MBCI’s Retro-R Panel Is Florida Approved for Roof Applications

MBCI’s Retro-R panel has received statewide Florida approval by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation as FL21121 for roof applications. The certificate of product approval can be accessed via the Florida Building Code Information System.

Retro-R is an exposed-fastened panel with rib spacing 12 inches on center, a rib height of 1-1/16 inches, and minimum slope of ½:12. It has been approved as a minimum 26-gauge panel installed over an existing minimum 29-gauge PBR panel. It includes a Drip Stop membrane to prevent rust from the old roof from transferring to the new panel.

This panel allows the existing roof to stay in place during installation, saving on labor costs while minimizing the chance for water entry into the building, reducing interruptions to building operations and providing a safer working environment. Existing roof-top equipment, vents or light transmitting panels can all be accommodated by the Retro-R system.

For more information on Retro-R, visit the product page or download the product brochure.

Security Bars Provide Fall Protection

Placing a fall protection device, like security bars, and leaving it for rooftop security will save contractors man-hours and liability.

Placing a fall protection device, like security bars, and leaving it for rooftop security will save contractors man-hours and liability.

Fall protection for roofers is an important topic in the roofing industry. California Code of Regulations oversees fall protection codes and has ruled on a groundbreaking issue. Security Bars have been approved for Title 8, Section 3212 Fall Protection Codes.

Rooftop safety and security products and practices are essential for a safe work environment. Roofing Contractors spend a lot of time ensuring they comply with codes and standards. Title 8, Section 3212 states:

  • “Every floor and roof opening shall be guarded by a cover, a guardrail, or equivalent on all open sides. While the cover is not in place, the openings shall be constantly attended by someone or shall be protected by guardrails. Toe-boards shall be installed around the edges at opening where persons may pass below the opening.”

SKYCO Skylights led the push by manufacturers to update the standards so their customers could save time and money with a universal, code compliant product.

Some exceptions apply but for the most part an opening on a roof needs to have fall protections. Properly covering each hole can be time consuming for contractors. Placing a fall protection device, like security bars, and leaving it for rooftop security will save contractors man-hours and liability and give building owners and occupants the security they need.

Most building owners require security bars for their building, it can lower insurance costs and liabilities, so installing a security bar that doubles as fall protection is a practical concept. For a 500k square foot warehouse you can have upwards of 400 skylight openings.

Not all security bars are approved for Title 8, Section 3212. They need to withstand an impact test of 400 pounds minimum, no opening can be larger than 12 inches horizontally, the lip cannot be higher than 1 inch, and in the case of broken skylight glazing no impalement hazard for worker who has fallen through.

SKYCO Skylights’ team is knowledgeable in rooftop safety topics and codes but it is best practice to speak directly with a code official. For the entire detailed requirements and regulations contact SKYCO Skylights or go to the California Department of Industrial Relations website

National Roofing Contractors Association CEO Releases 2016 Elections Statement

William Good, CEO, National Roofing Contractors Association, has released a statement about the 2016 elections.

We are pleased a majority of candidates supported by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and ROOFPAC, our political action committee, prevailed in the 2016 elections. We congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and all winning candidates on their victories and look forward to working with the incoming Trump administration and new and returning lawmakers to advance NRCA’s policy agenda. This includes pro-growth tax policies, relief from some regulations, legislation that addresses the workforce needs of our industry, and replacement of the Affordable Care Act with market-based reforms to our health care system.

ROOFPAC, the voice of the roofing industry in Washington, D.C., actively supported pro-growth candidates in the elections. ROOFPAC invested more than $340,000 in support of 67 candidates during the 2015-16 election cycle and achieved a winning percentage of nearly 90 percent of candidates supported.

NRCA and ROOFPAC will continue to support members of Congress and other candidates who support government policies that enable roofing industry entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

USGBC and other Code-, Regulation- and Guideline-setting Bodies Are Increasingly Working with Industry

Earlier this year, the USGBC announced a 16-month extension to register products under LEED 2009, prior to the implementation of LEED v4 on Oct. 31, 2016. The action set off speculation, both off and online, about what caused USGBC to act with some calling for a more in-depth explanation for the delay. But the real reason, most likely, was simply stated in USGBC’s own press release: In a survey taken at GreenBuild in late October, 61 percent of respondents—almost two-thirds of those polled—said they are “not ready” or “unsure” if they were ready to pursue LEED v4 and required additional time to prepare. USGBC said it was also getting the same message from the international community.

