Is an Elusive U.S. Total Ban on Asbestos Finally in Sight?

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

AbsolutVision / Pixabay

THURSDAY, July 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A new U.S. government rule on asbestos is at best a toothless measure against the cancer-causing material, critics charge.

The rule, laid out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), went into effect in June. The agency says it was designed to strengthen decades-old public health protections.

But two former government officials said the rule does nothing to address the continued use of asbestos in the United States. At worst, they argued, it actually creates “loopholes” that, in theory, could expand asbestos use in the future.

Writing in the July 10 online issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors instead call for a complete ban on the material.

“Over 60 countries have banned asbestos,” said co-author Richard Lemen, a former deputy director of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. “It’s far past time the U.S. got on board with the rest of the world — especially when there are alternatives to asbestos.”

Asbestos is a mineral that naturally exists as bundles of fibers. For decades, it was mined and used in many industries, owing to its strength and resistance to heat and fire. It found its way into everything from cement, roofing and tiles, to insulation and fireproofing, to paints, coatings and adhesives, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).

“And it’s been a 100-year man-made disaster,” said Linda Reinstein, president of the non-profit Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.

The good news is that a full ban is in sight, Lemen pointed out: The Alan Reinstein “Ban Asbestos Now” bill — named for Linda Reinstein’s late husband — is currently before both houses of Congress.

Reinstein said it has bipartisan support and that she’s “very optimistic” about its chances of passing.

How does asbestos do its damage? Breathing in tiny asbestos fibers can cause inflammation and scarring in the lungs, and raise the risk of deadly cancers of the lung, throat and ovaries.

Today, Lemen said, most Americans who die of asbestos-related diseases were either exposed years ago, or — through their jobs — are regularly exposed to asbestos installed decades ago.

People in certain jobs are at greatest risk, the NCI says: They include construction and demolition workers, shipyard workers and firefighters.

To be sure, asbestos use in the United States has plummeted since the 1960s.

However, Lemen said, a complete ban has remained elusive. The EPA tried back in 1989, he noted, but the ban was overturned in court.

Instead, the EPA was able to ban a handful of specific uses, while industry phased out most others. Today, it persists primarily in the chlor-alkali industry, which uses asbestos in producing chlorine and caustic soda.

The new EPA rule restricts 19 categories of asbestos use — in products like floor tile, roofing and adhesives. Those uses have all been long abandoned by industry. But they were not included in the 1989 ban, and the EPA says the new rule will prevent manufacturers from bringing them back.

But to Reinstein’s group, and other environmental and health advocates, the rule is an empty gesture: Reinstein questioned the notion that manufacturers would want to reintroduce a long-abandoned material widely known as a killer.

She described the EPA move as “throwing us a bone, rather than giving us a ban.”

It does nothing, she said, to curb the major remaining use of asbestos by the chlor-alkali industry.

The EPA did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2018, the United States imported about 750 metric tons of asbestos, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It’s imported because asbestos is no longer mined here.

Where does it come from? Russia — one of the world’s top asbestos producers, Lemen noted.

To Reinstein, it’s “outrageous” that the chlor-alkali industry has successfully lobbied to keep asbestos use alive in the United States. “There is no safe or controlled use for asbestos,” she said.

According to Lemen, nothing short of an asbestos ban is sufficient. At worst, he said, the new EPA rule leaves a door open to wider use — since it details a review process by which companies can seek to use the toxic mineral.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on asbestos.

SOURCES: Richard Lemen, Ph.D., former deputy director, U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and former assistant surgeon general, U.S. Public Health Service; Linda Reinstein, president, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, Redondo Beach, Calif.; July 10, 2019, New England Journal of Medicine, online

Last Updated: 

Opening date set for refurbished Rothesay Pavilion

Opening date set for refurbished Rothesay Pavilion

The long-awaited re-opening of Rothesay Pavilion is now due to take place in September, five weeks later than planned, a new report has revealed.

The refurbishment of the iconic building has been hit by delays as a result of weather and construction issues, which mean it will miss its target of opening by Wednesday, July 31.

