Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2012 - (Page 35)

ON SPEC roofing WarranTies & VaLUe engineering By: PAUL SHEEHy A s I enter my 30th year in the roofing industry, I remain amazed by how decisions are based on the length of a warranty and not the history of the manufacturer, the system and design quality. So it is true that everything old is new again. The last time this scenario played itself out in the roofing industry, a trail of unhappy building owners, poorly performing roofs and expensive legal cases were the result. Are we headed down the same path again? Most certainly yes, only this time the magnitude and scope of the problems will be greater. This is because the size of the projects are typically larger, especially when we consider P3 (public-private partnership) facilities. More importantly, roof assemblies, the afterthought in most building envelope design, are often required to do more than keep the building interior dry. Roofs can be public and green spaces designed for storm water management; or the surface for the installation of hundreds of kW of photovoltaic arrays. One would think the increased demands would see the quality of design increase exponentially. In fact, with few exceptions, the opposite is true. As roof assemblies are required to do more, the overall installation cost increases accordingly. Thus, savings must be found. So the component of the assembly expenditure that is victim to the value engineering exercise is the roof membrane. Not the green components. Not the photovoltaic. It is the roof membrane itself. Why? It is unseen. Designers and end users care about the building envelope façade. It is part of the aesthetic, it makes a statement. If the roof is to be used as public space, tremendous attention is paid to the landscape and hardscape design; and the same is true if storm water management or PV is part of the plan. “The cheaper the better” is instilled into the DNA of many general contractors and design- ers. The ethos is the roof just has to be good enough. This may be justifiable when the consequences of early failure do not include the removal of hundreds of thousands invested on top of the waterproofing. The cost of green or PV installations are far more expensive than even the highest quality designed membrane, so what drives the roofing decision? It is the lowest installed cost that offers the perceived protection of the longest warranty. I could go into tremendous detail on what most roofing warranties actually cover. The exclusions and wording are a testament to the legal minds of the authors. If the warranties actually protected the building owner from all issues associated with the roof assembly, including what has been installed on top of the manufacturer’s membrane for 30 years, it would be economic suicide for the company that supplied the warranty. The building industry is travelling Image provided by: Paul Sheehy ABOVE: High quality green roof which has been designed with a membrane that will last. its own version of the Road to Perdition. No amount of self delusion or wishful thinking will protect us from a future of premature failure and the removal of very expensive green components or PV arrays. When failure occurs, don’t let anyone blame what is installed on top of the lowest cost roof as the reason for the failure. The green components or PV have nothing to do with it! When the top of the building is used for more than protection from the elements, then the selection of the roofing system should be priority one! The term “caveat emptor” must be on the minds of all involved and a warranty will never be a substitute for quality materials and design. Paul Sheehy is the vice-president of sales for North America with Tremco Canada and treasurer of GRHC LIVING ARCHITECTURE MONITOR / FALL 2012 / 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2012

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2012
From the Founder
Letter From the Editor
The World’s First Bio-Façade Ready to Grow
Save the Dates for the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2013
On the Roof With…
Policy and Standards
Current Research
2012 Awards of Excellence
New Corporate Members
Professional Calendar
GRHC Buyer’s Guide
On Spec

Green Roofs - Living Architecture Monitor - Fall 2012