The response to the USGBC action tended to fall into two camps: those who said the council was caving to the pressure of industry and those who said USGBC was taking a reasonable action after having put forward a complicated, unworkable and unneeded ratings system. Based on my extensive work with code-setting and regulatory bodies, I see a third option emerging, one that bodes well for the environment and the building sector.

During the past year, as part of my job as associate executive director of the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), I have attended and testified at more than 20 hearings held by a broad range of groups, including the IGCC, SCAQMD (the South Coast Air Quality Management District, overseeing much of Southern California) and ASHRAE. Frequently, I have been accompanied by representatives of our member companies, Firestone, Carlisle and Johns Manville. And often I have been joined by members of industry groups, such as the American High-Performance Buildings Coalition.

Collectively, we have offered our findings on a range of issues that are critical to our industry, such as the importance of climate in the choice of roofing color and the need to preserve the builder’s choice when deciding on reflectivity options and the unique qualities of ballasted roofing that should be considered in any code-setting activities. Our testimony is based on meticulous research, as well as on empirical evidence and firsthand knowledge gained from years of experience in the building industry. Increasingly, we find that we are listened to and that our interaction with code-setting and regulatory bodies is a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas, rather than an adversarial give-and-take.

For instance, we worked closely with the Ozone Transport Commission in its efforts to achieve federally mandated clean air standards in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Initially, we pointed out that their proposed regulations would have mandated the use of low-VOC products that were in development but not yet available in the marketplace. And we also demonstrated that the roofing industry would need ample time to train roofing contractors in the use of these new products. We worked with regulators, state by state, and developed a mutually agreed upon seasonal approach. While the process is still ongoing, many state regulators expressed their gratitude for the advice we offered and the expertise we brought to the table.

I am certainly not privy to the inner workings of the USGBC. But their extension of the deadline for the implementation of LEED v4 seems to be part of a trend: The groups who are drawing up codes, regulations, and ratings systems are increasingly working with the building industry and the end results are based on good science and good sense.

NRCA Releases Statement on 2014 Midterm Elections, Calls for Breakthrough of Partisan Gridlock

The following statement is attributable to William Good, executive vice president of the National Roofing Contractors Association

“We are pleased a vast majority of candidates supported by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and ROOFPAC, our political action committee, prevailed in the 2014 midterm congressional elections on Tuesday. In particular, we are pleased to see a pro-business majority has been elected in the U.S. Senate. We look forward to working with returning and new lawmakers in both parties to break through partisan gridlock and advance the policy agenda NRCA has been supporting for years. This includes pro-growth tax policies, relief from burdensome regulations, legislation that addresses the workforce development needs of our industry, and replacement of the so-called Affordable Care Act with market-based reforms to our health care system.

ROOFPAC, the voice of the roofing industry in Washington, D.C., was very active in the 2014 congressional elections, investing more than $300,000 in support of nearly 75 pro-business candidates during the 2013-14 election cycle. NRCA and ROOFPAC will continue to support members of Congress and other candidates who support government policies that enable roofing industry entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.”

OSHA’s Fall Protection Clarifications for Roofers

OSHA’s fall-protection regulations are easy to find (see OSHA 29 CFR, Subpart M, 1926.500 – 1926.503 and four appendixes). Understanding them is a bit more difficult because they apply to a variety of occupations, including roofing.

The following clarifications are OSHA’s responses to questions regarding fall-protection requirements and work practices affect roofers:

ROOF OPENINGS

The “Holes” section of the regulation requires the use of fall protection— personal fall-arrest systems (PFAS), guardrails, safety nets, covers, etc.—when there is a hole in a work/walking surface. Because a roof is a work/walking surface, employees must be protected from falling through. OSHA concluded that immediately securing a cover over a cut hole is sufficient because the cover eliminates the fall hazard requiring fall protection. The rest of the environment may still require fall protection.

