Search Results for: commercial roof damage

RCMA to Recognize the Roofing Industry During National Roofing Week

To increase recognition of the significance of roofs to every home and business, stress the value of professional roofing contractors, and promote the good deeds of the industry, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA) will recognize National Roofing Week taking place June 4-10.
 
The roof is one of the most important components of a building structure, yet it is often taken for granted until it falls into disrepair. Organized by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), National Roofing Week enables the roofing industry to engage stakeholders and inform the public about the essential role roofs and professional roofing contractors play in every community.
 
“RCMA’s members are committed to providing advanced solutions to the commercial buildings market,” said Matt Coffindaffer, RCMA Executive Director. “National Roofing Week is an excellent time for manufacturers, contractors, building owners, and other shareholders to recognize the numerous advantages that roof coatings possess including their proven performance lives, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use.”
 
Roof coatings serve to protect roofs against water, chemicals, and physical damage, extending the life of the roof system. This can reduce building-owner maintenance costs and avert landfill waste from re-roofing tear-offs. Roof coatings also have numerous benefits to energy use and the environment. Certain roof coatings are capable of reflecting visible light and infrared and ultraviolet radiation, leading to lower roof and interior temperatures. Lower roof temperatures in turn help reduce electrical cooling costs, decreasing the carbon footprint from buildings. Lower roofing surface temperatures also help diminish the Urban Heat Island Effect.
 
The roofing community can use the hashtag #NationalRoofingWeek on social media to celebrate the good deeds of the industry; raise awareness about roofing maintenance and application best practices; and highlight the importance of workplace safety and the value of roofing professionals. 

Roof Rot: Ignorance Is an Easy Way to Damage Low-slope Residential Roofs

Change often brings with it unintended consequences, and the issue of reflective roof surfaces in North America is no exception. In the late 1990s, U.S. cities in northern climates started to mandate the use of reflective roof—more for politics, feel-good, pseudo-environmental reasons than sustainable, resilient and durable reasons. In my estimation, cool roofs often did more to lower the quality of buildings than enhance them. Furthermore, code and standard changes were made with no understanding of the result and no education to the architects of America.

Figure 1: Reduced attic space resulted in a roof section comprised of the following components from the interior to the roof cover.

Figure 1: Reduced attic space resulted in a roof section comprised of the following components from the interior to the roof cover.

Although the resulting unintended consequences affected commercial and residential buildings, it was the often-catastrophic results on low-slope residential buildings that went untold and left homeowners with tens of thousands of dollars of corrective work on basically new residences.

Following is a summary of how these concerns evolved in wood-framed residential construction. I’ve included case studies of failures, potential solutions and lessons learned.

HISTORY

During the industrialization of America’s large cities throughout the 1800s, the need for labor caused populations to explode. To house the labor migration, row houses (3- to 4-story structures, often with a garden level and four or more narrow units) were constructed approximately 3-feet apart, block after block, creating medium-sized apartment blocks. Most of these row houses were wood-framed, masonry veneer with low-slope roof structures. The interior walls and ceilings were finished in cementitious plaster, which provided a durable, fire-resistive finish. The plaster also performed as an effective air and vapor barrier, preventing interior conditioned air from penetrating into the non-insulated walls and ceilings where it could condense within the walls and roof on cold days.

Photo 1: A contractor was called out to fix the “soft roof” and found this catastrophic situation.

Photo 1: A contractor was called out to fix the “soft roof” and found this catastrophic situation.

Heating costs were low, so little—if any—insulation was installed in the walls and roof. Roofs were composed of built-up asphalt and coal tar, both smooth and aggregate surfaced. Attic spaces often 4 to 6 feet in height were vented via static vents. Any conditioned air that passed to the attic was able to dissipate through these static vents. This method of construction performed without significant attic condensation, and the roof systems and roof structure served these buildings for decades.

In the mid 1990s, researchers (theoretical researchers with no architectural, engineering, roofing, construction or practical building technology experience or knowledge) at research institutes conducted studies into the effects of minimizing solar gain through the roof via a reflective surface. Based on the researchers’ algorithmic findings and recommendations (regardless of their validity), environmental groups used the concept to promote change. Large cities started introducing new energy codes with reflective roofing requirements and prescribed reflectance values. These new codes contained greater insulation requirements, which was a benefit. However, in this one code adoption, roof systems, such as coal-tar pitch, that had performed for centuries were no longer permitted. Consequently, roofing contractors went out of business and so did some roofing material manufacturers because of unproven and suspect research.

