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    August 2014

    Rooftop solar installations and vegetative roofs are becoming popular with commercial and industrial building owners. These options have gained popularity because they can benefit the facility, tenant, or owner. A few of these benefits include minimizing energy costs, increasing marketability, and adding usable space. Developing a project with this many intricacies requires detailed review of the structure and all associated components.

    Often the design of one of these systems is the product of a financier, electrician, or architect. No two buildings are alike so each design must be truly unique to that facility. These one-of-a kind creations result in designers and owners unknowingly overlooking items that affect the lifecycle cost of the installation. We often find that the roof system itself is ignored during the initial project design. Please consider the following questions when/if you are thinking about adding a rooftop solar installation or vegetative roof to your building:

    1. Has a licensed structural engineer reviewed the building to verify that the added weight of your installation will not result in damage to the facility?
    2. Are the components of the installation (solar panels, inverters, etc.) covered under your insurance policy or is additional coverage needed?
    3. Is the installation of a new roof included as part of the project? If not, should it be?
    4. Is the roof system compatible with the type of product that is being installed?
    5. How will the manufacturer’s roof system warranty be affected by the installation?
    6. If a new roof is not installed, how many more years will the existing roof perform?
    7. What is the cost to remove the new installation components to access the roof for repairs, add penetrations, etc.?
    8. What is the anticipated lifecycle of the new installation versus the roof system, i.e. will the installation out perform the roof?
    9. Has a maintenance plan been designed to help support the rooftop components?
    10. How will roof leaks be detected and located once the installation is in place?

    The photos below are a perfect examples of Rooftop Solar Installation and Vegetative Roof Installation.
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    We recommend involving a roof design professional such as you preferred roof consultant during the design process to help resolve these often overlooked questions.  It is much easier and less expensive to resolve issues prior to installation of the new system.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your next project.

    Cale Prokopf, RRO
    Project Consultant
    (314) 687-5687
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    Spring 2012

    Greetings!

    As you know, recent storms have torn through the Midwest causing severe damage to countless facilities in the St. Louis area. We hope that you made it through the storms unscathed.  If not, and you need assistance with roof related issues, please contact us to schedule a consult.

    We advise everyone to choose their roofing professionals wisely during this time of emergency and avoid “storm chasers”.

    Proper Roof System Selection

    During a recent Better Understanding of Roofing Systems Institute (BURSI) seminar some great information was presented.  A segment of the seminar focused on the rhyme and reasoning to specifiy one roof system over another.  We felt this could benefit anyone that may be budgeting roof replacements or dealing with replacement due to recent storm damage.

    Not all systems are created equal and each system will have its strengths and weaknesses.  There is no “perfect” system for all applications.  The breakdown below sheds some insight into which roof systems are best suited for each particular installation.

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    Although it does not cover all the concerns, this table is a good starting point in the selection of a new roof system. There is much more that should be taken into consideration before investing into a new roof system such as interior/exterior environments, durability, building use, budget, etc. Don’t hesistate to ask questions on why a certain roof system is being recommended by your roofing professional.  As always, we are here to help if you have any questions.

    Cale Prokopf
    RoofTech Consulting, Inc
    (314) 687-5687

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    Fall 2012

    Greetings!

    We hope everyone enjoyed their summer.  From temperatures in excess of 105 degrees to the devastating hail storm, the weather this year has been unpredictable to say the least.  As a result many of you ended up with unexpected and unwanted roof projects.  We hope your projects are wrapping up or will be within the foreseeable future.  Any uncompleted roof repairs or replacement could create further damage to the facility if not addressed before the winter months.

    Those of you that are still working with insurance adjusters may want to consider involving an independent third-party consulting firm to help work toward a resolution.  Insurance adjusters typically work alongside professional roof consultants to substantiate their findings, shouldn’t you?  Contact us to discuss the needs of your particular project and any possible assistance we can offer.

    The Liability of the Roof Recover Option

    Due to the extensive amount of roof replacements in the St. Louis area we felt it would be beneficial to many of you to explain the possible ills of installing a new roof system over an older, damaged, roof system.  This can be an attractive reroof option for many reasons.  This option reduces replacement cost, can be installed quicker than a traditional tear-off roof replacement, and roof system manufacturers will typically honor a NDL warranty.

    As with most things, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

    Although widely practiced within the roofing industry, roof recover remains a controversial issue.  Roof recovers often encapsulate moisture in the underlying roof system.  Common issues surrounding this roof option are mold concerns, the drying of wet insulation, deck deterioration (dry rot of wood, disintegration of concrete, corrosion of metal), and fastener failures.  Ongoing leaks and voided manufacturer warranties are all too common when a new roof is installed over an existing roof system.  Most importantly, the installation may not meet current International Building Code (IBC) or the manufacturer’s warranty requirements.

