GAF Wins Women’s Choice Award

GAF has earned the 2016 Women’s Choice Award based on recommendations from its female customers in a customer satisfaction survey conducted by WomenCertified Inc. using the company’s customer database.

For a fourth consecutive year, GAF received this award based on excellent survey scores, including the vast majority of customers rating the experience and overall quality of GAF as “extremely satisfied.” In fact, 100 percent of the female customers polled said they would definitely recommend GAF to their family and friends.

“The Women’s Choice Award’s mission is to identify which brands are most recommended by women,” says Delia Passi, CEO and founder. “By carrying the Women’s Choice Award seal, brands like GAF signify their commitment to empower women to make smart buying choices. GAF truly takes ownership of its customer experience.”

“GAF is truly honored to receive the Women’s Choice Award for the fourth year in a row. We are proud that our female customers recognize our ongoing commitment to providing products and tools that women trust and recommend,” states Emily Videtto, vice president of residential marketing and new product development at GAF.

Female consumers represent a driving economic powerhouse, controlling 65 percent, or approximately $20 trillion annually, in global spending and more than 80 percent of U.S. spending, according to the Harvard Business Review and the Continuum’s Women and Children Research Group. Coupling that with a recent Nielsen report on global trust in advertising, which stated that 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from people they know over any other form of advertising, reveals the significance of being an America’s Most Recommended brand by women.

Passi comments on how the Women’s Choice Award serves as a competitive differentiator in today’s cluttered marketplace: “When a woman is willing to recommend a brand or service to others, it means that business has earned her loyalty. Those are the businesses we wish to recognize for their efforts and commitment to the No. 1 consumer—women.”

“We are pleased to salute GAF for its focus on excellence, a commitment that is recognized by women consumers nationwide,” says Passi.

A Dynamic Rooftop Renovation Lures a New Type of Workforce

Commercial office properties have always had to contend for tenants as a part of doing business and, increasingly, existing buildings are facing stiffer competition from new office properties offering integrated amenities packages that go way beyond the lobby coffee shop. As a new generation of employees enters the workforce, employers are challenged to secure leases that provide more than simple office space, instead offering an attractive combination of recreation, retail and relaxation options that feel more akin to a resort than a workplace. In the case of Prudential Plaza, a 41-story structure in Chicago built in 1955, the challenge for the building owners was to offer new value in a building originally designed to respond to a workforce that no longer exists.

The rooftop transformation is highlighted by a fully wired amphitheater, fire-pit lounge and a small lawn accompanied by a new 12,000-square-foot fitness center and a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse located inside.

The rooftop transformation is highlighted by a fully wired amphitheater, fire-pit lounge and a small lawn accompanied by a new 12,000-square-foot fitness center and a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse located inside.

Investing more than $85 million into building renovations, Prudential Plaza’s owners envisioned a top-to-bottom rehabilitation, crowned by a 13,000-square-foot amenities deck on the 11th floor. The rooftop transformation is highlighted by a fully wired amphitheater, fire-pit lounge and a small lawn accompanied by a new 12,000-square-foot fitness center and a 7,000-square-foot clubhouse located inside. These amenities are exclusively for building tenants and their employees. Kyle Kamin, a Los Angeles-based CBRE Inc. executive vice president and tenant broker who has clients in Prudential Plaza called the roof deck “a game-changer with an unbeatable view.”


Certainly the idea of a gorgeous tenant recreation and lounge area would appeal to most; however, few outside of the design and construction industry would appreciate the immense challenge of adding this type of space on top of a 60-year-old roof. When Wolff Landscape Architecture, Chicago, was asked to partner with Chicago-based architecture firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz for landscape design, project manager Ishmael Joya quickly understood the complexities of the situation. Joya is a landscape architect with 15 years’ experience, specializing in green-roof construction.