A report for a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Bute and Cowal area committee now lists the Pavilion’s scheduled opening date as Tuesday, September 3 – even though barely half of the work has been completed.

The report by project manager Jonathan Miles says the project remains within its £10.6 million budget, but has been labelled complex and challenging due to the location, design, age and unique characteristics of the building. Mr Miles’ report also reveals that asbestos was found after a part of the ceiling in the Pavilion’s main hall collapsed during construction work.

Mr Miles said: “Seventy-nine per cent of the contract duration has expired and with only 52 per cent of the work completed to date the main contractor remains behind programme.

“This has been primarily caused due to works e.g. undercroft excavation, roof replacement, cast stone repairs and cast stone coping replacement, not having progressed at the same speed, due to weather and complexity challenges.

“It should be noted that there was a marked drop in overall performance during the quarter as noted above.

“This was due in part to the weather impacting on external roof, stone replacement works and partial collapse of the auditorium perimeter ceiling which restricted access to certain parts of the building.

“With regard to the ceiling, a comprehensive survey has been undertaken to understand the root cause of the collapse, including sample analysis which has confirmed the presence of asbestos.

“Weather has continued to interrupt external envelope works both to the roof and wall elevations. For example, only 64 per cent of roof works have been completed.

“Despite the main contractors’ best endeavours, maintaining the water tightness and integrity of the structure has been challenging, with a consequential impact on internal fit-out progress.

“An inspection of the main hall and stage floors has noted water penetration, and a follow up specialist survey will be undertaken, subject to entry into the hall following asbestos removal works.”

Mr Miles also reported that the Rothesay Pavilion Charity was looking unlikely to meet its fundraising target of £400,000 by the end of June. It currently has £132,000 secured, with a forecast total of £298,000 being in the coffers within the target time.

Argyll and Bute Council may be able to step in to make up the shortfall – but that will depend on a decision taken by its members.

Mr Miles added: “Whilst the charity is using its best endeavours to try and achieve its capital contribution target, it is becoming evident the charity will not close the gap by June 2019.

“The council previously agreed to underwrite the charity’s capital fundraising target pending successful funding applications.

“In view of the forecast shortfall the council will need to make a decision to release budget to sustain the charity until the building construction contract is complete.”

Rothesay Pavilion declined the opportunity to comment. However, an Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: Work continues on what will be a fantastic asset for Bute, with everyone involved in the Rothesay Pavilion project determined to ensure it’s a facility the community can be proud of.

“The complex nature of this scale of project on an A-listed building nearing 100-years-old means surprises can arise and cause a delay. Specifically, asbestos in the existing main hall ceiling is in far worse condition than surveys led us to believe. As a result, we’ve had to appoint specialist contractors to remove it, as opposed to undertaking localised repairs as was previously envisaged.

“While this has a knock-on effect for the project overall, the safety of future users of the building must come first.

“We thank the community for their patience and understanding, and we look forward to delivering a sustainable and much-loved Pavilion for Rothesay.”

How much can painting a roof white reduce its temperature?

It has long been known that painting the roof of a building white reflects sunlight and reduces its temperature.

But by how much and are there downsides to doing it?

In a recent BBC interview, the former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon suggested that this reduction could be as much as 30C, with the internal temperature of the building falling by as much as seven degrees.

So where do these figures come from and does wider research back this up?

Mr Ban was talking about a pilot project in Ahmedabad City in western India, where summer temperatures can reach as high as 50C.

In 2017, more than 3,000 city rooftops were painted using both white lime and a special reflective coating.

Known simply as “cool roofing”, this process is designed to reduce the solar radiation absorbed, which in turn means less heat is transferred inside the building.

Cool roofs also emit away some heat normally retained by a building, cooling it further.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The planning document for the Gujarat project states that reflective roof coverings “can help bring roof temperatures down by as much as 30C and reduce indoor temperatures by three to seven degrees”.

But this is not an actual finding from the project itself.

