Miami-Dade County and ARMA Team Up to Update High-Wind Codes

ARMA awarded the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources Department the 2017 ARMA Public Partnership Award.

ARMA awarded the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources Department the 2017 ARMA Public Partnership Award. Aaron R. Phillips, Corporate Director of Technical Services at TAMKO Building Products and chair of the ARMA Codes Steering Group, presented the award to Michael Goolsby and Miami-Dade team members who worked on the project. Pictured at the ceremony are (from left) Eduardo Fernandez, Gaspar Rodriguez, Michael Goolsby, Aaron Phillips, Alex Tigera and Jorge Acebo.

In the aftermath of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, the entire building code for South Florida was rebuilt from the ground up. When it was launched in 1994, the South Florida Building Code was a groundbreaking document that set new roofing application standards and testing protocols for every component and system in the building envelope. More than two decades later, it was clear the building code for Miami-Dade County’s high-velocity hurricane zone (HVHZ) needed to be updated. Beginning in 2014, Miami-Dade County officials worked with the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) and others in the roofing industry to ensure the current code language was clear and up to date.

Two-and-a-half years later, their work is complete. The 2017 Florida Building Code is scheduled for implementation on Jan. 1, 2018, and it will include every one of the proposals and public comments jointly submitted by ARMA and Miami-Dade. As a result of this successful collaboration, ARMA presented the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources Department with the inaugural ARMA Public Partnership Award in 2017 for their work together in updating the building codes for the HVHZ.

Members of the joint task force on the project shared their thoughts on the experience with Roofing, including Mike Fischer, ARMA’s Vice President of Codes & Regulatory Compliance; Michael Goolsby, Miami-Dade Board and Code Administration Division Director; Jorge Acebo, Roofing Product Control Examiner; Alex Tigera, Roofing Product Control Examiner; and Gaspar Rodriguez, Code Compliance and Training Officer, Roofing.

They all believe this collaboration between industry and government could serve as a successful model for other industry trade associations and other code bodies to follow. “This kind of cooperation between a public regulator and a private trade association is rare enough,” says Fischer. “The overwhelmingly positive results are unprecedented.”

The Problems

Miami-Dade staff and ARMA representatives both saw shortcomings in the roofing requirements for HVHZ. There were outdated references that needed to be removed, including test standards that were out of date. This often resulted in questions that slowed down the product approval review process. Members of the roofing industry also wanted to explore coordinating the Miami-Dade HVHZ protocols with other national testing requirements to further streamline testing procedures.

Fischer summed up ARMA’s goals this way: “ARMA is a responsible advocate for the asphalt roofing industry. We take that role seriously. We are an advocate. Our job is to represent the collective interests of the producers, but we try to be responsible about it. And it’s that drive to be responsible which led us to this partnership with the Miami-Dade staff.”

At the first meeting between ARMA and Miami-Dade, Fischer tried to break the ice. “The first thing we said when we came into that meeting was, ‘Hi, we’re from industry and we’re here to help,’” Fischer recalls. “I will tell you that when we started that meeting in the morning, the Miami-Dade staff was probably skeptical of what we were there for. By the end of the day, we had laid out a project plan of how we were going to work together, and that set the tone for the rest of the project.”

Fischer knew it would take the two entities working together to get things done. “In the Florida process, we knew we had to work with Miami-Dade, as they are a key stakeholder. We brought in other roof covering manufacturers for some of the discussions, and we also talked to the FRSA, the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association—the contractors—so they were at the table for quite a bit of this as well.”
ARMA set up a special task group to focus on the Miami-Dade protocols. The task force went through documents one by one with members of Miami-Dade group, identifying problems and sections that were out of date. They hashed out compromises when they didn’t agree.

Protecting the Public

Goolsby worked on the project on behalf of Miami-Dade along with members of his team including Acebo, Tigera and Rodriguez. “We cover a lot of territory,” notes Goolsby. “We maintain the building code and write the building code, but we also oversee all of the contractor licensing in Miami-Dade County. We have about 15,000 local licensed contractors. Of course, we handle product approvals, and we also service all of the boards here. We have a board of rules and appeals. We also oversee 35 building departments throughout Miami-Dade County. We try to make sure the code is uniformly enforced in all of those jurisdictions. So, we cover a lot of bases.”

The top priority is protecting the public. “In a general sense, we provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public,” Goolsby says, “But it’s these issues of life safety that are the most critical.”
Evacuating South Florida is difficult, so the residential portions of the code were written under the assumption that many people might have to ride out a storm in their homes. “We wanted their home to be just as strong as any commercial structure,” says Goolsby.

Acebo notes that ensuring the code is properly followed is as crucial as the code itself. He believes the inspectors’ role includes reassuring homeowners that systems are being installed correctly. “It’s important to us to fulfill our role to provide independent corroboration that the work is being done and installed properly,” he says. “The great thing about this particular effort is that it was truly collaborative. It was great to work with them and establish the language that was common with other jurisdictions or other certification agencies.”

Promising Results

Members of the joint task force agree that the changes make the code easier to understand. They also should streamline product approvals process.

“These updates definitely help the manufacturers get through the product approval process, specifically for Miami-Dade HVHZ requirements,” Fischer states. “It also helps the roofing contractor because we made sure the documents have the installation language updated, so it gives better direction to the installers of the products. And that trickles up to the general contractors in new construction, as it speeds up their processes and takes out some burdens.”