“Prudential Plaza is a classic figure in Chicago’s skyline and the first time we walked the project it was clear that the 4 1/2-inch-thick roof deck was going to present some design and construction challenges,” Joya remarks. Although the Wolff Landscape Architecture team has completed many green-roof projects, including renovations, Joya realized that adding what is essentially a mini-park to a very thin structural surface was going to require out-of-the-box thinking. “In any roof-deck renovation, it’s critical to reduce the weight of the building materials because the building is only designed to support a maximum amount of weight and that can’t be compromised,” he says.

Joya worked closely with the design team’s structural engineer, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., Chicago, to make sure the appropriate products were specified to support the expected weight of each area of the renovation

Demolition and Interim Roof

Like many large-scale occupied renovation projects, Prudential Plaza’s overall renovation was executed in multiple phases, allowing construction activities to take place while tenants maintained their typical routines. Romeoville, Ill.-based Preservation Services Inc., a commercial roofing company, was responsible for rehabilitating the original 11th-floor roofing structure. The original roof was a modified bitumen membrane that had been applied directly to a layer of lightweight concrete and covered by 2- by 2-foot pavers. Preservation Services carefully removed the pavers, old membrane and thin layer of concrete.

Investing more than $85 million into building renovations, Prudential Plaza’s owners envisioned a top-to-bottom rehabilitation, crowned by a 13,000-square-foot amenities deck on the 11th floor.

Investing more than $85 million into building renovations, Prudential Plaza’s owners envisioned a top-to-bottom rehabilitation, crowned by a 13,000-square-foot amenities deck on the 11th floor.

Because the building is located adjacent to a series of vaulted streets, the construction team was unable to use a high-reach crane because the weight of the crane would have required special provisions and necessitated street closures. Consequently, crews carried all removed debris down through the freight elevators during the night while the building was largely empty. At the end of each night, a single-ply EPDM membrane was rolled out, seamed and secured to protect the under structure from possible water penetration the next day.

Once demolition was complete, the EPDM was opened in select areas so repairs to the concrete slab could be made by other trades. When repairs were complete, a single layer of torch-applied modified bitumen membrane was applied to the deck along with additional structural steel required to support the added weight of trees, planters, patios and people. Finally, a white, granular-surfaced modified bitumen roof over tapered isocyanurate foam insulation was installed making the undersurface ready for the plaza deck renovation work.

Weight Considerations

Joya recommended a lightweight expanded polystyrene (EPS) material with high compressive strength that is used to reduce axial loading on structures. He has found the product very easy to work with, which saves time and money, ultimately allowing designers to put more of the client’s investment into tangible value users will see and feel rather than subsurface building materials.

On the Prudential Plaza roof-deck renovation, two types of EPS were used. EPS 15 was used in areas that would largely be filled with plants and wouldn’t bear much foot traffic. EPS 46, chosen for its high compressive strength, was used as a structural fill across the design’s many grade changes and in areas that would bear more weight of roof-deck occupants. For Joya, another advantage of using the EPS is being able to see the shape of the assembled product and make any required changes before the concrete is poured and work becomes significantly more complicated.

PHOTOS: Wolff Landscape Architecture

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GAF Partners with Athlon Sports to Create GAF Sports Challenge

GAF announces a partnership with Athlon Sports to create the GAF Sports Challenge. GAF has created two fun and engaging online “pick’em” sports challenges for all of its contractors, residential and commercial. The first sports challenge is an auto racing contest, which will run from February through November 2016, followed by a Pro Football challenge running from September through December 2016.

Athlon Sports Media is one of the authorities and predictors of almost all major sports. Through this partnership, GAF is able to provide participants with the most up-to-date sports information to make their weekly picks. Based on a points system, by actively participating, contractors will be able to win weekly prizes, such as a GAF cooler or chair and an end-of-the season grand prize.

Contractors can register and participate on GAF’s Sports Challenge Web page.

PIMA Names Chairman of the Organization

During its annual meeting, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) announced that Helene Pierce, vice president of Technical Services, Codes and Industry Relations at GAF, assumed the chairmanship of the organization on Jan. 1, 2016. She succeeds Jim Whitton of Hunter Panels, who has served as the PIMA chairman for the last two years.