    What can you do to protect yourself against these issues in the case of a roof recover project?  Randomly selected core cuts and visual observation are not enough investigation to determine the amount of underlying moisture within a roof system. Performing an infrared moisture scan will verify and document areas of subsurface moisture insuring that local code requirements are satisfied.  The infrared scan will allow you to mark and replace any wet or “suspect” areas in the existing roof system during the new roof installation process.  The scan should also provide as documentation to ensure manufacturer warranty compliance as installation of new roofing over wet substrate will lead to systemic issues and premature roof failure.

    Make sure to perform your due diligence when selecting a firm to complete an infrared moisture scan.  The company you select should have a minimum of 10 years’ experience using their infrared equipment and should be able to provide training certification from the equipment manufacturer.  This is important because dissimilar heat dissipation readings show up as “hot spots” or “anomalies” and are common.  These readings are not necessarily wet insulation but could be areas of sediment build up, interior lighting, or cupped insulation.  Prior to marking the roof, anomalies should be confirmed with secondary non-destructive equipment such as nuclear or capacitance meters.  Areas marked on the roof should then be confirmed through test cuts to verify and finalize the findings.  What good is an infrared scan if it’s done incorrectly?  We perform infrared scan services regularly and can offer a multitude of references and samples.  Contact us for more information or to discuss scheduling this service for your facility.

    Regards,

    Cale Prokopf
    RoofTech Consulting, Inc
    (314) 687-5687

     

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    August 2013

    In June, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) announced its Quality Mark certified R-value program is being updated to incorporate a new test method for determining long-term thermal resistance (LTTR).   As you may know, R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry.  Under uniform conditions, it is the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux.  The polyisocyanurate product is NOT changing any current chemical makeup.  What is changing, is the test method (LTTR) process of calculating R-values.  As a result, new LTTR values are going to decrease for roof insulations from their current values.  Please note that this change will not affect wall insulations. Even with these changes, polyisocyanurate is and will continue to be the greatest energy-efficient performance of any building insulation product on the market. To give you a couple of examples of these changes, the current R-Value of 2″ polyisocyanurate is currently 12.10.  Effective January 1, 2014, that same material will have an R-Value of 11.4.

    The 2012 International Building Code (IBC) requires that R-25 be met during all roof replacement (tear-off) projects.  Fortunately, local municipalities still follow IBC 2009 or older guidelines.  We do not foresee local municipalities adopting IBC 2012 for at least another 2-3 years.  The combination of IBC 2012 and the lower R-values given to polyisocyanurate insulation effective January 1, 2014 will require at least another 1″ – 1.5″ of insulation be installed just to meet local code on future roof replacement project.  More material obviously results in an increase in roof replacement costs.  We recommend adjusting future roof replacement budgets to reflect these additional costs.

    We hope you find this information beneficial.  Feel free to call or email if you have any questions about this issue.

    Cale Prokopf
    Project Consultant
    (314) 687-5687
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    RPM International Inc. and Tremco Inc. Pay Nearly $61 Million for Failing to Provide Government Discounts

    Companies Allegedly Submitted False Claims Under Defectively-priced Roofing Contracts

    Ohio-based RPM International Inc. and its subsidiary, Tremco Inc., have paid $60.9 million to resolve allegations that Tremco filed false claims in connection with two multiple award schedule (MAS)contracts with the General Services Administration (GSA) for roofing supplies and services, the Justice Department announced today. Tremco failed to provide the government with price discounts provided to non-federal government customers. Tremco also allegedly marketed expensive materials to government purchasers without disclosing the availability of the same materials at lower cost that were manufactured and sold by thecompany. Tremco is a manufacturer of construction products and services and is a subsidiary of the RPM Building Solutions Group.

    “Companies that knowingly skirt the rules for securing government business undermine the integrity of the procurement process and create an unfairadvantage against companies that are playing by the rules,” said Stuart F. Delery,Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We are committed to ensuring a level playing field and protecting taxpayer dollars.”

    Allegedly, from January 2002 to March 2011, Tremco knowingly violated itscontractual obligations to provide GSA with current, accurate and complete information about its commercial sales practices, to report changes in discounts to comparable commercial customers and to pass those discounts on togovernment customers. As a result, the government allegedly paid more than itshould have for Tremco’s services and products. In addition, Tremco allegedlyimproperly marketed generic products as a superior line of the same product and used a defective adhesive formula in its roofing systems.

    The GSA MAS program provides government purchasers with a streamlined process for procurement of commonly used commercial goods and services. To be awarded a MAS contract, and thereby gain access to the broad government marketplace and ease of administration that comes from selling to hundreds of government purchasers under one contract, contractors must agree to disclose commercial pricing policies and practices.