Photos and Details: Hutchinson Design Group Ltd.

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Dallas Roofing Contractor Partners with Habitat for Humanity to Repair and Replace Roofs for Deserving Homeowners

Chris Zazo, CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, Dallas, established the non-profit Roof Angels, which repairs and/or replaces up to 30 roofs per year through Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

Chris Zazo, CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, Dallas, established the non-profit Roof Angels, which repairs and/or replaces up to 30 roofs per year through Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

Chris Zazo is a CEO who sees opportunity everywhere. When he needed a corporate gift idea to give to hail-restoration customers of his commercial roofing business, Dallas-based Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, he established Hailstone Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif., and now makes his own cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.

While considering how to differentiate Aspenmark Roofing & Solar from its competitors in a market that has no licensing, Zazo embraced community service. “I wanted to find a way to better our industry and really take the sting off the title of ‘roofing contractor,’” he says. “We were getting asked every year by this charity and that organization to support their causes‚ which we were happy to do. Then we got involved doing the new-build roofs for Dallas Habitat for Humanity and really rallied around that organization.”

To differentiate his firm’s charitable work from its for-profit work, Zazo officially established the non-profit Roof Angels in 2013, but he couldn’t quiet his entrepreneurial spirit. He wondered how he could involve the entire roofing industry in community service. “I really wanted to put together a program for the industry,” he explains. “I wanted to get the manufacturers and distributors involved, get our employees involved and create a model in which if we took it to a national organization it could be replicated anywhere in the United States. I dug a little further and found out Habitat has a program called A Brush with Kindness, which is perfect for this idea.”

Although the homes chosen for restoration are usually small, Zazo says they often have extensive damage and four or five layers of shingles.

Although the homes chosen for restoration are usually small, Zazo says they often have extensive damage and four or five layers of shingles.

A Brush with Kindness is Habitat for Humanity’s home-repair program for owners who are struggling to maintain their homes. The program seeks $10,000 donations to support one family’s home repairs. “When we found out about this program, we jumped in and asked, ‘What if we [Aspenmark Roofing & Solar] took the roof off of your hands?’” Zazo recalls. “The roof is usually about 50 to 70 percent of the budget for the home repairs, so, without it in the budget, A Brush with Kindness could do much more to a deserving family’s home. I reached out to GAF to see if they’d donate the shingles. I called SRS Distribution to see if they’d donate the accessory items and delivery. Then all we had to do was raise money for the labor. We proposed this model to Habitat and they said, ‘We love it. When can you start?’”

FUNDRAISING

A Brush with Kindness’ representatives asked Roof Angels and its partners, Parsippany, N.J.-based GAF and McKinney, Texas-based SRS Distribution, to repair and/or replace up to 30 roofs per year. In the beginning, Zazo hadn’t thought through the fundraising part of Roof Angels, so he was often paying his crews for these roof installations out of his own pocket. He started holding Happy Hours and other small events in which he could quickly raise a few thousand dollars.

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Roof Sections of Cosmetics Manufacturing Facility Get Expert Makeover With Cold-applied System, SPF and Smoke-vent Skylights

American International Industries manufactures cosmetics at the facility, and great care had to be taken to ensure no dust or fragments would fall from above and contaminate the products. Photo courtesy of Highland Commercial Roofing.

American International Industries manufactures cosmetics at the facility, and great care had to be taken to ensure no dust or fragments would fall from above and contaminate the products. Photo courtesy of Highland Commercial Roofing.

American International Industries was faced with a conundrum. The roof diaphragm on its 1968, 210,000-square-foot, wood-frame manufacturing facility in Los Angeles had deflection caused by structural settlement, but a full roof replacement was not an option.

“The roof was built without a substantial amount of pitch to it and the plywood deck in between the main purlins had settled over time,” recalls Rick Cunningham, president of Highland Commercial Roofing in Baldwin Park, Calif. “Removing the existing roof and deck and restructuring a roof of this size to return it to its original slope was financially unfeasible.”