“Helene has extensive and deep technical understanding of the polyiso insulation industry and has served the association on numerous task groups and initiatives—she is the perfect choice to lead PIMA,” says Jared Blum, PIMA president. “We look forward to her leadership as the building, architecture and specifying communities continues to embrace and reiterate the value of building thermal performance.”

Pierce has spent more than 34 years in the roofing industry and has been very active in many of the industry’s organizations. She received the ASTM Award of Merit and title of Fellow from ASTM Committee D08, the James Q. McCawley award from the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association and the title of Fellow of the Institute from the Roof Consultants Institute.

Among the many groups in which she has been active include ARMA; ASTM International; CSI; the RCI Foundation; CEIR; SPRI; RCMA; PIMA; and the CRRC. Pierce has also authored and presented numerous papers for the roofing industry and is a frequent contributor to industry publications.

“PIMA represents North America’s insulation of choice and its diverse membership provides a truly collaborative environment for all of our members,” says Pierce. “Given the importance of energy efficiency in the building envelope, the demand for continuous high-performance insulation for the roof and walls continues to grow. As the voice for polyiso insulation used in the building envelope and through its many initiatives in education, building codes and standards, technical resources, and QualityMark, PIMA’s support of the polyiso industry will certainly continue to grow.”

Attended by more than 100 members—polyiso manufacturers and suppliers to the industry—PIMA’s two-day annual meeting featured an educational session, which presented perspectives on energy infrastructure issues impacting the industry. During the annual meeting, members heard from:

  • Lisa Jacobson, president, Business Counsel for Sustainable Energy
  • Brad Markell, executive director, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council
  • Amy L. Duvall, senior director, Federal Affairs, American Chemistry Council
  • Sarah Brozena, senior director Regulatory and Technical Affairs, American Chemistry Council

“Energy efficiency remains a critical issue as illustrated during the recent COP21 meeting, where there was a palpable shift in the attitude of the business community towards energy-efficiency practices and policies,” adds Blum. “Our industry stands ready to support any agreement stemming from the COP21 meeting and our role as a trade association is to ensure our members have access to the resources they need.”

SOPREMA Joins the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association

The Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association announced that SOPREMA has joined the group as a manufacturing member.

“The addition of SOPREMA to the polyiso industry and the PIMA family reflects the continuing growth of polyiso as North America’s insulation product of choice,” says Jared Blum, president PIMA. “SOPREMA’s construction industry leadership role is well acknowledged, and the PIMA Board of Directors looks forward to the active involvement of the company.”

SOPREMA joins PIMA’s six manufacturing members: Atlas Roofing, Firestone Building Products, GAF, Hunter Panels, Johns Manville and Rmax.

SOPREMA is an international manufacturer specializing in the development and production of innovative products for waterproofing, insulation, soundproofing and vegetated solutions for the roofing, building envelope and civil engineering sectors. Founded in 1908 in Strasbourg, France, SOPREMA now operates in more than 90 countries.

With its first polyisocyanurate insulation plant in North America, SOPREMA will expand its presence in the construction market by offering complete roofing solutions to its clients, while managing all production phases.

“SOPREMA is proud to join PIMA and contribute to the energy performance of buildings and the reduction of greenhouse gases as a manufacturer of high-performance insulation boards,” says Richard Voyer, executive vice president and CEO of SOPREMA North America.

A Permeable Pavement Patio Outside a Performance Space Features a Distinctive Musical Note Pattern

Since performing its first concert in 1939, the West Michigan Symphony, a professional orchestra in Muskegon, Mich., has been a vital part of the region’s cultural landscape. In spring 2013, the symphony decided it was time to expand its administrative and ticketing services. It moved into offices in the newly renovated Russell Block Building. Located in downtown Muskegon, a block away from the Frauenthal Theater where the orchestra performs its concerts, the historic Russell Block Building was constructed in 1890.

