Polyiso Fire Performance

Posted By  PIMA

All construction materials, including insulation products like polyiso, must provide a suitable margin of fire safety. Polyiso insulation products are tested per material-specific tests as well as part of full assemblies that test fire performance as constructed. Importantly, polyiso possesses a high level of inherent fire resistance when compared to other insulations due to its unique structure of strong chemical bonds. These bonds result in improved high temperature resistance (up to 390 degrees F – more than twice the temperature resistance of some other building insulation products), which in turn leads to enhanced fire resistance. In addition, polyiso does not melt or drip when exposed to flame. The product forms a protective surface char that enhances its fire resistance in terms of reduced flame spread and the potential to contribute to flashover.

For more information on polyiso insulation’s performance in fire tests, consult the following Technical Bulletins:

Tags:  fire performance  insulation  NFPA 285  Polyiso 

Roofing Day

Posted by PIMA

On April 4, 2019, as spring unfolded in Washington, D.C. with the arrival of the cherry blossoms, PIMA and a sea of more than 400 roofing industry professionals descended on Capitol Hill for meetings with Congressional representatives to discuss issues of importance to the entire roofing industry. PIMA and its member companies were there to advocate in support of three key issues:

  • A robust buildings component for infrastructure legislation.

  • Immigration reform that meets the roofing industry's workforce needs.

  • Expanded workforce training incentives.

There is strength in numbers and Roofing Day is an opportunity for the entire roofing industry to speak with one unified voice. Groups of roofing contractors, front-line workers, state and regional roofing associations, roofing manufacturers, distributors, and design and roof-consulting professionals participated in close to 300 Congressional meetings. Roofing Day 2019 had an increased participation of 5 percent compared to Roofing Day 2018. 

Visiting Capitol Hill with hundreds of roofing industry professionals was powerful as were the connections that were made. Equally as powerful and valuable - the connections made among the attendees.


Storage and Handling Recommendations For Polyiso Roof Insulation

Posted by PIMA

While it has been a long winter, spring is sure to get here sooner than we think, which means many roofing project will soon be underway. Here are key considerations (TB109) about the storage and handling of polyiso roof insulation on a job site:

Storage 
Polyiso insulation is typically shipped protected by a plastic wrap, plastic bag or both. This factory packaging is intended for handling the polyiso in the manufacturing plant and during transit; it should not be relied upon as protection at jobsites or other outdoor storage locations unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer. 

Material delivery should be carefully coordinated with the roof application schedule to minimize outdoor storage. When short-term outdoor storage is necessary, whether at grade or on the roof deck, the following precautions should be observed: 

  • Bundles should be stored flat above the ground utilizing included feet or on raised pallets. If possible, the bundles should be placed on a finished surface such as gravel, pavement, or concrete rather than on dirt or grass.

  • Unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer, cover the package and pallet with a waterproof cover, and secure to prevent wind displacement. 

Note: Polyiso insulation is fully cured and fit for installation upon delivery. No additional storage time is required.

Handling 
Exercise care during handling of polyiso insulation to prevent breaking or crushing of the square edges and surfaces. Remove the polyiso bundles from trucks with proper equipment. Other means of mishandling, such as pushing pallets off the edge of the truck or “rolling” the pallet across the roof deck, must be avoided. 

Product Application 
Polyiso should always be installed on dry, clean roof decks in dry conditions. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding product application to ensure performance to the intended design life of the roofing system. Apply only as much polyiso roof insulation as can be covered by completed roofing the same day. 

Construction Traffic 
Avoid excessive traffic during roof construction of or on a completed roof surface. Although polyiso has been designed to withstand limited foot traffic, protection from damage by construction traffic and/or abuse is extremely important. Roof surface protection such as plywood should be used in areas where storage and staging are planned and heavy or repeated traffic is anticipated during or after installation. 

Some designers and membrane manufacturers specify the use of cover boards as a means of protecting the insulation. If specified, installers should ensure that the cover board used is compatible with all components of the roofing system, is acceptable to the membrane manufacturer, and meets specified fire, wind, and code requirements. 

