Today I spent 6 hours of my valuable time watching a roof inflate and deflate in accordance with Underwriters Lab Testing Standard 580 and then UL 1897. A 10-foot by 10-foot sample of roofing material is installed onto a test platform. The sample is subjected to a constant uplift pressure for a 5-minute period and an oscillating pressure in 10 second intervals over a 60-minute period. This is to fatigue the roof to see if it will separate, causing the roof to fail. After (3) 60 minute intervals, if the roof is still intact, UL 1897 starts and pressures are turned up until the roof fails, determining the maximum wind speed resistance. This is another several hours of blowing and sucking. The roof eventually failed, confirming the assembly was not strong enough to resist Florida’s high winds. There was no explosion, no bang, no crack, rather a slight fizzing of air and a stop to the machines. What a letdown.
This got me thinking about how much we rely on testing procedures and standards and how little actual know-how, craft and common sense matter these days. The tests were so far beyond what pressures a real-world storm would cause, but the litigious society that we live in requires some standard to measure up against beyond engineering and craft.
I appreciate all those out there who work hard every day to make sure things are cut correctly, nailed properly and finished to exceed customer expectations. Thank you for making our job easier as Owner’s Reps and we will continue to recommend those that see quality as a requirement.
Good luck, and keep your hard hat tight.