After a major, damaging storm, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, many things happen at once. Rescue efforts begin. Shelters open to house the displaced. Cleanup gets underway. But one thing that happens in the aftermath of such an event is a little harder to see – unless you’re looking for it.
The Building Material Post-Mortem
The Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues, Inc. (RICOWI) gathers experts and an army of volunteers to spend time on the ground at the disaster site, documenting damage. They take careful notes and photographs, looking closely at how different building methods, materials and ages withstood the storm. What they observe helps inform product development and ensure both installation standards and roofing products can stand up better to the next storm.
As the Metal Construction Association’s technical director Robert Zabcik said in a recent white paper, “Engineering professionals go through great efforts to make sure the public is protected.” All this research is integrated into regular updates to the tests, ratings and codes applied to building products across the country. These can become an alphanumerical soup, but here are the most prominent, along with differences between them:
Model Codes (Codes) provide a minimum baseline of performance needed to protect property and the public. These are the barebones building basics.
Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) is a consortium of test labs and research companies which maintain test standards, as well as product listings which meet certain performance criteria. These are usually superior to those required by code.
Factory Mutual Insurance Company (FM Global) is comparable to UL but funded by a consortium of insurance underwriters.
Since the Miami-Dade area has suffered some of the worst hurricane damage, they have some of the most stringent codes and test protocols, so those are among many that MBCI uses to test our products. Jason Allen, MBCI research and development engineer, explained what some of these are and how they’re used. The UL 580 rating is based on tests for uplift resistance of roof assemblies. While materials can receive a class 30, 60 or 90 rating, MBCI uses class 90 as a standard. We also maintain class four impact ratings under UL 2218 for hail and projectiles, as well as the UL 790 Class A fire rating.
Any Way the Wind Blows
But these ratings and classifications get very complicated. You won’t find MBCI materials themselves listed as withstanding certain windspeeds or projectile damage. Allen explained, “It’s dependent on several things: building codes, roof pressures, eave and building height, facing attachments, roof slope and wind speed – just to name a few.” There are differences based on locality, storm threats and codes. It takes a qualified engineer to calculate all of it for an entire project. But that’s the only way to be sure of safety. “It’s going to cover all scenarios,” said Allen.
During a hurricane or tornado, wind is just part of the problem. “Performance during these events must consider both water tightness and wind applied at the same time,” said Zabcik. “Wind-driven rain can force water into places it would not normally go … This is yet another reason why details are so important and why manufacturers work so hard to ensure the systems they produce meet stringent standards for performance.”
In conditions like these, traditional building methods have a difficult time comparing to metal. They suffer from softer connections, more porous materials, and less stringent assembly designs. “Shingles last 15 to 20 years,” said Allen. “A metal roof can last 40 to 60 years.” Across the nation, wherever post-storm studies and material testing have occurred, metal stands out. In Florida Building Commission, FEMA and NIST studies, metal buildings performed exceptionally well.
Whether standing seam, insulated metal panels, exposed fastener or concealed fastener roof solutions are chosen, metal roofing’s strength and durability keeps out rainwater and withstands windspeeds that devastate other types of construction. Standing-seam roof systems and IMP façades remained intact during Hurricane Katrina even as winds hit 120 mph. “Industry experts have found that metal panel roofs can withstand wind gusts as strong as 140 mph or more due, in part, to their large interlocking panels,” said Zabcik. “Metal panel systems provide not only the weather resistive barrier,” he said, “but can also provide diaphragm stability to both the underlying framing and sometimes, the building as a whole, because they can transmit shear from one panel to the next.”
Riders on the Storm
What about hail raining down from the sky, windborne projectiles, lightning, and everything else that severe storms hurl at buildings? Though they may suffer some cosmetic damage, metal construction such as standing seam roofs and IMPs are often able to absorb impact, remain functional and keep their protective metal layers intact. That can make all the difference in a hurricane when the wind can blow away other roofs and dump untold gallons of stormwater and debris inside. Somewhat counterintuitively, metal buildings also perform very well during lightning strikes.
