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SPRI Develops Ten ANSI-Approved standards

May 15, 2011

Roof consultants are in a
unique–and often challenging–
position on the building
team. Not only must they be
familiar with every low- and
steep-sloped roofing system
known to man, they also need to address
code requirements; sources of moisture not
related to the roof; and a plethora of
cladding, masonry, and sealant issues.
Add to this the rapid growth of vegetative
roofs, building-integrated photovoltaic
(BIPV) systems, and sustainable roof
designs, and many roof consultants are on
a stressful road to information overload.
Fortunately, industry associations are
helping RCI and its members with roofing
research and standards-writing efforts
geared toward enhancing current roof
design knowledge and best practices.
SPRI, the association representing sheet
membrane and component suppliers to the
commercial roofing industry, is working
harder than ever to develop meaningful
standards that will benefit roof consultants
and other design professionals.
As an accredited American National
Standards Institute (ANSI) canvasser, SPRI
has the unique ability to help RCI and other
organizations develop standards for acceptance
into the building codes. Over the past
several years, SPRI has developed ten ANSIapproved
standards, two of which have
been adopted by the International Building
Code (IBC) and one of which has been proposed
for code.
Among SPRI’s most important accomplishments
in 2010 was the release of several
key standards for vegetative roofing.
The association also announced the results
of an Oak Ridge National Laboratory study
on vegetative roofs. It showed that these
roof systems can reduce heating and cooling
costs and save as much energy as lightcolored,
reflective roof membranes.
For an updated list of ANSI/SPRI standards,
technical reports, and guidelines in
downloadable PDF format, visit
While vegetative roofs, sustainability,
and cool roofing remain hot topics, the traditional
role of roofs as one of the primary
waterproofing systems for buildings
remains the key focus for roof consultants.
The ANSI/SPRI ES-1 standard addresses
roof edge securement to help prevent it
from becoming a potential weak spot in lowslope
roofing performance. FM Global’s Phil
Smith has often been quoted as saying that
“the integrity of the perimeter flashing is a
critical first line of defense against roof failure.”
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew became the
third Category 5 hurricane to make landfall
in U.S. history, and it caused $26.5 billion
in damage–mostly in southern Florida. It
was also estimated that 75% of all building
losses were due to roof failure.
A study of 145 FM Global built-up roofs
showed that 85 failed due to system failure
at the roof perimeter. Simply put, the membrane
attachment to the deck could not
withstand the loads created when these
perimeter systems failed during the hurricane.
SPRI knew that more recent posthurricane
investigations by the Roofing Industry
Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI)
consistently showed that, in many cases,
damage to a low-slope roof system during
high-wind events begins when the edge of
the assembly becomes disengaged from the
building. Once this occurs, components of
the roof system (membrane, insulation, etc.)
are exposed. Damage then propagates
across the entire roof by peeling of the
membrane, insulation, or a combination of
the two.
For this reason, SPRI’s landmark ES-1
standard, Wind Design Standard for Edge
Systems Used With Low-Slope Roofing
Systems, was developed in 1998. It is currently
referenced in Section 1504.5 of the
2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012 IBC. The standard
provides roof consultants and others
22 • I N T E R FA C E DE C E M B E R 2011
with information for
calculating wind loads
on metal roof edge systems
and prescribes
the test methods to be
used to ensure that the
supplied edge system is
capable of resisting
that load. There are
three tests that make
up the ES-1 standard—
RE-1, RE-2, and RE-3
(see Photo 1).
A version of this key
4435/ES-1–was re –
vised and reapproved
by ANSI in October
2011. It combines SPRI
and FM Global requirements
and provides
basic requirements for
wind load resistance
testing and design for
roof edge securement,
flashing systems, and
The document also
provides minimum fascia
thicknesses for satisfactory
“flatness” and
designs to minimize corrosion. It is intended
to be used with manufacturers’ specifications
and requirements of specific roofing
materials and edge systems used in roof
assemblies, excluding gutters.
