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Independent Contractors vs. Employees

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 20, 2017


WSRCA Contractors Counsel: Legal Talk 

Independent Contractors vs. Employees


By: Kenneth S. Grossbart

Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman


In past articles, we have written regarding the importance of classifying those persons who worked on your projects. Employees vs. independent contractors. Although our office has written on this subject before, I recently read an article by our colleague, Phil Vermeulen of the Contractors Licensing Center in Sacramento, who also wrote on the topic.


It is a very common practice for contractors to classify their workers as “independent contractors” when in reality they would be considered to be employees. This policy is done primarily to avoid the cost of workers’ compensation and overtime pay that would be due and owing to workers classified as employees. As Phil points out in his article, the Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”) has strongly cautioned employers to be very careful with this dangerous practice. We reprint the following from DIR:


A federal court judge has sided with California Labor Commissioner, Julie A. Su, issuing a judgment in favor of five port and rail truck drivers against SPO Cartage Inc. The ruling awards the drivers reimbursement for expenses and unlawful deductions in the amount of $958,660 plus attorneys fees and costs. The Labor Commissioner previously issued awards to the five drivers following hearings that found they had been misclassified as independent contractors. XPO Cartage appealed the five decisions in Superior Court and the case was removed to Federal Court, where attorneys for the Labor Commissioner defended the decisions on behalf of the drivers. After a four-day bench trial and post-trial briefing, U.S. District Court Judge William Keller ruled that all five drivers were misclassified as independent contractors and were entitled to reimbursement for expenses and unlawful deductions.


State courts have also upheld the Labor Commissioner’s awards in misclassification cases in many other professions, particularly in construction, so we cannot emphasize enough, take heed!! All employers are urged to be aware of this important decision and the myriad consequences of misclassification of employees including:


• Stop orders and penalty assessments pursuant to Labor Code section 3710.1;

• Liability for overtime premium, meal period pay, and other remedies available to employees under the Labor Code and Orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission;

• Exposure for tort liability for injuries suffered by employees when workers’ compensation insurance is not secured (Labor Code section 3706);

• Exposure for unfair business practices (Business & Professions Code section 17200);

• Tax liability penalties; and

• Criminal liability (Labor Code section 3700.5).


Although the reprint from the DIR deals exclusively with a California business, the points raised would appear to be equally applicable to those businesses that operate outside of California. All businesses that are presently or are considering using independent contractors to perform work should do so with caution and not before seeking qualified legal advice.

Tags:  LEGAL 

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Now Accepting 2018 SOPREMA Scholarship Applications

Posted By Chris Alberts, Western States Roofing Contractors Association, Thursday, November 16, 2017
Now Accepting 2018 SOPREMA Scholarship Applications
Applications are now being accepted for the SOPREMA Scholarship Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. The SOPREMA Scholarship Program offers a $5,000 award to up to five students nationwide.  
Requirements for the SOPREMA Scholarship Program include:
  • High school seniors or graduates, current postsecondary undergraduate or graduate students pursuing a degree in architecture, engineering, construction management or a similar field
  • Enrolled in or planning to enroll in a full-time undergraduate or graduate study at an accredited four-year college or university for the entire 2018-2019 academic year
Applications must be submitted by March 29, 2018Submit your application online today.
Visit our website to learn more about the SOPREMA Scholarship Program.


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Five Must Have Workplace Policies for Roofing Contractors

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 13, 2017

Five Must Have Workplace Policies for Roofing Contractors

By enforcing practical workplace policies, employers can decrease potential legal challenges.

Courtesy of: Roofing Contractor Magazine, Richard Alaniz


Today’s employers have an increasingly regulated and overly litigious landscape to navigate in managing their workplace. The continued growth of federal, state, and even local regulatory protections for employees, coupled with an overabundance of lawyers, has made virtually every workplace decision a potential lawsuit.

Most large employers have experienced, professional human resource staffs to enforce comprehensive and up-to-date employment policies usually contained in an employee handbook. They also often have the support of in-house or outside legal counsel to help with the more difficult decisions. But what about the small-or medium-sized employers who generally don’t have a human resources department and where most decisions regarding employees are made by the owner or plant manager? While some guidance and best practices are often available through their industry or business associations, their potential exposure to legal challenges on employee-related decisions remains significant. However, by implementing or updating as needed, and consistently enforcing five practical and well-known workplace policies, most employers can dramatically decrease the potential that a workplace decision involving an employee will result in a successful legal challenge. These policies should ideally be contained in a more comprehensive employee handbook if possible. The five “must have” policies and how they provide protection are discussed below.


1. No Harassment Policy

Under federal law, Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act, the American With Disabilities Act as amended, and the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, as well as related state laws, harassment based upon a protected status is unlawful. Sexual harassment, the type that’s received the greatest attention, is based upon gender and is equally unlawful. The law is now well-established that it’s applicable to same-sex harassment as well. Bullying is clearly another form of harassment, and with the ubiquitous presence and use of social media, has also become a common workplace problem. If based upon a protected status, bullying goes from workplace misconduct to unlawful discrimination.

Without an all-encompassing no harassment policy that’s posted or otherwise widely disseminated, an employer will find it difficult to defend against Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or similar state agency discrimination charges and possible lawsuits alleging unlawful harassment. In fact, the first document requested by investigating agencies in such a case is a copy of the employer’s no harassment policy. Having such a policy in place and consistently enforcing it will help provide a reasonable defense against some of the most frequent claims made in today’s workplace. Lack of a policy may lend support to a prima facie case of discriminatory harassment.


2. Equal Employment Opportunity Policy

One of the most fundamental of all employment policies is the one assuring all applicants and employees that any decisions affecting them will be made without regard to race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sexual orientation, as well as any other protected status. All job advertising should and generally does include such a statement. It should also appear on the face of any employment application utilized. In short, equal opportunity should be second-nature for anyone in management making any decision that affects an employee. And no company is too small to have such a policy.


3. Complaint Policy and Procedure

Employee problems and concerns are endemic to the workplace, irrespective of size or specific industry. Having a well-known and structured process through which employees can have their concerns fairly addressed, and hopefully resolved, will help avoid potentially more serious repercussions. Too often business owners, especially of smaller companies, rely upon the fact that they have an open door policy permitting employees to raise any concerns or complaints directly with them. Sometimes the practical effect of such a policy results in what some experts have called “hiding behind the open door.” Employees are sometimes reluctant to enter the manager’s office for fear of the consequences. Perhaps they will be found to be at fault. Or even if not, that nothing can be done about their problem. While the door may be open, it may not be used.

If employees are provided a formal, structured process whereby they can verbally or in writing bring an issue of concern to management, they’ll use it. Ideally, it should start with taking the matter to the employee’s own supervisor, and escalate it up the management ranks as needed until the matter is fully addressed. Employees should also be free to raise the matter with anyone in management with whom they are comfortable. Sometimes the problem is one involving their own supervisor. Some employees may be more open in speaking to someone of their own gender. The goal of the process is to solve the problem irrespective of how the issue is brought to the attention of management. The complaint and all actions taken to address it should be well-documented.


4. Progressive Discipline Policy

Virtually all employee disciplinary actions, especially involving termination, are subject to being second-guessed by some governmental agency or lawyer. This often occurs in the context of a formal charge or complaint filed with a state or federal agency. Whether it’s an agency investigation or a lawsuit, the most commonly asked questions are whether the employee was on notice of their unacceptable performance or conduct, and whether they were subjected to escalating discipline when they failed to improve. An employer’s inability to demonstrate such steps through a well-publicized and consistently applied policy of progressive discipline will likely find that their action, especially a termination, will be ruled to be improper. Frequently, the penalty is reinstatement and back pay for the employee involved.

The most common progressive discipline policies are comprised of a four step process. A verbal warning escalates to a written warning, which then goes to a final warning, sometimes including a three day suspension. Every step in the process should be well documented. The process finally culminates in termination. It’s generally a good practice to “suspend pending termination” to provide the opportunity to review the entire disciplinary record and related documentation before taking that last critical step. Consistency in applying progressive discipline is crucial. Exceptions will undermine the policy and jeopardize the action taken.


5. Absence and Tardiness Control Policy

As mundane and routine as an absence control policy sounds, it’s unfortunately one of the most frequently relied upon employment policies to support a termination decision. It’s also a policy that many employers, especially small ones, are lacking, at least in a written form. While leave policies mandated by either federal or state government continue to proliferate, regular employee attendance at work remains a significant problem for many employers. Some might point to the work/life balance that reportedly is so important, especially to millennials, as a reason. However, attendance problems cut across all age groups of employees as well as all types of workplaces.

Most attendance policies involve a set number of points or instances of either tardiness, absence or both within a set time period that, when exceeded, results in escalating disciplinary action, including termination. Without a policy that’s uniformly enforced and well-documented, an employer may be unable to show that a termination was in fact for excessive absences rather than because of a protected status as alleged by a disgruntled employee.

By having in place and consistently applying the five common sense policies cited, an employer will be well prepared to effectively address and perhaps even avoid the vast majority of workplace issues that arise. When employees know that policies are in place that are intended to assure fair treatment for all employees, it’s surprising how few problems actually develop.




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OSHA Issues Deadlines for Electronic Reporting of Injuries and Illness

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 13, 2017

OSHA Issues Deadlines for Electronic Reporting of Injuries and Illness

Courtesy of: Roofing Contractor Magazine


The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued its official deadlines for tracking workplace injuries and illnesses. Employers in high-risk industries such as roofing, are required to electronically submit their 2016 annual data from OSHA for 300A by Dec. 1.

