Commercial roofs are often subject to high levels of wear and tear due to sun exposure (UV rays), frigid winter temperatures, and unpredictable weather patterns. This wear and tear, many times, leads to roof damage and issues such as leaks. Unfortunately roofs usually do not receive attention until an issue like a leak occurs. As Doug Kramer, author of the article Add decades to your commercial roof life states, “Roofs are the black sheep when it comes to commercial building maintenance.”
Every year, hurricanes, severe storms, and natural disasters strike parts of the United States, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, the severity of storms and natural disasters have been increasing.
Last year was the United States’ most costly on record for weather-related disasters. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather-related damages in 2017 totaled a staggering $306 billion.
Forensic architects can serve multiple purposes throughout and after a construction job is complete. Most commonly, forensic architects are brought in to investigate the root cause of construction defects or building issues after a project is complete. However, forensic architects are also often hired onto a job during the design and construction phase to help identify any unforeseen issues that could be avoided. In these cases forensic architects are often hired as an unbiased 3rd party and act as an additional set of eyes based on the specialized experience they can bring to a job.
Most roofs are not watertight all the time. Roofing systems, both low-sloped (flat) and pitched, will most likely eventually spring a leak, even with the proper recommended maintenance and inspections. But what about newly installed low-sloped roofs, can one expect those to be watertight? Typically, on a newly constructed building, any minor leaks that turn up during construction can be dealt with immediately by the installer. Also, newly installed roofs on new and old buildings will undergo inspections and sometimes specified testing of seams and components for issuance of the manufacturer’s and installer’s warranty of water tightness for a specified period of time. However, ensuring that your newly installed roof is absolutely watertight becomes more critical if it is being covered by rock ballast or a landscaped greenspace or if the roof protects valuable artwork or irreplaceable property. Determining the location, origin, and extent of wet substrates is also critical for existing buildings when trying to determine if repair or complete replacement is more appropriate.
A high school in Alaska, a National Football League stadium, a Baltimore high-rise hotel and a Dallas airport terminal are among thousands of structures world-wide covered in combustible-core panels similar to those that burned in June's deadly London fire.
Do not believe that asbestos is not being used in building products that you specify or construct. Contrary to popular belief asbestos is not illegal in the U.S. According to the EPA many building products can be manufactured with asbestos.
Part three of a three part series
As I hinted to in an earlier post, reducing the number of mold cases in both new and older buildings will require a multi-prong approach. First, we must consider the construction process when evaluating the strategies that might be used to combat mold in our structures. Then, the building’s envelope design; and finally, the materials chosen.
Part two of a three part series
In older buildings, the facility needs to be reviewed diagnostically. By that, I mean, the structure needs to be analyzed for what may be producing a problem, and not just from what can be designed better. In other words, we need to observe the sources that contribute to the growth of mold within the aging structure.