Logistics Create Challenges on Metal Roof Installation for Kentucky High School

When the design for Logan High School in Russellville, Ky.

When the design for Logan High School in Russellville, Ky., called for metal panels measuring 161 feet, 2 inches in length, the decision was made to roll form them on the job site. Photos: Morin, a Kingspan Group Company

The design for the metal roof on Logan High School called for panels on one side of the roof to measure more than 160 feet. That posed logistical problems, to be sure, but the project proved there’s more than one way to deliver roof panels.

Morin, a Kingspan Group Company, recently introduced an onsite roll-forming process that runs panels to the eaves, where they are gathered and stacked for installation. Logan High School in Russellville, Ky., was the first project that put the method to the test. Panels on one side of the roof were 46 feet long, while panels on the other side measured 161 feet, 2 inches in length.

According to the company, the on-site process offers the benefit of producing panels of almost any length without lapping them. This is especially useful when restrictions on the length of delivery trucks and their loads do not allow for panels to be delivered via truck.

On this project, 89,000 square feet of SymmeTry Roof Series panels in Regal White were installed. “For the longer panels, we had 11 men on the roof,” says Basil Slagle, production manager and roll former operator for Morin. “We also had three separate scissor lifts between the roll former and the eave, with men on them to guide the panels to the roof because that’s as close as we could get with the roll former.”

The SymmeTry Roof Series is a mechanically seamed structural roof system that is both symmetrical and hydrostatic by design. Slagle produced 18-inch wide panels with 2 1/2-inch legs from the 22-gauge, pre-painted Galvalume.

The start of the project was delayed by heavy rains, notes Slagle. “And that Kentucky red clay, if you’d walk on it wet, you’d sink into the clay up to your shin. They had trucks with four-foot tires getting stuck in the wet clay.”

Tough Field Conditions

When the rain stopped, Slagle got to the jobsite on a Monday and realized he would not be able to drive his 10-ton vehicle into place. “They had to build us a 300-foot gravel road so we could pull the machine into place, get it where we needed it to be,” he says. “We finally got set up that Thursday morning.”

Eastern Corp. installed the roof system

Eastern Corp. installed the roof system, using crews ranging from 12-17 workers at a given time. Panels for the shorter side of the roof had to be transported over the ridge and stacked by hand. Photos: Morin, a Kingspan Group Company

Once the roll former was in place—about 100 feet from the roof eaves—the three scissor lifts were rolled into place in line between the roll former and the roof edge. Slagle then ran a “sacrifice panel” to use as a bridge, of sorts, from the roll former to the roof. Panels going on to the roof would slide across the sacrificial panel to the roof, where crew members would carry them to a staging spot on the roof. The sacrificial panel, almost 100 feet long, was eventually recycled.

Slagle ran the shorter panels first so crew members could haul them across the ridge to the opposite side of the building. Then the longer panels were produced and set up on the near side of the building. The Regal White panels were all covered with plastic film to protect them from the red clay on the boots of the installers, who had to walk on the panels to install the batten over the seams. After the battens were installed and seamed, the plastic film was removed. (Failure to remove the plastic film in a timely fashion will eventually lead to damage on the panels when the film is removed.)

“The installation went great,” says Nancy Mullins, senior project manager for Eastern Corp., of Norcross, Ga. “We had anywhere from 12-17 crew members at the site at a given time. The challenges were the logistical hurdles like getting the scissor lifts in place and getting the panels to the roof and stacking them.

On this project, 89,000 square feet of SymmeTry Roof

On this project, 89,000 square feet of SymmeTry Roof Series panels by Morin were installed. Photos: Morin, a Kingspan Group Company

“We install all the panels and then come back to install the seam cap and do the seaming. We always wait to make sure everything is where it needs to be, in regard to any penetrations. We really had no issues.”

After the panels were in place, the battens were installed and seamed around the 2 1/2-inch legs of each pan. The battens were cut to 46 feet to match the panel length for the shorter roof. To batten and seam the 161-plus foot panels, the battens were cut to 81 feet and lapped near the center. Slagle ran panels for four buildings at the school, one attached to the main school building and three outbuildings still under construction.

Eastern also installed 1,100 linear feet of a snow retention system, the iBeam from Sno Gem. The iBeam is installed near the eaves on both sides of the roof, with the longer panels hosting a second row nearer the center of the roof.

TEAM

Architect: JKS Architecture, Hopkinsville, Ky., JKSae.com
General Contractor: A&K Construction Inc., Paducah, Ky., AKconstruction.com
Roofing Contractor: Eastern Corp., Norcross, Ga., Easterncorpus.com
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Morin, a Kingspan Group Company, Morincorp.com

North Carolina Middle School Generates More Energy Than It Uses

Sandy Grove Middle School in Hoke County, N.C.

Sandy Grove Middle School in Hoke County, N.C., was designed to be an energy-positive building. It generates 40 percent more energy than it consumes. Photo: Mathew Carbone Photography

When Robbie Ferris first presented the idea of a school building that generates more energy than it uses, people were skeptical. Now he can point to Sandy Grove Middle School in Hoke County, N.C., as proof that a high-performance school building can go well beyond net zero and generate 40 percent more energy than it consumes.

Ferris is the president of SfL+a Architects and manager at Firstfloor, a development company that specializes in public-private partnerships and design-build-operate agreements. “We designed the building, we own it and we lease it to the school district,” he says. “We monitor all of the systems remotely. One of the reasons we do that is because when you put really high-performance systems in buildings, you have to make sure they are operating at peak efficiency. It can take time to make sure everything is optimized.”