“Depending on the setting, cool roofs can help keep indoor temperatures lower by 2C to 5C as compared to traditional roofs,” says Anjali Jaiswal, of the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council, which oversaw the Ahmedabad project.

This range is slightly lower than Mr Ban’s figure for the reduction of building temperatures, but is still a significant drop.

Another pilot in Hyderabad in southern India, using a cool roof coating membrane, found indoor air temperatures lower by an average of 2C.

As for Mr Ban’s claim of a 30 degree fall in the temperature of the rooftop itself, the Gujarat pilot does not provide answers, but we can turn to the findings of a study by the California-based Berkeley Lab for some guidance.

It found that a clean white roof that reflects 80% of sunlight will stay about 31C cooler on a summer afternoon.

The conditions would of course be very different in California to those found in India – where more than 60% of roofs are made from metal, asbestos and concrete, which trap heat inside buildings even when treated with white coating.

However, both Indian cities, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, have seen sufficient success with their pilots that they have launched expanded cool roofs programmes this year.

mage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

So why aren’t more cities being painting white?

The idea is of course not new, and white roofs and walls have been a typical sight for centuries in southern European and North African countries.

The city of New York has recently coated more than 10 million sq ft of rooftops white.

Other places like California have updated building codes to promote cool roofs, which are seen as an important way to save energy.

A cool roof can save air-conditioning costs by as much as 40%.

An experiment in Bhopal in central India found that solar reflective paint on low-rise buildings saved energy load by 303 kWh in peak summer hours.

There are even estimates for the potential reduction in global carbon emissions if cooling paint was used on rooftops in every large city around the world.

The Berkeley Lab says the worldwide use of reflective roofing could produce a global cooling effect equivalent to offsetting 24 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of taking 300 million cars off the road for 20 years.

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

It is certainly a low-cost option, particularly in poorer countries.

A coating of lime wash “can cost as little as 1.5 rupees (£0.017; $0.02) per sq ft to more expensive reflective coatings or membranes”, says Ms Jaiswal.

The differences can be considerable both in personal comfort and in energy savings on cooling.

Ultimately, however, “political will and implementation play a big role”, says Ms Jaiswal.

And there are possible downsides to consider.

For cities with colder winters, reflective roofs might increase demand for heating and roof condensation is a mould risk.

This is why a University College London team decided not to use white paint for a resettlement colony project in New Delhi.

“The residents were also against painting roofs white, because roofs are also used for other purposes,” says Renu Khosla, from the Delhi-based Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence.

The highly reflective paint, she says, makes it hard to go out on to the roofs to use the space for storage and daily household chores.

A team from the University of Chicago also carried out research in the same area near Delhi.

They painted the roofs of a group of buildings and found that even though indoor temperatures fell by only modest amounts, those living in them did adjust their behaviour to save money on energy bills and water use.

Just 7 days to success for BMI roofing apprentices of the Year

With just over a week to go until this year’s BMI Apprentice of the Year competition closes , there’s still time for aspirational and ambitious roofing apprentices to enter the competition. May 3rd 2019 is the closing date and all those recognised as an apprentice by their employer, or those working towards qualified status, are encouraged to enter.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

Two prestigious titles – one for pitched and one for flat roofing – will be awarded and winning the competition identifies that person as possessing commitment, ability and the potential to achieve great things, whether as a leading employee, independent businessperson of the future or a college lecturer. Beyond the prestige and kudos, there is also a trophy and prize bundle; plus ongoing support from the team at the BMI National Training Centre.

Mat Woodyatt, BMI UK & Ireland’s Technical Training Manager, says: “We are currently receiving high quality entries from colleges across the country and will do right up to the wire. With the deadline of May 3rd is looming, there’s every reason why trainees and tutors should bid for victory in this great competition now.”

To enter, candidates are asked three questions about how they see change affecting the sector in the next five years; and then have to submit a short personal statement on how their training has seen their attitude to roofing change. Twenty candidates are then shortlisted and invited to the competition final which takes place over two days at the BMI National Training Centre in Gloucestershire.

