Sorting out the Necessary Test Requirements for Metal Roofing Projects

We know that the metal roofing tests and standards an architect must include in a project specification can sometimes be confusing.

For example, we see  some architects—and particularly designers new to the profession — specifying  ASTM E 1592  for a plywood or B-Deck and B-Deck with ISO when, in fact, 1592 is the test method for structural performance of a metal roof for open framing such as a purlin application.
Image showing fire testing of a metal roofing surface.
Often, we’ll see architects using a Factory Mutual test specification for fire resistance when first, an FM designation is really only for projects to be underwritten by Factory Mutual (FM) Insurance and second, the FM specification is far more stringent than the project requires and consequently will be a lot more expensive for the builder to meet.  Besides, Factory Mutual offers RoofNav, a simplified and very specific means of determining a roofing product’s and roof system’s compliance with FM Approvals’ guidelines and standards.

Some architects even submit metal roof specifications with information drawn word-for-word from the specs of an earlier metal roofing project that had similar requirements—but was not exactly the same.  This is a bad idea because the specification information often differs dramatically even though the projects seem similar.

How can architects and builders avoid these problems? Two ways….  Hire a consulting engineer for a very modest fee to do an analysis of the roofing requirements and provide calculations for the metal roofing piece of the project. And/or, contact the metal roofing manufacturer who has already submitted the materials for  independent testing for wind uplift, fire resistance, water and air leakage and solar reflectivity. Technical people at the manufacturer can then   provide the correct information for the specific metal roofing project.
Metal roofing fire test in progress.
One thing is sure if architects and builders follow these suggestions. Roofing contractors will appreciate the extra effort that will help them better understand what the designers want in a metal roof and how it can be executed quickly and efficiently.

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