Basically, the latest draft to ES-1 combines
the performance requirements
included in the current version of ES-1 and
has been expanded to include requirements
addressed in FM 4435, Approval Standard
for Roof Perimeter Flashing.
For state-by-state adoption of ES-1 in
the IBC, roof consultants can visit iccsafe.
SPRI is also revising another important
standard on wind loads for reapproval as an
American National Standard. The revision
will update ANSI/SPRI RP-4, Wind Design
Standards for Ballasted Single-Ply Roofing
Systems to comply with the current Amer –
ican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) document.
ASCE 7-10, Minimum Design Loads for
Buildings and Other Structures, was significantly
revised last year. These revisions will
affect every roofing professional who uses
ASCE for determining wind loads on structures.
Some of the revisions include new
wind speed maps using a 700-plus-year
return; reinstating Exposure Category D
for hurricane-prone coastlines, as well as
“simplified” procedures for determining
wind pressures for buildings of all heights.
Ballasted roof systems, in particular,
are a cost-effective and energy-efficient
method for low-slope roof assemblies.
Concerns with these types of systems have
been roof assemblies not remaining in
place and loose gravel becoming a component
of wind-borne debris during highwind
events. RP-4 is a design standard
that has been specifically developed to
address these critical issues. It is based on
hundreds of wind tunnel tests, field exposure
tests, and decades of experience.
SPRI is also starting the revision
process on ANSI/SPRI WD-1, Wind Design
Standard Practices for Roofing Assemblies.
The standard has been proposed for inclusion
in Section 1504.3 of the 2015 IBC. It
provides a two-part methodology for the
designing of wind uplift resistance of nonballasted
built-up, modified-bitumen, and
single-ply roofing system assemblies
installed over any type of roof deck.
“WD-1 is based on ASCE 7,” says SPRI
task force chairman Joe Malpezzi. “So, in
order to keep WD-1 current, it is being
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DE C E M B E R 2011 I N T E R FA C E • 2 3
Photo 1 – As part of the ES-1 testing protocol, RE-3 tests upward and outward simultaneous pull of horizontal
and vertical flanges of a parapet coping cap. (Courtesy of W.P. Hickman, Arden, NC.)
A 20-year-old protocol on nuclear-based moisture testing is
getting a facelift in preparation for ANSI canvassing, courtesy of
a new SPRI committee.
The protocol, “Detection and Location of Latent Moisture of
Building Roofing Systems by Nuclear Radioisotopic Thermali –
zation,” can be found in Appendix E of the RCI Manual of Practice.
The document contains
information on proper
handling of nuclearbased
moisture survey
equipment in the field,
gathering of data, as
well as calculating and
analyzing of survey
“Interest in the initiative
was shown within
SPRI, and now we
have a well-rounded
task force of about one
dozen members,” says
task force chairman
David Hawn, FRCI,
RRC, CEM. Hawn is
also president of
Dedicated Roof and
Hydro-Solutions LLC,
Centreville, VA, and a
past president of RCI.
“The members of the
committee are engaged
and active in working
toward development of a
consensus-based standard,” says Hawn.
Vegetative roofs and other systems that have
overburden requirements are becoming more
common, and the testing of these systems prior to overburden
installation makes sense, says Hawn. However, the only consensus-
based standard available to code bodies right now is ASTM
C1153 for infrared testing of roof assemblies for moisture and
substrate condition. Nuclear-based moisture testing uses a different
technology than infrared and is more appropriate for testing
ballasted and vegetative roofs.
“We realized there was a shortcoming in the RCI protocol not
being consensus-based,” says Hawn. “Nuclear-based technology
is relatively simple and hasn’t changed much over the years. But
there are a fair amount of language changes from the RCI protocol
that need to be made.”
