Is it new or is it retrofit?

Can a new roof be categorized as retrofit?
The idea of making a flat roof better by installing a framing system for a pitched metal roof is not new. In fact, those type of retrofit metal roofing systems installed in the 1970s are still doing the job they were built to do. What may be a relatively new idea is installing a retrofit system as part of new construction.
“I don’t know if you can call that a true retrofit system because it’s being installed on a new roof, but it’s the same thing, in principle,” says Chuck Howard, an engineer and veteran metal roofer with Metal Roof Consultants of Cary, N.C.
Howard has seen it used in the new construction of prisons, with a fortress type concrete roof, covered by a sloped metal roof and framing system. He believes it could be used for schools, condominiums, government, and military projects. “I can see it working, but it will require good marketing,” he says.
Architect Bayne Collins of Collins & Associates in Panama City, Fla., has specified a retrofit metal roofing system in new construction on several projects, including the Adagio Condominiums in Panama City Beach, Fla. (The Idea Book, 2005).  Collins says buildings of a certain height are required by code to be built with a concrete slab on the roof. The slab provides a great place to assemble a retrofit metal roofing system as well as the framing system. The big benefit: it’s a lot less expensive than renting a crane to hoist trusses for several days.
“It’s basically a holdover idea we used for renovating schools,” Collins says. “School boards decide to retrofit those old roofs, 40 and 50 years old, with metal. Those roofs were flat or had minimal slope and they’re easy to transform that into this system.”
For the Adagio Condominiums, Collins made it work with new construction. General contractor Brasfield & Gorrie subcontracted the roofing help of Ameritech Enterprises. Ameritech Enterprises has been installing a variety of roofing systems for more than 25 years and has installed roofing on the retrofit framing system at several condominiums, including Englert’s Series 1300 standing seam panels.
“The GC has told me there is a savings using a retrofit framing system as compared to installing metal trusses,” says Bob Miller, president of Ameritech. “And it gives you a lot of space in the attic area.”
Jeff Hart, operations manager of the coastal division at Brasfield & Gorrie, says the system presents financial benefits because a retrofit framing system is constructed with beams 4 feet on center, and therefore less expensive than a light-gauge framing system installed 2 feet on center. Miller says the retrofit frame, set at 4 feet on center, provides more storage space and is easier to walk through.
Miller says with a retrofit system, it’s easier to produce a plumb and square roof deck because you can adjust the system to the building. The truss system will be only as level as the concrete roof deck.
Englert standing seam roofing has been installed on retrofit framing systems for three construction projects, according to Kevin Corcoran, VP of business development. When the Adagio Condominiums and the 22-story Celadon Beach Condominiums in Panama City were built, this method of roofing was specified. Corcoran believes it could be a solution in areas susceptible to hurricanes, a seemingly larger area each year.
“Based on the performance on Celadon, where we used the retrofit system with panels that were over 20 feet long, we’re relatively confident the system could survive in hurricanes rated up to Class 5,” Corcoran says. “It’s really another option to present during the design process and I think it’s one the design community may not be familiar with.”
It’s a market of growth potential, for manufacturers and contractors alike.
“The biggest benefit is the roofer doesn’t have to wait to install the framing system and roof,” Hart says. “Once that concrete deck is done, he has free reign of the roof.”
That is every roofer’s dream.

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