment

More than 8,700 pounds of the existing PVC membrane was recycled as part of the Bishop Elementary School re-roofing project as part of Duro-Last Roofing’s Recycle Your Roof program. Superior Services RSH Inc.

When the roof on Bishop Elementary School outlived its warranty, the Lincoln Consolidated School District put the roof replacement project up for bid. The school district already had a specific product in mind, and that made things pretty straightforward for Superior Services RSH Inc., headquartered in Lansing, Michigan.

Founded in 1975, Superior Services focuses on commercial and industrial low-slope roofing. The company also has an architectural metals division and a dedicated service and maintenance department. According to Derek Heins, its vice president, the company works closely with Duro-Last Roofing, and that relationship was key to being awarded the bid to re-roof Bishop Elementary School in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

“The existing roof that was on this building was a Duro-Last roof. It had been on there for more than 20 years, and the school had been very happy with its performance,” Heins says. “Most of the other buildings in the Lincoln Consolidated School District have Duro-Last roofs, so they are really comfortable and really familiar with the product. The school likes the single-ply PVC and the reflectivity of the white membrane, and have been really happy with the performance.”

The recycled material was secured to pallets in a staging area and then taken to the Duro-Last factory on a trailer. The recycled material is used to make products including flooring, walkway pads, and concrete expansion joints.

During the bidding stage, Heins suggested a way the project could save money while putting less stress on the environment. “We suggested utilizing the Recycle Your Roof program with Duro-Last Roofing,” he says. Through the program, mechanically attached Duro-Last PVC membrane can be returned to the manufacturer at the end of its useful life.

Heins explained the benefits of the recycling program to the district, which included a lower installation cost. “You’re reducing landfill costs by not bringing in dumpsters and paying for disposal of the old membrane,” he notes. “We essentially take it directly to Duro-Last’s factory, where they grind up the material and use if for making products including flooring and rooftop walkway pads.”

The school district agreed, and more than 8,700 pounds of the existing PVC roofing membrane was recycled as part of the re-roofing project.

Removal and Replacement

The 77,000-square foot roof featured different elevations. The center area where the two wings met was divided into several sections, most separated by parapet walls. The roof also features a large skylight, which was replaced as part of the project. The site-specific safety plan incorporated for each section included a perimeter warning line system and personal fall arrest systems (PFAS). A guardrail system was set up around the skylight.

The first step was the tear-off. The roof removal process is critical for the recycling program. “When we started the project, we sliced the roof membrane at the fastening rows,” explains Heins. “By doing this, it allowed us to roll up the loose membrane between the fastening rows. The rows were approximately 5 feet wide. After rolling them up, we tack welded the rolled-up material using a hot-air welder.”

Superior Services RSH Inc. installed a new Duro-Tuff PVC roof system. Details included a custom-made Velux skylight and a Bilco roof hatch.

The rolls were removed from the roof with the assistance of a telehandler, stacked on pallets, and secured with straps. Crews then removed the fastening tabs and fasteners from the existing roof system, using screw guns to back out the fasteners from the metal deck.

The next step was inspecting the underlying polyiso insulation for any moisture, damage or deterioration. It was replaced as necessary, but the vast majority of it was reused, which offered additional cost savings.

New tapered drain sets were installed for all of the internal drains on the building. “We used the Duro-Guard insulation tapered drain sets,” Heins notes. “We cut out the existing insulation and put in new wider drain sets to help promote water flow on the roof.”

The tapered drain sets are prefabricated and pre-sloped. They are available in two sizes: 4 feet by 4 feet, and 8 feet by 8 feet. “We try to use larger size drain sets whenever possible,” Heins says. “They unfold to form an 8-foot box around the drain. The marked center circles allow you to simply lay it over the drain sump and cut out the sump opening.”

Crews then installed the 50-mil Duro-Tuff PVC roof system, which was mechanically attached. Enhancements at the perimeter were made using a RhinoBond induction welder.

“We install a hybrid perimeter using RhinoBond induction welding,” Heins explains. “We run two wind rows around the perimeter of the building. Then we roll out the 10-foot wide membrane rolls. With the membrane rolled out, we fasten it down per the manufacturer’s specifications. After we finish putting the membrane down, we go back and use the RhinoBond machine to weld the membrane down to all the perimeter plates for our wind laps.”

Final Details

Crews then installed prefabricated accessories, including custom-manufactured wall flashings, curb flashings, and stack flashings. Drains were fitted with new drain inserts and strainers. Crews also installed a new Bilco S-20 roof hatch.