Currently, the task force is modifying the RCI protocol to better
fit the format and vernacular of a true ANSI standard. Once
the task force agrees on the changes, the document will go to the
SPRI board of directors for approval. Once approved, balloting by
an established canvass body composed of producers, users, and
general-interest members will take place.
“Although roof consultants use the protocol more than anyone
else, this document will be a benefit to more than just RCI
members,” says Hawn. “The fact is that manufacturers’ materials
and roofing contractors’ installations are being judged on a
daily basis using nuclear testing,” continues Hawn. “So anything
that can standardize this process and make it more consistent
will work toward the good of the entire industry.”
While the actual use of nuclear-based equipment is simple
(just place the device on the roof, push a button, and jot
down a number), the interpretation of the results is more
complex. “It’s pretty hard to use a nuclear-measuring device
incorrectly up on the roof,” agrees Hawn. “What’s important
is what you do with those readings afterward.”
RCI’s first protocol for nuclear-based moisture testing
was written in the
mid-1980s and up –
dated just prior to
the release of its
Manual of Practice. In
addition to nu clear
and infrared testing,
capacitance moisture
surveys continue to
be used. However,
there is neither an
RCI protocol nor consensus
planned for capacitance
tech nology as
of this writing.
Infrared equipment
has become
less bulky and less
expensive over the
years, and some
cameras offer additional features not available before the advent
of digital photography. The price of nuclear-based equipment is
similar to infrared on a first-cost basis. However, nuclear equipment
is more expensive to maintain due to the required leak testing,
reporting procedures, and licensing requirements that must
be maintained annually–whether the equipment is used or not.
Operators also need to be licensed and undergo radiation safety
training. While considered a valuable tool for roofing use, it is
used more often in soil and roadway testing.
“Nuclear moisture testing is a useful technology,” says Hawn.
“We have a robust committee at work on it, and there continues
to be a substantial amount of interest within the SPRI membership
in our efforts.”
Michael Russo has reported on the roofing industry for more
than 30 years. He can be reached at mikerusso1983@
By Michael Russo
Figure 1 – A tech ni cian
works with a Troxler
nuclear mois ture
gauge (courtesy of
Infra-red Analyzers).
24 • I N T E R FA C E DE C E M B E R 2011
Figure 2 – This rendering depicts the operation of a
nuclear moisture gauge in schematic form (courtesy of
Infra-red Analyzers).
updated to reflect the
changes from ASCE 7-
05 to ASCE 7-10.”
ANSI approved the
first of three standards
for vegetative roofs de –
veloped by SPRI in co –
operation with Green
Roofs for Healthy Cities
Ex ternal Fire Design
Standard for Vegetative
Roofs, was approved on
January 29, 2010, after
a final round of revising
and reballoting.
1 fire design standard
includes fire-control
designs to limit the
spread of flame if a vegetative
roof system were
to catch fire. The standard
uses barriers of
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DE C E M B E R 2011 I N T E R FA C E • 2 5
Photo 2 – This gravel stop is being tested according to the ANSI/SPRI ES-1 standard using the RE-2 test for
fascia systems.
nonvegetative zones to contain a potential
A second vegetative roof standard was
approved by ANSI on June 3, 2010.
ANSI/SPRI RP-14 2010, Wind Design
Standard for Vegetative Roofing Systems,
provides design guidelines associated with
wind uplift and stone scour and defines
items such as setbacks from the edges of
roofs in areas with high winds, use of wind
erosion mats, and edging details. There is
also a discussion of the various types of
materials and their behavior under varying
wind conditions.
SPRI’s Sid Teachey led the successful
development of a third vegetative roofing
document—a root penetration standard for
vegetative roof systems. ANSI/GRHC-SPRI
VR-1, Procedure for Investigating Resistance
to Root Penetration on Vegetative Roofs, was
approved by ANSI in March 2011.
