Conventional wisdom says to limit the number of metal roof penetrations whenever possible. The fewer the number, experts say, the lower the risk of a leak developing at some point due to less-than-perfect workmanship. The same holds true for panel splice points. Those that don’t exist can never become a problem. But how do you eliminate splice points on a roof that’s 136’ wide? Thanks to the advent of jobsite roll forming, it’s really very easy.
Opponents of jobsite roll forming used to argue that jobsite formed systems were inferior, partly because the formers themselves were not as advanced as those typically found in the plant, and partly because the contractors who used them were somehow less professional. But those claims have been effectively disproven over time and today, both factory- and field-formed methods and systems are equally accepted.
Some metal roofing manufacturers offer both field-formed and factory-produced panel systems, with project specifics dictating which would be the better choice in a given case. Most metal roofing manufacturers, however, focus on one method or the other. Among those in the latter group is Englert Inc. of Perth Amboy, NJ. An innovator in the jobsite manufacturing arena, it offers an extensive array of fully tested and certified metal roof systems which are formed in the field by licensed contractors using materials and machinery available from Englert.
Among the thousands of contractors nationwide who’ve developed an ongoing relationship with Englert through the years is ADPI of Avenel, NJ. Showing that innovation is not limited to its supplier, ADPI came up with a rather unique solution for the challenge it faced when hired to fabricate the new metal roofing panels for Silver Run Elementary School in Millville, NJ.
Typically, jobsite-formed metal roof panels are manufactured in a staging area somewhere on the jobsite and then hoisted to the roof by crane for installation. But partially because of the length of panels required, ADPI decided the better way in this case was to hoist the machine itself to the roof’s edge and then roll the panels out onto the old roof surface. One concern about this approach was the potential for damage to the existing metal wall and soffit panels in close proximity to the machine. This was addressed by ADPI’s creation of what looked like an old fashioned football crossbar made out of steel and planted it in the ground about two feet from the wall of the school building. The crossbar was secured to the roof's edge and used to stabilize the machine while ADPI personnel ran the 22-gauge Englert Series 2500 panels.
During the course of the operation, fabricators would run each panel about three feet onto the roof and then attach a small set of castors to the leading edge. Using the casters to smooth the movement of the panels across the roof, the operators ran scores of panels up to 136 feet in length. The process required precision timing and workers had to be careful, stepping over and between the old metal standing seams already in place. As each panel was run, a team of seven workers spread across the width of the roof would lift the panel in unison and walk it to the place where it would ultimately be installed by workers from Pravco Inc., Rahway, NJ.
Because the Colonial Red panels could be rolled faster than they could be installed, they were stacked in bundles approximately 20 high before the machine was moved, the crossbar re-erected and the production process begun anew. When the coil needed to be changed, ADPI personnel would lower the machine to the ground and secure a fresh roll. Ultimately, more than 110,000 feet of Englert panels were installed on the school, with the roof project being completed early in the summer of 2009.
“This process was particularly practical because the southern part of New Jersey where the school is located had been plagued by days of heavy rain. We were able to run off just enough panel for the installers to cover open framing on exposed areas of the old roof before the rains started again,” recalls Pat McGinn, the veteran project manager at ADPI who planned out the job. McGinn is no stranger to long panel lengths. Only weeks before he had planned out similar lengths for the panels on the world’s only hyperbolic parabolic standing seam roof on a new church less than 50 miles away.