American International Industries contracted Ernest Orchard, owner of Irvine, Calif.-based Orchard Roofing and Waterproofing Consultants as a project consultant and owner’s representative who closely monitored the job. Orchard selected a reinforced fluid-applied roof restoration system and brought Highland Commercial Roofing into the project because of the company’s specialization with the process and its expertise in commercial flat roofing in the Southwest. (Highland Commercial Roofing has offices in the Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Oakland, Calif.; and Phoenix areas.)

American International Industries restored sections of its roof with a cold-applied system, spray polyurethane expanding foam and smoke-vent skylights. Photo courtesy of SKYCO Skylights.

American International Industries restored sections of its roof with a cold-applied system, spray polyurethane expanding foam and smoke-vent skylights. Photo courtesy of SKYCO Skylights.

According to Ernest Orchard, another critical consideration in selecting a roofing solution had to do with the activities inside the building. “American International Industries manufactures cosmetics here and we couldn’t have any dust or fragments falling from above into the product,” he says. “In addition, the installation was to take place over the winter while the facility remained operational, and we couldn’t have the building open to weather.”

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Concrete Tile Roofing Protects Canadian Hotel from the Elements

The Moose Hotel & Suites is located in Banff, Alberta, Canada. The resort sits at an elevation of 4,600 to 5,300 feet in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, about 80 miles west of Calgary.

The Moose Hotel & Suites is located in Banff, Alberta, Canada. The resort sits at an elevation of 4,600 to 5,300 feet in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, about 80 miles west of Calgary.

Banff, Alberta, Canada, sits at an elevation of 4,600 to 5,300 feet in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, about 80 miles west of Calgary. The small community (around 8,000 permanent residents) was established as a resort town almost immediately after its hot springs were discovered by Canadian Pacific Railway workers in 1883. The town, which is built in a valley surrounded by mountains, has been a popular tourist destination for more than a century and is known for skiing and, of course, the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Because of its history of tourism, Banff offers comfortable lodging at every price point. Among the town’s options for accommodations are nine hotels owned and operated by Banff Lodging Co.; the company also has seven restaurants, two spas, and a ski school and rental shop. The Moose Hotel & Suites is the lodging company’s newest four-star property, having opened in July 2016.

Because Banff is a national park, the Moose Hotel & Suites project is significant because it is one of the largest hotel developments (174 rooms) since the Canadian federal government’s 1998 commercial growth cap, which has prevented many hospitality developments from being built. Despite being approved, the Moose Hotel & Suites still was required to adhere to Banff’s design guidelines. The guidelines state they were enacted “to prevent any monstrosities being put there to destroy the general beauty of the park.”

In fact, the guidelines require that all developments, particularly hotels, enhance views to the mountains surrounding Banff. “They want visitors to realize they’re really in the mountains and not just anywhere in a hotel room,” explains Ted Darch, owner of Calgary-based E.J. Darch Architect Ltd., the architect on the Moose Hotel & Suites project. “We wanted to take advantage of the views, so designing the hotel to resemble a village with a courtyard in the middle allowed us to capture the drama of the mountains. You’ll see the reviews on TripAdvisor mention this.”

Darch has been working on Banff Lodging’s projects since the mid-1980s. The concept for the Moose Hotel & Suites evolved over a number of years as Banff Lodging acquired the property for the hotel and Darch worked on other projects for the company. Similarly, Banff Lodging chose the Moose Hotel & Suites’ roofing contractor because of a long-standing relationship.

“We’ve done work with Banff Lodging for about 10 years on most all its other facilities,” explains Brock Hanson, president and CEO of Banff-based Rocky Mountain Sundeck & Roof. “This was a pinnacle Banff job that doesn’t occur often due to the building guidelines. Having this project in our backyard was just fantastic to be a part of.”

Constructed to Withstand the Elements

The new hotel had to meet Banff’s strict design guidelines. It also had to withstand the subarctic climate (winters as cold as -40 F and short and cool summers, as well as 15 to 40 inches of precipitation, typically snow, per year). The Moose Hotel & Suites features spray foam at R-20 in the walls and R-40 in the roof. The spray-foam insulation not only keeps guests and staff warm during Banff ’s long winters, but also protects the building against air and moisture infiltration.