Every single location where the company operates with between 20 and 250 employees must submit their 2017 300A forms by July 1, 2018, to maintain compliance. The annual deadline will permanently move to March 2 in 2019, a news release stated.

Roofing contractors with more than 249 employees have the same Dec. 1 deadline for 300A forms, but must submit OSHA Forms 300A, 300 and 301 for 2017 incidents by July 1, 2018, and then annually on March 2 starting in 2019.

Employers will be able to use the web-based system's Injury Tracking Application, which was introduced Aug. 1, to report the information that typically would be submitted on the paper forms. Visit for more information.

Tags:  SAFETY 

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50 Shades of Confused...Taking the Grey Out of Lien Waivers, Joint Checks and Other Instruments of Profit

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 13, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 13, 2017

50 Shades of Confused...Taking the Grey Out of Lien Waivers, Joint Checks and Other Instruments of Profit

Contributing Author: Thea Dudley, VP Financial Services - SRS Distribution, Inc.


Joint checks, contracts, mechanics liens and the infamous lien waiver, all supposed to make business more efficient, easier and straight forward have become so complex you need a law degree and three hours to get through one of them.  If you joined me this past summer, you spent time at the seminar of the same name at the Expo, you already know these are all pet peeves and hot buttons for me. 

The very forms and tools that are there to grease the wheels of your business and make your life less complicated, have basically taken over your day.  Sadly, most contractors do not take the necessary time to insure those tools are not working against them…until it is too late and they are faced with countless hours trying to figure out how to undo the damage inflicted by their lack of attention to detail. 

Let’s take the torture out of some of the tools and make them profitable to your business again.

Joint checks:

The definition of a check joint is:  A check issued by one party (Payor) and made payable to two parties as co-payees.  That is the technical side of the joint check.  Funny thing about joint checks that rarely get mentioned at the beginning, they only work if the check gets issued and there is not standard joint check form to keep the playing field level.  There are no specific statutory laws regarding how a joint check has to read or what is required.  Since they are contractual in nature they are subject to contract law.  

So what exactly is a joint check?

1.     It is an enforceable contract

2.     It is a creature of contract

3.     It creates a tri-party relationship

4.     It identifies all the players (parties involved)

5.     It defines the relationship of all the parties


Which leads us to what it is not:

1.     It is not a security interest

2.     It Is not a guarantee for payment

3.     Not governed by statute

4.     Not effective if the check isn’t written


How so you make sure it is profitable and not painful? 

With joint checks, it is all in the wording. How the items are phrased.  Does the wording obligate the payor to one of the payees or merely give permission (to be used if the payor decides to). What’s left out?   What is not addressed in the document?   What is the enforcement of it (what do you need to do to get paid), how is the check issued/delivered?  What happens to your payment in the case of a dispute between the payor and your customer?  Is there a clause regarding a limited power of attorney for you to use to process your payment.  What are you giving up?  Lien rights, bond rights, suit rights   What are they asking you to include?  Blanket indemnity clause, warranty beyond your scope of work, asking you to have an obligation to a larger contact.


What are the three biggest joint check mistakes I commonly see?

1.   Not reading the agreement before signing it.  Everyone always seems surprised at this one but if I had a dollar for every customer who asked me for help with a joint check agreement after the fact-who had to admit they did not read it, I would be working on a tan in Belize.

2.  Trusting others to follow through. Your money is your responsibility.  Hold people accountable, be able to state what their obligations are if you need to.

3.  Not having a relationship with the check cutter.  You should know who you are dealing with, have had at least one conversation with them.  Not an email or text but a verbal conversation.  Know someone by name who you can reach out to for help if you need to.  Make friends with where your money is coming from.


To avoid mistakes, keep these tips in mind:

1.  Watch the wording of the agreement.  If you don’t understand something or it’s not clear in the wording, ask for clarification, or cross it out & rewrite it.  My rule of thumb in reading any document is this:  If I don’t understand it & you can’t explain it, it doesn’t need to be in there.  Cross it out. 

2.  Read the agreement.  The whole agreement.  All the way.  Don’t skim it.  It is not War & Peace.  It should be a simple, one pager.   Understand what you are agreeing to. 

3. Don’t give up stuff you don’t want to give up like lien, bond and remedy rights.

4. Don’t agree to crazy add on’s.  This is a simple document on how payment is going to be executed & to whom.  It is not an extension of your contract.  



I want to point out one really important thing about any document.  The company/person presenting the document is usually who it is in favor of.  It is the nature of the beast. 

It starts out as a simple form then people start getting creative and before you know it, it is crazy long and has all kinds of weird stuff in it.


Mechanics Liens:

Everyone in this industry uses the phrase “lien rights”, but the majority don’t know exactly what that means or how to approach it to really capitalize on it.  Just so everyone is on the same page a mechanics lien is a security interest in the property for the benefit of those who have supplied materials or labor that improve that property.   A mechanics lien basically clouds the title so the lien has to be dealt with in some fashion before the property can change hands. 


I am a HUGE advocate of securing lien rights whenever possible.  Yes, I know, you don’t want to have a supplier secure them because you are afraid of what your customer will think.  Yep, it is much better to give up a way to get paid then have someone think ill of you. 


Without securing your lien rights, you can only sue the company you're contracted with (your customer).   But if I secure lien rights, I can bless everyone with my attention.  For all intents and purposes, it locks up the property, your lien has to be dealt with in some fashion, whether it is bonded around, paid, sold subject to, or foreclosed.  A lien gives you security in the property.  Suddenly, you’re important!  


Moral is:  If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody gonna be happy.  My issue of non-payment is now everyone’s issue.  I have just significantly increased my odds of getting paid. 


Lien waivers:

Let’s get the definition out of the way:  A lien waiver is a legally binding document from contractor, sub-contractor, material supplier or other party to the construction process stating they have received payment and waive any future lien rights to the property reference therein. 


Simple, straightforward?  Let’s talk about the painful, the unbelievable and the pleasurable.  There are four types of lien waivers:


1.     Conditional Progress (Releases all claim rights to file a lien once payment has been made and cleared the bank)

2.     Conditional Final (see above)

3.     Unconditional Progress (see below)

4.     Unconditional Final (Generally releases all rights to place a lien on the property. 

It is immaterial if the payment check has been returned or stopped.  Only use this release when you are positive all your work is done and the check has cleared the bank.)


The first two are safer for you, the second two are safer for the owner.  So why do you care?  You want to get paid!  You don’t want to give up rights you didn’t intend to.  If you sign a waiver without getting paid you most likely just gave up your right to any legal recourse. 


DO NOT sign an unconditional waiver without having been paid and the payment has cleared the bank.  Give a conditional if you have to give something.  If you are being asked to sign an unconditional or the customer is stating they will take their business elsewhere, it will come down to a business decision. 




To quote the words of the late Robin Williams, “Carpe Per Diem—Seize the check”!!  What else do you need to know about the much asked for but seldom understood lien waiver?  Plenty! 


Did you know? 

1.     A nationwide standard lien waiver form does not exist. 

2.     Terms & conditions are often included in the waiver – things like indemnity, guarantees of work, liability, warranty, etc.

3.     12 of 50 states at this time has some sort of language/requirements in their statutes regarding waivers.  Things that have to be on the form, right down to the font size. 


How painful can it be?  How many of you have received a lien waiver that you absolutely did not understand.  It was like a Shakespeare play.  Did you take time to read it?  I have received tons of waivers over the years and what some companies stick in there is mindboggling.  And frankly, entertaining.  Waivers asking for certification of work being properly performed, indemnity, subordination of lien rights to a third party, personal liability for the signing party, waiving rights to retainage or change orders, demanding an unconditional before work is complete and payment is issued, waiving rights to make claims for change orders, extra work, disputed items or retainage. 


There is a short list but it gives you an idea of what I am talking about.  So a document that was supposed to be a simple straightforward “Yes, we got paid, I am not going to lien your property” has become a catch all liability wish list.  Any language in the waiver that puts restraints and liability on your company is unacceptable.  Limit the language to the amount of money received and the date it is through. 

I promised you pleasure so where is it says you? Language on the wavier should be fair and reasonable.  In other words, KISS—Keep it simple stupid.  Keep in mind what the document is.  It is simply a waiver for payment through a fixed date.   Nothing more, nothing less.   It doesn’t ask for the meaning of life and indemnification of the world.  It only purpose is to acknowledge the receipt & clearance of payment through a set date on a specific project. 


To tie it up:

1.      Limit the number of people in your company with are authorized to sign off on a lien waiver. 

2.     Have a standard company lien waivers, approved by your attorney, you can use in place of what you receive.

3.     Use conditional lien waivers until payment has cleared the bank. 



If business was a game, contracts would be the rules of the game.  It is another place where money leaks out of your profitability.  Bottom line on contracts:  read them – the whole thing - boring as they are.  Make a highlighter pen your friend.  I mark all kinds of stuff up. That contact is not an ancient sacred text.  You will not remember what you saw that bugged you.  High light it.   Have an addendum if you would prefer, just like you would for lien waivers or joint checks, that outlines what you are agreeing to and make sure it supercedes any other contract. 