The porous-paving material had to express the musical note motif the landscape architect envisioned for the patio. It is the quintessential design element for the entire rooftop project.

The porous-paving material had to express the musical note motif the landscape architect envisioned for the patio. It is the quintessential design element for the entire rooftop project.

“With the move, the symphony also realized a long-held dream: establishing a flexible space where we could expand educational offerings and stage smaller fine-arts performances,” explains Carla Hill, the symphony’s president and CEO.

Named The Block, the 1,800-square-foot space offers seating on two levels for up to 150. In addition to providing an intimate venue for a variety of arts performances, The Block is available for meetings and special events. The west-facing windows of The Block look out toward Muskegon Lake. However, there was a problem: Outside the windows, an unimproved and unappealing tar roof marred the view.

“In conversations with the symphony and Port City Construction & Development Services, which planned and managed the building renovation, we started envisioning the transformation of the unadorned roof into a rooftop patio and garden,” says Harry Wierenga, landscape architect, Fleis & VandenBrink Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Wierenga designed a 900-square-foot green roof (including 380 square feet of vegetation and a 520-square-foot patio area) as an accessible and appealing outdoor space. His design invites patrons of The Block to the outdoors onto a landscaped rooftop patio.

First Things First

“The existing roof was a tar roof over a concrete deck. Some holes had been boarded over and patched with tar,” notes Gary Post, manager, Port City Construction & Development Services LLC, Muskegon. “If the rooftop patio and garden had not been incorporated into the project, we would not have replaced it. We had to reroof to support the new rooftop outdoor space.”

The Port City Construction & Development Services roofing crew removed the existing roof down to the concrete deck, which they repaired. Two new roof drains were added to improve drainage. A single-ply membrane was selected for the new roof. The crew fully adhered the new membrane to the deck. The crewmembers then installed a geotextile fabric to protect the membrane and rolled out a geotextile drain sheet atop the protection fabric. The drain sheet facilitates drainage to the existing and two added roof drains.

A new 40-inch-high wall around the perimeter shelters the space and enhances rooftop safety. The porous paving’s gray and black custom-color mix harmonizes with the color of the wall.

A new 40-inch-high wall around the perimeter shelters the space and enhances rooftop safety. The porous paving’s gray and black custom-color mix harmonizes with the color of the wall.

A new 40-inch-high wall around the perimeter was constructed to shelter the space and enhance rooftop safety. Preparations also included widening the opening out to the rooftop from the interior of The Block. Glass double doors would be installed to establish a generous and transparent transition from indoors to outdoors.

Permeable Pavement

The project team applied a multi-faceted set of factors in evaluating options and selecting a pavement material for the patio:

  • To eliminate standing water and allow excess stormwater to flow to the drains, the paving material had to be permeable.
  • The plan called for installing the patio and green-roof elements on top of the geotextile drain sheet. The paving material would have to work with the modular green roof selected for the project.
  • The paving material had to be lightweight. By regulation, the maximum static plus live load for the roof is 100 pounds per square foot.
  • For easy access and safety, the pavement had to be low profile to minimize the threshold at the entry into The Block.
  • To create visual interest within the rectangular shape of the roof, the design emphasizes irregular shapes with angles to break up the space. The paving material would have to be flexible to adapt to the design.
  • The musical-note motif Wierenga envisioned for the patio is the quintessential design element for the entire rooftop project. The paving material had to offer the versatility to express the design.
  • Finally, a green-building product was preferred.

The project team considered composite decking and pavers. However, these linear materials were not flexible enough to adapt to the shape of the patio or sufficiently versatile to convey the musical note design.

PHOTOS: Porous Pave Inc.

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GAF Honored with 12 American Inhouse Design Awards

GAF has been honored with 12 American Inhouse Design Awards from Graphic Design USA magazine. For more than 50 years, Graphic Design USA has sponsored competitions to spotlight areas of excellence for creative professionals. The American Inhouse Design Awards is considered to be the premier showcase for outstanding work by in-house designers.

