Roofing and Building Codes

The roof is a crucial part of any building, adding to its aesthetic value and sheltering the interior from the elements. Throughout history, the roof has been constructed in a variety of forms—flat, pitched, vaulted, domed, or in combinations—as dictated by technical, economic, or aesthetic considerations.

Whether new construction or re-roofing, the roof should be evaluated to ensure it meets current code requirements. Some local building codes establish thresholds for re-roofing or remodeling that require the roof structure to be re-evaluated based on current wind load criteria. Other factors influencing design and construction include the type of building, location, and its historical use.

Roofs are also critical in the energy efficiency of Ace Roofing and Building  . In fact, many states have adopted the International Energy Conservation Code IECC, which includes thermal insulation requirements for most commercial buildings.

The roofing industry has made significant strides towards sustainability, utilizing eco-friendly materials, reducing waste and promoting recycling. Many contractors are now implementing green roofs, which incorporate vegetation into the building and help reduce urban heat islands, and solar roofs that harness the sun’s power for heating and cooling.

Most roofing professionals know that the roof plays an important role in defining the architectural character of a building and protecting the interior from the weather. What may not be as well understood is that the roof can also play a significant role in a building’s overall energy performance and its owners’ heating and cooling costs.

Historically, most building structures used a wood-framed structure. This was common for single-family homes and commercial office space. Depending on the construction materials, wood-framed buildings are combustible, meaning that they can burn quickly in a fire. Typically, these types of buildings offer only about three hours of protection in the event of a fire.

The earliest roofs were thatched with grass, leaves, branches, or reeds. Later, thicker branches and timbers were used to span a roof with clay or other relatively impermeable material pressed into the interstices between them. These early roofs were typically set at a slope, or pitch, to drain off rainfall.

Today, a roof can be built from any of a number of different materials, including asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and clay tile. Each of these roofs offers its own set of benefits and disadvantages, but the most important factor in choosing a roofing system is ensuring that it complies with the building codes for the area where the building is located. Building codes are performance and prescriptive standards established by state or local governments. Generally, they are based on standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association, ASTM International, and the International Code Council.