Hospital Pedestrian Overpass Poses Logistical and Safety Challenges

The elevated pedestrian walkway at the BJC Healthcare/Washington University Medical Center complex connects the parking garages to buildings in the medical campus. It is approximately 1,200 feet long. Photo Paric Corporation and KAI Design & Build.

“The more complicated and complex the project, the more it is up our alley,” says Drew Bade, project manager for Bade Roofing Company in St. Louis, Missouri.

The company’s recent work roofing the new 1,200-foot-long elevated pedestrian walkway at the BJC Healthcare/Washington University Medical Center complex in St. Louis certainly qualifies as complex. The fully enclosed walkway connects the parking garages to buildings in the medical campus. Constructed atop 14 concrete pillars at an elevation of approximately 40 feet over busy roadways, the 13-foot-wide structure posed obvious logistical and safety challenges.

Bade Roofing’s union-affiliated workforce focuses on commercial projects, and the lion’s share of the company’s work is in the re-roofing arena. But for this new construction project, designed and executed through a joint venture between KAI Design & Build and Paric Corporation as part of a long-term project to update the medical campus, Drew Bade knew his company was the right candidate for the roofing portion of the job. The successful roofing installation proved him right. “We teamed up with Paric and KAI and made this thing happen,” says Bade.

The Roof System

The heated and air-conditioned walkway features carpeting, LED lighting, security intercoms, windows and metal wall panels. It also features a durable roof system. “It’s a walkway, but this thing was built like a tank,” notes Bade.

The walkway was constructed atop 14 concrete piers that elevate it over busy roadways. Photo Paric Corporation and KAI Design & Build.

The roof is a Firestone TPO system that includes R-20 polyiso insulation and a half-inch DensDeck cover board from Georgia-Pacific. The 60-mil UltraPly TPO membrane was attached using Firestone’s InvisiWeld induction welding system. The base of the system is the walkway’s 18-gauge steel deck, which features interior drains, scuppers and downspouts. Tapered insulation was used to provide proper drainage.

To make the project’s logistics even more complicated, work was scheduled on the fly as different areas of the walkway were completed. “There were some areas that weren’t built yet when we started to put this roof on,” Bade recalls. “It was a fluid situation. It was a challenge just to keep up with the changes, and we had to bounce around a lot. We couldn’t just start at one end and roof our way over to the other end. We had to hop around and handle what was finished at the time, tying the sections in together as they were completed.”

The short parapet walls were capped with edge metal after the roof was installed. “In some spots, after the roof was put on, it was more like a drip edge than a parapet,” Bade says. “At the highest, it was about 8 inches. We installed edge metal that tied into the metal wall panels they used on the sides of the bridge. It was all integrated together.”

Loading components proved tricky. “Getting material to each section and moving it around was a challenge in itself,” Bade explains. “We had to coordinate certain time frames that we could get our crane into an area to drop the material off. Because of how the safety systems were set up and how narrow this bridge was, you couldn’t really transport material along it very far. The crane essentially had to put the material right where it was going to go for that day.”

Loading the roof was usually done first thing in the morning, as use of the crane could mean blocking off roads or going into gated areas. “We’d try to beat all of the other trades in there,” Bade says.

The Safety Plan

The key to executing the project was finding the right safety plan. Initially the team explored the use of a

The Beamguard lifeline system from Guardian Fall Protection was installed in the center of the roof deck by workers in a boom lift. Photo Bade Roofing Company.

temporary guardrail system, but it proved infeasible due to the short parapet walls. “We use temporary guardrails on almost 100 percent of our projects, but the engineer came back and said the parapet walls weren’t strong enough to support a guardrail system,” Bade recalls.

The company looked for other options. “We looked at a special system that is more commonly used on road bridges during construction,” he says. “It uses a cable that runs between stanchions, and crew members can clip off to the cable.”

The system chosen was the Beamguard lifeline stanchion system from Guardian Fall Protection. The posts were attached to the steel I-beams every 30 feet. “We had to cut the metal deck out and clamp the posts to the I-beams,” Bade explains.

Crew members’ personal fall arrest systems were connected to the lifeline, but only two workers could tie off to the cable in between the stanchions. “We were tied off 100 percent of the time,” Bade says. “Safety was a huge issue for everyone on this project. There were no warnings. Everyone knew that if someone wasn’t tied off, they’d immediately be thrown off the job.”

The stanchions for the lifeline system were attached to the steel I-beams under the roof deck. Photo Bade Roofing Company.

The cable system posed some limitations on crew movement, which affected the delivery of materials. “With the cable system, you could only go so far because only two people could be tied off to a 30-foot section at a time. Essentially you had two guys walking 30 feet to hand insulation boards to the next two guys. It was kind of like a chain gang, moving material down each section of the roof.”

Ensuring the safety of pedestrians and vehicles below was also crucial. “There was a sidewalk area in the parking garage that was fully functional during the project, as there was a walkway constructed of scaffolding that offered overhead protection,” Bade notes.

However, other areas of sidewalk and roads had to be closed in order to complete work on some sections. “It depended where you were working that day,” Bade says. “Some areas of sidewalk had to be closed, and sometimes we had to redirect traffic. If you were working in areas without scaffolding, you would have to have two guys on the ground with flag lines directing traffic and blocking people off.”