The Moose Hotel & Suites was required to adhere to Banff’s design guidelines, which were developed “to prevent any monstrosities being put there to destroy the general beauty of the park.”

The Moose Hotel & Suites was required to adhere to Banff’s design guidelines, which were developed “to prevent any monstrosities being put there to destroy the general beauty of the park.”


Darch had specified concrete tile roofing on a Banff Lodging hotel previously, but Hanson recommended a new supplier with whom he had previously worked. Darch met with a salesperson from the roofing manufacturer to discuss its concrete tile product. After he checked some samples, Darch was convinced this was the right product for the project.

The distinctive concrete tile was chosen for its energy efficiency and durability. It resembles natural slate to complement the design of the rustic mountain lodge. Because it is concrete, the tile is able to withstand the subarctic region’s extreme weather and withstands flying embers in case of forest fires. “We learned a big lesson about fire recently in Fort McMurray, north of Edmonton, Alberta,” Darch notes. “They had a terrible fire last summer that destroyed something like 2,000 houses. They’re in the forest and Banff is in the forest, so fire resistance was important.”

Concrete Tile Roofing

The tiles’ aesthetic also appealed to Darch; he especially liked that he was able to choose a bright red (Mission Red) for the roof. “From the architectural perspective, what is really nice is the color possibilities and to make the roof color part of the overall scheme of things is great,” he says. “Other roofing options were nice but they didn’t have the snap that the red tile does.”

Photos courtesy of Boral Roofing.

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A Historic Mountain Home Gets a Modern Roof to Resist the Elements

The owners of a historic home in Evergreen, Colorado, made a stone-coated metal shake roof system a key part of their renovation project.

The owners of a historic home in Evergreen, Colorado, made a stone-coated metal shake roof system a key part of their renovation project.

In the Colorado Rocky Mountains just west of Denver lies a town called Evergreen. At an elevation of more than 7,000 feet, the community of about 10,000 people is awash in the beauty and serenity of the mountains while still being close to booming metro Denver and all its urban attractions.

It’s easy to see why many would consider Evergreen a perfect place to call home. For Jay Jackson, a local resident who grew up in Evergreen, there were plenty of reasons to stay. The views and the fresh mountain air are hard to walk away from. Even sweeter for Jackson was the fact that the historic house he had long considered his favorite in Evergreen went up for sale, and he was able to buy it and make it his own.

The house was a classic and a cornerstone to the history of the town. Its design hearkened back to Evergreen’s roots as a popular resort town in the 1920s and 1930s. The house was built next to the luxury Troutsdale Hotel, which was a magnet for high-end guests in the old days.

Although beautifully designed and filled with history, the house definitely needed some work. Still, Jackson and his wife, Corinne, really wanted to be respectful to its original intent while bringing it up to modern living standards.

Expert Help

The roof was a major part of the renovation that needed to take place on the house. The original wood shake roof had begun to warp and was showing some leaks. The Jacksons knew it needed to be replaced, but they wanted to do it in a way that is respectful to the home’s legacy and history.

To tackle a project of this magnitude, the Jacksons turned to Denver-based Horn Brothers Roofing, a full-service roofing company that specializes in roofing systems for homes of all sizes, as well as commercial buildings, restaurants, churches and HOAs. The firm does a lot of work in the mountain communities near Denver and was given a convincing referral by someone close to the owners.

“We were contacted by the homeowners because we had a great reputation in the Evergreen area and had installed a stone-coated steel roof on the owner’s parents’ house several years prior,” recalls Matthew Williams, territory sales with Horn Brothers Roofing. “The parents were extremely pleased with their roof, so we got the call.”

Fire and Ice

Living in the mountains means dealing with all manner of elements, from wildly changing temperatures; high winds; and the harsh, UV-filled sunlight found at high elevations. For example, having a steep-slope roof at this elevation means controlling snow and ice buildup is vital. An ice and water shield was used over the entire roof. But the element that was perhaps most prominent on the mind of the Jacksons was fire.

The stone-coated metal roofing system is designed to give the appearance of wood shake but has a Class A fire rating, a 2 1/2-inch hailstone warranty and a 120-mph wind warranty.

The stone-coated metal roofing system is designed to give the appearance of wood shake but has a Class A fire rating, a 2 1/2-inch hailstone warranty and a 120-mph wind warranty.

