Self-Propelled Roofing Trailer Redesigned With Upgrades to Increase Durability, Ease of Use

Equipter has upgraded its flagship product, the RB4000 lift, a self-propelled roofing trailer that decreases cleanup time by up to 80 percent. The changes, which were implemented into production earlier this year, include:

  • Engine door: A thicker design and stronger hinge for increased reliability
  • Ignition switch & control panel: Ignition moved to the operator’s stand for easy startup, while the control panel was reconfigured for convenient operation
  • Front axle: Redesigned attachment assembly for increased strength
  • Storage compartments: Storage for track mats, outrigger pads, and roof chutes updated for easier access and use

“We started out as roofers ourselves, so we know firsthand how important it is for contractors to have equipment engineered for the way they work,” says Marketing Director Sam Beiler. “Our team made these tweaks so the RB4000 lift would be even easier to use. As a result, roofers can focus on getting the job done even faster.”

For more information, visit www.equipter.com.

Fire Protection Safeguards Are a Key Focus of New Cold Storage Facility

Two years after a fire destroyed its old complex, Dick Cold Storage decided to build a new facility in Columbus, Ohio. Designed by Tippmann Innovation, the building offers the most up-to-date technology, as well as additional fire protection safeguards. Photo: Ryan Leasure

When the executive leadership at Dick Cold Storage decided to build a brand-new facility, the company made certain that the new structure would have increased fire protection — especially with its roofing system.

Dick Cold Storage opened a new facility in June, less than two years after a fire completely destroyed its previous facility in Columbus, Ohio. The new building, designed by Tippmann Innovation, offers the best equipment and most up-to-date technology for cold storage facilities. There are also additional fire protection safeguards, such as fire access doors, horns and strobes, additional pull stations at doors, linear heat detection in freezers and automatic smoke vents.

The roof of the building includes 18 BILCO automatic smoke vents that allow firefighters to bring a fire under control. The vents allow for the escape of smoke, heat, and gasses in a burning building. The Dick Cold Storage building where the 2016 fire occurred was not equipped with automatic smoke vent protection.

“Two of the biggest challenges we face in fighting any fire are heat and smoke,’’ says Steve Martin, Battalion Chief for the Columbus Fire Department. “The heat of the fire radiates on everything surrounding it, causing the flames to spread and causing rapid degradation of structural elements.”

A Ferocious Blaze

More than 400 firefighters battled the fire at Dick Cold Storage, which broke out at approximately 9 p.m. on a Friday. No one was hurt in the fire, but residents in the neighborhood evacuated the area for fear they would be exposed to chemicals used to refrigerate food in the warehouse. The cause of the fire was not determined.

“At that time, you just feel completely lost,’’ Don Dick, the company President, says about his thoughts as he watched the blaze roar through the building where his family had done business for nearly a century. “You have no idea what will happen to your business.”

The building is topped with a single-ply roofing system featuring 45-mil and 60-mil TPO. Photo: Ryan Leasure

Because the building lacked smoke vents, firefighters were stymied. Martin said the smoke impeded visibility, made it difficult to assess damage to the structure and find the origin of the fire. Even with tanks of fresh air on their backs, the brave Columbus firefighters could do little more than watch the blaze burn itself out. The fire was contained within 18 hours but had not been completely extinguished for days.

“Buildings that do not lend themselves to ventilation, such as cold storage buildings, are especially dangerous to firefighters. If there is no known life-safety issue, firefighters will retreat to a defensive position and fight the fire from outside the building instead of going inside,’’ Martin notes.

The fire at Dick Cold Storage would not have been prevented with smoke vents, but the devastating property loss could have been minimized. Firefighters may have been able to aggressively attack the blaze, but because of the lack of visibility and uncertainty of the structural damage within the building envelope, Martin and his crew had no other alternative other than to wait for the fire to die.

A Better Approach

Dick Cold Storage executives made sure to include smoke vents in its new building. Manufactured by The BILCO Company, the custom-made vents measure 7 feet by 18 feet and include a quad leaf design. Tippman worked with Spohn Associates to procure the vents. The size of a building, among other factors, determines the number and size of vents required for a building. The vented space must comply with fire codes.