One crucial section over a busy road posed some additional challenges. The three-lane road could only be shut down on one weekend. All of the trades had to complete their work that weekend, so the roofing installation had to be completed in just one day. “We did a 120-foot stretch of the roof that crossed this main road, and we did it all on a Saturday. It was the only opportunity we had. Otherwise we would’ve had to pay to shut the road down lane-by-lane, as we went. We were lucky that we were able to get in there on that one day and finish the whole length.”

The roofing installation was completed in sections as they were constructed after the 18-gauge steel deck was in place. Photo Bade Roofing Company.

Communication between all of the companies involved in the project was essential, notes Bade. “The foremen for every trade met every morning before work started. All of the contractors on the project had their meeting every week to plan and go over everything,” he says. “There were multiple forms you had to fill out every morning. The paperwork on this project was flying like you wouldn’t believe.”

After the work was completed in each section, the safety system had to be disassembled and removed. The last chore completed on each portion of the roof was to fill in the patches of roofing material where the stanchions had been. Workers completed these last steps tied off to a snorkel lift.

Despite the logistical hurdles, the project went smoothly and feedback has been positive, notes Bade. “It ended up being a great project for us,” he says. “It turned out really nice.”

It’s just another tough project now in the rear-view mirror. “The coordination, the safety, and the complexity of the actual roof system itself — not that it was necessarily a difficult roof to install, but given where it was, and how difficult it was to access — it all shows how dedicated and skilled our company is,” Bade concludes. “I don’t think there are a lot of companies out there that could do this project.”

TEAM

Architect: KAI Design & Build, St. Louis, www.kai-db.com
General Contractor: Joint venture between KAI Design & Build and Paric Corporation, St. Louis, www.paric.com
Roofing Contractor: Bade Roofing Company, St. Louis, www.baderoofing.com

MATERIALS

Membrane: 60-mil UltraPly TPO, Firestone Building Products, www.firestonebpco.com
Cover Board: DensDeck, Georgia-Pacific, www.densdeck.com

Railing System Provides Temporary Fall Protection

The Finnish company Alupro announces the immediate availability of the Parapet Bridge for the temporary fall protection AluFix EVO.

In 2015, Alupro successfully introduced the temporary fall protection railing system AluFix EVO for highly secure roof work.

The new Parapet Bridge serves as an additional, outer safety railing, with which the temporary fall protection AluFix EVO can be extended quickly, easily and tool-free. The Parapet Bridge creates additional freedom of movement, because it increases the available working space beyond the parapet. Without having to set up a scaffolding from the outside, e.g. work on the parapet cover can be performed with the proven counterweight system AluFix EVO. The fall protection railing is flexibly applicable up to a parapet thickness of 730 mm and allows safe working on levels up to a roof pitch of 10 degrees. The Parapet Bridge consists of a sturdy, high-quality aluminum construction, which is mounted to a continuous safety railing. The secure connection points consist of self-locking clamping mechanisms that enable tool-free installation.

The system extension Parapet Bridge as well as the basic system AluFix EVO according to EN13374-A has been successfully tested and equipped with the GS mark for proved safety.

New features of the Attika bridge for AluFix EVO:

  • Fast, easy and tool-free installation
  • Lightweight and stable construction made of high quality aluminum components
  • Can be used on levels up to 10-degree roof pitch
  • Additional, enlarged working space for attic covers
  • Variable adjustment of the attic width up to 730 mm
  • Tested to EN-13374-A GS seal of approval for tested safety

Proven features (AluFix EVO):

  • Simple, tool-free installation
  • Lightweight, highly stable aluminum construction
  • GS tested, meets safety standard EN 13374-A

AluFix EVO can simply be supplemented by existing customers with the Parapet Bridge and can be used for all roof variants up to a 10-degree inclination.

For more information, visit www.alupro.com.

Expert Crew Is Called in for Copper Roof Restoration Project

The dome on the Bradford County Courthouse was restored with copper panels during the first phase of a $3 million renovation project. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

The octagonal dome atop the Bradford County Courthouse has been a fixture on the Towanda, Pennsylvania, skyline for more than 120 years. It now shines brightly after being restored with copper panels as part of a $3 million renovation project.

Built in the Classical and Renaissance revival styles in 1898, the four-story courthouse was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987. The dome’s original roof tiles were recently replaced as part of the project, which also included the complete restoration of the structure’s main roof.

The Charles F. Evans Company Inc., the union division of Evans Roofing Company Inc., headquartered in Elmira, New York, has a long history of successfully tackling projects with historical significance. C&D Waterproofing Corp., the general contractor on the project, reached out to the firm for support assessing the roofing portion of the project. The two companies teamed up on the project, with C&D Waterproofing handling the masonry restoration work and Charles F. Evans Company installing the roof systems.

The roofing work consisted of two phases. Phase One, which began in April of 2016, involved replacing the deteriorated terracotta tiles on the dome with soldered flat seam copper panels. Phase Two, which began in April of 2017, involved installing batten seam copper roofing on main structure and new copper flashings, gutters and downspouts.

Safety First

Construction Manager Bill Burge of Charles F. Evans Company was thrilled to be part of this historic project. Before

Originally completed in 1898, the courthouse was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987. The building’s main roof was removed and replaced with a copper batten seam roof after work on the dome was completed. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

concentrating on the installation details, he knew the company would focus on the top priority. “Safety is number one,” says Burge. “Safety comes before profits. Safety comes before everything. We always want to make sure we have the right safety plan going into the job, and throughout the job, we are maintaining that plan and working that plan. We want our guys to go home to their families at the end of the day, so that’s key for us.”