Wildfires are a scary reality in the mountains, and the fact that the home’s remote location makes it difficult for firefighters to access was definitely on the minds of the Jacksons and the renovation team. This is multiplied by the fact that Jackson had actually worked as a wild land and structural firefighter. “The homeowner is a fire captain and the home has a very narrow bridge for access, so a Class A fire rating was vitally important,” Williams says. “Access for emergency vehicles is limited and the location in the mountains makes the home susceptible to wildfires.”

Through firsthand experience, Jackson knew the damage that wildfires can wreak on wood shake shingles. A Canyon Shake stone-coated metal roofing system was chosen to stand up to the elements and protect against fire. This type of roof gives the rustic appearance of wood shake but has a Class A fire rating, a 2 1/2-inch hailstone warranty and a 120-mph wind warranty.

Photos: Heather Lyons Coffman

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Roofing Problem Areas

Flat roofs are prone to ponding water.

Flat roofs are prone to ponding water.

Facilities maintenance issues can have a major impact on productivity in industrial and commercial environments with something as small as a leaking roof causing significant disruption and downtime. Years of experience suggest that 90 percent of the problems we are presented with today will arise from a mere 10 percent of the roof’s total area. But are some roof types and roof areas more susceptible to damage than others? Moreover, how do these roofing problems arise and how can they be categorized?

Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are commonly chosen for industrial and commercial buildings, covering the vast majority of offices, factories and warehouses around the globe. However, despite their popularity, my firm’s experience indicates that the bulk of roofing applications owe to the failings of flat roofs. This begs the question; do the benefits of flat roofs outweigh the disadvantages?

Currently, the flat roofing market is in a particularly healthy state. It is easy to see why because flat roofs do in fact offer a great deal of advantages. Notably, they are a low-cost option for many projects, being easier and more economical to install, inspect and maintain. Therefore, they prove highly popular with many commercial facilities and industrial buildings.

However, flat roofs are historically problematic, suffering from an array of issues commonly arising from standing water and traditional roofing materials. Pooling of water on roofs can be attributed to inadequate roofing materials or, strangely, a roof being “too flat”. Flat roofs should actually feature a small gradient to allow sufficient rainwater run-off; otherwise, the weight of water pooling can lead to deflection and numerous subsequent issues.

Roof flashings can prove problematic due to dissimilar materials.

Roof flashings can prove problematic due to dissimilar materials.

Of course, other roof variations, such as pitched or slanted roofs, will offer their own range of complications; however, complications with pooling water are not among these. This distinct disadvantage is one of several that can lead to serious problems within that troublesome 10 percent. The most common problems can be split into three separate categories.

Dissimilar Materials
Most roofs form a veritable patchwork of materials, including anything from glass and plastics to masonry and metals. Industrial roofs can be particularly troublesome as they boast a multitude of pipes, heating units and other protrusions that make the roof geometry complex to cover effectively. Whatever the combination of roofing materials is, ensuring long-term adhesion and sealing between all these dissimilar materials is crucial—and can prove problematic.

Flashings fall into this category and are a common fixture of flat and pitched roofs, where metal, brick and felt or bitumen can often all meet. Exposed to varying temperatures and weather conditions, these materials can act differently, altering shape and size dependent upon that material’s characteristics. This can result in roofing weakness due to different expansion and contraction rates of the materials, allowing for water ingress through developing gaps. Moreover, this category includes areas where two metals may meet. Dissimilar metals exposed to continuous weathering can potentially lead to galvanic corrosion, which deteriorates the roof’s protection, loosening the materials and once again leading to issues like leaking.

Joints and Seams
Joints and seams spell considerable trouble for many roofs, predominantly due to the effects of movement. All buildings will feature a degree of movement as a result of thermal expansion, contraction and wind, making joints and seams one of the most vulnerable areas. Resulting gaps or lips can be created, increased further by wind uplift, which may allow water ingress or exposure of unprotected materials to corrosion and weathering.

Seams around skylights and roof protrusions can cause roof vulnerabilities.

Seams around skylights and roof protrusions can cause roof vulnerabilities.

