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COPING VS. EDGE METAL / ES-1 COMPLIANCE

July 5, 2022

SELECTING AND TESTING EDGE METAL
BY MIKE RYAN, CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER AND STAFF ARCHITECT
NM ARCHITECT 4037, MEMBER OF NRCA AND ICC

This newsletter will dive into different metal terminations at low slope roof systems and the testing requirements for them. I know this sounds rather dull and that no amount of prose or roofing poetry is going to make it any more exciting, but it is a rather important component of the roof assembly and deserves at least a few paragraphs! I had a modest understanding of the code requirements for roof edge securement when I was responsible for preparing contract documents while at architectural firms: I knew that the exposed roof edges and parapets can experience some of the highest forces on the building and if the edge metal released, it could pull away the roof membrane with it, leaving the building and contents exposed to the elements. Similarly, if metal coping fails and becomes a projectile, it could pose a danger to people or property. I also knew that Chapter 15 of the International Building Code (IBC) stated that copings and edge metal at low-slope roofs needed to be designed and installed to resist wind loads, and that somehow ANSI/SPRI ES-1 was to be involved in the testing. I would include these code requirements on the documents and hope for the best!

If you want to stop reading here, the short of it is that Chapter 16 of the IBC defines the parameters upon which to determine the wind forces at the roof edge, and ANSI/SPRI ES-1 provides the testing methods for assemblies to quantify how much force each is able to resist in a given direction. When the design team includes the design pressures for the edge metal in the plans or specs, the contractors can select pre-tested assemblies from multiple sources that meet or exceed the upward and/or outward force expected. Know that these pre-tested assemblies are limited in the horizontal and vertical dimension: If
the designer wants a custom profile or larger horizontal or vertical faces, special testing of that system may be required to meet the code requirements. For those of you still reading, the next iteration of the IBC will reference ASCE 7-16 instead of 7-10 (as mentioned in the last newsletter); this will result in increased design pressures for most types of buildings in most of the risk categories. These increased forces make the code requirement for designing and installing roof edge metal to resist those forces all the more important, especially in high wind zones and for taller buildings. Remember that this testing and installation requirement only applies to edge securement for low slope (2:12 or less) built-up, modified bitumen and single-ply membrane roofing systems.

Now for the deep dive! ES-1 testing is separated into three test methods: RE-1, RE-2 and
RE-3.

It is the responsibility of the roofing contractor to make sure that the selected metal
profiles are tested and installed to meet the given design pressures, and to ensure the
correct test is used for the specific application.

Recommendation of steps to take in the documentation process:

  1. Include wording from Section 1504.5 of the IBC in the drawings and specifications; “the
    requirements for metal edge securement for low slope roofs are to be designed and
    installed for wind loads per Chapter 16 of the IBC, and tested for resistance in accordance
    with ANSI/SPRI ES-1 test methods”, or similar.
  2. Include the design pressures for the edge metal so all subcontractors can select and
    price the assemblies accordingly. This is very important to ensure ‘apples-to-apples’ at bid
    time.
  3. During the submittal process, make sure submitted edge metal and coping profiles from
    the subcontractors include the tested resistance pressures for outward and/or upward
    forces, and those listed pressures exceed the given design pressures by a factor of 1.67,
    where applicable.
  1. Although not currently a code requirement, insisting that fabricators are certified to
    make ES-1 compliant metal termination would help provide an independent means of
    ensuring compliance with ANSI/SPRI ES-1. Testing agencies such as Intertek Testing
    Services N.A. (ITS) and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) provide stickers to be placed
    on individual components (chairs, cleats and flat metal) to indicate they were made by an
    authorized fabricator.
  2. That’s all there is to it!

Additional information you may find useful:

Finally, the NRCA keeps a current list of authorized metal fabricators in New Mexico that have ITS or UL certification for ES-1 compliant metal edge fabrication. As of this publication, they are: Allen Roofing Co. Inc. in Roswell; DKG & Associates Inc., Midtown Metals LLC and Progressive Services Inc. in Albuquerque; Smith Roofing Inc. in Las Cruces; and WWRC Inc. in Clovis, NM.

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