What are you and your trusty highlighter pen looking for?  Plenty.  A quick rundown of the killer clauses:


1.     Contingency payment:  This provides that the GC is under no obligation to pay the sub any $$ until and unless the GC gets paid by the owner.  Otherwise known as pay when or pay if clauses

2.     No damages for disruption – basically means that while the sub is not entitled to a claim for delay damages, the sub can have an extension of time.  They read something like this:  Sub agrees to waive all claims & shall receive no compensation for delays, hindrances, disruption or interference with it’s’ work.  So yes, everything is your fault.

3.     Agree to work when not getting paid:  If you can afford it awesome.  If not, you will want progress payments.  ALWAYS reserve the right to walk off the job and stop the work if you are not getting paid.

4.     Indemnification:  I hate this one.  This is just a contractual method of dumping legal liability from one party to another.  Under this jewel, one party agrees to step into another’s place and accept legal liability for that party’s actions- usually including that party’s negligence or wrongful acts.  Nope, I am only responsible for my own company’s stupid, not yours and the entire jobs. 

5.     Additional insured:  this is a sneaky little way to “back door” the indemnification by having the sub add the GC and other contractors as “additional insureds” on their liability insurance.  If there is a claim, your insurance premiums go up.

6.     No waivers by reference incorporation:  Another sneaky way to tie you up.  This would be lien waivers, payment waivers, or reference tying you to the original contract between the owner and GC.

7.     Dispute resolution:  Make sure you are not agreeing to something crazy.  Like the architect being the arbitrator, judge and jury.  Look for mediation vs. arbitration and how and who chooses the mediator or arbitrator.  Binding or non-binding.  You want it to be fair. 


If you take away nothing else from this article remember these three things.  READ everything you are asked to sign.  Ask, if you don’t understand it, doesn’t make sense or you don’t agree.  Men are terrible at this, ya’ll are always afraid people will think you are not smart.  Be smart enough to know what you don’t know.  Get your own forms so you have them when you need them.  You can find tons of them on the internet, something for everyone.  Get someone in your office to be the expert of these.  Your profit is your responsibility so stop trusting other’s to be responsible for it.  



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WSRCA TECHNICAL BULLETIN 2017-2-SIS: Self‐Adhering Underlayment Slip‐Resistance Research and Testing Project

Posted By WSRCA, Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Greetings to Members of Western States Roofing Contractors Association:


Steep‐slope roofing safety requirements and regulations continue to evolve and have become more stringent in an effort to provide safe working conditions. Agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) strive to regulate exposure to hazards through the development of workplace health and safety standards. Steep‐slope roof environments can pose numerous challenges and work on steep‐slope roofs has become more and more scrutinized as governmental regulations have been tightened.


Our roofing industry is well aware of the challenges with maintaining safe working environments, and in our on‐going work with WSRCA’s Self‐Adhering Underlayment Slip‐Resistance Research and Testing Project, we have performed slip‐resistance testing of numerous steep‐slope roofing underlayments. This research and testing project was initiated in response to ASTM’s removal of slip resistance criteria from ASTM D 1970, the standard for Self‐Adhering Polymer Modified Bituminous Sheet Materials Used as

Steep Roofing Underlayment for Ice Dam Protection.


WSRCA’s Steep, Industry Issues, and Safety Committees’ preliminary test data confirms, in our opinion, that the value and importance of this testing project, with the goal of reintroducing slip‐resistance criteria back into ASTM D‐1970 Standard, as well as other underlayment material standards, simply is a matter of worker safety. WSRCA’s slip‐resistance testing has been conducted using a British Pendulum Tester, following the procedures outlined in ASTM E303‐2008 Standard Test Method for Measuring Surface Frictional Properties Using the British Pendulum Tester, which appears to be a very suitable test method.


To date, we have tested ten (10) commonly used and widely distributed roofing underlayment materials available in the Western U.S. market. Each underlayment was tested both dry and wet per the ASTM E303 test protocol. Table No. 1 below provides initial test data and is intended to provide a basis of comparison of general slip resistance for various commonly used roofing underlayment materials. Because the slip‐resistance test measures friction, the higher readings indicate a more slip‐resistant underlayment surface and low readings indicate a less slip‐resistant (i.e., more slippery) surface.




WSRCA’s Steep‐Slope Roofing Committee believes that all roofing underlayment products, including ice‐dam protection membrane underlayments, should have a required series of select physical properties to be tested and/or rated, and published in manufacturers’ Product Data Sheets, including slip‐resistance, similar to other characteristics that are already standard underlayment tests, such as:


o Tensile Tear – tested per ASTM D4073 – Standard Test Method for Tensile‐Tear Strength of Bituminous Roofing Membranes.


o Cold Bend – tested per ASTM D2136 – Standard Test Method for Coated Fabrics—Low‐Temperature Bend Test.


o Permeability – tested per ASTM E96 / E96M – Standard Test Methods for Water Vapor Transmission of Materials.


o Shower Test – tested per ASTM D4869 / D4869M – Standard Specification for Asphalt‐Saturated Organic Felt Underlayment Used in Steep Slope Roofing.


o Dimensional Stability – tested per ASTM D4869 / D4869M – Standard Specification for Asphalt‐Saturated Organic Felt Underlayment Used in Steep Slope Roofing.


Initial Slip‐Resistance Testing Results:

Concerned with the removal of slip‐resistance criteria from ASTM D 1970 Self‐Adhering Polymer Modified Bituminous Sheet Materials Used as Steep Roofing Underlayment for Ice Dam Protection, WSRCA has embarked on this Slip‐Resistance Testing and Research Project with the desire to have the industry participate and assist with the development of updated ASTM roofing underlayment standards. Table No.1 below documents WSRCA’s preliminary slip‐resistance testing data of commonly used and commercially‐available steep‐slope roofing underlayments. Please be aware that the ASTM E303‐2008 testing protocol states that the first test result from the pendulum swing is not recorded, as indicated in Table’s testing data below.



WSRCA Recommendations and Summary:

With the importance of safety in mind, WSRCA encourages manufacturers of steep‐slope roofing underlayments to conduct slip‐resistant testing of their products and provide the test data/information to the Industry in their product data sheets, in effort to work with associations such as WSRCA to incorporate slip resistance into ASTM roofing underlayment standards as one of the physical property attributes that are tested and measured. It is with this WSRCA research, pro‐active testing work, and solid data that WSRCA representatives intend to lobby ASTM Underlayment Task Groups and the D08.02 Sub‐Committee to incorporate slip‐resistance criteria into all roofing underlayment material standards.


In Closing:

Thank you for your participation in the western roofing industry and for counting on WSRCA to provide our Members with industry‐leading technical work, and member assistance, for use on your roofing and reroofing projects. WSRCA endeavors to promote quality and help maintain safe work environments.


Thank you for continuing your membership to support Western States Roofing Contractors Association in our active efforts with research and testing to strengthen and advance technology and science into the art of roofing.



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WSRCA TECHNICAL BULLETIN 2017-II-1: Knit‐line & Facer Irregularities in Rigid Polyisocyanurate Foam Roof Insulation

Posted By Chris Alberts, Western States Roofing Contractors Association, Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 8, 2017



Greetings to Members of Western States Roofing Contractors Association:


Executive Summary

Changes in materials and methods used to produce rigid polyisocyanurate insulation boards for roof systems has been a concern for WSRCA members at different times over the years. As you may recall, WSRCA’s Low‐Slope Committee provided WSRCA Members with a Technical Bulletin in 2000 a follow‐up during 2004 (No. 2004‐1) about changes in blowing agents and the LTTR (i.e., published results of long‐term thermal performance testing) regarding R‐values per varying thicknesses of polyisocyanurate insulation. It appears that as the manufacturers continue to fine‐tune the polyisocyanurate insulation manufacturing process in order to comply with regulations, while still producing quality products with the necessary properties, issues are occurring and being observed in the field, of which our members should be made aware. The issues may require new action(s) by the industry. Reports from the field indicate that longitudinal depressions (e.g., also referred to as ruts or grooves) appear to be occurring with more regularity in rigid polyisocyanurate foam insulation boards delivered to job sites and some are being used in roofing systems. This issue that had previously only been seen infrequently, appears to be becoming common.


The ruts or grooves observed are associated with “knit‐lines,” which are lines formed during manufacturing when the flow of liquid‐state expanding foam from multiple mix heads meet as the material expands just down the manufacturing line from the liquid‐chemical outflow points. As two neighboring lines of expanding liquid foam material meet, if a slight amount of skinning‐over has already taken place, and the two masses of foam do not completely meld homogeneously, it leaves a visible line in the material. The two sides, under most ordinary manufacturing conditions, can bond together but there may be a readily‐visible line of compressed polyisocyanurate cells across the thickness of the board and these are called knit‐lines.


In the rigid roof insulation materials that are presenting issues, there are varying sizes of grooves or depressions in the facers of the foam boards along the knit‐lines, running the length of the board, as if there was not enough foam insulation material and/or foam expansion to fully fill in and contact the facer along where the depressions occur. As these affected boards are installed end‐to‐end on a roof, the grooves or ruts may align and extend across the roof. Depending on how the insulation boards are installed relative to the slope of the roof, the ruts may run perpendicular to the slope and can inhibit drainage. However, of greater concern is the possibility that the board’s facer could be unadhered and may also be bridging across these knit‐line depressions. In a fully‐adhered single‐ply roof  membrane system that is applied directly to the facer of polyisocyanurate insulation boards, there appears to be a potential for wind‐uplift issue(s) and/or damage as a result of the voids under the unbonded facer.