The GAF team won awards for work on categories, including Advertising, Announcements and Invitations, Brochures + Collateral, Corporate Identity Programs, Multimedia + Interactive, Packaging, and Logos + Symbols. The competition included almost 10,000 entries from corporations, publishing houses, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies, and only 15 percent were recognized with a Certificate of Excellence.

“It is an honor to be awarded recognition from such a prestigious competition in not just one, but a variety of categories across the marketing spectrum,” states Ted Marcopolus, vice president of marketing services at GAF. “I am proud that our Creative Design Services team continues to meet the challenges of new media, remaining focused on creating innovative and exceptional concepts to advance the GAF brand in support of our valued customers.”

GAF Partners with Labor Sync to Offer Labor Management Solution

Continuing its efforts to help roofing contractors build their businesses, GAF announced an alliance with Labor Sync to offer industry executives a one-stop labor management solution. This technology helps business owners control costs and enhance profitability by managing their workforce more efficiently.

Labor Sync is a cloud-based labor management solution that allows roofing contractors to monitor the time and location of their workforce from their mobile device. Through a downloadable app, employees can clock-in and clock-out directly from their smartphones and the information is then delivered through customizable reports to the business owner. Benefits to contractors include streamlining payroll processes and facilitating real-time job costing. The platform also offers special features, including messaging, field notes and GPS location tracking.

GAF Master Elite and Certified Contractors throughout the U.S. and Canada enjoy a 20 percent discount on the Labor Sync management solution.

“Our contractors have been asking for a labor management solution,” says Jim Slauson, vice president certified program and services at GAF. “Labor Sync’s technology offers them the ability to run their businesses more efficiently and cost-effectively.”

Labor Sync Director of Sales Matthew Satalino states: “In addition to the tangible benefits we offer, roofing contractors utilizing Labor Sync will be able to quickly adapt to new market trends and outpace their competition by having concrete labor and project hour information. Labor Sync allows roofing contractors to bring their outside jobs inside and better manage their projects and work crews, which could ultimately result in higher profit margins.”

GAF Relaunches GAF Style Guide

GAF has relaunched its GAF Style Guide. The web page focuses on “bringing the indoors, outdoors”, a trend in home design today. The resource helps homeowners select shingles that best match their personal style with their exterior home portfolio. It features a streamlined design with a focus on visual images to help homeowners explore shingle colors and styles. The style guide also features expert advice from Nancy Fire, HGTV HOME design director and creative director and founder of Design Works International.

GAF Partners with HGTV HOME Design Director

Furthering its focus on connecting style and design elements with quality roofing materials, GAF has partnered with Nancy Fire, HGTV HOME design director, and creative director and founder of Design Works International.

As HGTV HOME Design Director, Fire provides industry insight into design, style and emerging trends. Fire has worked with a variety of companies, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Crate & Barrel, as well as serving on the Advisory Board for the Fashion Institute of Technology.

The partnership with Fire will allow the GAF internal innovation team to leverage her extensive background in design and emerging trends, ensuring that GAF continues to create products that excite homeowners and help them express their genuine style. GAF customers will also have the opportunity to garner insight from Fire on design and color trends on the GAF Style Guide at starting in the fall of 2015.

“Nancy’s keen sense of style and extensive experience working with international brands and products, paired with her experience leading the helm for design at HGTV HOME, make her a perfect partner for GAF,” states Emily Videtto, vice president of residential products at GAF. “The roof makes up a significant portion of a home’s curb appeal and our customers are looking for ‘on-trend’ colors and styles to personalize their homes’ exteriors. Our partnership with Nancy Fire ensures that our customers are getting the most stylish roof on the market.”

Fire states: “In today’s world we have seen a major lifestyle shift in ‘bringing the indoors, outdoors’ so a paramount design decision like choosing the color and substrate of your roof is now being influenced by your lifestyle. Color, as well as texture, are two factors to consider while making this important decision and I am thrilled to be working with such an innovative company as GAF.”