It’s easy for roofing contractors to forget the many trade associations, manufacturer’s groups and industry experts who are looking out for the roofing industry’s best interests seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It’s easy for roofing contractors to forget the many trade
associations, manufacturer’s groups and industry experts who are looking out
for the roofing industry’s best interests seven days a week, 365 days a year.
For example, there is currently a table in the International
Building Code that specifies where stone-ballasted roofs can be installed. In
some instances, this table is more restrictive than the requirements of the
national consensus standard, ANSI/SPRI RP-4; in other cases, it is less
restrictive. Either way, the code language can limit the use of proven
gravel-topped roofing systems and hurt roofing contractors who rely on these
This table was included in the code due to a concern for
gravel blowing off roofs in windstorms. However, no data are available to
indicate that roofs designed in accordance with RP-4 have exhibited this type
of problem. In fact, ANSI/SPRI RP-4 already addresses this issue, and all roofing
contractors and specifiers need to do is reference the document.
SPRI is currently working with an industry coalition
consisting of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Asphalt Roofing
Manufacturers Association (ARMA), and the Spray Polyurethane Foam Association
(SPFA) to develop alternatives to the current code language. A code change
containing the proposed language has been provided and was heard at the IBC
Code Change Hearings in November 2009.
SPRI is also working with the California Energy Commission
to allow ballasted roofing systems to be considered an approved alternate to
cool roof systems where they are currently included as a prescriptive
The basis for this request is a study completed by SPRI
after three years of aging studies at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. This study
concluded that due to the thermal mass of ballasted roof systems, they provide
energy performance equivalent to highly reflective roof systems after two years
of aging. The study report is available free on SPRI’s Web site, www.spri.org.
Another study is also being undertaken to evaluate the
effect of various types of wood preservative treatments on metal fasteners and
components used in commercial roofing applications. SPRI, the National Roofing
Contractors Association and the RCI Foundation are providing significant
funding for this project.
Much concern has been expressed that some of the new wood
treatments will cause certain types of metal that come in contact with it to
corrode, leading to failure of the metal component. A widespread problem here
would be a disaster for many roofing contractors, building owners and roof
Since treated wood is commonly used as a nailer in
commercial roofing applications, this study will determine the temperature/humidity
conditions that exist at the nailer location in four different climate zones:
the Northeast, the Northwest, the Southeast, and the Southwest. This
information will help determine the corrosion potential of various types of
wood treatments, since temperature and humidity trigger corrosion. The results
of this study will be presented at the 2010 RCI Conference.
At the same time, industry organizations have successfully worked
with the Florida Building Commission to continue to allow the use of ballasted
roofing systems, which have been proven effective both from an installed cost
standpoint and a performance standpoint in the state of Florida.
ARMA led this successful effort with support from SPRI and
As a result of these combined efforts, the use of ballasted
and aggregate-surfaced roofs is still allowed in the state of Florida. Thanks to these efforts, roofing
contractors, specifiers and consultants can continue to use a proven,
cost-effective, ballasted roofing option.
The Russo Report: Unheralded Victories
Michael Russo is a contributing writer to Roofing Contractor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.