Pre-Inspection Process for Commercial Roofing Systems

Scope of the Inspection Standards of Practice When entering into an agreement to inspect a property, it’s common for the inspector to include in the agreement the Standards of Practice that will form the basis for his inspection. Members of CCPIA perform commercial building inspections according to the International Standards of Practice for Inspecting Commercial…

The Thermodynamics of Thermal Insulation

Terms You Should Know Thermal conductivity Thermal conductivity is the K-value. It is the measure of a material’s ability to conduct heat. A low K-value indicates that the material does not allow heat energy to easily pass through. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), a material must have a K-value of 0.5 or…

Types of Low-Slope Roof Thermal Insulation

The insulation used in low-slope roof assemblies typically falls into one of the four categories: rigid board insulation; dual-purpose structural deck and insulating planks; lightweight insulating concrete (LWIC); or sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF). Rigid Board Insulation Rigid board insulation is the most common type of insulation used in low-slope commercial roofing. It is made from…

Advantages and Disadvantages of Thermal Insulation in Commercial Roofing

Thermal insulation helps shield a building’s interior so that it’s less affected by the exterior temperature, thereby substantially reducing the building’s energy usage, as well as energy costs. This can provide commercial building owners with the greatest return on an initial investment of almost any building material, especially if the building relies on heating and/or…

Area of active ponding on the roof

Why Low-Slope Roofs Fail

All buildings are capable of having an unlimited physical service life, but not an unlimited economic life. No other building system surpasses roofs as a source of litigation. Roofs may fail for either economic or technical reasons. Economic Reasons for Roof Failure When decisions are made on how to spend money on the construction of…

Low-Slope Roof Construction and Failure Assignment of Responsibilities

The complexities involved in adequately designing a roof for optimal long-term performance are reflected by the number of factors that a designer must consider, including: original construction and life-cycle (long-term) costs; energy conservation scheme; value of building’s interior contents; required long-term service life; basic roof components (deck, insulation, membrane, accessories); availability of qualified contractors/workers; environmental…

Low-Slope Roof Components

The following information is a general overview of basic and accessory low-slope roof components, their major design factors, functions, and common failures. The three main components of a low-slope roof are the structural deck, the thermal insulation, and the membrane. Other vital parts of a low-slope roof include the flashing and air retarders, although these…

The History of Low-Slope Roofs

Low-slope roofs were a late invention in building construction. This was mostly because steep-slope roofs exhibited superior water-shedding properties. Also, before industrialization, much of the manufacturing of goods was done in people’s homes by hand or with basic small machinery, so there wasn’t a need for larger buildings. But as the Industrial Revolution progressed, it…

Cast-Iron Steam Boilers

Cast-iron boilers are often found in residential applications and small commercial installations. These boilers are compact and function exclusively in low-pressure steam or hot-water applications. The physical size of a cast-iron steam boiler can be quite large, with the sections visible, since it has no casing. Cast-iron is basically steel. It has higher levels of…

Fuel or Gas Train for Commercial Boilers

by Joe Farsetta, Certified Master Inspector® and Certified Commercial Inspector The fuel or gas train is a series of components – some working independently, and others working in tandem with alternate components – that connect the burner of a gas-fired boiler, which help to ensure the commercial steam boiler’s safe operation. Boiler explosions can happen…

Low-Water Cutoffs

by Joe Farsetta, Certified Master Inspector® and Certified Commercial Inspector An integral part of every steam boiler is a low-water cutoff. A safety feature born of necessity in the 1920s, this device interrupts the operation of a boiler if it runs out of water. Prior to its invention, empty boilers would continue to run, with…

Lancashire Fire Tube Boiler

Steam Boiler: Types and Designs

by Joe Farsetta, Certified Master Inspector® and Certified Commercial Inspector   Steam boilers can be simple or complex, depending on their application, the fuel available, and specific requirements and demands, including steam pressure and volume. Steam systems in commercial and industrial settings will typically require the services of a licensed Professional Engineer for the design…