Found whenever two materials meet, joints and seams are a common sight on industrial roofs and one that occurs frequently on roofs covered using traditional materials. For instance, felt or bitumen surfaces are layered in strips and require heat to fuse them together and create one barrier of protection. However, continuous exposure to the elements can lead to delamination of the roofing material, creating areas of vulnerability, such as lips.

Similarly, parapet walls can also become vulnerable at the joints, normally caused by movement between the brickwork. This can develop through movement in the building or perhaps vegetation forcing through the joint, widening any gaps further and causing moisture ingress. Furthermore, this problem is shared by the seams around skylights and glazing bars, which degrade over time due to the dissimilar materials present and associated movement.

Unlike other problem areas in this category, cut-edge corrosion does not stem from two materials meeting. In fact, it falls into this category as it is an uncoated seam of metal that, left exposed, will corrode and result in the damage spreading as the metal is slowly eaten away. Corrugated metal roofs are susceptible as they are cut and the edges never receive protection, meaning when cut-edge corrosion begins, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. In certain instances, roof sheets need to be removed and replaced, which is extremely expensive.

Metals seams are often neglected and can develop cut-edge corrosion

Metals seams are often neglected and can develop cut-edge corrosion.

Other Forms of Damage
Lastly, roofs are susceptible to various forms of damage in the immediate and long term. Long-term damage will generally arise if roofing is left unmaintained, to suffer from aging and neglect. A key example of this type of damage involves single-ply roof coverings. Over time, rubber roofing materials are subjected to the environment and constant UV exposure. Once again, over this period the material expands and contracts, becoming brittle and losing its former flexibility, making it prone to cracking.

In addition to weathering, wildlife can have a detrimental effect on roofing materials, as bird litter can chemically attack the plastic coating on some roofing systems. High levels can cause damage and subsequent deterioration of the lining, which can potentially lead to leaks or exposure of metal to corrosion.

With regard to immediate damage, working on roofs is also a common way in which damage can occur. As highlighted before, one of the key selling points of flat roofs is the ability to carry out maintenance and inspection easily. Whether it derives from maintenance or rooftop developments, such as HVAC installation, extensions or rooftop fire escapes, the foot traffic over flat roofs can lead to immediate damage of the roofing substrate, through piercing and general wear.

Over time, rubber roofing materials can become brittle and crack

Over time, rubber roofing materials can become brittle and crack.

Eliminating the Troublesome 10 Percent

For the majority of these problems, it is possible to find a repair solution. However, when left without treatment, the roof can become too damaged to refurbish, leaving costly replacement as the only option. Repair methods have evolved significantly over the years and eliminating the troublesome 10 percent is becoming far easier to do since the advent of liquid and cold-applied technologies. Not only does this signify a breaking of tradition, but crucially highlights the evolution of roofing maintenance materials.

PHOTOS: Belzona

Commercial Drone Provides Images with Millimeter Accuracy

Intel releases a commercial drone named the Intel Falcon 8+.

Intel releases a commercial drone named the Intel Falcon 8+.

Intel has released its first Intel-branded commercial drone: the Intel Falcon 8+. The advanced system for North American markets includes the Intel Falcon 8+ unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Intel Cockpit for ground control and Intel Powerpack to power the UAV. The drone incorporates full electronic system redundancy and automated aerial-sensing solutions with onboard sensors. It is also powered with the triple-redundant AscTec Trinity autopilot. The system provides detailed images down to millimeter accuracy and gives valuable structural analysis that helps users detect and prevent further damage to infrastructure. Operators will have opportunities to generate valuable aerial precision data.

Maximize Risk Transfer to Your Commercial General Liability Insurance

Roofing contractors face potential liability from numerous aspects of their businesses, including employee-operated company vehicles and equipment; work-related injuries; property and equipment damage; “disappearing” materials; defective work and materials; and a multitude of employment issues, such as wrongful termination claims. All reputable contractors protect themselves and others by purchasing Commercial General Liability (CGL) Insurance. The scope of available coverage runs from basic policies to wide-ranging “multi-peril” policies, which bundle multiple coverages to address a number of potential risks. A multi-peril policy for roofing contractors may include coverage for damage arising from defective work, operation of vehicles or equipment, worker’s compensation, employment practices and even employee theft.

