Tile Talk

Identify Your 2019 Design Resources

by Richard K. Olson, president & technical director, Tile Roofing Institute

(Editor’s Note:  Richard K. Olson is president and technical director for the Tile Roofing Institute.  The association represents industry professionals involved in the manufacturing and installation of concrete and clay tile roofs in the United States and Canada, and works with national, state, and local building officials to develop installation techniques, codes, and standards for better roofing systems.  Olson can be reached at rolson@tileroofing.org.)

The ongoing consolidations, acquisitions, and new product development creates challenges and opportunities for design professionals.  As we start the New Year, it is time once again to review our resources and needs for the upcoming year in the areas we will be seeking to perform efficient building designs. 

         For steep-slope roofing materials, we should start with the updating of our codes.  Each year the local building officials will declare the official current codes and special provisions they will adopt for building construction during the year.  It is important to have these requirements so they can be included in plans and specifications for roof assembly designs.  For some areas the new IRC and IBC codes may be called out.  In other areas, there is the slow adoption for new codes to be required.

         Our next priority should be to assemble our resources for the various roofing materials we wish to use.  For each of these we should update our list of manufacturers, industry associations, and links to product code approvals and installation guides.  With the ongoing consolidation and acquisitions, it is challenging to stay up to date with the available products, profiles, and accessory products.  This will become even more important when we are addressing renovations and repairs where products may have changed or are no longer available.

         When repairs and alterations are being considered, the existing roofing assembly will need to be reviewed.  The percent of the roof being repaired or altered may trigger the entire roof to be upgraded to the current codes.  The local building officials can help identify their code requirements for your project needs.  The product manufacturer for the various components of the roof assembly should be identified.  Where components, in particular roof claddings, are required, we should review the proposed product to the existing product for proper compatibility.  The consolidation in the roofing products has reduced or eliminated the availability of some previously available products.  Some of the concerns that should be reviewed are the following.

Product Design

         While products may look similar, they may not always be able to properly interface with each other.  Cladding products with side interlocks will need to be reviewed to ensure that a proper joint can be achieved.  The product manufacturer should be consulted to determine the ability to be utilized as compatible for the interface with adjacent materials.  In some cases, there is the ability on repairs to move products from adjacent roof areas to allow proper installations at the repair site, with new products going back on the areas where they will not interface, such as dormers or small roof areas.  For some products, the replacement of a full course of product might allow for the repairs to be completed.  

Product Approvals

         Most all of the roof components will carry a formal code-issued product approval.  This resource will help identify the physical properties, testing, and supporting data for determining fit for use on your design projects.  These will include the installation requirements for you to reference.  When products are being called out for projects, they should include the manufacturer and note the formal product approvals. 

Industry Resources

         Most industry associations will have design resources for their member products.  We have developed industry consensus standards, installation guides, and high wind and seismic design tables for professionals to utilize.  Some industries offer contractor training and design seminars to help the design and contracting community stay up to date on product development.  Industry associations can offer a more unbiased resource for the full scope of products and can help connect you with specific manufacturers that you might desire to use on specific projects.

         Consumers continue to demand greater energy efficiencies and longer life cycle performance for their building construction.  Designers need to help identify system upgrades that will exceed code requirements and offer higher performing systems.  The utilization of cool roof products, air barriers, and thermal mass can all help improve energy efficiencies of steep-slope applications.  In California, there are requirements for utilizing products rated by the Cool Roof Rating Council that will need to be considered for projects in certain jurisdictions.  The upgrade of underlayments, flashings, and fastening options can help increase the overall life cycle of most steep-slope roof assemblies.  These resources should be identified and links to the information saved.  The ability to be organized with the current resources will allow us to be more efficient in our design efforts.  Start 2019 off with the promise to get your resources in place.

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