Finalists receive professional coaching on all aspects of running a roofing business – including business planning, presentation skills, and technical skills – before being assessed, making this a complete learning experience. The two-day event concludes in the Apprentice of the Year awards dinner – consisting of the finalists, their tutors, and judges – where the winners of the 2019 competition will be announced.

This blog was taken from

There’s no time to lose, and so for further information about this year’s BMI Apprentice of the Year competition, including entry details please visit

European roofing giant is latest firm to move to Reading’s Thames Tower

European roofing giant is latest firm to move to Reading’s Thames Tower

A giant in the world of roofing has set up a new office in Reading’s Thames Tower.

BMI, the largest manufacturer of flat and pitched roofing and waterproofing solutions throughout Europe, has taken the whole of the 13th floor of the 14-storey office building beside Reading Station.

The company’s office space totals 14,000 square feet.

The move means just two floors remain vacant at the building in Station Road.

James Silver, managing director of Landid, which manages the building, said: “This again proves Reading’s new office offer is increasingly attracting the big players.

“Thames Tower is a prime example of how offices, in transport hubs, like Reading , are proving to be a new and refreshing offer for UK and global business.

“We look forward to welcoming BMI to Thames Tower, a thriving building which is having a positive effect on the town and the local economy.”

BMI is expanding its business from London to Reading, in the hope of attracting new talent and business.

The company joins the likes of Ericsson, which has the eight, ninth and 14th floors.

Other occupiers include HSBC, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and MNBL (Mobile Broadband Network Limited), international recruitment firm Austen Fraser and  professional services firm BDO.

The building was recently bought by Spelthorne Borough Council in Surrey in a £285 million deal.

MichaelGaida / Pixabay

IRE: Resilient Roofing, Tech and Future Trends

IRE: Resilient Roofing, Tech and Future Trends

From the sold-out floor of IRE 2019, Janelle Penny speaks with Mike DuCharme about all things roofing.a

ArtisticOperations / Pixabay

[Begin transcript]

Janelle: This is Janelle Penny, senior writer for BUILDINGS magazine. I’m here at the International Roofing Expo in Nashville, on the buzzing show floor.

And I’m here today with Mike DuCharme, who is the outgoing chairman of the EPDM Roofing Association, also known as ERA.

ERA is the trade association that represents the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products, including Firestone Building ProductsJohns Manville and Carlisle Construction Materials. And in addition to serving as the chair of ERA this year, our guest is vice president of product marketing at Carlisle as well.

Hi, Mike.

Mike: Hi there, Janelle.

Janelle: So, you’ve been the chair of ERA for two years now, right?

Mike: That’s correct.

Janelle: Great. What changes have you observed in the industry as you’ve been chair?

Mike: We’ve seen certainly a lot of changes in the industry. You know, I’ve been in the overall roofing industry for over 35 years in roles ranging from technical roles to sales roles to product development and product marketing.

And we’ve seen a lot of changes. We’ve seen a higher focus on roofing performance, desire for roofs to last longer. You know, where as in years past, people might have been tolerant with a roof that lasted 10 or 15 years. Now, the expectation is that a roof will last 20, 30+ years.

It’s also been a lot of push and trend towards increased energy efficiency, trying to have roofs that help the building conserve energy. So, there has certainly been a drive towards putting more insulation on the roof to improve the efficiency of buildings.

Janelle: Great. What do you think is driving that?

Mike: I think it’s a dollars and cents issue. As energy costs continue to increase, people are looking at how they can get more out of those dollars.

Janelle: Makes sense. And resilience has been a focus for the association too, right?

Mike: Resilience has been a big focus in the last couple of years for the EPDM Roofing Association.

Janelle: Great. What made you decide to take that on as an organization?

Mike: Well, what we saw, certainly there has been a lot of dialogue on climate change and its impact on building performance. We’re seeing a lot of negative impacts – storm damage, flooding, things like that – that have impacted buildings that isn’t really addressed in some of the current codes and standards.