The roof of the building is equipped with 18 BILCO automatic smoke vents that allow smoke, heat, and gasses to escape from a burning building. Photo: Ryan Leasure

Tippmann worked with Spohn Associates, The BILCO Company’s Indiana based sales representative, to determine the number of vents used for the new building.The vents include a Thermolatch II positive hold/release mechanism designed to ensure reliable operation when a fire occurs. It also automatically releases vent covers upon the melting of a 165°F (74°C) fusible link. Gas spring operators are designed to open the covers against snow and wind loads and include integral dampers to ensure that the covers open at a controlled rate of speed.

“Vents will allow for the removal of heat and smoke will potentially slow the spread of fire,’’ Martin says. “They will also permit firefighters to see and enter the building, to possibly extinguish the fire early, preventing the entire building from becoming a loss.”

Roofing Solutions for Cold Storage Buildings

Like the rest of the materials used in building a cold storage facility, architects need to choose roofing components carefully. The thermal properties and unique usage of cold storage buildings require extra attention to detail in choosing the construction materials.

One of the most critical is constructing vapor-tight and energy efficient roof systems. Tippmann used a single-ply roofing system with 45-mil and 60-mil TPO, which serve as excellent vapor barriers. Single-ply systems also minimize air leaks. Those leaks can lead to thermal loss and excess moisture.

Tippman also paid extra attention to the vapor barriers, which are used to prevent moisture from damaging the fabric of the building. It’s also incumbent on roofing contractors to choose the proper insulation to maximize energy efficiency.

When fire engulfed the facility, firefighters could do little more than watch the blaze burn itself out. The fire was contained within 18 hours was not completely extinguished for days. Photo: Walker Evans, Columbus Underground

Improperly installed or inefficient roofing materials could lead to disastrous consequences for cold storage buildings. Vapor leaks and excess moisture could create bacterial growth. Other side effects could include structural damage from ice buildup on walls and slabs, higher utility costs, safety issues for workers and equipment that may require more maintenance or not reach its expected lifespan.

Tippman Innovation served as the architect, general contractor and roofing contractor for the project. “Tippmann Innovation’s experience and reputation in cold storage building is well-known and respected,’’ Don Dick notes. “After touring one of Tippman’s newly-completed projects, we were very impressed with the company’s commitment to quality, design, and technology. We’re confident that our new facility will be at the cutting edge of cold storage innovation.”

State-of-the-Art Facility

The new facility for Dick Cold Storage incorporates the latest in cold storage technology. The ceilings are 50-feet clear, creating six million cubic square feet of storage space. There are 15,000 pallet positions and seven multi-temperature storage rooms.

Cold storage facilities are used for keeping food products and other perishables for distribution to supermarkets and other retail outlets that sell to consumers. Dick Cold Storage’s Columbus location serves customers in a 550-mile radius, covering a geographic area that reaches Wisconsin, Alabama and New York and a population of more than 138 million people.

The new facility includes LED lighting, frozen, cooler and dry storage, and the most energy-efficient refrigeration equipment. “We want to be able to move product extremely fast,’’ Don Dick says. “We’re very conscientious of food safety and storing product, so we try to do everything the right way.”

Dick Cold Storage made a huge financial investment in its new facility, and Tippmann Innovation paid tremendous attention to all of the construction materials, especially the roofing. With a new building that can better withstand the potential of a catastrophic total product and facility loss that can be caused by fire, the business heads into its second century with new goals and new vitality.

“When you have time to think, you realize you just gotta get up and running and get back to what you are doing,’’ Don Dick says. “You have to be as efficient as you can. We thought it was dead, but you can’t think that way. You have to think what we are going to do from this day forward.”

Proper Storage and Handling of Polyiso Insulation

Photo: SOPREMA

Punxsutawney Phil certainly got it right this year; we have had six more weeks of winter — and then some — particularly in the Northeast. As winter turns to spring, building and repair projects which frequently involve the roof get underway. As you commence these new and re-roofing initiatives, here are a few key considerations about the storage and handling of polyiso roof insulation on a jobsite.

Storage

Polyiso insulation is typically shipped protected by a plastic wrap, plastic bag or both. This factory packaging is intended for handling the polyiso in the manufacturing plant and during transit; it should not be relied upon as protection at jobsites or other outdoor storage locations unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer.