Batten Down the Hatches. Then Batten Them Again
Before you assume that selecting an engineer’s recommended, rated, and tested metal roof will be a sure-fire protection against all nature’s hazards, there’s one more thing to understand. All the ratings and tests mentioned here are performed with a specific assembly procedure. It is absolutely critical that the same procedure is followed – to a T – to ensure your building will enjoy the same protection its ratings guarantee. Allen recommends that you “look at the company you want and make sure they have statewide approvals,” and make sure your installer reads the manual, then re-reads it, then re-reads it a final time. It’s no exaggeration to say that lives are at stake.
Zabcik sums it up nicely: “With proper preparation, a solid knowledge of metal roofing options, an understanding of the latest standards and codes – not to mention a willingness to strictly adhere to tested quality control methods – today’s metal roofing is a strong choice for even the most vulnerable structure.”
To learn more about MBCI roofing solutions, to retrofit a current building or to get an engineer started on designing out your project in a storm-prone area, get in touch with an MBCI representative today.
There’s no getting around it. Erecting any building involves thousands of parts. Different sizes, colors, lengths, types – you name it. Depending on the nature of the project, there could be numerous parts to be ordered and accounted for. Although MBCI simplifies the process, it can still be a lot to manage. Until now, everyone has come up with their own method – like the many long-timers who write it all out by hand. But for those newer to the process, it can be overwhelming. Now we’re taking the guesswork out of it and making the process considerably easier, with exciting new user-friendly features on our online ordering platform.
With the new addition of “Assemblies”, you can simply choose which area of a building you’re working on, fill in some details such as panel type, trim condition, attachment type, size, and color, and the system will do the rest of the work for you – making sure you have any necessary fasteners, accessories or other parts, adding everything to your order. No longer will you have to study construction drawings, note fastener types and add everything to your order by hand. No longer will you find yourself on-site without the needed materials. And, even if you do, the online ordering platform is available right from your phone to get whatever you need on the way ASAP.
As Director of Development Tyler Roose says, “We’ve heard testimonials from many, many customers and it’s the only way they like to order anymore. It’s a huge time saver.”
Ready to get started? Head to shop.mbci.com. If you are registered and an existing customer, you should have everything you need to log in. For new customers, simply fill in the requested information and provide your customer number to create an account. If you don’t have a customer number, reach out to your district sales manager or customer service rep.
To get started on a new quote, simply click the “Start New Quote” button, which will give you an option to name your new quote and use a template if desired (more on that later).
Once you’ve begun a new quote, you will land on the Products page, where you have the option to shop by category, such as accessories, fasteners, panels, structural and trim. However, for this purpose, let’s focus on the newest option: Assemblies.
Choosing “Assemblies” will open a list of component types to choose from. For this example, we’re selecting PBR, but you’ll choose whichever is appropriate to your project. From the next list, select the area you’re working on, such as eaves, gutters, valleys, corners, bases, etc.
Once you’ve selected your assembly, the form will prompt you to choose details such as thickness, color, lineal footage of the assembly being used, and further options depending on the assembly and area you’re working on. Then, all the core trim items as well as necessary fasteners, sealants and accessories are automatically added to your material list for review. Notice the additional parts automatically added on the PBR form. If satisfied with your work, click “add to cart”, and a more formal review can now be completed once all parts from the project are accounted for.
Now you can simply repeat this process for whatever other areas you need. You can save and share this quote with others who may need to review and approve. If you anticipate needing similar orders in the future, choose the “Save as Quote Template” option in the dropdown box. The next time you have a similar project, choose this option when you start a new quote, then simply make whatever changes are necessary – colors, lengths, quantities, etc. – and you’ll be done with your order in much less time than with previous methods.
If for any reason you need to make changes to a quote, simply use the “Modify Quote” button at the bottom of the quote page.
Be sure to check out the other handy features on the online ordering site, such as related literature, documents and parts at the bottom of each product page and in catalogs. You can also search by keyword or use the navigation at the top for anything you might be looking for.
We hope you’ll take the time to learn the new system. It’s sure to save you innumerable hours in the long run. And if you get stuck or run into any problems, we’re here to help. Refer to the FAQ and don’t hesitate to get one of our sales individuals involved. We are all fully versed on online ordering and happy to help.