Burge worked as a union carpenter for 10 years before joining the company more than seven years ago. He found he had an affinity for sheet metal work. “The craftsmanship and quality goes hand in hand with carpentry,” Burge says. “Everything starts with the carpentry. You have to have your base perfect; otherwise, everything from there on out doesn’t work. Sheet metal is a finished product, typically, especially in our business, so things have to be done right. Things have to be done to the highest standard of quality, because that’s what people see.”

The dome was designed to be a showpiece, and Field Superintendent Brian Babcock and his crew of qualified union sheet metal mechanics knew they would be held to an exacting standard. “The key to this project and every project is our talented mechanics in the field,” Burge says. “Charles F. Evans Company is nothing without this talent—they deserve all of the credit.”

Around the Dome

Phase One began with the removal of the tiles on the dome. “The ceramic tile was laid over open steel purlins,” Burge notes.

Charles F. Evans Roofing Company handled the roofing portion of the project, while C&D Waterproofing Corp. served as the general contractor and performed masonry restoration work. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

“There was open framing with quarter-inch steel angle for the purlins, and each piece if tile was wired on. The removal process was fairly simple. You could actually lift up the bottom of the tile and snap it off.”

The removal work had to be done in sections and dried in every night. “One of the hardest things about this process was we had to install two layers of half-inch plywood over the steel purlins and anchor those down,” says Burge.

The plywood was attached to vertical two-by-fours, which were screwed into the purlins. The plywood was covered with one layer of Warrior 30-pound felt paper, Meadows Red Rosin Paper, and Grace Ultra High Temp underlayment in gutter areas.

The built-in gutter at the base of the dome was torn out and re-framed. The new gutter was wider and deeper according to the recommendation of Levine & Company Inc., the architect on the project. “We did everything to specification as Levine & Company drew it,” says Burge.

Once the cladding was completed on the gutter, the copper panels of the dome were installed. The 20-inch panels were made of 20-ounce, cold rolled copper, supplied by Revere Copper Products. Both the panels and cladding were fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company’s fabrication shop. The copper panels clip to each other and have a hem on four sides that clips

Custom flashing pieces were fabricated and installed where the copper roof panels met the base of the dome. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

to the adjacent panel fastened to the deck. At the top of each panel, a hook clips off to the plywood, and the hook is covered by the panel directly above it.

Burge points out that the octagonal structure of the dome helped speed up the installation of the copper panels. “There are eight hips on the dome,” he notes. “Every section of the dome is like a piece of pie, basically, so we were able to start the panels in various locations. We didn’t have to start at one end and go around the dome. We could move around.”

Repairing the statue on the top of the dome was also part of the scope of work. “We soldered copper patches on any damage the statue had,” Burge says. “C&D Waterproofing completely cleaned and buffed the statue and applied a copper coating.”

Across the Roof

After the work on the dome was completed, work began on the main roof. The existing roof was removed down to the existing steel deck. The lower roof also had a built-in, copper-clad gutter that had to be removed and reconstructed. After

Scaffolding systems were constructed for both phases of the project. Shown here is part of the system installed around the lower roof, which featured planks and guardrails at the eave and rake edges. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

the gutter was completed, work on the main roof began. “After we completely cleaned the metal decking, we had to install a layer of Grace Ultra High Temp underlayment,” Burge recalls. “We then installed two-by-four wood sleepers, 2 feet on center.”

Crews installed 1.5 inches of polyiso insulation between the two-by-fours, followed by another 1.5-inch layer of polyiso. Pieces of 5/8-inch plywood were then screwed down to the sleepers. The plywood received 30-pound felt, and the battens were installed 20 inches on center. The seams were completed using a custom-designed mechanical seamer manufactured by Roll Former Corp.

Installation of the 12,000 square feet of copper panels went smoothly, but where panels met the dome, details were tricky. “Everything is pitched, and the dome has eight different sections sitting right in the center of the structure,” Burge explains. “A lot of time and energy went into fabricating and installing custom flashing pieces at the base of the dome.”

The Safety Plan

A scaffolding system was the key to the safety plan for both phases of the project. “For Phase One, we had to remove a portion of the roofing system and put down some plywood on top of the existing roofing in order to build a scaffold to access the dome,” Burge says.

This photo shows the main roof before restoration work began. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

Scaffolding was constructed to the eave edge of the copper dome, allowing the gutter to be removed. Ladders were used to access the dome and personal fall arrest systems were attached into HitchClips from Safety Anchor Fall Equipment, LLC, which served as individual anchor points. “We continued that process as we went up, using ladder jacks,” says Burge. “We continued with that plan, and never deviated.”

After Phase One was completed, the scaffolding was removed, and another scaffolding system was installed around the entire lower roof. Phase Two required planks and pre-engineered guardrails at the eave and rake edges. “Part of process of installing this roof included installing new safety anchors at various locations, and as we finished up, we were able to use those anchors as tie-off points,” Burge points out.

Phase Two is scheduled for completion in early November, and Burge has high praise for everyone involved with the project. “Levine & Co. Inc. is the architecture firm on the project,” he says. “We didn’t deter from any details developed. They drove this thing. We have worked with them on a great many projects in the past, and we have a great comfort level with them.”

Copper panels, cladding and details were fabricated in Charles F. Evans Company’s metal shop. Photos: Charles F. Evans Roofing Company Inc.