Insurance simply represents the transfer of risk from the insured to the insurance company. Taking a proactive approach to understanding the insurance you purchase allows you to maximize that risk transfer or at least know where you bear the majority of risk.

The Basics

A CGL insurance policy generally consists of three primary sections:

  • The insuring agreement.
  • The exclusions.
  • The endorsements.

The insuring agreement defines what the policy covers and is generally written quite broadly. Virtually all CGL insurance policies require that such property damage or personal injury result from an “occurrence,” typically defined as “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions”. Many of the terms within the insuring agreement are specifically defined for purposes of the policy and require analysis, depending on the claim asserted and the particular coverage implicated.

The exclusions are simply that— claims and/or damages the insurance company will not cover. For example, CGL insurance policies commonly contain exclusions for “Contractual Liability”, defined as “bodily injury or property damage the insured is obligated to pay by reason of the assumption of liability in a contract or agreement”. Since many subcontracts include express indemnification clauses, this can be a major area of concern for the contractor.

Endorsements are documents attached to a policy that amend the terms in some way and can expand or restrict coverage or even modify the definitions. One common misperception is the belief that endorsements are synonymous with exclusions. To the contrary, it is not uncommon for an endorsement to narrow the scope of an exclusion or eliminate an exclusion entirely. Endorsements can be used to tailor a policy to a particular industry or trade, and insurance companies use them to modify standard Insurance Services Office (ISO) policies to comport to their particular philosophy, such as cancellation and non-renewal provisions or requiring binding arbitration to settle coverage disputes. Endorsements are usually identified by description and form number as part of the Declarations Page.

There are common Endorsements that result in additional exclusions. One of particular concern to any contractor is the “Independent Contractors and Subcontractors Limitation”, which provides that claims for bodily injury or property damage caused by independent contractors/subcontractors used by the insured are not covered unless that independent contractor/subcontractor maintains its own insurance coverage with limits equal to the insureds and names the insured as an Additional Insured on its policy.

To limit your personal exposure, it is imperative you do not ignore the Endorsements! It is an important part of your policy and you need to understand the terms.

Duty to Defend Versus Duty to Indemnify

An insurance policy creates two separate and distinct obligations for the insurance company: the duty to defend and the duty to indemnify.

The duty to defend consists of the insurance company’s obligation to hire counsel to defend the insured in response to a claim. That obligation is not
dependent upon the insured’s liability but whether the allegations made by the plaintiff states a claim potentially triggering coverage. The duty to defend
exists even if the claim is groundless, false or fraudulent.

The duty to indemnify is the insurance company’s obligation to pay the successful plaintiff when that claim falls within the scope of the insurance policy.
In the insuring agreement, the insurer promises to “pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of ‘bodily injury’ or ‘property damage’ to which this insurance applies.”

It’s often said that the duty to defend is broader than the duty to indemnify. The carrier’s duty to defend exists when the claim potentially triggers overage, while the duty to pay exists only when the insured is obligated to pay damages and the claim falls within the coverage provided by the policy.

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The Integration of Roof and Brick Requires Concise Details

PHOTO 1: The through-wall flashing stainless-steel drip can be observed projecting nicely from the wall—but the termination of the roof base flashing more than 1-inch below resulted in a section of the brick wall that allows water to pass into the wall below the through-wall flashing and behind the roof base flashing, resulting in the damage seen in Photo 2.

PHOTO 1: The through-wall flashing stainless-steel drip can be observed projecting nicely from the wall—but the termination of the roof base flashing more than 1-inch below resulted in a section of the brick wall that allows water to pass into the wall below the through-wall flashing and behind the roof base flashing, resulting in the damage seen in Photo 2.

Projects are perceived to be successful by their ability to prevent disturbance from weather, including rain. Have you ever heard two architects talking about Frank Lloyd Wright?

“What a genius! His spatial conception is magnificent, even after 100 years.”

“But all his buildings leak!”

I used to give a talk to University of Illinois architecture students in which I told them the quickest way to go out of business is to be sued. The quickest way to be sued is to have a building allow moisture intrusion. If he were alive today, Frank Lloyd Wright—God rest his soul—would be in jail (and a few current architects may be well on their way). Owners are not very kind when their “babies” leak.