Perimeter metal and copings were supplied by Exceptional Metals. “We used their two-piece compression metal,” Heins notes. “We also installed custom scupper collector boxes and downspouts on the project as well. By using Exceptional Metals, a division of Duro-Last, we were able to include everything in their Edge to Edge Warranty.”

Heins points to the large skylight as one of the most difficult details on the project. The existing skylight was replaced with a new custom-made Velux double dome skylight, which was installed after the roofing work was completed. When the new skylight arrived at the site, crew members lifted it to the roof and removed the existing skylight. The temporary flashings were replaced with new flashings as the new skylight was installed.

The biggest challenge on the job was the tight schedule. The project was completed in two weeks during July of 2019. “We had a limited window of time to complete this project,” says Heins. “Like most school construction projects, we were required to complete the roof during the summer break, making it essential to finish as much work as possible each day.”

Recycling

At the end of the project, the old membrane was put on a trailer and returned for recycling.

Heins is proud to promote the Recycle Your Roof program as a win-win proposition. “It’s best for everybody to be conscious of the environment,” he says. “We focus on being environmentally friendly, and we also focus on the cost savings. Recycling the membrane and reusing the insulation that is in in good condition offers a big cost reduction for our customers — and it keeps the material out of the landfill.”

According to Heins, this project highlights some of the strengths of Superior Services. “One of the things this project demonstrates is our commitment to utilizing the latest roofing technologies,” he says. “One example is Duro-Last’s prefabricated accessories. Duro-Last has always been a frontrunner in providing prefabricated and custom accessories, and Exceptional Metals offers further custom fabrication. It is important to us, as a company, to strive to be on the leading edge of technology, both on the roof and in the office. It’s part of our culture, as well as emphasizing sustainability and energy-efficient roofing.”

TEAM

Roofing Contractor: Superior Services RSH, Inc., Lansing, Michigan, https://superiorservicesrsh.com

MATERIALS

Roofing Membrane: 50-mil Duro-Tuff PVC, Duro-Last, www.duro-last.com

Edge Metal: Exceptional Metals, www.exceptionalmetals.com

Roof Hatch: S-20 Type S Roof Hatch, BILCO, www.bilco.com

Skylight: Custom-Size Double Dome Acrylic Skylight, Velux, www.veluxusa.com

New Roof System Addresses Challenges at Clarkson University’s Athletic Facility

When the existing roof on the athletic center began to leak, Clarkson University needed a flexible but durable roof system to stand up to harsh winters. A fully adhered EPDM roof system from Carlisle SynTec Systems was chosen for the re-roofing project. Photos: RSI Roofing, Inc.

How do you put a new roof on a 66,300-square-foot hyperbolic paraboloid?

It takes a lot of skill, a lot of attention to safety, and the right choice of a roofing membrane — especially when the roof has to protect a full-service fitness center that serves thousands of college students and includes a swimming pool, locker rooms, a Jacuzzi and saunas. But we’re getting a little ahead of our story.

Faced with the combined threats of a global pandemic and major storms served up by the 2020 hurricane season, school buildings, their designs, and their resilience are being scrutinized now more than ever. School boards, university administrators, parents, students and teachers are looking at these structures with an eye to their impact on the health of the people who work and live there. Additionally, entire communities may be counting on school buildings to house and protect their citizens during a cataclysmic weather event.

When Clarkson University embarked on a project to rehab the roof of its Indoor Athletic Facility three years ago, to most of the American public, pandemics were something that happened in other countries, preferably distant ones. But given Clarkson’s location, in northern New York state, energy conservation during the harsh winters was a dominant concern. Just as important, the new roof needed to stand up to freezing temperatures and frequent ice storms. Winters in Potsdam, New York, where Clarkson is located, can serve up average lows of 9 degrees. A “warm” winter day might see a high temperature of 26 degrees.

The Clarkson staff was spurred to action by the deteriorating conditions of the existing roof, resulting in multiple leaks. They were working on a very tight time frame, and wanted to complete the work during the three-month window between the end of the fall semester and beginning of the spring semester. And, as a university committed to focusing on sustainable energy solutions and environmental technical innovations, they wanted the most energy efficient roof available for their climactic conditions. The design of the roof itself — the 66, 300-square-foot hyperbolic paraboloid referenced above — presented additional challenges.

The roof system included two layers of 2.6-inch polyiso insulation and a half-inch layer of cover board.

