The long-term performance of a roofing system can, in many cases, be predicted by the decisions made during the design phase of a school project. All too often, compromises or oversights at this juncture can lead to long-term headaches. More than ever, the specifier must be attuned to the finer points of roofing systems to ensure that the highest performance system is selected while still meeting the budget expectations.
Currently, a higher degree of focus is being placed on a roof's effects on the energy consumption within an educational facility. A number of manufacturers have introduced products to meet the demand for lighter-colored roofing membranes.
A study by Ducker Research Company examined perceptions of roofing materials, as well as what affected their selection. The respondents were involved in the selection of roofing materials for educational buildings, had completed an educational roofing project in the past 12 months and derived 25 percent of billings from educational (K-12) projects. The participants were: 71 percent specifiers, 17 percent school officials/facilities managers and 12 percent roofing consultants.
Respondents were asked to identify which roofing materials are best suited for education applications.
EPDM products were mentioned most often as the best fit for roofs on education facilities. The EPDM roofing products cited are single-ply synthetic rubber membranes. EPDM was preferred as a cost-effective means to obtain a roof with the necessary longevity to perform in a school environment.
The survey also sought to identify those areas that are most critical to evaluate when selecting roofing materials for education facilities. Open-ended responses were solicited to identify factors that most often are considered during the evaluation process.
The results (by percentage of respondents):
Product performs to specifications, and durability and quality: 65 percent.
Strong warranty: 46 percent.
Initial and total costs for materials/system: 37 percent.
Track record of company and products: 32 percent.
Service and support: 25 percent.
Availability of experienced contractors: 24 percent.