Test Reports: Roofing in 2024 and Beyond

Tue, May 14, 2024 at 7:50AM

Riku Ylipelkonen, Owner, Standard Building Advisors and FRSA Technical Advisor

As we proceed further into 2024, the transition to the 8th Florida Building Code (2023) is proving to be challenging to some and outright impossible for others. The roofing community is coming together to tackle the challenges we see in the field as a result of changes in the new codes and roof assemblies, permitting processes and inspections. To product manufacturers, this should be seen as an opportunity to grow market share with technical support and innovation in product approvals through product testing and development. What does this mean for all of us? Better roofs!

Manufacturers are constantly innovating and working toward better roofing products. Some companies are truly innovative and technically adept and use these code changes to get ahead. After all, these code changes have been worked on in a three-year development cycle. If a company is involved in FRSA, they at least hear about the new developments in seminars and meetings and through articles like this one. With the removal of the hot mop pressure tables from the FRSA-TRI 7th Edition Florida High Wind Clay and Concrete Tile Installation Manual, a perception was that hot mopping is not allowed. This is absolutely not true. For those who wish to use a 30/90 hot-mopped assembly, you need to speak to the manufacturers that market the products you want to use. Once they perform the necessary testing to establish design pressures, these products can be used just as they have been in the past. This is an important distinction for a variety of product manufacturers. Some companies wait for the innovative companies to market their products with approved assembly specifications and then duplicate those tests in the hopes that their “me too” product will provide as much coverage for design pressure considerations. Some products were also found to have been “value engineered” over time and now the manufacturers are playing catch-up to develop products that actually have to substantiate their own performance with testing. This is a naturally occurring differentation in construction.

Another concern is whether the product manufacturer has staff to manage the product testing and development for the current market and beyond. Technical support is not just rooftop training and parts supply. When the design pressure requirements came up for vote and discussion at the Florida Building Commission, the time clock started. Technical activity ticked up to understand how well existing products would perform. With that knowledge, getting higher numbers compared to the competition is always a great sales opportunity. The true innovators were testing products as early as 2021, getting new product development underway and studying ways current products could rise to meet new requirements – such as new nailing patterns for anchor sheet assemblies. This is where innovation lives in roofing.

The final challenge for this code cycle comes from changes in permitting requirements, compliance inspections and Miami-Dade’s implementation of the code changes. Miami-Dade made its final change to underlayment requirements in November of 2023, just two months before the new code would go into effect. This meant that products affected by the final changes had to get testing completed with test reports and submit them for either a revision or new Notice of Acceptance (NOA) to be in compliance with their final requirements. This was an impossible timetable to accomplish, even if you already had your testing done and were ready to submit your NOA at the time the Miami-Dade bulletin was published.

With all these conditions in mind, one thing is clear: roofs are becoming more resilient and better performing. The important takeaway here is that the new code revision cycle has started. The next time we’ll be talking about these kinds of changes will be around the end of 2026. If you ask people that are participating in the process, there is already a good sense of the changes coming down the line (see Mike Silvers' article on page 46). For product manufacturing staff, now is the time to get involved so there aren’t any "surprises" in the next code. FRSA committees and representation at the Florida Building Commission get better with more participants. This will lead to a continuous improvement cycle for roofing in Florida. If nothing else, the improvement of roofing products will lead to better performance over time and less likelihood of call backs and warranty claims. And that is the best news for everyone’s bottom line.


Riku Ylipelkonen, Owner, Standard Building Advisors has been in the roofing industry for 15 years working for Polyfoam Products. When Polyfoam Products was acquired by 3M and the name changed to ICP Building Solutions Group. Riku worked at ICP as Technical Services Manager until March of 2023, when he left to begin his own company. Riku is an engineer and is working as a consultant with FRSA. He is a member on FRSA’s Codes Committee, Codes Subcommittee, Tile Committee and on the FRSA-TRI Manual Rewrite Committee. Riku is also a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

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