Polyiso roof insulation, like other roofing materials, requires a proper understanding of storage, handling, and application to result in a properly constructed roof system. You can find additional technical information about polyiso roof and wall insulation at polyiso.org.

Tags:  building site  construction  handling  insulation  Polyiso  storage 

Justin Koscher Featured Educational Speaker at 2019 RCI International Convention & Trade Show Monday, March 18, 2:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Posted By PIMA

PIMA President Justin Koscher along with Lorraine Ross of Intech Consulting, Inc. will present at the RCI convention to provide U.S. practitioners with answers, information, and guidance on how to harmonize the goals of building fire safety and energy efficiency. Information presented will be derived from consensus codes and standards, industry research and testing, and best practice guidance documents.

The tragic June 2017 fire at the Grenfell Tower in London has led British authorities to conduct a comprehensive review of building fire regulations intended to provide answers on how the fire occurred and what should be done to prevent a future tragedy. The Grenfell Tower fire has communities outside of England asking, could this type of fire happen here?

The presentation will:

  • Highlight specifically how U.S. codes and standards create a system approach to controlling the use of foam plastic insulation products in commercial buildings of varying heights

  • Detail resources that are available to help ensure buildings here in the U.S. are built and renovated to greatly reduce fire incidents and losses when fires do occur

  • Present examples of approved assemblies in a variety of exterior walls that utilize foam plastic insulation for different construction configurations

  • Provide guidance on how fire safety can be maintained throughout the design process and construction phases

Tags:  building codes  fire performance  insulation  NFPA 285 

NFPA 285

Posted By Nathan Pobre, PIMA

Improvements to the building envelope through the use of continuous insulation solutions have played a major role in mainstreaming high-performance construction practices that meet the requirements of commercial building energy codes. To meet the demands of today’s builds, architectural and design professionals must balance energy efficiency with whole building performance considerations, including fire safety. With respect to wall assemblies in Type I-IV Construction, understanding and properly implementing NFPA 285 can be a critical component for designing a compliant, high-performance building envelope.

NFPA 285 is a fire test standard that measures the flammability characteristics of exterior wall assemblies. More specifically, and according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), it “provides a standardized fire test procedure for evaluating the suitability of exterior, non-load bearing wall assemblies and panels used as components of curtain wall assemblies that are constructed using combustible materials or that incorporate combustible components for installation on buildings where the exterior walls are required to be non-combustible.” While the individual products used in the wall assembly carry product-specific fire tests, it is important that entire wall assemblies are tested to meet approved fire performance requirements and ensure the safety of the building occupants.

The NFPA 285 test is performed on both load-bearing and non-load-bearing wall assemblies. It requires a wall assembly mockup spanning two stories (18’ high) with a test room on each floor. A single window opening is provided in the first-story room where a test burner is located. This burner is ignited in order to simulate an interior room fire. A second burner located on the exterior side of the test wall further enhances the flames to the window header. The test simulates a common, real-world interior fire scenario that reaches flashover, breaches a window, and spreads upward along the wall face. The test examines fire performance of the entire wall assembly, including within the wall assembly. It’s important to note also that the test is conducted without any interior fire suppression system.

To pass the NFPA 285 test, flame propagation cannot occur on or within the wall assembly beyond a certain distance either vertically or laterally from the area of flame plume impingement. Thermocouples are placed throughout the wall assembly to measure temperatures. Exceeding defined temperature limits results in a test failure. Additional requirements include: 

  • No flame propagation in second-floor room;

  • The inside wall assembly thermocouples shall not exceed 1000°F rise during the 30-minute test;

  • External flames shall not reach 10′ above the top of the window; and

  • The external flame shall not reach 5′ laterally from the center line of the window. 

It is a common misconception that only foam insulation products trigger NFPA 285. While any wall containing foam plastic insulation in Types I-IV Construction must comply with the test requirements, the use of other wall assembly configurations may also need to pass NFPA 285. These assemblies can include those constructed with combustible claddings and weather resistant barriers.

