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Creating adaptability in waterproofing and roofing design (3-25-2024)

In a recent LinkedIN and blog post by Gensler, this question was asked:

“Instead of planning only 60 years in advance, what would it look like if we designed an office building for 600 years?”  The post went on to invite the reader to explore this idea with Gensler “by leveraging research and thought leadership to design buildings far more adaptable than those of the past.”

Adaptability is a critical topic now as the commercial real estate market is undergoing dramatic shifts in building use.   Specifically, office space to residential conversions.

The immediacy of this conversation highlights the importance of considering low slope roofing as a dynamic and adaptive element in design rather than static.

Traditionally built roofing assemblies are designed to be torn off and replaced.  They are not designed to accommodate change, other than being demolished and rebuilt.  And they aren’t intended to do anything other than provide watertight protection for a relatively short period of time.  They are static elements where the major criterion for selection is related to warranty exposure.  They are not suited to accommodate the things a roofing space can become and are increasingly used for.  They limit opportunity.

Protected membrane roofing designs utilizing American Hydrotech’s MM6125 Hot Fluid Applied Rubberized Asphalt provide dynamic options for building structures by making them adaptable to whatever the new building program may envision.   MM6125 can remain in place for the life of the structure while providing the fundamental function of keeping the structure watertight.   The protected membrane roofing concept simply layers everything over MM6125, ultimately protecting it with the DuPont Styrofoam brand extruded polystyrene insulation, while the other elements are placed over it. Styrofoam also adds a long-term insulating solution and the ability to re-use, elements also missing in conventionally built roofing assemblies.

Stone ballast.  Pavers and pedestals.  Amenity spaces.  Vegetated roofs.  Rooftop farming.  Storm water management.  Solar. Whatever the current or potential future use of or demands for the roof space is, any element can be added (within deck loading limitations) without disturbing the primary function of building envelope protection – MM6125.

With 60 years of proven watertight integrity and complex roof use issues solved, the advantages of protected membrane roofing with American Hydrotech are clear: build whatever you want over that solid foundation, whenever you want.

The photos are ugly and in progress, but they show how it’s done and pictorially reveal how these projects can be adapted.

Hydrotech – A SIKA USA Company.