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RICOWI’s Hurricane Ike Report on Roofing Investigations Now Available
Roofs designed and detailed according to current codes and standards for installation in high wind areas will perform satisfactorily

Finding: Roofs designed and detailed according to current codes and standards for installation in high wind areas will perform satisfactorily.

The Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues, Inc. (RICOWI) Executive Director, Joan Cook, said “the RICOWI Board of Directors approved publishing the Hurricane Ike Report and posting it on RICOWI’s website: www.ricowi.com effective immediately.

A logistics team was dispatched to the Houston area immediately following landfall (September 13, 2008) to conduct aerial surveillance, target sites and prepare for the seven teams. Twenty-nine expert wind engineers, roofing material specialists, insurance analysts, structural engineers, and roofing consultants investigated a combined total of 110 low and steep sloped roofs in the damaged areas around the Houston metroplex and adjacent areas. Nearly every type of building and roof system was encountered in the investigations. The teams collected specific information on each building examined, including the type of structure (use or occupancy), wall construction, roof type, roof slope, building dimensions, roof deck, insulation, roofing material, construction, and method of attachment. In addition, the teams noted terrain exposure and the estimated wind speeds at the building site from wind speed maps provided by Applied Research Associates.

RICOWI Chair Rick Olson said “Overall, when roofs appeared to be designed and installed according to the current codes and followed manufacturers’ recommendations, they were not damaged, or suffered minor damage from the hurricane force winds.” A metal roof example was cited by Team Captain Dave Hunt “The installer paid particular attention to detail (i.e. closing ends of seams, connection at valleys, etc.) The roof survived Ike with no apparent damage as a result of the product used and workmanship employed.”

Common problems in the low and steep slope roofs documented in the previous three hurricane investigations were also found during the Ike investigation. Once again poor securement of edge metal resulted in significant damage to the roof plus emitting dangerous sharp debris during the storms. It has also been shown that debris can puncture even the toughest systems.

In addition to the individual inspection reports and photos, the report covers Code Commentary, Results, Need for Engineered Design and lists specific criteria to enhance wind resistance of roof coverings. The Appendices include wind maps, a listing of inspections by team and a separate listing by roof type.

The RICOWI report available for free download on our website may also be ordered on CD (nominal postage & handling fee). Note that the previous hurricane reports (Charley, Ivan, Katrina) may also be downloaded free of charge.

RICOWI’s Board of Directors appointed a task force that has developed a new protocol for a future “above code” event investigation. The Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues, Inc. (RICOWI) is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 to identify and address important technical issues related to the cause of wind and weather damage. For further information contact RICOWI's Executive Director, Joan Cook: Phone 330-671-4569; Email jcook@ricowi.com or visit RICOWI's website: www.ricowi.com.


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