Since 2000, NFPA 285 has been in the International Building Code (IBC) and has gained attention due to the increased diversity in exterior wall systems and greater compliance with building energy efficiency standards. To learn more about NFPA 285, please refer to the National Fire Protection Association.

Tags:  building codes  building envelope  fire performance  NFPA 285  Type I-IV 

Polyiso Continuous Insulation

Posted By PIMA

Improvements to model energy codes are boosting advances in the use of insulation for commercial and residential building envelopes. Continuous insulation (CI) is quickly becoming the standard for high-performance building due to its ability to greatly improve operational performance while simplifying design and installation. In the ASHRAE 90.1 standard, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-rise Residential Buildings, CI is defined as: "Insulation that is continuous across all structural members without thermal bridges other than fasteners and service openings. It is installed on the interior, exterior, or is integral to any opaque surface of the building envelope."

CI is one of the most thermally efficient ways of complying with modern energy codes and mitigates energy loss that commonly results from thermal bridging. A thermal bridge, also called a cold bridge, heat bridge, or thermal bypass, is an area with higher thermal conductivity than the surrounding materials—like the studs of a wall that have batt insulation between them, creating a path of least resistance for heat transfer. In an otherwise insulated building, thermal bridges can account for up to 30 percent of energy loss. Using CI, the insulation doesn’t skip over studs or other obstructions in the wall cavity; it covers the entire surface. This results in:

  • Increased thermal performance 
    By blocking thermal bridging, a continuous insulation system increases the overall thermal performance of a wall assembly and a building. 

  • Reduced operating costs 
    Continuous insulation keeps energy and heat loss to a minimum, increasing the building’s energy efficiency and leading to lower monthly operating costs.

  • Reduced air infiltration and exfiltration 
    Continuous insulation with taped or sealed joints restricts air movement through the wall, helping to further reduce building heat loss.

The benefits of certain CI solutions go beyond enhanced energy efficiency. For example, polyiso insulation can serve as an air barrier, water resistant barrier, and water vapor control/retarder in wall assemblies. These capabilities provide the following additional benefits: 

  • Reduced risk of water condensation and moisture intrusion 
    Continuous insulation is a very moisture-resistant system, guarding the thermal and structural performance of the building. 

  • Efficient installation 
    When used as sheathing, continuous insulation can simplify the steps to construct a code-compliant wall assembly. 

  • Dimensional Stability 
    Polyiso insulation has excellent dimensional stability and meets ASTM C1289 Standard Specification for Faced Rigid Cellular Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board. 

There are a multitude of building envelope product options, and a variety of design and construction methods used for achieving compliance with code requirements for the thermal envelope. To learn more about polyiso CI systems and their tried and true methods to meet these requirements refer to PIMA Technical Bulletin #403: “Continuous Insulation Using Polyiso Wall Sheathing” and this AIA CEU course which covers:

  • The different roles a product can play in the building envelope to simplify its design.

  • The code requirements for buildings classified as International Building Code Type I-IV Construction.

  • Strategies for achieving code compliance.

  • How polyiso can play multiple roles to meet or exceed these code requirements.

    Tags:  insulation  polyiso  r-value  Type I-IV 
     

Newest Shiloh House in Colorado Uses Polyiso Wall Boards for Superior Thermal and Weather Barrier

Posted By PIMA

When Colorado architects from the Davis Partnership were designing a new building for the non-profit Shiloh House, they were thrilled to find a product that would protect the building envelope from exposure to fire, water, and wind while integrating a continuous insulation system that would provide long-term thermal efficiency. The polyiso wall insulation solution from Rmax gave them flexibility to use a variety of external claddings for visual interest without compromising on protection from the elements and energy savings. Even better, with the help of Rmax’s in-house architect and field team, they were able to design a wall system with smooth, on-time installation that meet the rigorous NFPA 285 requirements.

Shiloh House has five locations across Colorado that offer nurturing, therapeutic and educational services aimed to help youth and families to overcome the impact of abuse, neglect and trauma. They helped over 1,000 youth last year alone. 