We note that this issue is being discussed at the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) as well. An article written by Mark Graham, of NRCA’s Technical Section, regarding testing of rigid polyisocyanurate insulation board used in roofing, published recently in NRCA’s Professional Roofing Magazine, (Professional Roofing 12/02/2016, Another Round of Polyiso Tests, by Mark Graham.) touches on this subject. In the article, Mr. Graham states,


“…the issue of surface depressions associated with knit‐lines in faced, rigid board polyisocyanurate insulation is of particular concern. Although this problem was previously seen only in isolated instances, it now appears to be more pronounced and widespread with the current generation of polyisocyanurate insulation blowing agents and manufacturing processes. Polyisocyanurate insulation manufacturers need to improve the flatness of their roofing‐specific products, and appropriate evaluation criteria need to be developed and included in Faced Rigid Cellular Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation.”


Background Information:

As was stated in WSRCA Technical Bulletin No. 2014‐02 (“Updated Results of Long‐Term Thermal Resistance [LTTR] Testing, and R‐Value of Current Generation Polyisocyanurate Roofing Insulation”), over the past few decades the manufacturing of plastic foam roof insulations has undergone numerous changes, partly due to tightening regulations and governmental mandates to lower the amount of ozone‐depleting gases and VOC‐related blowing agents released into the atmosphere. Blowing agents evolved from the use of chlorofluorocarbon (e.g., CFC‐11) in the 1980s, to less volatile hydrochlorofluorocarbons (e.g., HCFC‐141b) with reduced ozone depletion potential and a lower global warming index in the 1990s, then changing again to pentane and cyclopentanes in the early 2000s.


Those earlier changes, and continued refinement of blowing agents, have caused manufacturers to invest significant assets in order to maintain producing successful polyisocyanurate roof insulations. Polyisocyanurate has been the most widely used rigid foam board in U.S. roofing assemblies for decades due to its high R‐value, fire resistance, and relatively low cost. Problems with dimensional stability had occurred over the years especially as manufacturer’s responded to regulations regarding potentially ozone layer‐harming chemicals used in blowing agents, and changed formulas. But over all, it has continued to be the most regularly specified rigid insulation board in low‐slope membrane roofing systems. Irregularities associated with the knit‐lines were reported occasionally in the past, but WSRCA Member reports are becoming more and more frequent and more concerning to WSRCA’s Low‐Slope and Industry Issues Committees. We have heard that some of the manufacturers have purportedly addressed this issue as merely an aesthetic one, but WSRCA, and other roofing industry organizations are concerned that this is a technical issue with potential for resultant roof problems.




Lack of Full Facer Adhesion:

When polyisocyanurate foam’s knit‐line grooves are deep enough and have left the facer unadhered along the length of the knit‐lines, the result is the same as facer separation, which can be a significant problem. Even though the knit‐lines result in the facer being unbonded at intermittently spaced portions of the board, across the surface of each insulation board, a relatively significant percentage of the surface area of the facer does not provide adequate wind‐uplift resistance for adhered systems. When we stop and think about this item or issue, it may be a problem over the life of any particular adhered roof system. Not all of our Member contractors, designers, and even some of our membrane manufacturer representatives may realize the potential magnitude of the emerging issue.



Variation in Board Thickness:

Judging by some of the photos being sent in by our WSRCA Members, and from what we have seen in the field on projects this year, polyisocyanurate roof insulation affected by visibly‐apparent knit‐lines can also result in a variation in board thickness, which can have another set of potential problems. One of these issues is continuous R‐value: Insulation R‐value averaging was once allowed by the Code. However, as you may be aware, most code jurisdictions no longer allow R‐value averaging, and now they require Total R‐value throughout the entire roof area. If the current polyisocyanurate insulation (i.e., which is knit‐line affected) varies in thickness, which some of the photos herein from WSRCA Members clearly show, then the Total R‐value of the roof system may be placed in question or jeopardy from a strict code violation perspective. And, if any of our Member contractors are having to guarantee the roof’s R‐value, which occasionally is required for sensitive projects, the Total R‐value over the full roof area may be affected by insulation that is compromised by knit‐lines with significant depressions along each of the insulation boards.





Potential for Condensation Issues:

In a mechanically‐fastened roof system with multiple layers of insulation board and potentially a cover board, where no vapor retarder is installed, the grooves in the boards create open pathways for air movement. In winter time heating climates, if there are any air leaks from the interior of the building, these pathways could help convey warm, moistureladen air through‐out a roof area and potentially form liquid water on the cold underside of the membrane from condensation, especially in our colder climate regions.


Problems at Membrane Lap Seam and Transitions at Boots:

Forcing a roof membrane to conform with an irregular substrate may be problematic at laps and seams in the membrane. The relatively deep grooves we are seeing in some insulation boards could increase the likelihood of voids and fishmouths at lap seams, boots, and patches, which could result in openings, the potential for moisture entry, and/or leaks.


Summary of Potential Issues: 

Unbonded Facer: Issues with the knit‐lines could be potentially problematic for wind‐uplift resistance where roof membranes are adhered directly to polyisocyanurate insulation boards if the facer is partially unbonded or has disbonded and delaminated from wind and/or thermal cycling movement along grooves or ruts at the knitlines.


Affected Adhesion: These irregularities may also interfere with proper adhesion between layers of insulation boards or coverboard in a roof assembly.


Effect on R‐value: Less of a concern, but still relevant is the possible effect on R‐value caused by changes in thickness along the knit‐lines. Especially if the roofing contractor is being required to guarantee R‐value of an installed roof system.


Air and Moisture Pathways: In a mechanically‐fastened system, grooves or ruts in both faces of rigid insulation board could provide pathways for air leakage from the building interior that may result in condensation within the roof assembly.


Drainage Interference: Grooves that run laterally across a roof that telegraph through the membrane can interfere with roof runoff and drainage.


Voids in Fully‐adhered Systems: Where roof membranes are to be fully adhered directly to facedpolyisocyanurate insulation boards, grooves in the insulation surface that intersect membrane laps can create difficulty in achieving a fully adhered seam, creating the potential for voids, fishmouths, and consequent moisture entry or leaks.



Purpose of Bulletin:

The irregularities that WSRCA is cautioning the western roofing‐industry about in this bulletin appear to be occurring with significant frequency throughout the Western States region. Because of the potential for these issues to become significant problems, which could result in wind‐related failures, reduced R‐value, standing water, debris accumulation, dark staining, increased membrane heat aging, and potential leaks, WSRCA desires all our members be aware of the issue. WSRCA encourages its members to be on the lookout and thereby try to prevent potential for problems on their projects before they occur. In addition, we want to encourage the manufacturing sector of our industry to take this issue seriously, and not as just an aesthetic problem, and to find ways to eliminate or address the problem of knit‐line irregularities and lack of facer adhesion.


In Conclusion:

As a result of continuing reported issues, WSRCA would like to update and restate our prior recommendations. In order to alleviate potential problems, WSRCA and its Industry Issues and Low‐Slope Committees continue to recommend the use of properly selected coverboard(s), appropriate for the climate and job’s conditions, and the type of roof system being installed, as a vital component in the successful design and construction of durable, long‐term, fire‐and hailresistant low‐slope roof assemblies. The use of a rigid coverboard over insulation that may have minor irregularities in the surface may help to minimize some of the potential problems those irregularities could cause.


1. Where possible and feasible, check the condition of polyisocyanurate insulation boards prior to accepting delivery and before installing them in a roofing project.


2. Educate supervising employees regarding the potential for compromised insulation boards and/or their unbonded facer(s).


3. Where possible on adhered roof assemblies, until all knit‐line affected insulation becomes a thing of the past, consider bead size and bead spacing of low‐rise foam and/or hot asphalt to attempt to more thoroughly adhere insulation and coverboards. Please note that WSRCA Low‐slope Committee intends to release a companion bulletin regarding lowrise foam insulation and coverboard adhesives in the near future.


4. Where possible and feasible, utilize coverboards rather than directly applying roof membranes to polyisocyanurate insulation boards.


5. Please continue to inform WSRCA regarding problems encountered in any of your roofing and waterproofing projects, and when possible provide photos as well.


Thank you for your support of Western States Roofing Contractors Association, and our active efforts to strengthen and advance technology and science in our industry, as well as to promote the art of roofing and waterproofing. We trust this information aids you to promote quality roof systems capable of long‐term successful performance.



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WSRCA INFORMATIONAL BULLETIN — No. 2017‐1W — Waterproofing Buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas

Posted By WSRCA, Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Greetings to Members of Western States Roofing Contractors Association:


Over the last several years many of our WSRCA members have become more aware of the flooding hazards associated with low‐lying coastal areas and near river valleys where flooding may have historically occurred, and in certain areas that seem to flood with some regularity. However, recent climate events reportedly have caused many unexpected and “flash‐flood” events, even in areas otherwise known to the layperson as desert areas, which have caused millions of dollars of damage to nonwaterproofed buildings. Some of these flood events have occurred in fairly large metropolitan areas and some in densely populated urban areas of the U.S.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has long been involved with regulating how buildings located in flood‐prone areas should be constructed, or repaired, and/or retrofitted. However, recently Factory Mutual (FM) published a new Factory Mutual Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 1‐40 regarding floods, partial‐building waterproofing, etc. Some WSRCA members may be aware of FM’s 1‐40 published during 2016, but FEMA’s regulations and guidelines for Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) may be less familiar to some of WSRCA’s members involved in aspects of waterproofing. This bulletin is intended to impart additional waterproofing and “flood‐proofing” information to WSRCA Members.