[Related: Biggest Risks Impacting Your Building in 2019]

So, we thought that this was an important area to dig into and to try to help the industry by providing information. In years past, there was a lot of discussion on the topic of sustainability. And sustainability is similar in that that’s a focus on how to make buildings more energy efficient, how to make building materials be used more efficiently.

But it didn’t have as much focus on roof performance, especially in severe conditions. So, that’s where resilience comes in.

Janelle: Sure. How do you answer clients who say that they can’t afford to create a resilient roofing system?

Mike: Well, it is a question of your current spending dollars versus the future. What the National Institute of Building Sciences has determined is while you might spend some dollars today, for every dollar spent today mitigating and potentially preventing damage to the roof, you can save $11 in the future.

Janelle: Wow.

Mike: So, it’s a big savings. You gotta spend a little bit more upfront in some cases, but you’re going to get a much better performing building out of it.

Janelle: Excellent. So, let’s talk about tools. What resources are out there to help people create resilient roofs?

Mike: There are a lot of good articles. ERA has taken the lead in presenting information in a lot of the architectural forums on that topic.

We’ve also developed a guide that’s available on the website,, that pretty much goes into the issue in detail as to the costs that are potentially occurring due to climate change, some of the steps you can take to mitigate and potentially prevent damage to your building, some of the enhancements you can make to a roof system to make sure it will resist, whether it’s high winds or flooding or whatever it might be.

Janelle: Great. And you have the new report out, “Building Resilience, the Roofing Perspective,” right?

Mike: That’s correct.

Janelle: Great. Can you tell me a little more about what’s in it and what kind of conclusions you came to as you were researching it as an organization?


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Mike: Yeah. It certainly gives a lot of the good background information. But I think the meat of it is really getting into the enhancements you can make to a roof system to ensure that it’s going to perform long-term.

And some of them are very basic. It can be things like the inclusion of a cover board or a thicker membrane to ensure that the roof can resist potentially wind-blown debris or hail damage, elements like that.

So, sometimes it’s just little tweaks to the roof system that’ll really enhance performance.

[On topic: Roofing’s Nine Roles in Resilience]

Janelle: Great. And what trends do you see in 2019? What are you looking at going ahead?

Mike: Well, there’s certainly going to be this ongoing focus on resilience. In general, even beyond resilience, one of the trends we’re focused on are issues related to the workforce and how we can help mitigate the labor shortage by providing more efficient roof systems. So, there’s a real drive to improve the technology to make sure they’re not even tough and storm resistant, but they can also be put down more easily.

Janelle: Excellent. Mike, thanks for joining me again today. This has been Janelle Penny at the International Roofing Expo. Please be sure to check out the rest of our podcasts at

Global Roofing Materials Market 2019-2027

Marketresearch.Biz adds International Roofing Materials Market Magnitude, Position and Prediction 2018-2027 new report back to its analysis info. The Roofing Materials Market report consists of many tables and figures in it. This thorough Roofing Materials Market analysis report incorporates shortly on these trends that may assist the companies in operation within this particular trade to understand the market and build policies for his or her business extension fitly. The analysis report scrutinizes the market expanse, trade share, development, crucial areas, CAGR and respective key drivers.

jeonsango / Pixabay

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Global Roofing Materials Market Segmentation:

Segmentation by product type:
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Sustainability is becoming a key mission for organizations as environmental awareness grows. Exploring sustainable options allows organizations to drastically reduce carbon emissions while developing new technologies. Green roofing is one solution that is becoming popular. Here is a detailed guide to its advantages beyond simple sustainability improvements.

jackmac34 / Pixabay

Green Roofing & Its Benefits

Green roofs are covered with vegetation and plants, either partially or entirely. Vegetation is planted over a growing medium placed atop a waterproof roofing membrane. Additional features may include root barrier systems and drainage or irrigation systems.

Green roofs can be installed with new construction or retrofit for existing facilities. They are increasingly utilized as roofing for commercial, industrial, and municipal buildings. While this technology is well-established across Europe because of legislation and financial support provided by governments, green roofs are still growing in understanding, acceptance, and implementation across the United States.