“At the end of the day, as a responsible advocate, one of ARMA’s main motivators was to make sure their industry’s products get installed the way they are intended to be installed,” Fischer continues. “That benefits the end user—the building owner and building occupant.”

Acebo agrees that the approvals process helps everyone—homeowners, contractors, manufacturers and inspectors. “If questions come out of the field from homeowners, manufacturers or contractors as to whether something is being applied or used properly, we can serve as that independent third party that doesn’t really have a stake in it other than to serve as an arbitrator who can clearly indicate whether something is right or not according to what has been provided and tested.”

The collaboration was so successful that the task force is already looking at other changes in the future. The Miami-Dade code is used as a model for other code bodies, and the joint task force could serve in that role as well, according to Fischer. “This is a model of collaboration between a governmental agency and private industry groups that will serve us well,” he says. “We are going to continue to do this with other groups, and frankly we’re going to continue doing it with Miami-Dade because this process isn’t ever done. Things will always be changing and we always have to keep up to date.”

ARMA Presents Public Partnership Award

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) has announced that the Miami-Dade Regulatory and Economic Resources Department is the recipient of the 2017 ARMA Public Partnership Award. 

The award, given only for the recognition of partnerships formed with ARMA, recognizes the collaboration between Miami-Dade and ARMA to update the Florida Building Code requirements in high wind zones. Aaron R. Phillips, corporate director of Technical Services at TAMKO Building Products Inc. and chair of the ARMA Codes Steering Group, presented the award to Michael Goolsby, Miami-Dade Board and Code Administration Division director. In addition, ARMA presented the staff members who worked on the project with individual certificates.

Over the past two years, Miami-Dade staff and ARMA representatives worked on updates to the roofing requirements for the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ), during numerous meetings and conference calls to review the current provisions, develop code proposals and manage the Florida Building Commission process.

The collaboration spanned hundreds of hours to remove outdated references and coordinate the HVHZ protocols with national testing requirements. Revisions approved as a result of this effort will streamline the certification process for roofing manufacturers when launching new products or renewing existing approvals and help Miami-Dade staff manage their product approval review process.

“Miami-Dade staff members are grateful for ARMA’s recognition of our joint effort,” says Goolsby. “It was only through our shared goal that we were able to get it done.”

ARMA and Miami-Dade representatives attended the Florida Building Commission’s Rule Development Workshop in Ocala as the Commission approved the final changes. The 2017 Florida Building Code, scheduled for launch on January 1, 2018, will include every one of the dozens of proposals and public comments jointly submitted by ARMA and Miami-Dade.

“This kind of cooperation between a public regulator and a private trade association is rare enough,” says ARMA’s vice president of Code and Regulatory Compliance, Michael Fischer. “The positive results are unprecedented.”   
 
Phillips noted that the efforts aren’t necessarily over. “We hope to build on this partnership and continue to improve the product approval process during future Florida code updates,” he says.
 
ARMA’s efforts in the codes, standards, and technical arenas translate to effective minimum code requirements, useful material standards, and educational resources for the industry.  Technical manuals, installation guides, Fast Facts, and technical bulletins are available on ARMA’s website and provide best practices for a variety of roofing topics.  Visit the website for access to all of these materials and more.

Underlayment Complies with Florida Building Code

MetShield HT underlayment from Drexel Metals was issued a Product Control Notice of Acceptance (NOA No.: 16-0322.26) for use in Miami-Dade County and its municipalities.

MetShield HT underlayment from Drexel Metals was issued a Product Control Notice of Acceptance (NOA No.: 16-0322.26) for use in Miami-Dade County and its municipalities.

MetShield HT underlayment from Drexel Metals was issued a Product Control Notice of Acceptance (NOA No.: 16-0322.26) for use in Miami-Dade County and its municipalities.

MetShield HT has been designed to comply with the Florida Building Code, including the High Velocity Hurricane Zone of the Florida Building Code. MetShield HT meets the requirements of ATSM D1970, for self-adhering polymer modified bituminous sheet materials used as steep slope roofing underlayment for ice dam protection.

Ultra HT Wind & Water Seal Underlayment Formally Approved by Miami-Dade

MFM Building Products, a manufacturer of a full envelope of waterproofing and weather barrier products for the building industry, has announced that its Ultra HT Wind & Water Seal high temperature roofing underlayment has been formally approved by Miami-Dade to comply with the Florida Building Code including the High Velocity Hurricane Zone. A copy of the NOA No. 13-1125.06 can be found on Miami-Dade’s website.

This self-adhering “self-stick” roofing underlayment is composed of a cool white, non-slip, cross-laminated, high density polyethylene film laminated to a high temperature rubberized asphalt adhesive system. This premium product is extremely tough and durable, and offers a 90-day UV exposure rating.

Ultra HT is engineered as a whole roof underlayment for use under asphalt shingle and metal roofing systems. Product rolls out smooth and lays flat while offering the contractor excellent foot traction. Ultra HT comes with a split release liner for use in valleys, ridges, around chimneys and at eaves for protection against ice dams, wind-driven rain and water penetration. Ultra HT aggressively adheres directly to the roof deck and self-seals around roofing fasteners. Product is rated to 250°F maximum.

Ultra HT has a thickness of 45 mils nominal and is available in a 36-inch width by 67-foot length (2 square) roll. Product meets ASTM D 1970, Florida Building Code FL16562, Miami-Dade County NOA 13-1125.06 and comes with a 10-Year Limited Warranty.