FEMA’s Special Flood Hazard Areas are locations that may not have regular flooding but are subject to significant flash flood events on a much less regular basis, and are associated with what are referred to as 50‐year, 100‐year, or 500‐year storm events.


When the quantity of flood water is primarily made‐up of rain water, as opposed to snow‐melt or other contributors, one of the main factors designers must consider is rainfall intensity. Rainfall intensity is typically expressed as inches of rain over a given time frame, and the U.S. Weather Bureau maintains rainfall records for the United States and most major cities in any particular state. The specific rainfall data is regularly updated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The chance that an unusually heavy or intense rain may reoccur is referred to as a “reoccurrence interval” and is sometimes stated as a 50‐year or 100‐year chance of reoccurrence. The Table below provides examples of a 100‐year reoccurrence interval for several Western States and select cities in these listed states.


One such FEMA guideline document that provides detailed information on this Federal agency’s recommendations and requirements for residential construction and retrofit work, which can help WSRCA waterproofing professionals working in a SFHA is: Engineering Principles and Practices for retrofitting Flood‐Prone Residential Structures (Third Edition) FEMA P‐259 / January 2012. While the document is provided primarily for the design professional’s use, it is also helpful for the waterproofing contractor that may get involved in a retrofit or a new construction project in a location designated by FEMA as an SFHA, as our WSRCA members endeavor to understand the requirements outlined in these relatively new documents. A full copy of this FEMA document is available for download at


The requirements, outlined in the aforementioned document, for making changes or repairing buildings within these flood hazard zones are multi‐faceted. These requirements may impact waterproofing contractors who are asked to make an existing building either permanently or temporarily flood resistant. Permanent flood resistance is referred to by FEMA as “Dry Floodproofing” and is defined as: “Strengthening of existing foundations, floors, and walls to withstand flood forces while also making the structure watertight.” Temporary flood resistance is referred to as “Wet Floodproofing” and is defined as: “Making utilities, structural components, and contents flood‐ and waterresistant during periods of flooding within the structure.”


FEMA has strict requirements for new construction that must be met if a new building is to be located within a SFHA. These requirements must also be followed for existing buildings located in a SFHA that undergo substantial improvement or that are substantially damaged buildings undergoing repairs and waterproofing or dry floodproofing. These requirements can impact the contractor’s work in a variety of ways, but the important thing to be aware of is that there are special requirements and it is important for those involved in construction or repairs to be apprised of the requirements.


Background Information:

Whether your waterproofing project is commercial or residential, knowing whether there are any special requirements related to potential flooding, waterproofing, and/or floodproofing in the area in which the project is located is important for all members of the project team. FEMA provides information about the flood hazards in areas throughout the country via their FEMA Flood Map Service Center, which is available on line at


Factory Mutual Global also offers guidance for flood prevention and mitigation in Factory Mutual Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 1‐40, Flood. (Register to receive Factory Mutual Global data sheets at Flood abatement solutions, in the form of FM Approved products, can be found in FM Approvals at


Factory Mutual Global relatively new Interactive Flood Map is also available, which is accessible online at‐and‐resources/global‐flood‐map. (Refer to Figures 3 and 4).




Also, as flood hazard management requirements become more stringent, some Jurisdictions are providing amendments to the Codes requiring that construction must comply with the minimum participating criteria of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the standard upon which the FEMA requirements are based. The latest edition of the International Building Code, which is becoming more and more widely adopted and/or adopted and amended by local jurisdictions, also contains requirements for construction within flood hazard areas. FEMA currently provides reference documents summarizing: the flood resistance provisions of the 2015, 2012, and 2009 International Codes (I‐Codes); the referenced standard from American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 24, Flood Resistant Design and Construction; and requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which can be downloaded from:‐code‐resources.


Notes of Interest:


Where Flood Waters May Inundate Part or All of the Main Floor of a Building:

Among the floodproofing information provided by FEMA, which may be of interest to WSRCA member waterproofing contractors, designer, and manufacturers, is a statement related to how much of a building should be allowed to be made waterproof. In areas where flood waters can be expected to inundate part or all of the ground floor of a building, and dry floodproofing is allowed, FEMA has stated that waterproofing should not extend up more than a height of three feet, (without an engineering analysis) due to the danger of structural failure from excessive hydrostatic pressure and other flood‐related forces (e.g., from heavy floating debris, such as fallen trees etc., being pushed along by flowing flood waters).


Buildings Constructed with Crawlspaces:

Where buildings are constructed with crawlspaces under the floor, FEMA requires items or materials that could be damaged by flood waters to be located elsewhere, and it requires flood openings in the foundation walls so that high flood water is free to flow through the crawlspace without exerting further water pressure/force on foundation walls. For new buildings or substantially damaged or improved buildings with crawl spaces, flood openings are also required under the NFIP.


Dry Floodproofing:

FEMA advises us that dry floodproofing measures may be best described as “a combination of operations plans, adjustments, alterations, and/or additions to buildings that lower the potential for flood damage by reducing the frequency of floodwaters that enter the structure.” (Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood‐Prone Structures, (Third Edition) FEMA P‐259 / January 2012, 5D‐1)


Note: FEMA cautions that dry floodproofing should be considered for short duration of flooding (e.g., of a few hours), and that a structural engineer should be called on to evaluate the building to determine if the wall and floor assemblies can resist the hydrostatic and other flood‐related loads the waterproofing may add to an otherwise non‐waterproofed existing building.


Examples of dry floodproofing modifications to existing buildings indicated as general guidelines in the FEMA document include: 


 Use of waterproofing membranes, flexible membrane flashings, sealants, and weather stripping gaskets to reduce seepage of floodwaters through walls (See Figure. 5) and wall penetrations;


 Installation of watertight shields; sealants and flashings for doors and windows, and other wall openings;


 Reinforcement of walls to withstand floodwater pressures and impact forces generated by flood‐water pushed floating debris;


 Installation of drainage collection systems and sump pumps to control potential water entering interior levels, collect seepage, and manage hydrostatic pressures on the slab and walls;


 Installation of check valves to prevent the backflow of floodwaters or sewage flows through drains; and


 Anchoring of the building to resist flotation, and lateral movement.



As with all building codes, standards, and governmental requirements, the language and requirements can change from edition to edition, which may occur with FEMA floodproofing‐related documents, and the new Factory Mutual Global document. As such, it is imperative to remain up to date on the current set of Codes and verify the current codes and regulatory requirements that are in effect for your specific waterproofing project. It is also important to be aware of and understand what regulations and requirements are in place for existing buildings versus new construction, and the different requirements related to substantial improvement or damage repair to existing buildings as it relates to floodproofing and waterproofing. Waterproofing for dry flood proofing can be different from the normal waterproofing of structures (e.g., below grade) to prevent the entry of ground water.


In Closing:

Thank you for your participation in the western waterproofing industry. We trust the above information aids you by providing resources that can better equip you when you and/or your company may be involved in construction and waterproofing‐related work in flood prone or flood hazard areas. Thank you for your support of Western States Roofing Contractors Association, and our active efforts to strengthen and advance technology and science in our industry, as well as to promote the art of quality roofing and waterproofing.



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WSRCA INFORMATIONAL BULLETIN 2017-S2 - Regarding Gutters, Downspouts & Drainage

Posted By WSRCA, Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, November 8, 2017


Greetings to Members of Western States Roofing Contractors Association:


As the severity of surface weather storms appear to be occurring with greater frequency and in some areas with increased amounts of rainfall, WSRCA’s Steep-slope Committee wants to remind roofing designers, roofing contractors, and all of our members of the importance for appropriate roof system storm water run-off management. This bulletin in particular relates to steep-slope roof drainage and specifically gutters and downspouts.



Within the two primary model building codes that address storm water run-off management for the most of the Western region of the United States (The International Code Council’s [ICC] International Plumbing Code (IPC), and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials’ [IAPMO] Uniform Plumbing Code [UPC]), the code requirements vary depending on the adoption of the model code and any amendments that local jurisdictions may have implemented.


In the International Plumbing Code (IPC), Chapter 11 Storm Drainage, published by the ICC, the installation of gutters on steep-slope roofs is not directly dictated or required. As with other model building codes, tables are included to assist with the sizing of gutters and vertical leaders (i.e., downspouts), often based on 100-year storm reoccurrence and 60-minute rainfall data. The most recent and current editions of the IPC do not provide language dictating the installation of gutters. However, the 2015 Uniform Plumbing Code and other previous editions, published by IAPMO, does state that gutters are required within Chapter 11, Storm Drainage. Therefore, it is critical to be aware of the Codes that are in effect in the jurisdiction of your roofing or reroofing project and understand the requirements for storm water run-off management. Please note that not all Jurisdictions adopt the most recent edition of the Codes, so it is important to also confirm and verify the year of the code that is in effect.


This WSRCA Technical Bulletin is intended to provide an overview of the varying code criteria and preliminary guidance for understanding model building code requirements that may be in effect for your project. In light of the magnitude of code changes over the last decade or so, WSRCA believes it is prudent that you verify which code is in place and understand the requirements that relate to your roofing and reroofing projects.


Background Information: 

Whether your steep-slope roofing project is commercial or residential, accommodations for roof drainage and proper run-off management are among many of the most critical and primary items to consider. Model Plumbing Codes have traditionally provided sizing tables for gutters and downspouts, although gutters may not always be implicitly required. Similar language for the International Residential and Plumbing Codes as well as the Uniform Plumbing Code generally state within the first few paragraphs of the Storm Drainage chapter, as a minimum baseline, that if there is not a requirement for connection to an approved storm water system, that rainwater from roofs shall be discharged so that storm water drains away from the building.



