During the code hearings for the 2105 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), an important clarification was added for commercial roofing systems. This clarification features new definitions for re-roofing activity to make it very clear that almost every commercial re-roofing project must be upgraded to the same R-value level as required for a roof installed on a new building whenever the existing roof covering is removed and replaced.

Although this requirement may sound simple, the language used in the code for many years has caused a lot of confusion. Instead of talking about a typical commercial roofing system installed over a roof deck, the old code language referred to the roof deck as “sheathing” and included language referring to a “cavity” located somewhere below the roof. As a result, the code language called for an upgrade in roof insulation for roofs “without insulation in the cavity and where the sheathing or insulation is exposed.” Unfortunately, this language could be very confusing for the local code official.

Instead of attempting to describe the exact conditions of a typical commercial roof replacement within a single sentence in the code, the new code clarification establishes specific definitions for each major type of roofing activity that can occur on a commercial building:

  • Re-roofing. The process of recovering or replacing an existing roof covering.
  • Roof Recover. The process of installing an additional roof covering over a prepared existing roof covering without removing the existing roof covering.
  • Roof Replacement. The process of removing an existing roof covering, repairing any damaged substrate and installing a new roof covering.
  • Roof Repair. Reconstruction or renewal of any part of an existing roof for the purposes of its maintenance.

With these new definitions in place, the task of describing when insulation must be upgraded to the most recent energy code is very simple. First, the new, clarified code language specifically exempts “roof recover” and “roof repair” from the latest insulation requirements. Next, the new language specifically states that “roof replacement” must meet the latest insulation requirements when the roof replacement is applied to the typical above-deck commercial roofing system installed over a conditioned (heated or air-conditioned) space. This new code language is especially important because the re-written code requirement is considered a clarification rather than a new addition to the code. This means that code officials don’t have to wait until the 2015 version of the IECC is adopted in their jurisdiction to start enforcing this requirement.

But how do we to get the word out on this important code clarification, especially to local code officials?  In response to the need for a simple way to tell this story, the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing has collaborated with another nonprofit, the Institute for Market Transformation, to develop a new energy code brochure, “The International Energy Conservation Code as Applied to Commercial Roofing.” This informative brochure contains a detailed listing of the key definitions and energy regulations that apply to commercial roofing, illustrations of typical roofing conditions and a decision tree to determine the specific compliance path for any roofing application. 

Because the new re-roofing code language is considered a clarification of existing code language, this brochure is immediately relevant everywhere in the United States where some version of the International Energy Conservation Code has been adopted. As a result, the brochure should be very useful for local roofing contractors to explain why your re-roofing quotation includes additional levels of insulation and why this extra insulation should be included in all quotations your customers receive.  In this way the new brochure will not only add value to your roofing proposals but also help prevent non-compliant roofing installations by your competitors.

 And best of all, this new brochure is absolutely free! All you need to do is go to the website of the Institute for Market Transformation (www.imt.org) and enter “roofing brochure” in the search box. You also can download a copy of the brochure from the online version of this article at www.RoofingContractor.com. 

Click here to download the PDF brochure!