This new facility in Centennial is situated on a 1.54-acre property and includes on-site parking, outdoor courtyards, and the spaces and amenities that support the group’s programming to promote family stability and help families achieve their goals, while ensuring continued access to community resources once Shiloh House services have been successfully completed.

For an organization with such lofty goals, every dollar saved in building operations is another resource that can be used to serve its mission. The Rmax polyiso wall boards provide continuous insulation—eliminating heat lost that could occur through the studs when insulating with traditional products that are installed only in the wall cavities—and have reinforced aluminum foil facers that offer enhanced durability, dimensional stability and greater radiant heat protection. They make it easier and less expensive to keep the building comfortable, no matter the weather conditions outside.

“When we’re designing a building, we try to meet the highest standards because we care about protecting the environment and saving our client money over the whole life of their building by maximizing energy efficiency,” the architects explained. “With a reliable weather barrier and superior insulative properties, the polyiso continuous insulation system really gives your building the best protection while actually saving time and hassle on installation since it includes multiple protective layers in a single product.” 

And the finished product speaks for itself:

Aerial views: www.rmax.com/aerial-videos 

Project Gallery: www.rmax.com/shiloh-house-project-gallery


Rmax ECOMAXci Wall Solution Shiloh House Project Image

Greg Fantin of Rmax Named PIMA Chair During Association’s Annual Meeting

Monday, December 17, 2018  

During its annual meeting, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA) announced the election of Greg Fantin, Vice President - Marketing at Rmax, a division of the Sika Corporation, as chair of the Board of Directors. Greg’s two-year term began on November 14, 2018. He succeeds Helene Pierce of GAF, who has served as the PIMA chair for the last three years.

“Greg has a deep understanding of what makes an organization effective. His leadership skills and instinctual grasp of important fundamentals make Greg a terrific choice to lead PIMA for the next two years,” said Justin Koscher, PIMA president. “The building, architecture and specification communities continue to demonstrate an ever-increasing desire to improve the thermal performance of commercial and residential building envelopes. Under Greg’s chairmanship, we will continue to meet this growing demand for effective solutions by promoting polyiso insulation and advocating on behalf of our members.”

With a background of nearly 20 years in the auto industry before pivoting to building products, Greg has spent seven years at Rmax, preceded by four years at Amerimax Building Products, working primarily on the sales and marketing side of the business. He is a graduate of Michigan State.

“PIMA has emerged as a trusted voice in conversations about building performance, energy efficiency, sustainability and resiliency,” said Fantin. “High-performance insulation in both roof and wall applications is a powerful factor in boosting building envelope performance. PIMA provides vital support to this industry through its advocacy, education, technical resources, building codes and standards work, and certification initiatives.”

Attended by more than 120 members—both polyiso manufacturers and suppliers to the industry—PIMA’s two-day annual meeting featured educational sessions on:

  • State and local policies driving energy efficiency in new and existing buildings;

  • The future of marketing – human-to-human;

  • Fire protection in building and construction; and

  • Political landscape analysis from the 2018 U.S. midterms to the 2020 elections.

Benefits of High-Density Polyisocyanurate Cover Boards for Roofing Systems

Monday, December 17, 2018  
Posted by: Nathan Pobre

PIMA President Justin Koscher has written an article that discusses the benefits of HD polyiso cover boards. Justin writes:

"There are many cover board products currently available — ranging from traditional gypsum board to highly engineered polyisocyanurate (or “polyiso”) technologies. Across product types, cover boards are an important component in roof systems that provide a rigid substrate and protection for other components of the roof system."

Long Before Disaster Hits, Building Codes Can Provide Damage Protection

Posted By Justin Koscher, Friday, November 2, 2018

Aerial images of the Florida Panhandle in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael seem almost post-apocalyptic in their illustration of the widespread devastation wrought by the storm’s powerful wind, storm surge, and precipitation. Yet nestled amid the rubble and debris, a few anomalies appear – homes and structures that weathered the disastrous conditions with little apparent damage even as neighboring houses lay in ruin. 

Media coverage of the storm included profiles of some of these structures. The New York Times described a home “built for the big one” and the Washington Post highlighted low cost reinforcements that saved other homes. A common theme was that all of these homes were built with conscious attention to building code standards that could increase resiliency to extreme weather.