Also, as storm water run-off management requirements are becoming increasingly stringent, some code jurisdictions are providing amendments to the Codes that state or require that roof rainwater run-off shall be collected and managed onsite in rain water cisterns, bio-swales, or rain gardens, for example, as a means to keep the below-grade infrastructure of the city’s sewer and/or storm water systems from being overloaded during heavy rain events.



Individual states within the Western region of the United States, have adopted varying editions and combinations of the Codes, with many states and local jurisdictions providing their own Amendments to base line codes. In Washington State for example, the primary model code adopted for the State includes the International Code Council series of Codes (i.e., IBC, IRC, etc.), but continues to use the Uniform Plumbing Code in lieu of the International Plumbing Code. California’s Plumbing Codes are also based on the Uniform Plumbing Code, and therefore, include the requirements, further discussed below, that states that “Roof areas of a building shall be drained by roof drains or gutters.” The following sections provide a general overview of select code language from the primary model codes that may be pertinent to your roofing project.



International Code Council (ICC) Roof Drainage-Related Information: 

The International Code publishes the series of Codes, which include the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code (IRC), and International Plumbing Code (IPC), etc. along with a number of other related codes sections. The most recent edition of the ICC Codes is published as the 2015 series of codes. Many jurisdictions have adopted the recent 2015 Codes; however, as mentioned above, not all city building departments or Authorities having jurisdiction adopt the most recent edition of the Codes and the effective Code for your specific project(s) need to be verified.


Within IBC’s Chapter 15: Roof Assemblies and Rooftop Structures, the Code states that roof drainage systems shall comply with sections from the International Plumbing Code (IPC). The IPC provides language in Chapter 11: Storm Drainage, Section 1101.2 Disposal, stating that rainwater from roofs shall drain to an approved place of disposal as well as language stating that “For one- and two-family dwellings, and where approved, storm water is permitted to discharge onto flat areas, such as lawns or alleys, etc. provided that the storm water flows away from the building. Section 1106.6 references Table 1106.6 for sizing requirements of roof gutters. In the 2015 International Residential Code, Section R903.4 Roof drainage, states that “unless roofs are sloped to drain over roof edges, roof drains shall be installed at each low point of the roof.”


Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) Roof Drainage-Related Information: 

The Uniform Plumbing Code is published by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO). The most recent edition of the UPC was published in 2015. The following language reference is provided in Section 1101.12.1 Primary Roof Drainage stating:


“Roof areas of a building shall be drained by roof drains or gutters. The location and sizing of drains and gutters shall be coordinated with the structural design and pitch of the roof. Unless otherwise required by the Authority Having Jurisdiction, roof drains, gutters, vertical conductors or leaders, and horizontal storm drains for primary drainage shall be sized on a storm of 60 minutes duration and 100 year return period. Refer to Table S 101.1 (in Appendix D) for 100 years, 60 minute storms at various locations.”


Please Note: For those States and Jurisdictions that are still utilizing the Uniform Plumbing Code, gutters and downspouts are required as part of your primary roof drainage system for steep-slope roof systems.



As with all building codes, the language and requirements can change from edition to edition, it is important to remain up to date on the current set of Codes and verify the current codes that are in effect for your specific project. It is also important to be aware and understand what the base line size of a storm means when Codes utilize the 60-minute rainfall duration, and 100-year return period or reoccurrence interval as the basis for design of roof run-off storm water management. Recent weather data indicates that severe rain events appear to be occurring with greater regularity, sometimes far exceeding the base line threshold. With the more severe rain events, it is likely that storms may have shorter duration bursts of heavy rain with large volumes of rainfall that can over burden the storm water management systems (e.g., some gutters and drain spouts, or tight lines), which may lead to potential rain water intrusion into buildings.


Studies have also been conducted in recent years that have shown many of the industries assumptions and design criteria for dealing with rainwater run-off have been historically undersized and not adequate to properly and efficiently drain rainwater from roof systems during some storms and heavy sustained rains. New drainage design methodologies and code requirements have been introduced in select Codes, and as the information is better understood and more testing is completed, it is likely that substantial roof drainage updates will be introduced and perhaps become more widespread. As an example, the 2015 International Plumbing Code has altered the methodology for sizing of roof drains on low-slope roofs, based on recent research, and other Code groups, such as the Uniform Plumbing Code, are likely to follow in a similar manner. WSRCA’s Low-Slope Committee is working on a separate Technical Bulletin regarding the updated roof drain design requirements for low-slope roofs, and we recommend that WSRCA Members become aware of that Bulletin and the related recent updated standards.


In Closing: 

We trust this information aids you to promote quality steep-slope roof and drainage systems. Thank you for your participation in the western roofing industry and for looking towards WSRCA to provide its members with industry-leading technical assistance for use on your steep roofing projects.


Thank you for your support of Western States Roofing Contractors Association, and our active efforts to strengthen and advance technology and science in our industry, as well as to promote the art of good roofing and waterproofing practices.


Copies of the IBC, IRC, and IPC may be purchased by contacting ICC, International Code Council at 800-786-4452 or visiting their website at 


Copies of the UPC may be purchased by contacting 909-472-4208 or visiting their website at 


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Crashing the Glass Ceiling - Women are Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Roofing Industry

Posted By WSRCA, Monday, November 6, 2017

Crashing The Glass Ceiling

Women are Climbing the Ladder of Success in the Roofing Industry


Courtesy of: Roofing Contractor Magazine

Roofing is an overwhelmingly male occupation. Whether contractor or crew, the guys who work in roofing are just that: guys.

Women in roofing are so rare they’re almost non-existent. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) has done some informal surveys, said 2015-16 President Lindy Ryan, and found that somewhere between two and 10 percent of roofing employees are women. National construction statistics, which include roofing contracting as part of the building occupations category, put the number of hard-hatted women at less than 10 percent.

But the number of women in roofing is increasing, and through organizations such as National Women in Roofing (NWiR), which boasts 500 members, they are finding their voice in the industry. From the manufacturing plant to roofing company management positions, women are gradually becoming more visible.

Like their male counterparts, women come to roofing from different backgrounds and with a range of goals and ambitions.


Diverse Influences

Ryan, the first woman in history to lead NRCA and a founding member of NWiR, has more than 25 years of construction management experience. Now a senior vice president at Tecta America Corporation, a nationwide commercial roofing contractor, in Sanford, FL, she once owned her own construction business and holds a Florida roofing contractors license.

Considered a trailblazer, she describes herself as “old school.”

She still lives in the town where she grew up – Orange City, Fla. – and has a cat named Jake. Her mom grew up there, too.

“I went to the same elementary school that she went to,” Ryan said, “and I graduated from the same high school that my mom graduated from, 21 years later. I've lived there my entire life except for my time in college, which was in Orlando at the University of Central Florida.”

Her parents were major influences in her career. “My dad gave me confidence that I could do anything,” she said. “My mom taught me to believe in myself. They have always been my biggest supporters.”

After graduating in 1980 with a degree in business, Ryan went on to obtain her real estate license and later her broker’s license. In 1997, she became a state certified roofing contractor. She started at Tecta America in 2005 after the company bought her construction business, General Works LLC.

During her time in the construction and roofing industry, she has been active in the NRCA, serving on a number of committees, including technical operations and government relations. Also interested in legal issues related to roofing, Ryan is a supporter of ROOFPAC, the NRCA’s political action committee, and a former president of the National Roofing Legal Resource Center.

On the other hand, Missy Miller, plant manager at the Atlas Roofing manufacturing facility in Hampton, GA, grew up around construction supplies.

“My dad had a hardware and lumber company growing up (in Florence, AL),” she said. “I actually remember running across the tops of the Atlas shingles he stored under his sheds when I was little.”

Her other influences include her coaches – “I played a lot of sports growing up and have always thrived in team and individual competition,” she said – and her grandfather, a former chemical engineer for the TVA who always tried to help her with her homework.

In college, she studied chemical engineering because, she said, “I was always good in science and math. I wanted to do something challenging in school, so I chose chemical engineering from the beginning. I remember my sister trying to talk me out of it, but for some reason I had made my mind up.”

Miller, who has been with Atlas since June 2014, began her career at a company that made fabrics for automobile seats and decorative upholstery. She next moved on to a sheetrock plant and then to Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, where she was a quality manager and later a quality and process engineer for the glass mat operations. Glass mat is a primary component of asphalt shingles and Atlas was one of her customers.

“Just about every manufacturing process has a chemical component,” said Miller, whose specialty is process engineering, or finding ways to improve the manufacturing process.

At Atlas, she directs the operation of the plant with an eye toward making quality products in the most cost-effective way possible.

Like Miller, Brooke Ivey has roofing in the blood and like Ryan, is still part of the area where she grew up. She started working summers at her father’s company, Ben Hill Renovations in Douglasville, Ga., when she was in middle school. Later, the job helped her save up for her first car.

Now residential coordinator/marketing for the company, she never planned to make roofing a career.

“I went to college as an early childhood education major,” she said. But she loved working at Ben Hill while she was in school, helping the accountant enter accounts payable in the ledgers, doing filing and answering the phones. Then she began helping with marketing and designing the company’s business literature.