The masonry and roofing work had to be well coordinated. “C&D Masonry & Waterproofing progressed ahead of us with items that we needed to be done, and then came back behind us to mortar all of the counter flashings back into the dome,” Burge says. “They were right there with us every step of the way.”

Finding the right combination of workers for this project was crucial, according to Burge. “We had one of our best crews on this project for a reason,” he says. “This project was led by Brian Babcock of Sheet Metal Local 112, and he was essential in putting this whole thing together. He’s been with Charles F. Evans Company for 20 years, and his leadership and focus is the reason this project is going to be successful.”

Ornate sheet metal work is rare these days, but the art is not lost at Charles F. Evans Company. “We’ve been doing this work for 60-plus years,” Burge says. “This knowledge and this workmanship has been handed down generation after generation. We wouldn’t have taken on this project if we didn’t have the confidence in our employees that we do.”

Historic restoration projects are becoming an increasingly bigger chunk of the company’s portfolio, notes Burge. “We do a lot of work with older universities and businesses that have these types of buildings,” he says. “A lot of buildings need this type of work, and it’s a trade not everyone else has. This is a craft that takes years to master. We harness that, we build from within, and we bring in young guys and teach them how to do it the right way. We have a great mix of people ages 23 up to 60, and it’s learned, it’s taught, and it’s preached.”

Burge is hopeful the new roof will last at least as long as its predecessor. “This is the one thing that makes Charles F. Evans Company special to me: the fact that what we do from an architectural sheet metal standpoint, from a slate, copper, tile roof standpoint—these roofs will last 100, 150 years, and it is artwork,” he says. “The fact that you’re a part of something that’s been around since the turn of the last century—to me it doesn’t get any better than that.”

TEAM

Architect: Levine & Company Inc., Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Levineco.net
Construction Manager: C&D Waterproofing Corp., Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, CDwaterproofingcorp.com
Roofing Contractor: Charles F. Evans Roofing Co. Inc., Elmira, New York, Evans-roofing.com

MATERIALS

Copper Supplier: Revere Copper Products, Reverecopper.com
Synthetic Underlayment: Grace Ultra High Temp, GCP Applied Technologies, GCPat.com
Mechanical Seamer: Roll Former Corp., Rollformercorp.com
Anchor Points: HitchClip, Safety Anchor Fall Equipment, LLC, Hitchclip.com

Keep Guidelines Up to Date and Make Safety Part of Your Company Culture

Safety is a consideration in any type of work, whether in the office, a warehouse or outside. There are many concerns, including personal well-being, liability, regulation, public relations and cost-benefit analysis to keep in mind.

There is nothing more important than safety. Every employee wants to go home at the end of the day uninjured. Injuries inhibit the ability to perform work effectively, affecting both the employer and employee. Fatalities have a permanent impact.

Roofing is a category of special concern, due to height and fall injury potential for both sales and production personnel. There are two primary areas of concern: ladder safety and fall hazards. According to a study by the Center for Construction Research and Training titled “Fatal Falls From Roofs Among U.S. Construction Workers,” fatal falls from roofs accounted for one-third of all fall-related construction fatalities during the time period 1992-2009. In its findings, the study found that employers with 10 or fewer employees had a disproportionate number of fatal falls, and that Hispanic workers were a disproportionate number of those fatalities. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show that roofing workers are three times more likely to be fatally injured as a result of a fall than other construction industry employees.

In an effort to minimize the potential for injury or fatality, the government has instituted various regulations, which are enforced primarily by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Mandatory roof safety guidelines are an effort to steer the industry towards safer roofing practices.

Implementing Safety Practices That Align With Company Culture

The key components to have in mind are establishing guidelines, training, availability of effective safety equipment, and implementation of procedures that result in a safer work environment. The government, particularly OSHA, has developed guidelines intended to create a safer work environment. Training programs are readily available which interpret the OSHA standards and show how they can be practically implemented, and manufacturers have developed equipment designed to improve worker safety, including new types of ladders, safety harnesses, warning barriers, etc.

None of the above is likely to improve roof safety without a willingness on the part of the employer to mandate utilization of safe roofing practices and incorporate into daily operations a culture of safety.

Proper Safety Training Must Be Practiced Consistently

Employees need to be trained how to safely do their work, they must be provided the tools and equipment which enable them to work safely, and they must be encouraged to implement safe working practices to minimize the chance for injury. With proper training and availability of the proper tools and equipment, safe operations become a matter of “common sense.” Educated workers realize the value of the implementation of safe roofing practices and hence are more likely to incorporate them in their daily work.

Keep Safety Eco-Friendly

Safety is not only a physical issue, it is also an economic issue. As an incentive to incorporate safe practices in daily operations, many workers’ compensation providers offer financial incentives in the form of lower rates, rebates and dividends for lower claims history. This adds to profitability. Realizing the economic benefits of decreased liability exposure due to safe operating practices, many insurance providers offer training programs for free to their policyholders. Costs of development have been paid by the insurer, yet the policyholder benefits in the form of structured training being made available to employees at little or no direct cost. This can be a win-win solution to the question of how to develop and implement an effective safety-training program. Even more beneficial, the programs have been developed by experts in the area of risk mitigation, who have an incentive to find cost-effective means to practically incorporate safe practices into the daily roofing operations environment.