While concrete walls and extra nails and fasteners might shine as methods to prevent damage, boosting survivability of buildings through construction standards is only part of the broader picture. A suite of building codes that minimizes structural damage can also provide savings in normal operational circumstances. Buildings that maximize insulation and vapor barriers save money every day through reduced energy usage. But when disaster strikes, they have the added ability to keep the temperature of interior spaces habitable when electricity is knocked out for extended periods after a storm.

Building codes are the minimum standards for structures designed to protect public health, safety, and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings. They comprise a collection of guidelines related to all of the interconnected parts of a building: the roofing systems, wall components, fire prevention, safety features, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. They are designed to work together and often upgrades in one area can create momentum to make a building more robust overall: better windows may require updated flashing or insulation that will help the building with general durability and also increase its resistance to major events.  

As climate change continues to impact the built environment, the building industry has been keen to refocus on what sustainability really means. While earlier efforts at “green building” might have been to incentivize adding bike racks, today’s resiliency work goes to the very purpose of building—to create structures that will protect occupants from the elements, function well over time, and perform efficiently even in adverse circumstances.

Acknowledging the value of improved building codes, FEMA is even offering pre-disaster mitigation funding to states and jurisdictions that will incentivize owners to upgrade existing buildings to new standards, a process that can be particularly cost-effective when other renovations are already taking place. Though added costs may seem daunting, studies have shown that for each dollar of added cost in bringing buildings up to higher standards, there is almost $6 in savings from damage prevented, not to mention reduced costs from improved energy performance throughout the life of the building. The upgrades literally pay for themselves over time.

While no building code can guarantee complete protection from hazardous weather and natural disasters, adopting higher standards does greatly increase the odds that a building will have minimized damage and a more habitable internal environment in the aftermath of a storm. Taking advantage of the building technologies and construction methods that meet the most progressive codes is a decision that will often pay for itself many times over.

Tags: building codes  buildings  Disaster Preparedness  resiliency  Stafford Act 


Congress Turns to Building Codes for Disaster Preparedness

Posted By Justin Koscher, Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2018

On two occasions this year, Congress enacted reforms for disaster preparedness that raise the profile and importance of building codes for purposes of planning and recovery. The nation’s disaster relief law – the Stafford Act – was first reformed as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act and later reformed with permanent fixes under the FAA Reauthorization bill passed in October 2018. 

Under these amendments, building code adoption and enforcement are added as eligible activities and criteria used in grant programs aimed at reducing the impact of future disasters. In other words, states that act to adopt modern building codes and standards will be eligible for additional federal assistance in the event a disaster strikes. Moreover, the reforms allow damaged buildings to be rebuilt with federal support to better withstand future events, rather than merely restored to their pre-disaster condition. 

These changes do not specifically address adoption and enforcement of energy codes. However, we expect that by encouraging the adoption and regular updating of the building codes that the energy code will also be positively affected.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the first six months of 2018 resulted in six weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each. Moody’s Analytics estimates that losses resulting from Hurricane Florence will cost between $38 billion and $50 billion. Damage to homes and business can contribute significantly to the total impact of a disaster. 

Construction built to meet or exceed modern building codes can therefore play an important role in reducing the overall economic impact of natural disasters. According to the Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report published by the National Institute of Building Sciences, the model building codes developed by the International Code Council can save the nation $4 for every $1 spent.

Energy efficiency is a key part of a building’s – and a community’s – ability to withstand and quickly restore normalcy after a disaster. For example, a well-insulated building can comfort occupants when power is limited or cutoff. Building energy codes will also encourage the construction of more robust building envelope systems that can help avoid the crippling effects of moisture intrusion that is common in severe weather events. 

The recognition by Congress that modern building codes deliver an answer to disaster preparedness is a positive for homeowners and businesses across the country. States now have the added incentive to prepare for tomorrow by enacting and enforcing better building codes today.

Tags:  building codes  Congress  Disaster Preparedness  Efficiency  energy codes  NOAA  resiliency  Stafford Act