Many roof termination interfaces are never even thought about by designers and are left to the roofing contractor to work out. This is not a recommended practice. One such condition—that every architect should be able to detail—is how the roof base flashing terminates at a masonry wall that has through-wall flashing and weeps at the base of the wall above the roof. I believe so fervently that architects should be proficient in detailing these conditions that I believe it should be required to procure their license.

WHY THE IMPORTANCE

The interface of roof base flashing and masonry through-wall systems occurs on a majority of commercial construction projects. If this transition is not performed correctly, moisture intrusion behind the roof base flashing to the interior will occur (see Photo 2). When this occurs, besides angering owners, it befuddles the architect. Photo 1 (left) shows a nice through-wall flashing drip extended out from the wall, weeps and roofing terminated with a termination bar and sealant. What could be wrong?

PHOTO 2: Moisture intrusion at the base of this wall was the result of water circumventing the through-wall flashing and roof base flashing termination seen in Photo 1. A big concern with conditions, such as this, is the propensity of the materials to promote mold growth.

PHOTO 2: Moisture intrusion at the base of this wall was the result of water circumventing the through-wall flashing
and roof base flashing termination seen in Photo 1. A big concern with conditions, such as this, is the propensity of the materials to promote mold growth.

The exposed brick above the termination bar and below the stain- less-steel drip of the through-wall flashing is susceptible to water flowing down the surface of the brick. Water passing through the brick above is supposed to be weeped out; however, at the exposed brick above the termination bar, the water moves into the wall and has nowhere to go but inward.

The cost to repair these conditions can be, depending on the conditions, expensive. Repairs often require brick removal and through-wall flashing mitigation. In this particular case, be- cause there is a stainless-steel drip, my team recommended a stainless-steel counterflashing be pop-riveted to the drip and extended over the termination bar.

CHALLENGES

Why is the interface of roof base flashing and masonry through-wall systems so difficult for architects and roof consultants to detail? I believe it is because they have no clue it needs to be detailed as an interface, especially because detailing of appropriate through-wall systems is so sporadic. I endeavor in this article to change at least the knowledge part.

The detailing of this condition not only requires the ability to interface two building systems, but also requires considerable time to ensure specification of wall sectional details and roofing details are appropriately placed where the responsible trades will see them.

PHOTO 3: Still under construction, the stainless-steel counterflashing has been installed. The roof base flashing will terminate below the stainless-steel counterflashing receiver. Hutch prefers brick below the through-wall flashing and above the roof deck, though the masonry mortar joints below the through-wall flashing should have been struck flush.

PHOTO 3: Still under construction, the stainless-steel counterflashing has
been installed. The roof base flashing will terminate below the stainless-steel counterflashing receiver. Hutch prefers brick below the through-wall flashing and above the roof deck, though the masonry mortar joints below the through-wall flashing should have been struck flush.

NEW CONSTRUCTION

New construction provides us a clean slate to “do it right the first time”. The first order of business is to determine the height of the base flashing. This can be tricky with tapered insulation and slope structures with saddles. Let’s consider the following examples (see Detail 4, page 3):

EXAMPLE 1
We are dealing with a flat roof, tapered insulation, cover board and bead-foam insulation in ASHRAE Climate Zone 5, which has an R-30 minimum.

  • The roof drain is 32-feet away from the wall. Code requires 5.2 inches of insulation at 4 feet from the drain, so let’s assume 5 inches at the drain.
  • 1/4-inch tapered starts at 1/2 inch at 32 feet. That’s 8 inches, plus the starting thickness of 1/2 inch, which equals 8 1/2 inches.
  • Cover-board thickness is 1/2 inch.
  • Bead foam thickness is 3/16 inch for each layer. Let’s assume five layers, so 1 foot of bead foam.
  • Thus, the surface of the roof at the wall will be 15 inches above the roof deck.

Because you would like to work at the masonry coursing level and given that concrete masonry units (CMU) are nominal 8 inches, you are looking at placing the through-wall flashing 24 inches above the roof deck.

This 24-inch dimension of where to place the through-wall flashing needs to be placed on the building section and/or wall section because the mason, which will be onsite prior to the roofing contractor, will need to know this information.

This 24-inch height begs another termination question: What occurs at the roof edge with this height? Hold that thought for now. Terminations at intersections will be discussed in future articles.

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