Three years after completion, Sandy Grove Middle School is outperforming its energy models, and the building continues to win accolades. It recently received Energy Star 100 Certification and has been recognized as the nation’s most energy positive school.

“Sandy Grove Middle School is a perfect example of a high-performance facility,” says Ferris. “With the public-private lease-back model, everyone wins. The students receive a quality school, it fits in to the school system budget, and it is energy efficient to help both total cost and our environment.”

The building’s systems were designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, and that includes the roof, which features an array of photovoltaic (PV) panels to generate electricity. “We wanted a roof that would last 30 years,” Ferris notes. “We’ve had a tremendous amount of success with TPOs, and metal roofs as well. This particular client wanted a metal roof look from the front, but they were very open to a membrane roof on other parts of the building. We made the decision to put the metal roof on the front of the building and a TPO on the wings at the back of the building.”

On this project, the warranties were important considerations, along with durability and energy efficiency. SfL+a specified a standing seam metal roof system manufactured by Dimensional Metals Inc. and a TPO system manufactured by GenFlex. “Obviously, if you’re putting a couple of million dollars’ worth of solar panels on your roof, you want to make sure you have a roof that is going to be problem free.”

A Smooth Installation

The installation was a challenging one, but everything went smoothly, notes Aaron Thomas, president and CEO of Metcon Inc. Headquartered in Pembroke, N.C., Metcon is a full-service general contractor that specializes in energy positive commercial buildings, so it was perfectly suited to serve as the construction manager on the project.

Photovoltaic panels were installed

Photovoltaic panels were installed on both the standing seam metal roof and the TPO system. The systems on the low-slope roof sections are fully ballasted, and both sections were installed without penetrating the roof system. Photo: SfL+a Architects

Thomas and Ryan Parker, senior project manager with Metcon, coordinated the work of subcontractors on the job, including the Youngsville, N.C. branch of Eastern Corp., which installed the TPO and metal roofs, and PowerSecure, the solar installer on the project, based in Wake Forest, N.C.

The roof systems covered 85,000 square feet, and Sharp PV panels were installed on both the metal roof and the TPO system. Solar panels were also installed on freestanding structures called “solar trees.” Each solar tree is 20 feet tall, 25 feet wide and weighs 3,200 pounds.

“The TPO roof system was upgraded to an 80-mil product due to solar panels being added to the roof,” Parker notes. “It was 100 percent ballasted on the low-slope sections, with slip sheets being used below the racking on the TPO roof.”

On the metal roof, clips manufactured by S-5! were used to affix the solar racking to the seams. “There are no penetrations for the frames, and penetrations for the electrical wiring went through vertical walls, not the roof,” Parker says. “There were no penetrations anywhere in the roof system, which made all of the warranties that much easier to keep intact.”

The biggest challenges on the project, according to Parker, were coordinating the different scopes of work and ensuring all of the manufacturers’ warranty considerations were met. “We had two different kinds of roofs, both coupled with solar panels,” Parker says. “Like any rooftop with photovoltaic products, there had to be special attention paid to the warranties of all parties involved. Both Genflex and DMI were closely involved in coordinating details to ensure that the owner achieved a great roof free of defects.”

The building’s systems were designed for energy efficiency

The building’s systems were designed for energy efficiency, and the roof features an array of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity. Photo: Mathew Carbone Photography

One key was developing a detailed schedule and keeping everyone on it. “We would meet once a week and huddle up on how it was progressing and what else needed to be done,” Parker recalls. “We found that by using a collaborative submittal sharing platform, all of the varying parts and pieces could be checked by all parties to ensure compatibility.”

There were multiple safety concerns associated with combining solar panels to the roofing system, so everyone had to be on the same page. “The roofing subcontractor and the solar subcontractor performed a joint safety plan that utilized common tie off points,” Parker notes. “The job had zero lost time.”

“Everyone coordinated their work and it was a great team effort,” Ferris says. “It was one of the smoothest jobs I’ve ever seen. We have not had a single leak on that project—not a single problem.”

Proof Positive

For Ferris, the greatest obstacle on energy-positive projects convincing members of the public and governmental agencies of the benefits. “The biggest challenges had nothing to do with construction; they had to do with just doing something new and different,” he says. “The toughest challenge was getting the school board, the county commissioners, the public and the review agencies on board. It took a very long time—and lots of meetings.”

Photo: SfL+a Architects

Now Ferris can point to Sandy Grove as an example of just how a high-performance school building can pay huge dividends. “As soon as you see it in real life, you’re on board,” he says. “It’s very exciting for people to see it. If we can get people to the school, they’ll walk away convinced it is the right thing to do.”

With Sandy Grove, the school district has a 30-year lease with an option to purchase. Ferris believes the lease model is the perfect solution for educators. “We’re responsible for any problems for the life of the lease,” he says. “If a problem does come up, we usually know about it before the school does because we monitor the systems remotely online.”

“In their world, buildings are a distraction from educating kids,” Ferris concludes. “This is one building that is not a distraction.”

TEAM

Building Owner: Firstfloor, Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., Firstfloor.biz
Architect: SfL+a Architects, Raleigh, N.C., Sfla.biz
Construction Manager: Metcon Inc., Pembroke, N.C., Metconus.com
Roofing Contractor: Eastern Corp., Youngsville, N.C.
Photovoltaic Panel Installer: PowerSecure, Wake Forest, N.C., Powersecure.com
Metal Roof System Manufacturer: Dimensional Metals Inc., DMImetals.com
TPO Roof System Manufacturer: GenFlex Roofing Systems, GenFlex.com