Initially, the design team considered reflective roofing but were soon convinced that a dark membrane would offer maximum energy efficiency in the northern climate, and keep energy costs down during the cold winter months. Additionally, given the installation challenges presented by the building’s structure, the membrane needed to be flexible but durable in the face of winters that promised snow and ice. Given those parameters, the team chose EPDM membrane to be installed in a fully adhered system. This meant that the membrane could be fully fastened to the underlying insulation, leaving no unsightly metal fasteners protruding through the membrane and detracting from the rooftop’s appearance. But this choice was about more than aesthetics: the fully adhered system increased the roofing system’s wind uplift resistance due to the strength of the adhesive and the reduced number of membrane seams present on the fully adhered system (as compared to a mechanically fastened system).

Demanding Installation

RSI Roofing from nearby Gouverneur, New York, served as contractor for the job, working through a series of special challenges presented by the building itself and the site of the structure. Temporary roads were installed to accommodate the use of manlifts and forklifts. Given the slope of the roof surfaces, all workers on the job needed to be tied off using harnesses and lanyards for fall protection. To ensure that the roof was aesthetically pleasing, membranes needed to match all the way around the building with laps and sheet length going the same way on each section.

The first step in this installation was tearing off the existing roofing membrane and installing new perimeter wood blocking around the existing wood deck. The crew then installed a vapor barrier directly to the wood deck, followed by mechanically installing two layers of 2.6-inch polyiso insulation, and a half-inch layer of cover board.

Crews from RSI Roofing installed approximately 66,300 square feet of EPDM membrane on the project.

The final step was installation of the new 115-mil FleeceBACK EPDM roof system from Carlisle SynTec Systems. The installation crew applied adhesive to the cover board, and then rolled out the EPDM membrane. The use of the adhesive added thermal efficiency to this already energy-efficient system for even greater environmental protection and reduced energy costs. Once the membrane was in place, RSI installed perimeter sheet metal with new gutters and downspouts.

The Clarkson gym was designed to shelter students as they engaged in a wide variety of physical activities. But with its durable and energy efficient EPDM roof, like many other educational buildings throughout the country, it could most likely provide a resilient shelter during a cataclysmic storm or other natural disaster.

While there may be debate about the cause, global statistics confirm the increasing frequency of more extreme weather: intense tornado outbreaks, record-setting heat, catastrophic wildfires, heavy downpours, longer droughts, and more frequent hurricanes. These extreme weather events are assaulting the built environment with record-setting strength and intensity, creating an urgent need for more resilient structures. Since the roof of a building is a first line of defense, any discussion of resilience must include careful consideration of roofing systems.

In June 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that many of the nation’s fifty million school children are at risk because of aging school buildings, or buildings that do not meet basic resilience standards to withstand a natural disaster. The FEMA report, “Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety,” points out that “many of our nation’s school buildings are older unreinforced masonry structures that are vulnerable to severe damage and collapse in the next earthquake, or are of lighter frame construction that is vulnerable to other types of natural hazards such as a tornado, hurricane, high winds, or flash flooding.”

The FEMA report noted that the average public school building at that time was 44 years old. And while some of these schools have undergone major renovation, “the original construction of numerous school buildings predates many of the modern building code requirements protecting occupants from natural hazards.” In other words, millions of schoolchildren are being educated in buildings that are using 20th century construction standards to meet 21st century hazards. And those 21st century hazards are becoming more and more of a threat.

Given these challenges, FEMA is offering extensive specifics on upgrading school structures to improve safety and notes the critical importance of roofing systems to protect the integrity of a school building. It warns that a roof that is damaged in a hurricane “will result in significant interior damage due to water leakage” and any roofing system that is “extremely susceptible to wind damage … should be mitigated as soon as budget permits.”

Whether your focus is a new gymnasium for college students, the renovation of a high school, or the repair of an elementary school, the roof is an essential component of a resilient building. If the roof fails, the structure as a whole will be compromised. The occupants of the building, students or members of the community who are literally seeking shelter from the storm, will be exposed to the potentially deadly impact of severe weather.

To assist the educational community in creating resilient buildings, the EPDM Roofing Association has published its second edition of Building Resilience: The Roofing Perspective. This report includes excerpts from the FEMA School Safety Report, as well as links to the complete report. The report as a whole provides insights on how to create a resilient roof, and the contributions that EPDM can make to a resilient roofing system. You can find the ERA report at https://epdmroofs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Building-Resilience-051320-3.pdf

About the author: Louisa Hart is the director of communications for the Washington-based EPDM Roofing Association (ERA). For more information, visit www.epdmroofs.org.

TEAM

Architect: LaBella Associates, Rochester, New York, www.labellapc.com

Roofing Contractor: RSI Roofing, Inc., Gouverneur, New York, www.rsiroofing.com

MATERIALS

Roofing System: 115-mil FleeceBACK EPDM membrane fully adhered with FASTTM Adhesive, Carlisle SynTec Systems, www.carlislesyntec.com