Material delivery should be carefully coordinated with the roof application schedule to minimize outdoor storage. When short-term outdoor storage is necessary, whether at grade or on the roof deck, the following precautions should be observed:

  • Bundles should be stored flat above the ground utilizing included feet or on raised pallets. If possible, the bundles should be placed on a finished surface such as gravel, pavement, or concrete rather than on dirt or grass.
  • Unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer, cover the package and pallet with a waterproof cover, and secure to prevent wind displacement.

Note: Polyiso insulation is fully cured and fit for installation upon delivery. No additional storage time is required.

Handling

Photo: Johns Manville

Exercise care during handling of polyiso insulation to prevent breaking or crushing of the square edges and surfaces. Remove the polyiso bundles from trucks with proper equipment. Other means of mishandling, such as pushing pallets off the edge of the truck or “rolling” the pallet across the roof deck, must be avoided.

Product Application

Polyiso should always be installed on dry, clean roof decks in dry conditions. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding product application to ensure performance to the intended design life of the roofing system. Apply only as much polyiso roof insulation as can be covered by completed roofing the same day.

Construction Traffic

Avoid excessive traffic during roof construction of or on a completed roof surface. Although polyiso has been designed to withstand limited foot traffic, protection from damage by construction traffic and/or abuse is extremely important. Roof surface protection such as plywood should be used in areas where storage and staging are planned and heavy or repeated traffic is anticipated during or after installation.

Photo: Johns Manville

Some designers and membrane manufacturers specify the use of cover boards as a means of protecting the insulation. If specified, installers should ensure the cover board used is compatible with all components of the roofing system, is acceptable to the membrane manufacturer, and meets specified fire, wind, and code requirements.

Polyiso roof insulation, like other roofing materials, requires a proper understanding of storage, handling, and application to result in a properly constructed roof system. To find additional information about the proper storage and handling of polyiso insulation and for more technical information on polyiso roof and wall insulation, please visit www.polyiso.org.

Essential Ladder Rack Features

As a roofing professional, you rely very heavily on your ladder for work. Keeping that ladder secure during transportation should be a priority. If you recently purchased a new work vehicle or a new ladder and are in the market for a secure storage solution for your ladder, it’s important to understand all of your ladder rack options before you make an investment.

At first glance, a ladder rack is just that—a piece of equipment that attaches to the roof of your van or truck to aid in the transportation of your ladder. But did you know that different ladder racks have different elements that may benefit you as a roofing professional?

Take a look at some of the most important features to consider when shopping for a ladder rack for your work vehicle:

  • Ergonomics: You use your ladder on a daily basis, if not more! Overtime, all of that loading and unloading can really take a toll on your back, shoulders and overall body. Even if you’re in fantastic physical shape, if you twist wrong or lose your balance while unloading a ladder, you could get seriously injured. An ergonomic ladder rack is ideal for professionals just like you. These types of ladder racks allow users to lower the ladder down to an easily reachable height. No more straining to reach your ladder!
  • Security: When you choose a ladder rack, you will want to make sure that it’s one that will keep your ladder secure during transportation. The last thing you want is to deal with a lawsuit because your ladder fell off your vehicle’s roof while driving. Look for ladder racks with lockable, gripping mechanisms to ensure safe transportation of your ladder.
  • Durability: No one wants to invest in a ladder rack just to have it rust out in a few years. Like with most products, the cost of a ladder rack is often directly correlated with its quality. A high-quality ladder rack may have a high sticker price but, in the long run, its durability and reliability will prove to be more cost-efficient. However, if you’re just looking for a short-term solution, a cheaper ladder rack maybe a better fit for your situation.
  • Versatility: Sometimes you may need to transport things other than your ladder on the roof of your work vehicle because of their size. If this is the case, you may want to consider a roof storage solution that has the ability to secure ladders and cargo. Look for a utility rack that features heavy-duty tie-down cleats to secure loads on the roof while traveling. Ladder racks come in all shapes and sizes with many different features available. So if you’re in the market fora new ladder rack, do your homework before you buy to ensure you’re getting the right product for your trade.