Preparing for Hurricanes

Hurricane season officially began on June 1, and although those storms directly affect only a portion of the United States, building and roof preparation lessons can be applied to any areas of the country where severe weather can pop up.

The roof is the most important building component when it comes to weather protection and the most vulnerable during a hurricane event. Proper precautions are recommended to limit damage. If you’re not able to conduct these preparations yourself, don’t hesitate to call in a commercial roofing professional or other construction expert in your area.

Here are a few important things to consider:

Exterior of the Building

Walk the perimeter of building to ensure that any unsecured objects cannot become airborne projectiles. This includes trash cans, signs, trees limbs, and loose building materials. Trees should have all dead or broken branches removed and should be trimmed away from the building to prevent possible fires.

Windows/Doors

Windows and doors should be inspected for leaks, insect damage and proper sealant. If windows and doors are not equipped with hurricane shutters, these can easily be fabricated from plywood. It’s a good idea to have the plywood pre-cut for fast installation in the event of an upcoming storm.

Perimeter of the Building

Roof edge details should be checked to ensure that they are tight fitting and properly sealed. Corners of the building are the most susceptible to wind damage and additional precautions may be necessary in these areas.

Drainage

All debris and loose materials should be removed from the roof. Leaf grates, if part of the roofing system, should be cleaned and secured in a manner that keeps them in place during high winds.

HVAC/Rooftop equipment/Other penetrations

Check all sealants on penetrations and terminations. All roof mounted equipment (HVAC units, satellite dishes, antennas, duct work, etc.) should be secured in a manner which will not allow it to be moved easily. If it can be moved by hand it could become displaced in a storm. All service panel doors should be inspected to ensure that they are properly fastened. Any missing fasteners should be replaced.

LEAVE!

If civil authorities tell you to evacuate, do it! Buildings and building components that are damaged or destroyed during a severe storm can be replaced. You can’t.

Safety, Safety Everywhere!

I recently read an article in Professional Roofing‘s July edition titled, A Culture of Safety, by Kaylee Alberico. This is a great addition to our series of posts on rooftop safety where we concentrated on three areas of fall hazard control: elimination, prevention, and protection.

This article discusses how different roofing companies train their employees on safety; a common element is that they take a very active role in enforcing safety and getting employee buy-in. It offers great tips to ensure that ever-changing work areas are safe as well as how to keep employees interested in safety.

Safety training for employees at Duro-Last is tailored specifically to job function, but everyone goes through annual training. Content varies from the very basic to intensive, including such areas as environmental, fall prevention, driving, reviewing incidents from the previous year, and changes in laws.

We also have a program to recognize employees as safety milestones have been met. Recently both EXCEPTIONAL® Metals (a division of Duro-Last) and Plastatech® Engineering (a sister company) have reached over 100,000 hours of work without an OSHA recordable accident. These employees were honored with a lunch and recognized for their accomplishment. (See photos below.)

A reduction in recordable accidents directly impacts a company’s bottom line by decreasing workers’ compensation costs, reducing lost production time, and maintaining employees’ well-being. It’s good to know that so many other companies take safety as seriously as we do.

EXCEPTIONAL Metals Luncheon
Plastatech Engineering Luncheon

Fall Hazard Control: Part 4 Protection

In our introductory post about this topic we discussed how fall hazard control – and corresponding cost control – is increasingly being considered in constructability analyses. “Constructability” is a project management technique that reviews a building project from start to finish, during the pre-construction phase.

We also introduced the three types of fall hazard control: elimination, prevention, and protection. In the previous two posts we discussed elimination and prevention. In this final post we will discuss protection.

Constructibility techniques that support fall protection systems involve, to a large degree, the designation and installation of suitable anchorage points. Personal fall arrest equipment technology is rapidly changing but will always be dependent on adequate anchorage. Roof anchorage which is used successively by construction trades and eventually by operations and maintenance personnel is now commonplace on most newly constructed roofs.

Fall protection systems are active by nature. That is, they require the active participation of the protected worker. Fall protection systems require extensive training both of users and their supervisors, and are dependent upon the availability of the proper personal fall protection equipment. They require adequate anchorage points and are most effective where standards or expectations are clear and discipline for non-compliance is certain. Success (translated as ‘no falls from heights’) is much easier to attain when fall elimination or prevention is accomplished through constructability programs.

The value realized with the widespread use of constructability techniques to accomplish fall hazard elimination and prevention is still often difficult to quantify. A glimpse at the potential savings can be obtained by reviewing worker’s compensation costs and third party liabilities costs. Injuries can amount to millions of dollars of additional costs to facilities construction programs.

Using the hierarchy of preference of controls as a guide, constructability efforts should first aim to eliminate and then prevent fall hazards. Fall protection systems should be the last line of defense. The earlier that falls are addressed in a project, the greater the ability to influence the cost. Properly implemented fall elimination and prevention engineering increases in value over the life of a facility.

Western Roofing Expo 2010

The 36th annual Western Roofing Expo was held at the Paris-Las Vegas Hotel & Casino from June 20th – June 23rd. The trade show had good attendance and the Duro-Last booth was manned by Tim Hart, Vice President of West Coast Operations, Marty Krolikowski, Rocky Mountain Regional Sales Manager, Alan Mullins, Rocky Mountain Sales Coordinator, Scott Franklin, Duro-Last Sales Representative for Los Angeles, and me. It was good to see all of the Duro-Last contractors and Independent Sales Representatives who attended.

With over 150 exhibitors and almost 3,000 attendees, the show is a great way to catch up with many of our existing contractors and see what our competitors are promoting. One topic of discussion on the show floor was the acquisition of Bradco Supply Corp. by ABC Supply Co. Inc. Although this does not affect Duro-Last directly, it is always good to know what is going on the building and construction industry.

Attendees were optimistic of the year to come and we heard a lot about roofing activity in the works. This is good news to everyone that has been affected by the economic downturn. Another buzz on the show floor was about solar. This continues to be a growing trend in commercial buildings and we were able to discuss the fact that our roofing system is Solar-Ready™ and ideal for any commercial rooftop solar application.

In addition to staffing the booth, the Duro-Last crew attended several informational sessions that were offered before the show room floors opened. One in particular was given by Mark Guy from Building Envelope Technology & Research, and Rick Olsen from Tile Roofing Institute, tiled; How the 2009 IBC Affects You and the Roofing Industry. This provided an overview of the roofing-related changes to the 2006 edition of the International Building Code, International Plumbing Code, and International Residential Code.

Next year’s expo will be at the Peppermill Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada.

If you have any photos or stories you would like to share about your experiences at the Western Roofing Expo please post them here.