Metal building, residential and roofing contractors, architects, engineers, developers, facility managers, fabricators and building owners from the US and abroad. Attend because it’s the only show of its kind in the world!
This time of year, it’s common to see Christmas trees. But why do you see them on top of commercial construction sites all year long? These trees are a tradition in commercial construction. But do you know where the tradition comes from, or what it means?
Topping Out Ceremonies
Prior to adding the metal panels and metal roofing, a building’s framing is completed by placing the last beam at the highest point of the building. To commemorate this accomplishment, crews have a Topping Out ceremony: a party to celebrate those who made the building possible. They hoist an evergreen tree attached to that last beam for all to see. Often an American flag is also put on the opposite end of the beam. Sometimes the last beam is painted white and signed by the members of the crew, contractor, architects, and owner. But where did this odd tradition come from?
How It Started
Immigrants to the U.S. brought the tradition with them from Europe and Scandinavia, passed down from early pagan and Christian traditions. It’s believed that as early as 700 A.D. Scandinavians began topping out structures with a fir tree to signal those nearby that it was time for the celebration to start. Others believe the tradition of an evergreen atop a structure was started to represent new birth, as the Christmas tree represents the birth of the baby Jesus. There are many tales how the tradition started, and so the specific origin is murky.
The Building Is the Gift Under The Tree
While Grand Opening festivities introduce a new building to the public, the Topping Out ceremony uniquely honors the accomplishments of the construction crew, architect, building owner and other key people who made the building possible. Reminiscent of a party at the end of an old-fashioned barn raising, a Topping Out ceremony gives credit to those who do the actual work of designing, planning, and constructing buildings.
Celebrate Your Own Metal Construction
The Topping Out ceremony is a wonderful celebration for any construction project, whether low-rise, high-rise, commercial, residential, or other. On your next construction project, take the time to celebrate what’s been accomplished and the people who made it happen with a Topping Out ceremony. It’s a little bit of Christmas that you can look up and experience year round!
Using the right tools is key to getting any job done correctly. Contractors and installers who work with metal roofs know how important it is to have the right seamer or a quality screw gun. And architects and specifiers know how important it is to have a good architectural scale and the most current reference manuals.
If you work with metal roofing, MCA has another essential tool for your toolkit: the new Metal Roof Installation Manual. Now available at MetalConstruction.com in the Technical Resources section, this new manual offers 20 chapters of best practices, tips and training for installing metal roofs. The manual covers a full range of useful information about installing metal roofs, including:
Introductory information about roofing materials
Panel types, attributes and profiles
Roof deck substrates
Sealants and Fasteners
Download your copy of the MCA Metal Roof Installation Manual today, and keep the document handy as a reference as you come across questions with your metal roof project. It’ll soon become an essential tool in your toolbox.
This week the Metal Construction Association (MCA) is hosting its 2014 Summer Meeting at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, IL. Representatives from metal roof and wall manufacturers, as well as suppliers, consultants, fabricators and more, will be participating in meetings to expand the use of metal roofs and wall panels. Meetings kick off Monday with the lunchtime General Session featuring a panel discussion of metal construction industry leaders. Committee and council meetings will be conducted Monday through Wednesday.
Many of our MCA members will be extending their stay in Chicago to attend the 2014 AIA National Convention from Thursday, June 26 through Saturday, June 28 at McCormick Place. Be sure to stop by and see MCA members exhibiting this year, including:
Kermit Baker, chief economist for the American Institute of Architects in Washington, DC, told attendees at the recent MCA Annual Meeting in Clearwater Beach, FL, that although nonresidential construction has been slow to recover from a steep downturn in 2013, several emerging signs point to increased activity throughout 2014.
As a guest speaker at the January meeting, Baker noted several leading economic indicators that point to an improving economy, including that housing starts have accelerated in recent months and that house prices, which continue to recover, have gained back more than 40% of their losses. He also said that net household growth has been dominated by renters in recent years, pushing down the rate of ownership.
“The housing recovery is well underway, but production levels are still below long-term potential,” Baker said, adding that a rate of 1.6–1.8 million housing starts per year is still years away.
Despite the positive market fundamentals, there have been modest gains in spending on nonresidential buildings, Baker said. He noted that the nonresidential construction sector faces several challenges and opportunities, including that recovery to date remains modest, with little improvement over past year; commercial property values are recovering “nicely”; and real estate market fundamentals, such as vacancies and rents, remain positive for most commercial market segments.
Meanwhile, architecture billings point to emerging upturn in nonresidential building activity. “Even with slowdown toward the end of last year architecture billings are in the midst of an upturn, with the strongest growth since the recession began,” Baker said.
Baker added that construction spending should see solid single-digit growth in 2014, with recovery continuing into 2015.
Plans for the MCA Summer Meeting, set for June 23–25 at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, IL, are underway. Online hotel reservations and a preliminary program schedule are now available. For more information, visit the Events page on the MCA website.