Intensive green roofs consist of a thicker roofing material that can support a wider plant assortment—they are heavier, require a minimum depth of 12.8 cm, and need more maintenance to upkeep. Extensive green roofs are shallower, weigh less, and require less maintenance. Green roofs can also support other green technology, such as photovoltaic solar panels or solar thermal collectors.

Some environmental, economic, and social advantages of green roofing include:

  • Aesthetic improvement of facilities
  • Improved rainwater management
  • Increased marketability
  • Longer roof lifespan
  • Improved thermal performance
  • Wildlife habitat support
  • Air quality improvement
  • Reduced noise
  • Energy conservation

How Green Roofs Contribute to Sustainability Efforts

Green roofs contribute to the sustainability efforts of an organization through:

  • Conserving energy by insulating the building and mitigating thermal heat gain, which reduces the need for heating and cooling. This also improves the service life of HVAC systems due to decreased usage.
  • Extending the lifespan of the roof by shielding it from the elements. Green roofs offer protection that can double or triple the useful life of the structure. This keeps more roofing materials out of landfills, reducing waste.
  • Decreasing stormwater runoff on average of 40 to 60%, keeping runoff out of local sewer systems, and reducing wear and tear along with potential damage that can lead to contamination.
  • Improving air quality by trapping airborne particulates and gases and performing photosynthesis to reduce pollution while decreasing urban heat island effects that produce ozone and diminished water quality.
  • Providing habitat for local wildlife, decreasing the impacts of urbanization to local populations.
  • Absorbing radiation to better the microclimate of the immediate area.

While green roofs aren’t as widespread in the United States as they are in Europe, they can make a major impact on local organizations and communities. With a variety of installation options for new and existing buildings and the ability to incorporate further sustainable technologies, green roofs have the power to greatly bolster an organization’s sustainability efforts.

Drones Can Cut Property Inspection Costs—but Are They Safe?

Powie / Pixabay

Drones Can Cut Property Inspection Costs—but Are They Safe?

Building inspectors who used to rely on binoculars and ladders are turning to drones to check property exteriors for signs of damage or deterioration that could lead to injuries.

But use of drones for this purpose is causing a dilemma. Their lower cost and greater thoroughness is coming into conflict with another public safety concern: the danger drones pose to other aircraft or people on the ground.

In New York, which has thousands of old skyscrapers, drone use is largely prohibited and the technology isn’t being considered for property inspection. The Department of Buildings “does not use drones for building inspections, and there are currently no plans to start using drones in the future,” a department spokesman said.

Drones, which had early applications in warfare and surveillance, increasingly are being adopted by a wide range of businesses—from package delivery to underwater exploration. Business applications have grown significantly since 2016, when the Federal Aviation Administration enacted a new rule making it easier to become a commercial drone operator.

Since the rule passed, technological developments have made drones smaller, more reliable and easier to fly, causing a growing number of residential and commercial building inspectors to embrace them. “We’re able to inspect areas of a building we have never inspected before,” said Vincent Boccia, founder of New York consulting engineering firm Engineered Building Inspections PC.

The chimney of a cathedral in Long Island, N.Y., could be inspected without having to erect scaffolds. PHOTO: ENGINEERED BUILDING INSPECTIONS

Mr. Boccia pointed to the inspection of a cathedral in Long Island, N.Y. Using a drone, inspectors could examine the cathedral’s chimney without having to erect scaffolds—the difference between a $1,000 inspection and an estimated $10,000 scaffolding inspection, Mr. Boccia said. Using a drone also can shorten a weekslong inspection to a day, he said.

“It is realistic that a $10,000 drone inspection could cost over $100,000 of hanging scaffolding,” Mr. Boccia said. His company, which inspects up to 150 facades a year, retains an outside company to fly the drone.

Nick Gromicko, founder of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, said about 8% of its 21,000 members based in the U.S. use drones for inspections. Four years ago, he said, “everybody was afraid to use drones.”

Since the technology improved and became more mainstream, Mr. Gromicko introduced a training course and began working with the FAA in hopes that his organization can certify inspectors as drone pilots.