Safety Influences Profitability and Success

Employers who orient their company toward safe roofing practices seem more likely to profitably grow their business. Yes, there is a cost to train employees and implement safe roofing practices, but this is more than offset by the additional benefits to be gained by having available a properly trained workforce with a culture for safety. The availability of well-trained employees enables work to progress effectively, providing greater likelihood of profits. Safe and uninjured employees are less likely to pose a legal risk. Lower claims result in lower insurance costs, which directly affects the bottom line.

Keeping safety guidelines up to date is essential. Employee safety must be an integral part of the company culture. Gathering safety updates via e-mail from government websites allow companies to structure employee training programs and updates to the internal safety procedures. This will enable a company to effectively manage in-house safety programs. When companies have an excellent safety record, there are multiple benefits. A company’s e-mod will continue to move downwards, thereby reducing workers’ compensation costs while helping to ensure employees are able to return home safely each night to be with their families.

Retain Loyal Customers

Customers tend to notice poor safety practices implemented by the employees of their roofer. Along with liability risk, this creates a public relations issue. Not addressing customer concerns can result in loss of customers. Why would a customer continue to contract with a company that obviously disregards the safety of its employees? In the current culture, with its emphasis on the individual, safety is an important area of consideration for any employer wishing to profitably expand.

Steep-Slope Projects: Risks, Considerations and Best Practices for Contractors

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Many contractors treat residential roofing as routine. However, whether a re-roof or new construction, each project can be infinitely complex and should be addressed as such by always accounting for weather and safety issues, as well as proper installation and customer service.

One of the most prominent and popular elements of residential architecture is a steep-slope roof. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), steep-slope roofs have slopes greater than 4:12 and range from 18.5 degrees to 45 degrees or more. While the process of installing a roof with these angles isn’t necessarily much different from a low-slope roof, it can pose more risks and considerations for workers.

Weather Woes

Weather plays an important role in every roofing project, but staying on top of potential issues from Mother Nature is especially crucial during steep-slope jobs.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

In high temperatures, workers may fall victim to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heatstroke or worse. The best way to beat the heat is to start early and get as much done as possible before the temperature peaks. Starting early in the summer—specifically in the South—can allow work to be completed before daily rain showers roll in. Proper hydration and attire are also important.

Cold temperatures can create even more complications because some manufacturers advise against installing their products in weather below 45 degrees Fahrenheit and certain equipment is susceptible to freezing. Furthermore, workers have to pay extra attention to the grip of their shoes to avoid slipping and falling. Not to mention, freezing-cold hands and feet may cause an otherwise adept worker to become clumsy. Wearing the proper clothing is key during cold-weather jobs, and workers should be advised to keep an eye out for the first signs of frostbite, including cold skin, redness, tingling and numbness.

Safety Considerations

In 2015, falls were the leading cause of private-sector work deaths in the construction industry, accounting for nearly 40 percent of worker fatalities, according to OSHA. In addition, OSHA reports nearly 90 percent of fatal falls happen due to the lack of a fall-protection system.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

When working on a roof slope greater than 4/12, OSHA requires additional safety measures, which include either a guardrail system with toeboards, safety net systems or personal fall arrest systems. Yet, many contractors—especially residential roofers—choose to forgo protective devices because they feel they are not feasible or create a greater hazard. In such cases, OSHA does allow the use of alternative fall-protection methods in residential construction, as long as contractors develop a written, job-specific fall-protection plan that complies with OSHA regulations.

Proper Installation

During the installation process, roofers should keep a few things in mind whether they’re applying shingles to a steep-slope or low-slope structure.

  • Valleys
Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Valleys are a critical part of proper roof installation because they experience the most water flow during rainstorms and can be potential leak points.

In an open valley, a piece of aluminum, copper or other type of metal is used to help keep rainwater flowing off the roof. Open valleys are often used when a homeowner wants a showier look, such as on a Colonial-style home.

Closed valleys—the most common valley installation method—use asphalt shingles and offer a more traditional look. When properly installed, they keep water from getting trapped in the valley and allow for proper drainage.

In addition to open and closed valleys, contractors also have the option to create a weave valley, which alternates shingles through the valley from both sides, creating a braid-like effect.

Laminate/architectural shingles should not be used for weave valleys. Because laminate shingles aren’t one-dimensional, they do not create the flat surface needed for a weave valley, which should only be used with three-tab shingles.

When using laminate shingles, be sure to follow instructions on the wrapper for either an open or closed application.

Contractors also need to be extremely careful around obstacles such as chimneys and skylights, which require their own flashing and water divergence methods. For instance, more flashing may be needed in these areas to divert water and prevent leaks.

  • Starter Shingles

Starter shingles allow the first course of shingles to properly seal down, protecting the edge of the roof and providing anchoring power for high-wind resistance at the critical eave and rake areas. They further protect the roof by filling in spaces under the cutouts and edges for the first course of exposed shingles, preventing wind uplift.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

The most common mistake when installing starter shingles or modifying traditional three-tab shingles is putting them on backward or upside-down.

Additionally, the overhang should be no more than three-quarters of an inch to prevent wind from penetrating beneath shingles, as well as to keep shingles from curling or cracking.

In addition, many manufacturers caution against double-stacking pallets of starter shingles, which can cause the bottom shingles to warp. Be sure to read all storage and handling instructions prior to installation.