    GSA Inspector General Brian Miller said, “GSA OIG auditors and investigators worked diligently to make sure the taxpayers got the benefit of required price reductions, and received a fair price for the products and services purchased with taxpayer funds.”

    “These companies are paying the price for trying to cheat the American taxpayer out of a fair deal,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “We thank this whistle blower for coming forward to reveal thiswrongdoing. Other contractors who are considering bilking the governmentshould take heed: false and fraudulent claims on the U.S. Treasury will not be tolerated.”

    The settlement resolves a qui tam, or whistle blower, lawsuit filed on behalf of the government by former Tremco vice president Gregory Rudolph, who will receive more than $10.9 million as his share of the recovery in the case. Under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, private citizens can bringlawsuits on behalf of the government and share in any recovery. Rudolph’s lawsuit also includes allegations on behalf of several states under their false claims statutes.

    The settlement with the federal government does not resolve the state actions. This settlement was the result of a coordinated effort by the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, the U.S. Attorney’sOffice for the District of Columbia and GSA’s Office of Inspector General to investigate the allegations and resolve the case. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.

    This is one of many reasons that it is recommended to involve an RCI accredited third-party roof consultant when installing a new roof system.  RoofTech Consulting, Inc. can help with your due diligence roof inspections, performing infrared moisture scans, designing repair/replacement bid documents, and performing quality assurance during construction.  We hope you find this information beneficial.  Feel free to call or email if you have any questions about this issue.

    Cale Prokopf
    Project Consultant
    (314) 687-5687
    CProkopf@RoofTechConsulting.com
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    Naked Eye vs. Infrared Camera

    Cost is almost always a driving factor when replacing commercial/industrial roofs. One option to minimize cost in some instances is installing a new roof system over the existing roof.  This  option lowers cost by minimizing removal of the existing roof and eliminates purchasing and installing new substrate materials.  International Building Code (IBC) and most major roof system manufacturer’s limit scenarios when this option may be utilized.  This option is limited to systems where there is only one (1) roof already in place and there is zero subsurface moisture.
    How do you determine if you roof is a candidate for this less expensive solution?  Standard core samples will tell you the existing roof construction and how many roofs are already in place.  But how do you determine the extent of subsurface moisture?  No amount of core cuts can be performed to give you an exact summary of subsurface moisture.  A core cut is very small sample (approximately 3″ – 4″ in diameter) of a very large area. The best solution is to perform an infrared moisture scan combined with the use of a capacitance meter.  This scan should ALWAYS performed by a third-party thermographer, not a roofing contractor.  An accurately performed infrared moisture scan will define areas of wet substrate which will help determine appropriate budgets and scopes of work.  The photos below are a perfect example what we see versus what the infrared camera sees.
    This is just one of many benefits of infrared thermography in the roofing industry. Contact us to discuss this topic in further detail or to schedule an infrared scan of your facility.
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    Rooftop solar installations and vegetative roofs are becoming popular with commercial and industrial building owners.

    Rooftop solar installations and vegetative roofs are becoming popular with commercial and industrial building owners. These options have gained popularity because they can benefit the facility, tenant, or owner. A few of these benefits include minimizing energy costs, increasing marketability, and adding usable space. Developing a project with this many intricacies requires detailed review of the structure and all associated components.

     

    Often the design of one of these systems is the product of a financier, electrician, or architect. No two buildings are alike so each design must be truly unique to that facility. These one-of-a kind creations result in designers and owners unknowingly overlooking items that affect the lifecycle cost of the installation. We often find that the roof system itself is ignored during the initial project design. Please consider the following questions when/if you are thinking about adding a rooftop solar installation or vegetative roof to your building:

    1. Has a licensed structural engineer reviewed the building to verify that the added weight of your installation will not result in damage to the facility?
    2. Are the components of the installation (solar panels, inverters, etc.) covered under your insurance policy or is additional coverage needed?
    3. Is the installation of a new roof included as part of the project? If not, should it be?
    4. Is the roof system compatible with the type of product that is being installed?
    5. How will the manufacturer’s roof system warranty be affected by the installation?
    6. If a new roof is not installed, how many more years will the existing roof perform?
    7. What is the cost to remove the new installation components to access the roof for repairs, add penetrations, etc.?
    8. What is the anticipated lifecycle of the new installation versus the roof system, i.e. will the installation out perform the roof?
    9. Has a maintenance plan been designed to help support the rooftop components?
    10. How will roof leaks be detected and located once the installation is in place?

    Solar  vegetative

    We recommend involving a roof design professional such as you preferred roof consultant during the design process to help resolve these often overlooked questions. It is much easier and less expensive to resolve issues prior to installation of the new system. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your next project.

    Read more