“That’s when I decided to change my major to business marketing, she said. “I kept working part time until I graduated and then I worked there full time after college. I've been there ever since. Now, I have gained more responsibilities and co-manage the residential department and hope to take over once my dad retires.”


One Of The Guys

Being a woman in a man’s field, Ivey not only had gender dynamics to deal with, she also had family issues.

“First I had to earn all the guys’ respect and prove to them I was there for the long haul,” she said. “I had an added challenge being the owner's daughter. We all know what comes with that.

“Now 10 years later, I don't run into that so much. We have a great, solid team and we all work together great – though sometimes people on the phone are surprised to speak with a younger woman.”

For Miller, who went into manufacturing immediately after college, dealing with the guys was difficult. She soon learned to adjust.

“I had to learn to take emotion out of the equation and stick to the facts and data,” she said.

“I believe that women have a harder time gaining credibility, whether real or imagined. I have worked in places where women were treated as inferior and where women were treated as equals. It is hard for me personally as I still feel like I have to prove myself sometimes, but I am very blessed to work with the group I do now. Atlas has been nothing but supportive, and that has been invaluable to me.”

Ryan’s experience, though positive and rewarding, still entailed some lessons.

“I’m thankful and blessed to have spent my career with so many smart, visionary men,” she said. “Have there been challenges? Sure. They were part of the learning experience. I had to learn how to be strong enough and not become a witch.

“Primarily, men want to work with people who are strong, have an opinion and conviction, but are not difficult. I don’t believe I face any challenges that men don’t face.  We’re all in this together.”


A Path For Others To Follow

Figuring out how to stand toe-to-toe with the guys is crucial for women who want a successful career in a male-dominated field. Knowing one’s worth and contribution to the company may be equally important.

“Learn where you can contribute and make a difference,” Miller advised women coming up on the manufacturing side.

“It wasn’t until about four years into being a manufacturing engineer that I learned that I could really save the company a lot of money and that I was good at the process details. I was able to gain confidence and step into new roles and thrive. Do not be afraid to speak up and also ask a lot of questions.”

Men actually like working with women, Ryan said. “Women think differently, and that difference can sometimes be a game changer.”

For their part, women need to be genuine, she said, as well as team players who should seek out or build a good team to work with. Also, she said, “be prepared, learn as much as you can, be pleasant, laugh, look and act the part, don’t second-guess yourself and believe in yourself.”

Finally, Ivey’s counsel is brief and to the point – and underpins any other career-building suggestions for women or men: if you want to make a go of it, stick with it.


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Dry, Safe & Secure - Home Gets New Metal Roof to Ward of Elements in Reno, Nevada

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Dry, Safe & Secure

Home Gets New Metal Roof to Ward of Elements in Reno, Nevada


Courtesy of: Western Roofing Magazine, Marcus Dodson

Homeowners who get over 50 years of service life out of a wood shake residential roof are getting their money’s worth. That’s what happened recently in Northern Nevada. During the last few years of roof life there were problems: curling, missing shingles after a wind, and then the inevitable leaks began. It was clearly time for a new roof.

The Reno, Nevada, homeowners did some research. Since the Reno/Tahoe area had been prone to lightning-caused fires in recent years, they needed a Class A roof. Freeze/thaw is also a concern in this climate, and they further wanted a roofing system that would help keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. After looking into tile and fiberglass laminated shingles, they chose to go in a different direction. Decra® Villa Tile was chosen for it's classic beauty, elegance, and architectural detail of an old world Italian tile.

Steve Gubera, regional manager Pacific Northwest for Decra, said, "It is always a compliment when Decra is chosen by homeowners who have looked at many different roofing products. I feel the Decra Villa Tile was a great choice for this project not only for its appearance, but also for its performance. The location of the project is at the base of the Sierra Mountains, which gets extreme wind and weather.

Decra has nearly 60 years of experience with performance in extreme weather conditions all over the world." Decra panels are structural grade steel, with a minimum tensile strength of 52 KSI. They are rigid enough to tolerate reasonable loads, while allowing profile designs without the risks of cracking or significant elastic recovery. The Decra Roofing Systems' design allows for roofing panels that contain numerous protective layers. Each of these layers serves the dual function of protection or adhesion for the next processing step.

The multi-layer steel panels are topped off with ceramic-coated granules and an overglaze. D&D Roofing & Sheetmetal, Sparks, Nevada, was the roofing contractor selected for this project. Rich Borden of D&D Roofing stated that, “Our crews like working with Decra. The quality of the material is consistently good and the interlocking panels go down smoothly. Homeowners really like the Decra product line. The realistic look and depth of the panels complement custom and high-end projects.” D&D chose to get a Premium Report from EagleView® Technologies.

"The reports from EagleView make it easier for our estimators and speed up the time it takes to get our bid to the homeowner. With the report, we get aerial imagery, a 3D diagram of the roof, and accurate measurements of ridges, valleys, eaves, as well as the area," explained Borden. While not required, the homeowners elected to have the panels installed on battens, further increasing the airflow. The system also does not require a roof tear-off, but the homeowners chose to do so. New plywood decking was installed where needed, followed by Feltex® synthetic underlayment, with CertainTeed® Winterguard(TM) HT peel and stick underlayment at the eaves and valleys. Next, the wood battens were applied, followed by the Decra metal roof panels and bird stops. The 6,500 sq.ft. roof also had two small skylights and one large skylight that had to be custom built. New gutters all around completed the project.

The Villa Tile profile that was selected for this project mimics a tile roof look, but is a fraction of the weight. The design of the Villa Tile reduces heated air entering an attic space. The barrels are 3-1/4" high, providing an offset from the roof deck, which contributes to the continuous airflow across the deck and helps to pull the heated air away from the attic. Less heated air in the attic equates to less stress on the cooling system, and lower energy consumption. In addition to being energy efficient, each panel is made from steel, which is durable and has upwards of 25% post-consumer recycled steel content. The Villa Tile installation was straightforward, with clean edges, smart elements, and natural color variations. The steel-coated panels look like clay tile from the street, but weigh much less than other roofing materials.

They are Class 4 impact resistant, freeze/thaw resistant, and steel is a non-combustible, Class A rated material. "Decra Villa Tile has no exposed fasteners, and comes with a Lifetime Limited warranty as well as a 120 mph wind warranty so the roof should be able to withstand anything Mother Nature throws at it. From an environmental point of view, steel is the most recycled product in the world. Decra is also compatible with water recovery systems due to the fact that nothing harmful washes off the roof as the product ages," stated Gubera. With this hidden fastener system, the panels are low maintenance and walkable.

While originally scheduled to be finished within a couple weeks, the project took almost two months to complete. This was due to weather delays and the need to fabricate the large custom skylight. Despite the delays, the homeowners remained content with the quality and progress of the work. They are pleased with the look and security of their new roof and now have one less thing to worry about the next time severe weather hits Northern Nevada.


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Budgeting Time - Know How To Get What You Need

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Budgeting Time

Know How To Get What You Need



Courtesy of: Western Roofing Magazine, Heidi Ellsworth


(Editor's Note:  Heidi J. Ellsworth, a graduate of the University of Portland, has been 

working in the roofing industry since 1993.  Having held positions with EagleView® 

Technology Corporation, Carlisle Construction Materials, Eco-Star™, and Malarkey 

Roofing Products®, Ellsworth is now the founder of the roofing-focused marketing 

firm, HJE Consulting Group.)

At the end of every summer there is that one morning when you can smell fall in the air.  It can be a sad moment that heralds the end of a summer of roofing success.  For me, it also signifies budget time.  Fall is the time to begin preparing for the new year.  As a roofing contractor, there are many things that you should be doing to prepare.

The first is to make sure that you review your current year-to-date financials.  How have you done with marketing this year?  Are you over or under budget?  Do you have a budget?  Tracking dollars that are spent on marketing is very important.

Let’s start with those who may not have a marketing budget.  As we move towards the new year, it is important to identify what has been spent on marketing to help build a new year budget.  This is going to include everything you do to brand and market your company to the public.  Categories may include: printing and collateral production, for items such as truck magnets, door hangers, etc.; memberships for associations and civic groups; home shows, such as exhibit space and graphics production; subscriptions for email software and other services; freelancers for website creation/maintenance, graphic design, and writing; technology costs for websites, social media, and customer relationship management; and digital and traditional advertising, such as ad words, television, and radio.  Once you have looked at the past, take the time to look at the future.  Gather your leadership team and talk about the new year and what you hope to accomplish.  By reviewing future goals, you can start creating an overall budget to support those plans.

As the marketing budget comes together, there may be an overall concern on how you are going to make this work.  There are many ways to creatively fund your marketing budget for overall success.  Right now, as you are working on your marketing budget, so are your manufacturers and distributors.  They are looking at certified contractor programs, reward programs, and business building opportunities.  Fall is the best time to get with them to sign up for next year’s promotions.

If you are already signed up, do not forget to take advantage of your year-end rewards.  Every major manufacturer has programs for business building support but many do not ask for it or follow-up with the paperwork.  It is worth the time to look at what type of marketing tools and services are provided.  In fact, it is not just at the end of the year when these are available.  Your marketing budget can be supplemented all year long by using manufacturer services, discounts, and opportunities.

Talk to your suppliers about cooperative advertising programs that will contribute dollars toward marketing initiatives that include their logo.  There are different guidelines for what is covered and there might be reporting required, but this is free marketing money.  In many cooperative programs, contractors earn dollars based on material purchases or warranties sold.  These same programs will often see those dollars expire at the end of the year.  