  • Underlayment

Underlayment is an important part of the roofing process and is required by code for residential properties to meet Class A fire requirements. Serving as a secondary barrier, underlayment protects rakes, eaves and critical flashings from water infiltration. Most warranties also require underlayment for the roof to be ASTM compliant. However, some contractors still opt not to use it because they want to save time on a project or their customer balks at the cost.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Another frequent error during underlayment installation is incorrect overlaps. On low-slope roofs (slopes between 2:12 and 4:12), underlayment should have double coverage. And while traditional installation is fine on steep-slope roofs, always follow manufacturer instructions for overlaps from course to course.

Last but not least, be sure to keep underlayment from wrinkling, which can cause ripples in the shingles. While trying to keep underlayment as flat as possible, avoid pulling it too tight because it has a natural expansion and contraction. If underlayment gets wet, be sure it adequately dries out before continuing the installation process.

  • Shingles and Nails

Shingles should be installed with the manufacturer’s recommended offset, which will help prevent leak points and also properly align the shingles across the roof. Once all of the shingles are aligned, only the shingles themselves should be exposed—not the nails.

Because the common bond area is the strongest part of a shingle, manufacturers require nails be placed there to achieve the advertised wind performance. Nails should not be too high or too low, or unevenly spaced. If nails aren’t positioned correctly, the manufacturer’s wind warranty may not be valid.

Customer Service Follow-Up

Providing excellent customer service is key to every roofing job. Homeowners who have a good experience are more likely to share positive reviews and opinions.

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Photos: Atlas Roofing

Before starting a steep-slope project, be sure to discuss the entire process with homeowners to ensure that they know what to expect, as well as the types of warranties they will receive with their new roof. In addition, prepare the surrounding property, such as windows and landscaping, to prevent damage during the installation process.

During the job, be sure workers are vigilant about not dropping nails anywhere on the jobsite. After the job, walk the property with the homeowners to ensure all debris and materials were cleaned up; magnets can be used to double-check for stray nails. If the homeowners are happy with the finished product and their experience, don’t be afraid to ask them to write a nice review on the company website, Angie’s List, Yelp or other customer referral app.

Most of the best practices for steep-slope roofing can be applied to any type of roofing project. However, steep-slope work can pose additional challenges that other projects may not. Always follow manufacturer’s instructions and OSHA guidelines on all roofing jobs, but especially on steep-slope projects, when one minor slip could turn into major consequences for all involved.

About the Author: Paul Casseri is the product manager of the Roofing Shingles and Underlayment Division for Atlas Roofing Corp., www.atlasroofing.com. He is responsible for all areas of product management, including product initiation, feasibility, design, development and testing. He is a graduate of Penn State University with more than 20 years of experience in the building products industry.

 

Re-Roofing of Shopping Center Poses Logistical Challenges

Southgate Shopping Center: Sebring, Florida

The re-roofing project of the shopping center totaled 79,556 square feet.

The re-roofing project of the shopping center totaled 79,556 square feet.

Roofing contractors often find themselves tackling re-roofs at shopping centers in piece-meal fashion, doing sections over the years as the budget allows. When property manager Southern Management and Development decided to remodel the entire Southgate Shopping Center in Sebring, Fla., in conjunction with Publix Markets’ replacement of their existing store at the location, they looked to Advanced Roofing to get the job done.

The scope of work included re-roofing three large sections of the retail plaza and a drugstore on the property. The roofing portions totaled 79,556 square feet.

Roof System

The roof specified was a two-ply modified bitumen system from Johns Manville. In the three large sections of the plaza, the existing built-up roof was completely torn off, while the drugstore was a re-cover project, notes Andrew Vik, estimator and project manager with Advanced Roofing’s Tampa branch, which operates under branch manager Michael Landolfi.

Roofing work started in November 2016 and was completed in February 2017. After the existing roof was removed, crews installed 2-inch polyiso to the steel deck. “We mechanically fastened that with a half-inch USG SecuRock cover board through the steel deck,” notes Vik. “The two plies of modified bitumen were then torch applied, a smooth base sheet and a white granulated cap sheet.”

On the drugstore, the roof was vacuumed, and the cover board and two plies were installed over the top of the old roof system.

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork. “We had our own HVAC people working with our roofing crews, so it was easy to coordinate everything,” notes Vik. “We had HVAC installations on three of the buildings, and we remounted existing units on two of the buildings. There was also a lot of demolition on the south building, as there were several derelict units that
had been sitting there for quite some time. Those had to be hoisted off there and taken out.”

A Challenging Project

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork.

In addition to the roofing scope, Advanced Roofing’s HVAC division installed and removed heating and air conditioning units and replaced some obstructive ductwork.


Logistics are often a challenge with a shopping center that remains open to the public, notes Vik. “You have to load and unload multiple levels of the roof at different times,” he says. “Customer relations is also a challenge; you have to keep everyone happy and ask a lot of questions. The construction manager has to do a lot of P.R. when he’s there.”

Demolition portions of the project were done at night and application during the day, so business at the mall was never disrupted. Traffic in the parking area was also a key concern.

“Setup areas had to be barricaded and marked off while we were loading and unloading,” Vik says. “There was even a drive under bridge connecting two buildings that had to be re-roofed, so we always had to be mindful of people below.”

Parapet walls did not surround all portions of the roof, so safety precautions included a safety perimeter; employees outside the perimeter had to be harnessed and tied off to a portable fall protection anchor system by Raptor.

