Archive for April, 2013

Solar Panels Burning in Roof Fire

In South Plainfield New Jersey a block long warehouse was on fire at 200 Helen Street. The large industrial building had several roof solar panels. When the firefighters arrived they found a 200 foot by 200 foot section of the roof on fire. Glass tube solar panels were on fire, it is unknown at this time which was on fire first, the roof or the solar panels.

The fire is under investigation and Fire Chief Tom Scalera said “We don’t know if the roof or the solar panels caught fire.”

Firefighters From Neighboring Towns Responded

South Plainfield, New Market, Colonia, Plainfield, Shelton and Metuchen firefighters responded to the fire. The firefighters arrived around 9 am and it took 15 to 20 minutes to knock down the heavy fire. Chief Scalera said the firefighters had to dig into the roof to make sure the fire was out.

Each solar panel had to be shut off individually to insure the fire was totally extinguished. Chief Scalera said it was a time intensive endeavor. Firefighters are learning more about solar panels in response to roof fires.

Two firefighters received minor injuries at the scene and were treated and released at the hospital.

According to lease listing property website the Jordache Building at 200 Helen Street, South Plainfield NJ is a 793,000 square foot building with a new roof and solar panels.

Disaster Resistant Roofs

While disaster proof homes are nearly impossible, experts are saying disaster resistant homes are achievable and the insurance industry is strongly encouraging them.

Institute for Business and Home Safety president and CEO Julie Rochman said “the idea is that if we could just get the roof right, just get people to our fortified retrofitting standard. For hurricanes and high wind and hail prone areas, which is a large portion of this country, we could probably save half of all property losses in a given year”.

Building Stronger Roofs

To build stronger roofs ring shank nails can be used instead of regular smooth nails or staples for roof sheathing. The ring shank nails can double the strength of the roof making it more resistant to blowing off in strong winds.

Sealing the roof deck will keep the water out and will save on additional living expense claims. Also using screws instead of nails during a new roof install or roof repair will strengthen a roof.

The quality of construction and the differences in building codes and practices will make a big difference if you’re going to build a disaster resistant building.

Rochman gave an example of 13 fortified homes that were struck by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Three of the homes were destroyed by debris from other destroyed homes and ten of the 13 homes sustained only minimal damage.

Study in Fatal Roof Falls

From a study published in the Journal of Safety Research, “Fatal Falls from Roofs among U.S. Construction Workers” is the study from CPWR, Center for Construction Research and Training. The study found that falls from roofs account for 1/3 of fall related construction fatalities from 1992-2009.

20,498 total fatalities occurred in the construction industry during the study years. 6,591 were fall injuries and 2,163 fatalities resulting from the falls.

The study also found that workers employed by small businesses and residential construction workers faced higher risks of falling from a roof and dying. The study also found almost half of all roof fatalities occurred in the southern states, and Hispanic workers accounted for 35% of fatal roof falls.

Report Suggests Roofers Wear Safety Gear

The authors of the study emphasized the need for OSHA’s fall protection to be implemented due to 76% of the fatalities in the roofing industry was caused by falls.

OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been cracking down on employers who do not provide proper safety equipment and training for their employees. Some roof contractors have seen stiff fines in the last couple of years resulting from fall protection violations.

The United States Department of Labor has useful information regarding OSHA regulations and how to comply. If you are working for a company that does not provide fall protection equipment or if you see roofers performing work in unsafe conditions without harnesses and scaffolding you can call OSHA at 1-800-321-6742 to report the issue.

Rain Victims Get Roof Donations

The Northern Region of Ghana has been hit continuously by rain storms in recent weeks, leaving thousands of people without shelter. Reportedly displacing as many as 10,000 people and responsible for five deaths, these treacherous rains have caused devastation in an already struggling region of Africa. However, one company has stepped up to help this destructed community rebuild.

Reaching Out

Metalex Groups Companies has donated 100 bundles of roofing materials to the National Disaster Management Organization to aid in the rebuilding efforts. The roofing sheets provided by Metalex will go to support the victims and help repair houses that were destroyed by the rainstorms. Some of the materials will go towards rebuilding schools so that the local children can return to school and resume instruction.

Metalex Groups Company is one of the area’s leading metal roofing supply companies. The General Manager cites the company’s corporate social responsibility for the driving factor behind the donation.

Roof Tile Materials

Roof tiles are designed to keep the elements out and provide an attractive durable roof for your home or business. Traditionally the tiles are made from locally sourced materials like clay or slate.

Clay tiles date back 4 or 5 thousand years to when it was a roofing material in China. Clay roof tiles are widely used throughout southern and southwestern states.

Mineralized steel tile comes in panels and makes for rapid application from roofers. The bituminous coated galvanized steel panels are called Decramastic roof tile, the units are lighter, easier to handle and less expensive than conventional clay tiles.

Man Made Materials

Concrete tiles and concrete fiber reinforced tiles are one of the most durable of all the roofing materials. They are usually sold with warranties running to as much as 50 years. These tiles are fireproof, immune to rotting and termite or rodent damage. They resist weathering of all types and actually grow stronger with age.

Slate tiles have a distinctive look and can be quite expensive. The slate is fireproof and relatively low maintenance. The tiles can be heavy and fragile.

Synthetic roof tiles are made with polymers and rubbers combined with fillers to make them durable, lightweight and weather resistant. Made to look like traditional tiles without the weight they can be installed without reinforcing the roof. Most synthetic roof tiles come with a 50 year warranty.

New Roof Discounts

The costs of roof repair and replacement can be hefty. Although you may think the higher quality products are more costly, the truth is that some may cost you the same as a lower quality material through a discount program.

Discounts and Deals

There are a few ways you can save money on your new roof. First, many insurance companies offer discount programs for certain types of roof materials. A more damage resistant material may cost more out of pocket, but your insurance company can provide a rebate that makes it more affordable. Metal and class 4 asphalt shingles are two of the more common materials that qualify for this discount. Contacting your insurance agent prior to having a roofer give you a bid can help you narrow down the option that is right for your home.

Another area of money savings in roofing is the ENERGY STAR program. You could save 10% of the cost up to $500 or a specific amount from $50–$300 for using ENERGY STAR rated roof products. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR tax credit program, materials must adhere to specifications that include target reflecting the sun’s UV rays, reducing the need for air conditioning or improving the insulation effect of a home.