SUPPLYING MATERIAL TO THE ROOF

A supplier who delivers roofing material onto a roof must use all available fall protection, meaning a sufficient ladder or other means with a sturdy handhold. A supplier also must wear personal fall-protection equipment and connect to existing anchorage points when receiving and delivering materials on a roof.

If anchorage points do not exist for workers at the site, suppliers are not required to install anchorage points because they spend so little time at the job site. Anchorage points are the primary contractor’s responsibility, and it’s the supplier’s responsibility to use available fall protection.

CONTROLLED ACCESS ZONES

A controlled access zone (CAZ) is a designated work area marked by a warning line that only authorized employees can cross to work next to an unprotected edge. This less-safe approach is explicitly reserved for leading-edge work (the changing unprotected side of a roof or floor as it is installed) and overhand brickwork.

Except for steep roofs (slopes greater than 4-inches vertical to 12-inches horizontal) and non-residential roofing, CAZs are an option if you can prove traditional fall protection is not possible or too dangerous. Just be prepared to justify in writing why other fall protection isn’t effective; identify all authorized employees; and investigate all accidents and near accidents.

Some examples where traditional fall protection fails:

    ▪▪ Safe anchors cannot be provided.
    ▪▪ Lifelines may entangle or mire in grout.
    ▪▪ Fall protection prevents completion of the work.
    ▪▪ Work-area configuration causes ineffective fall-arrest systems.

At the very least, the CAZ must include a safety monitoring system.

USING SAFETY MONITORS ON LOW-SLOPE ROOFS

A safety monitor is a competent person responsible for recognizing and warning employees they are in danger of falling. The monitor counts as part of the fall-protection solution on low-slope roofs.

The following are fall-protection options on low-slope roofs:

    ▪▪ Guardrails
    ▪▪ Safety nets
    ▪▪ PFAS
    ▪▪ Warning lines and guardrails
    ▪▪ Warning lines and safety nets
    ▪▪ Warning lines and PFAS
    ▪▪ Warning lines and safety monitors
    ▪▪ Safety monitors on roofs 50-feet wide or less

The safety monitor must:

    ▪▪ Be competent to recognize fall hazards.
    ▪▪ Warn employees when it appears they are unaware of a fall hazard or are acting unsafely.
    ▪▪ Be on the same work/walking surface as monitored employees and be able to see them.
    ▪▪ Be close enough to talk to the employees.
    ▪▪ Not have any other responsibilities.
    ▪▪ Ensure employees follow warnings and directions.

Also, mechanical equipment can’t be in safety monitoring areas. Because these feasibility exceptions are only listed in specific categories (low-slope roof work, leading-edge work, precast concrete erection and residential construction), if a worker doesn’t fit those categories, such as HVAC installation, the worker must follow conventional fall protection. Alternative plans are generally for situations in which there isn’t a completed structure to attach anchor points; once anchor points are available, OSHA favors regular fall protection.

WARNING LINE FOR NON-ROOFERS

OSHA’s stance on fall protection is that there is no safe working distance away from an unprotected edge. But in an interpretation of workers on a low-slope roof, having just a warning line at least 15 feet from the edge of a roof for non-roofers (HVAC installers) would be considered a “de minimis” violation if non-roofers are prohibited from crossing the warning line. A de minimis violation violates regulations without making the workplace less safe and doesn’t result in a citation.

ASSEMBLING AND INSTALLING ROOFS

OSHA assumes traditional fall protection is safer than creating an alternative plan and has described some industry approaches to assembling and installing roofs without foregoing fall-protection precautions just because an anchor isn’t convenient:

    ▪▪ Assemble the roof on the ground and use a crane to place it.
    ▪▪ Use permanent and reusable roof anchors and reusable truss braces while working from ladders or platforms at both ends to brace the trusses without needing to be on them.
    ▪▪ Once trusses are braced, begin initial sheathing at the eaves with workers on platforms inside the structure, removing braces one at a time. Sheath the last course while tied off to existing wood anchors.

When OSHA regulations meet the real world, they can leave you wondering how they should be interpreted, and roofing is no exception. Hopefully this summary of how OSHA has interpreted fall protection for roofing situations clarifies some of the questions.