The project went off without a hitch, according to Vik. “The mall was 100 percent open during the entire project,” he says. “Things went very smoothly— especially for everything that was involved. One of our mottoes is, ‘The harder the job, the better.’ We like a challenge. We take on a lot of projects other companies shy away from.”

The keys to his company’s success are coordination and versatility, states Vik. “We do it all,” he says. “We didn’t have to get anybody from outside the company to work on the project. We did all the roofing, all of the HVAC, and all of the hoisting was done in-house. We’ve also got lightning protection inhouse, and we have a solar division. We have a great team. Everyone does their part to get the bids out and get the jobs done. It’s the best team I’ve ever worked with.”

Team

Roofing Contractor: Advanced Roofing Inc., Tampa, Fla.
Consultant: CBA Roof Consulting LLC, Lake Worth, Fla.
Roof System Manufacturer and Technical Support: Johns Manville, Denver

RCMA Supports Campaign to Prevent Fall Fatalities and Injuries

To increase awareness of construction fatalities caused by falls from elevation, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) recognizes and supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) awareness campaign to prevent fall fatalities and injuries.
 
Falls from elevation are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and labor statistics indicate that the number of fatalities and injuries from falls have risen in recent years. Lack of proper fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA violation.
 
OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down Campaign takes place May 8 – 12, and will ask employers and workers to voluntarily devote work time to discuss safety hazards, protection, and fall prevention initiatives. Stand-Down events have been scheduled in all 50 states by a host of industry, community, educational, and nonprofit organizations.
 
RCMA recommends that roofing inspections be performed by a roofing professional authorized and capable of making repairs. If homeowners or in-house staff are conducting inspections, they should always first attempt to observe the roof from the ground. Maintenance, repair, and coating applications should be coordinated by a properly trained building owner or by an experienced roof coatings applicator.
 
“OSHA’s Safety Stand-Down highlights the safety risks inherent in roofing where specialists routinely perform high-elevation work,” says RCMA Executive Director Matt Coffindaffer. “We encourage RCMA members to participate in this event by taking a moment to emphasize safety issues and preventative practices, educate others about best practices, and open a dialogue with all shareholders to ensure a safe workplace environment.”
 
Stand-Down participants can use the hashtag #StandDown4Safety on social media to help raise awareness for OSHA’s safety awareness campaign. Participants can also share photos of Stand-Down events, certificates of participation, or highlight their own fall prevention efforts.
 
To learn more about OSHA’s National Safety Stand-Down campaign to prevent falls in construction, please visit the website

Duro-Last Oregon Plant Receives Safety Certification

Duro-Last Inc. has announced a local award and national safety certification received by its Grants Pass, Ore., manufacturing facility.

In late January 2017, Duro-Last received the 2016 Business Excellence Award from the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Organization (OSHA) presented the Oregon facility with the Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) Star Site certification in November 2016.

According to Colene Martin, president/CEO of the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce, “The Business Excellence Award is given to a chamber member who has a record of dependability, success and leadership. The criteria for selection include business character, business excellence, customer relations and community service. Duro-Last not only excels in these areas but also is known for their employee safety standards and the number of awards they have received for it over the years.”

The most recent safety award for the Duro-Last facility is OSHA’s VPP Star Site certification, which is the highest of three designations offered by the VPP.

The VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health, according to OSHA. This is for OSHA’s official recognition of efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. The goal is to encourage private industry and federal agencies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through hazard prevention and control, worksite analysis, training and cooperation between management and workers. The VPP enlists worker involvement to achieve injury and illness rates that are below the National Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries.

Oregon OSHA Director Michael Wood presented the award at the Grants Pass facility.

“We are proud of the work we have done with OSHA, which has allowed us to learn the best practices of other VPP companies and has helped us understand the importance of continuous improvement in safety programs,” says Tim Hart, vice president of Western Operations for Duro-Last Inc. “We thank Oregon OSHA for recognizing the dedication our Grants Pass employees have to safety. Without our employees’ safety mindset, this recognition would not have been possible. We would also like to thank the Oregon VPP team for their encouragement and mentoring.”

This OSHA honor is not a one-time award, however. Retaining VPP Star Site status is an ongoing process, and continuous improvement is expected.

“Duro-Last was the first company in Oregon OSHA history to be awarded the VPP Star level on the first try. This is a milestone,” says Hart. “Usually a company gets the Merit status first, and then needs several more years to complete the application process for Star status. Our team decided to apply for the Star status directly. Our efforts took a little under two years because we had the cooperation and enthusiasm of the entire Duro-Last team.”

The Grants Pass facility will serve as a mentor to other organizations applying for OSHA VPP status. In 2016, Duro-Last was appointed to the Governor’s Oregon Occupational Safety & Health Panel. A graduate of OSHA’s Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), Duro-Last is part of the Southern Oregon SHARP Alliance. Duro-Last also belongs to the Redwood Safety Committee, Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. (SOREDI), and the Grants Pass and Josephine County Chamber of Commerce.

“Since the first Duro-Last roof was installed in the 1970s, the company has been on a growth path,” says Hart. “In 1985, Duro-Last expanded into Grants Pass, Ore. In 1987, we purchased 47,000-square-feet of manufacturing and 7,500-square-feet of office space at the North Valley Industrial Park. In 1996, we completed and opened a 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. We expanded again in 2006, adding 35,000 more square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate EXCEPTIONAL Metals, a division of Duro-Last. Throughout it all, we’ve remained committed to safety, to quality and to being good neighbors to our communities.”