The roofing industry also has a performance
standard for retrofit drains–
ANSI/SPRI RD-1 2009–that references
installation in existing drain plumbing on
existing roofs. This standard was also successfully
reballoted and reapproved by
Last summer, SPRI announced that
another key standard–this one addressing
• ANSI/SPRI VF-1, External Fire Design Standard for Vegetative Roofs
• ANSI/SPRI RP-14 2010, Wind Design Standard for Vegetative Roofing Systems
• SPRI/FM 4435-ES-1 2010, Wind Design Standard for Edge Systems Used With Low-Slope Roofing Systems
• ANSI/SPRI IA-1 2010, Standard Field Test Procedure for Determining the Mechanical Uplift Resistance of
Insulation Adhesives Over Various Substrates
• ANSI/GRHC-SPRI VR-1, Procedure for Investigating Resistance to Root Penetration on Vegetative Roofs
• ANSI/SPRI GD-1, Design Standard for Gutter Systems Used With Low-Slope Roofs
• Technical Report, Thermal Performance of Vegetative Roof Systems
• Field study and technical report, Evaluation of Metal Fasteners Corroded From Contact With Preservative-
Treated Wood
• Application Guidelines for a Modified-Bitumen Roofing System
• Application Guidelines for Fasteners Used With Flexible Membrane Roofing Systems
• Modified-Bitumen Cold-Weather Recommendations
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E-mail: • Phone: 800-828-1902
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26 • I N T E R FA C E DE C E M B E R 2011
Here is a list of SPRI’s latest accomplishments in the areas of codes, standards, and application
guidelines for the roofing industry:
insulation adhesives–
was also reaffirmed by
2010, Standard Field
Test Procedure for De ter –
mining the Mech an ical
Uplift Resistance of In –
sulation Adhesives Over
Various Substrates, was
developed to provide a
uniform field testing
procedure for determining
the suitability of
using an insulation
adhesive for insulation
or cover board attachment
to a substrate. The
uplift data obtained provide
the roof system
manufacturer, adhesive
manufacturer, and de –
sign professional with
pull resistance values
that will assist in verifying
the suitability of the
intended design. The
standard was first ap –
proved as an American National Standard
in 2005.
Another standard approved by ANSI in
October 2010 is the ANSI/SPRI GD-1,
Design Standard for Gutter Systems Used
With Low-Slope Roofs. The standard specifies
structural design for gutters used with
low-slope roofing. However, the standard
does not address water removal or the
water-carrying capability of the gutter, as
other building codes already address these
issues. Also, there is little to address in
terms of wind resistance of gutters in the
code, so SPRI will propose that GD-1 be
included in the IBC.
ANSI/SPRI FX-1, Standard Field Test
Procedure for Determining the Withdrawal
Resistance of Roofing Fasteners, was reapproved
by ANSI on August 19, 2011. SPRI
developed this standard for measuring the
pull-out resistance of roofing fasteners in
field conditions. Specifically, it is used to
obtain data used by roof consultants and
other professionals to calculate the proper
density and placement of fasteners used in
membrane roofing systems. The standard
can also be used by roofing installers and
inspectors as a quality control test to
ensure that sufficient pull-out performance
is achieved.
In the meantime, SPRI members will
continue to identify areas within the industry
that will benefit from the collective
efforts of the association. Whether it is the
development of standards, performing technical
research, providing input to industry
codes, or developing industry education
programs, SPRI’s focus is to provide unbiased
information that will enhance the community
of knowledge and to help advance
the industry as a whole.
DE C E M B E R 2011 I N T E R FA C E • 2 7
Mike Ennis joined SPRI in 1993. He has chaired a variety of
SPRI committees and task forces and served as president
from 2004-2006. He was named technical director of SPRI in
2007. For more information about SPRI, its members, and its
activities, visit SPRI’s Web site at or contact the
association at
Mike Ennis
Photo 3 – A metal roof edge system is being tested using a method based on the SPRI/FM 4435/ES-1