National Property Inspections Inc., the parent company of National Property Inspections in the U.S. and Global Property Inspections in Canada, began training franchisees on operating drones for building inspections in 2016, according to Randy Yates, a training supervisor for the company. Mr. Yates became aware of the technology’s potential four years ago, but couldn’t spearhead training until the FAA passed its 2016 rule.

“The whole intent was to keep our guys safe, so they wouldn’t have to climb up on a roof, and not damage building materials,” he said.

Still, in dense urban areas, especially near airports, drone use is highly restricted. Nile Berry and Pablo Marvel, co-founders of the New York digitalization agency Nova Concepts, looked into the potential of drone inspections in New York City, considering that building height can significantly limit the scope of inspections. But they hit a dead end.

“In New York, buildings over five stories must be regularly inspected, and it’s one of the most old-school processes that exist,” Mr. Berry said. “An inspector goes out with binoculars, field notes, a pen and paper.”

Some of these obstacles could be removed as drone companies invest heavily in technology. Industrial SkyWorks, based in Canada, has developed software allowing drones to take images of a property and use the data to develop building models and issue inspection reports.

The FAA also certified Industrial SkyWorks to carry out nighttime drone inspections of walls and roofs, according to Michael Cohen, the company president. Such inspections allow inspectors to accurately track where energy is escaping from buildings, Mr. Cohen said.

Phil Larsen, global director of sales and operations for ABJ Drones, a consulting agency, said there’s “tremendous value in real estate” when it comes to drone development, particularly with software that analyzes buildings.

But he pointed to the many obstacles that still exist in the U.S.

“The three major hurdles are transparency, privacy and protection of manned aircrafts,” he said. “It’s difficult for many municipalities to use the technology beneficially because they may be close to an airport.”

Mr. Larsen estimated that drone technology undergoes significant updates about every three months.

George Mathew, chief executive of the industrial drone company Kespry, said the company is “pushing the edge of where this technology is at present, within the regulatory framework.”

Still, Kespry has developed technology in which a drone can fly automatically without a ground pilot to inspect buildings—something not yet allowed by the FAA. “It’s not a technology question of how much drones can do,” he said. “It’s a question of if the regulatory framework will open up in the next several years.”

Up to 50 design decisions to consider in a high-performance roof

Up to 50 design decisions to consider in a high-performance roof

The design and construction of a roofing system is a complex undertaking that can involve up to 50 considerations. To ensure that state-of-the-art roofing practice is incorporated into the finished product, the licensed design professional, architect, engineer, building owner, facility manager or roofing contractor should have the latitude to select the most suitable product, system and assembly available on the market.

Capri23auto / Pixabay

The factors that will impact roofing system design include:

Type of structure that needs to be protected.
Interior usage of the structure.
Geography and climate where the building is l

Extreme weather conditions the roof will need to withstand (hail, high winds, etc.).
Orientation of the building.
Climatic impacts of the building.
Planned longevity of the roofing system and structure, as well as the recyclability of the roofing membrane.
Environmental impact of the materials to be used in the construction process.
Given these factors, the roofing professional can then determine the specifics of the roofing system design. This will include basic considerations such as how will the roofing membrane be attached to the roof deck. Options such as fully adhered, mechanically attached, and ballasted systems each offer unique benefits: a fully adhered system, for instance, which is attached to the substrate with adhesives, is essential to protect a roofing system in an area that frequently experiences high winds.

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The roofing professional must also accommodate any special requirements presented by the overall design of the building (such as the presence of solar panels, plant equipment, generators, or other equipment adhered to the roofing surface). Will the roof be used for materials storage? How much insulation is needed, and how might that impact the choice of a roofing membrane? How will future access to the roof be managed safely to facilitate ease of maintenance? And finally, how will the construction of the roof be sequenced properly to ensure that a durable finished product is delivered on time, on budget and adhering to local building codes?

This complex orchestration of interdependent design and construction decisions requires a steady hand, a wealth of experience and access to a broad range of design solutions, not prescriptive requirements that limit creative choice.