The Language of Safety

The language of safety is like the language of love—it is universal, diverse and affects every company and employee that speaks another language other than English. Protecting your employees is a tremendous responsibility and should be taken seriously because it is the law, according to OSHA.

Safety is complex in its own right and to have it misunderstood, improperly conveyed or misinformed could have tragic results for everyone involved.

Safety is complex in its own right and to have it misunderstood, improperly conveyed or misinformed could have tragic results for everyone involved. PHOTO: Safety by Design Consultant Services

Making sure all employees fully understand safety messages, the policies, procedures, instructions and safety training is critical in protecting their exposure to workplace hazards.

But what about the challenges of “speaking” safety when English is not your first language?

I’ve given this topic a great deal of thought since I returned from a roofing industry event in Chicago. There, our Hispanic Outreach Coordinator spoke at a safety session attended by many Hispanic/Latino employees.

She has served as an interpreter for several law firms who have defended/worked with Hispanic employees who have been injured on the job. In her presentation, she emphasized the importance of being trained in the language of the employee. She also believes that language-based training should extend to activities, such as tool box talks and documentation including safety manuals and written programs.

Another concern was that some employers use interpreters to convey the information during training or from the foreman when giving specific job-site instructions to the Hispanic/Latino or Polish employees. If the trainer/foreman is not bilingual, how does he/she know what is actually being translated and if it’s done in the appropriate context? The effort is appreciated, but the consequences could be extremely costly.

It’s also important to realize that employees who speak different languages may have a limited education or technical understanding which affects the learning process—enforcing the need to for a system to measure the effectiveness of training whether you’re in manufacturing, fabrication, automotive, construction, retail, food, railroad, recycling or logistics.

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your employees are properly trained for their jobs and demonstrate that they fully comprehend and understand the information being presented to them. You cannot assume that your employees are comprehending the information because they simply sign a sheet of paper, sign into a training session or initial that they reviewed your safety manual.

Safety is complex in its own right and to have it misunderstood, improperly conveyed or misinformed could have tragic results for everyone involved.

Unfortunately, many Hispanic/Latino employees believe they are not being properly trained because they really don’t fully understand the training they are receiving, the necessity, and requirements for utilizing PPE, safety equipment, fall protection and fall arrest devices.

The language of safety is as important as the message being delivered. If the information is not delivered properly then it can’t be assumed that it’s being accurately understood. The importance of training is significant enough for OSHA to address it in their standards.

If the employee’s vocabulary is limited, the training must account for that limitation. By the same token, if employees are not literate, telling them to read training materials will not satisfy the employer’s training obligation.

As a general matter, employers are expected to realize that if they customarily need to communicate work instructions or other workplace information to employees at a certain vocabulary level or in language other than English, they will also need to provide safety and health training to employees in the same manner.

Of course, employers may also provide instruction in learning the English language to non-English speaking employees. Over time this may lessen the need to provide OSHA Act training in other languages. Additionally, OSHA’s training provisions contain a variety of specific requirements related to employee comprehension. Employers need to examine the standards applicable to their workplaces to be familiar with these specific requirements.

If you’re unable to effectively communicate your safety programs/training to your employees in a language they understand regardless of the industry or work environment, then please contact Safety By Design at (855) 747-2327. We have bilingual OSHA Outreach Trainers to ensure you’re not only complying with the OSHA standards, but to protect your employees, reduce their exposure, reduce your company’s liability and exposure to fines and possibly criminal prosecution.

Read this article in Spanish on the next page.

Safety By Design Consultant Services

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Court Ruling Allows Continued Development of Public Health and Safety Standards

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Hon. Tanya S. Chutkan) has issued a ruling that will support federal, state and local governments’ efforts to support public health and safety through the use of voluntary consensus codes and standards. The court granted a motion for summary judgment filed by a number of standard development organizations (SDOs), including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ASTM International and ASHRAE. The court’s ruling permanently enjoins Public.Resource.org from its previous systematic infringement of numerous SDO copyrighted codes and standards. The ruling vindicates the longstanding public-private partnership pursuant to which government entities may, if they choose, incorporate by reference high quality safety codes and standards.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision, which recognizes the importance of a time-tested process that serves governments and individuals well and is vital to public health and safety,” says Jim Pauley, president of NFPA.

The history of not-for-profit SDOs developing voluntary consensus standards goes back more than a century. Governments, businesses, and individuals across the country rely on a variety of works, from product specifications and installation methods to safety codes and standards.  SDOs, not governmental agencies, underwrite the costs of developing standards.
 
“The court’s ruling means federal, state and local agencies can continue to rely on not-for-profit SDOs to develop voluntary consensus standards at a high level of excellence and at minimal cost to government,” says Kathie Morgan, president, ASTM International.

SDOs pay for the standard development process and invest in new standards with the money earned selling and licensing their copyrighted works.  This model allows SDOs to remain independent of special interests and to develop up-to-date standards.  It also allows the U.S. government, and governments at all levels, the freedom to decide whether to incorporate these standards by reference without a drain on their resources.
 
“We and many other SDOs already provide free online access to many standards as part of our commitment to safety,” says Timothy G. Wentz, ASHRAE president. “And, preventing the infringement of copyrighted material will allow not-for-profit SDOs to continue meeting the needs of the people and jurisdictions we serve.”
 
For more information about this issue visit the website.