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The 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) significantly changed the rules for roof construction, increasing the long-term thermal resistance (LTTR) value of insulation from R-25 to R-30 for low-sloped residential occupancy roofs. This change was driven by an effort to improve a building’s ability to maintain internal temperatures and reduce energy consumption and loss. An increase in the minimum LTTR value means an increase in the amount of insulation required for a roofing application. More insulation—in this case, a total of 5.2 inches—means increased project costs. All new roofing projects and any project that exposes existing insulation or the roof deck of an existing roof must comply with the code.
What we’ve learned since the adoption of the 2015 code is that the ROI for energy costs on the minimum insulation package well exceeds the average life expectancy of the roof. In fact, for some roofs, the original insulation might still be used when it’s time to re-roof if its LTTR value has remained the same over time.
The good news is that codes for 2018 are currently in the approval process, and it looks as if the required LTTR value of 30 will remain the same for at least the next three—and possibly the next six—years. Unlike many past code cycles, an increase isn’t in sight.
Even with LTTR values remaining steady, a savvy business owner might wonder why they should bother complying with a code that might not make financial sense for them in the immediate future. They might question why they should pay for 5.2 inches of insulation that will outlive the roof itself. One answer stands out: Because it’s the rule, and non-compliance can have real and even more costly consequences.
Before a roofing contractor begins a job, he puts his name on a permit, indicating that he is knowledgeable of the code and willing to comply with it. He has assumed the responsibility of making certain that everything about the project is done as it should be. Most contractors take this seriously, but, unfortunately, some unscrupulous contractors might cut corners and get away with it, at least initially. But getting caught in violation of the code can mean a total re-roof—and a lot of money.
When a commercial industrial building is for sale, most potential buyers will do their due diligence and have the entire building inspected. If during that inspection the existing roof is deemed noncompliant to the code that was in effect during its construction, and the permit reveals that the contractor signed his name, pledging to comply with the code, that contractor or the building owner can be held responsible for updating that roof, even five or ten years down the road.
Simply put, rules are rules. Code is code. Compliance is an essential part to a successful project. Make certain that whoever is working on your roof is aware of and remains compliant with code requirements.
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The best way to approach a commercial roofing project is to do it on the up and up. Ridgeworth Roofing’s experts have an unmatched knowledge of code requirements as well as the skills required to maintain compliance while providing the best possible roofing solution for each project. Give us a call today.
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