There are also manufacturers that will design and provide co-branded materials for you to use in presentations and marketing efforts.  They may offer technology to support your needs, including search engine optimization services, website support, sales apps, and much more.  All you need to do is ask your sales representative and they can give you details of their program.  

Finally, be sure to look to all your local vendors for the best value, which is not necessarily always the best price.  Marketing and advertising can be expensive, but there are many ways to supplement what you are doing with value ads.  Value ads include free extras that can help promote your message and brand further than traditional advertising.  An example would be if you advertise with TV or radio, they might also be able to do video production, events, and sponsorships.  They should also have an active web and social media presence where they can highlight your company.  Look at what other advertisers are doing and ask for the same.

Budgeting is critical for marketing success.  Take the time to think about what you want and how you are going to accomplish it.  I find that working on a marketing plan first, setting goals, and really determining the brand and culture of your company makes the budgeting process much easier.  So, take the time now to look back at the year and forward to 2018.  Working with your leadership team, mentors, and advisors to develop a strong marketing plan and budget now will mean additional success in the year to come.


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A Historic Reroofing Project

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

A Historic Reroofing Project

Restoration of 120-Year-Old Steep Roof in Belvedere, California


Courtesy of: Western Roofing Magazine, Michael Russo

It took a wise property owner and a trusted contractor to complete a highly complex reroof while honoring the memory of one of California’s most successful turn-of- the-century architects. In 1898, Albert Farr designed a single building of two-story cottages in Belvedere, California, with a dramatic 18:12 roof pitch reminiscent of the grand English manor houses of the time. Farr designed what was dubbed The Farr Cottages before he reached 30, but according to architectural historian Bradley Wiedmaier, never received the full credit he deserved.

There’s little doubt Farr would have appreciated the care and concern shown to the cottages built directly off the San Francisco Bay when it came time to reroof them. He may also have looked on the scaffolding system built by Ken Cooper Roofing, San Rafael, California, as an engineering marvel in his time. President Ken Cooper spent three years cultivating this 114-squares reroof before it went out to bid. Along with their reputation, Cooper’s detailed presentation of the cost, job layout, and completion date earned him this prestigious project. Keenly aware of the building’s condition, the client acted quickly when 20-year-old fiber cement shakes began blowing off the roof.

The shingles had absorbed moisture and had begun to fall apart under the high winds and heavy rains that commonly come off the San Francisco Bay in midwinter. Estimating the job alone had to be a nightmare, as the work encompassed 94 roof facets that forced Cooper’s six-man crew to start the job 94 times. “We were probably getting 300 sq.ft. of shingles, hip, ridge, and flashing installed on a good day,” says operations manager Kyle Cooper. Prior to this, Kyle constructed an elaborate, multilevel scaffolding system that enveloped the entire building at the eave line and even extended into the Bay at high tide.

The five-unit building sports five docks leading to the water. With all of the tenants occupying their residential suites during reroofing, the early job planning centered on the safety of the tenants and Ken Cooper Roofing’s crew. Pedestrian canopies were set up all around the building to allow pedestrian traffic and tenants safe access to their units. Three strategically located ramps led to dump trucks at curbside, which allowed the roofing crew to efficiently dispose of roofing waste. As luck would have it, the property owner had recently supplied its tenants with exotic Ipe wood decking.

So, Ken Cooper Roofing installed a protective board over all deck areas before setting up the scaffolding to avoid scratching the costly material underneath. The contractor went to bid without knowing the full condition of the plywood deck. But thanks to the client’s decisive action to reroof in a timely fashion, the plywood was still in good condition. However, the condition of the existing copper valleys and flashings was less desirable. Nail penetrations through the materials convinced Ken to replace all the copper flashings. “As the project includes a GAF Golden Pledge® Limited Warranty, we wanted to construct a new flashing system from scratch,” says Ken Cooper, president, Ken Cooper Roofing.

“The copper pipe flashings and copper valleys were probably the toughest to produce due to the 18:12 pitch.” GAF WeatherWatch® Leak Barrier was installed where roofs are most prone to leakage. These vulnerable areas include valleys, dormers, plumbing vents, wall flashings, pipe penetrations, and chimneys. The Farr Cottages also had a number of copper roof vents dispersed throughout the field of the roof. These were removed and the penetration holes covered with new plywood. Next, the contractor installed 415' of continuous 9" Cobra® Exhaust Vents at the ridges to allow greater ventilation performance.

Finally, GAF Pro-Start® Eave/Rake Starter Strip Shingles were installed at the eave and rake edges for added protection against wind-drive rain. The company says it was rewarding to be selected to reroof such a high-profile project, and Ken Cooper Roofing has already received several calls for roof estimates in Belvedere. “It was also special that a family-owned business like ours was chosen by such a well-regarded local developer," concludes Cooper.


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Roofing Companies Form Asphalt Underlayment Council

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Roofing Companies Form Asphalt Underlayment Council


Courtesy of: Roofing Magazine

Four roofing companies—CarlisleGardner-GibsonMaryland Paper and Mid-States Asphalt—have formed the Asphalt Underlayment Council (AUC), a new industry association developed to cultivate the long-term success of underlayment products for building envelope applications for both residential and commercial structures.

This new group’s Interim Executive Council was instrumental in identifying the need for an industry council that supports the standardization of underlayment product quality, performance and integrity. Current AUC members include Owens CorningPolyglass USAMule-Hide ManufacturingGMC Roofing & Building PaperGAP RoofingWarrior Roofing Manufacturingand GAF

“With the introduction of new types of roofing underlayment products, it was felt that an industry group was needed to monitor, administer and contribute to product standards,” noted AUC Executive Director Michelle Miller.

Because standards and requirements for roof repair, reroofing, roof recovering and replacement often lack clarification within the definition of underlayment, AUC’s inaugural technical committee will focus on code classifications and industry regulations.

“The pathways to code compliance vary depending on the product type,” said John Woestman, AUC’s technical director. “The continuous influx of newly designed products and ever-evolving regulations requires a strong knowledge base with deep understanding of the codes prevalent in this industry.”

Bringing regulatory issues to light through educational initiatives and industry outreach will be accomplished through raising awareness and advocacy. AUC will actively assist in the development of building codes to ensure the high performance of roofing systems in the future.

“We will work directly with installers and contractors who may not be aware of the various product categories that are occurring in the underlayment industry,” said Robert Almon, AUC Interim Executive Council member. “Understanding the nuances of underlayment as well as discerning codes and comprehending code compliance are vital. With our combined historical experience, AUC is in a prime position to ensure all the issues surrounding underlayment are addressed through a range of resources from an engaged council, committees and membership to a vibrant website that will be launched soon, growing media outreach, literature development and ongoing educational opportunities.”

The group welcomes roofing underlayment firms to join AUC to work to make these important initiatives viable and sustainable. To learn more about the Asphalt Underlayment Council or to ask about membership, email or call (847) 686-2243.


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Prevent Roof Fires During Torch-Down Projects

Posted By WSRCA, Friday, November 3, 2017

Prevent Roof Fires During Torch-Down Projects


Courtesy of: Roofing Magazine, Michael J. Dudek

While driving to work recently, I heard a news story on the radio: An unlicensed roofer was charged with causing a fire at a local apartment complex. When I arrived at the office, I Googled “fires caused by roofers.” The results included stories from across the nation:

  • Roofing crew blamed for a Chicago strip-mall fire.
  • Roofer’s torch likely cause of huge Arizona construction-site blaze.
  • Roofer’s blowtorch sparks a six-alarm fire in Hamilton Township, N.J.  

Obviously, using an open-flame torch to install torch-down roofing systems can pose a fire risk. Torch-down roofing is a type of roofing that consists of layers of modified bitumen adhered to layers of fiberglass with a flame torch. Torch-down roofing is used only for flat or low-slope roofs.

This process is popular with many contractors, mainly because of its ease of installation and its adaptability. With this system, the modified bitumen can bond tightly to metal flashings while the rubbery additives in the asphalt allow the roofing to expand and contract when other roofing systems may crack. In addition, roofers like torch-down roofing because it is easy to apply.

Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous! It is easy to make a mistake with the torch that could result in disaster. Consider roofers that are torching down a roof and accidentally overheat something in the attic—insulation, for instance. They end their work for the day, not noticing the smoke coming out of soffit vents. Before long, that smoldering material in the attic heats up and starts a fire that quickly spreads throughout the dry, hot attic and, often, to the rest of the structure. 

Regulations and Best Practices OSHA has developed standards that can help prevent these types of fires. Here are some of OSHA’s fire-protection and -prevention rules from the construction and general industry standards: A fire extinguisher must be immediately accessible for all torch-down operations. A fire extinguisher is needed within 50 feet of anywhere where more than 5 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids or 5 pounds of flammable gas are being used on the job site. No one on a job site can be more than 100 feet from a fire extinguisher at all times. There must be at least one fire extinguisher for 3,000 square feet of work area.

All flammable or combustible debris must be located well away from flammable liquids or gases. Combustible scrap and debris must be removed regularly during the course of a job. Piles of scrap and debris must be kept at least 10 feet from any building. A fire watch person should be posted to immediately address any possible smolders or flare-ups. The fire watch person should remain on post for 30 minutes after the torch-down job is finished for the day. While the actions spelled out in these construction regulations are mandatory, roofing professionals should be aware that these are minimum requirements.

Tags:  SAFETY 

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