One thing I always try to do before I travel to a new city for business is scope out some architectural highlights to visit. And since I work for MCA, I admit that I am always looking for real-life examples of metal construction.
Here are a few examples of metal roofs and walls that I plan to see while in Las Vegas. Feel free to let us know what your favorites are!
The Terminal 3 parking garage also features metal wall panels: Reynobond aluminum MCM panels from Alcoa. I’m sure the airport won’t be the most exciting part of my stay in Las Vegas, but the metal cladding will at least give me reason for pause at the airport.
The D Casino
After a long day on the convention center floor manning the MCA booth, I can usually be found enjoying a quiet meal and catching up on e-mails back in my hotel room. But Las Vegas is all about the casinos, so I am sure I will venture into a casino or two at some point during the week. Why not try my luck with the one-armed bandits at The D Casino in downtown Las Vegas, which sports a new, metal-clad entrance from Petersen Aluminum? I’m looking forward to walking the strip–and I understand it is a long walk– to see the impressive architecture of the casinos. The over-the-top extravagance and grandiose resorts should serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that the odds are not in my favor for a big payday!
Downtown Container Park
Las Vegas isn’t all casinos, glitz and glamor–there is plenty for families to do and enjoy. Even though my family won’t be traveling with me, I plan to check out the Downtown Container Park for some shopping and dining. It’s located away from the main strip on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. It’s just what it sounds like–a park and shopping center crafted from shipping containers. Architects and designers are finding new ways to utilize old shipping containers as structures, and this project reminds me of one of MCA’s 2012 Chairman’s Award Winners that also features shipping containers.
Designed by esteemed architect Frank Gehry, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (pictured at the top of this blog post) is a national resource for research and treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s Diseases, Multiple Sclerosis and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). While the design of the building has been a lightning rod for both praise and criticism, the important work being done within the stainless-steel clad walls is what’s most important.
Let us know if you have any other recommendations for Las Vegas architectural highlights. And if you are at the IRE show, we hope you will stop by the MCA booth–as well as our member’s booths–to say hello and learn about the many benefits of metal roofing.
We may know the start of 2014 down to the exact second, but the lines between old and new metal design and building materials will continue to blur well into the New Year and beyond. Here are two examples of how metal manufacturers are helping to redefine the true age of metal roofs in a green world.
First, let’s look to Europe where 100-year-old zinc roofs are commonplace, and in particular, at the recently renovated 120-year-old zinc roof on St. Catherine’s Church in Reutlingen, Germany. This roof restoration called for dismantling and removing all the zinc tiles from the roof in order to inspect, clean, and salvage as many as possible. Tiles that were too damaged for reuse were recycled, but inspectors found the tiles that were not exposed to the main west-facing wind and weather were nearly all reusable. The remaining roof was re-clad with RHEINZINK 0.7mm square tiles, using 1,500 PrePATINA blue-grey 330mm x 330mm tiles.
Located at the old cemetery, the Gothic Revival-style church is now preserved to its original state, circa 1890. RHEINZINK says that with the service life of zinc products expected to last 80–100 years for roofs and 200–300 years for walls, the roof tiles will be around for New Year celebrations for generations.
Stateside, a new LEED Platinum home in Glencoe, IL, features an unusual look for a LEED home—traditional rather than modernist design, allowing the home to complement its neighborhood. The standing seam metal roof was a key element of the sustainable design. About 600 sq ft of 24-gauge PAC-CLAD material from Petersen Aluminum, Elk Grove Village, IL was used. The Silver Metallic Kynar 500 coating offers high reflectivity and SRI (solar reflectance index) ratings and is Energy Star approved.
The roof provides many green features. Its shape is asymmetrically arranged to collect as much storm water as possible. It is also sloped at two different angles—a summer and a winter angle. The steeper, south facing roof supports solar thermal panels, which are optimal for the low winter sun. The shallower south facing section of the roof includes solar PV panels, which maximize electrical production during hot summer days.
“When our client said ‘give me a roof that I will never have to replace,’ we thought metal immediately,” said Nathan Kipnis, AIA, principal of Kipnis Architecture and Planning, Evanston, IL. Meanwhile, general contractor, Scott Simpson, president of Scott Simpson Builders in Northbrook, IL, says that, beyond this project, he recently used an old metal barn roof on the interior walls of a renovated—and much beloved—bakery in Evanston.
EPDs provide life-cycle assessment information and details about the product’s environmental impact (i.e., raw-material extraction, transportation, packaging, and disposal). As such, EPDs assist purchasers and users in making informed comparisons among products.
“With the recent approval of LEED v4 rating system, we expect to see more members of the design community looking for EPDs as part of an overall emphasis on transparency,” notes MCA Technical Director Scott Kriner. “The EPD for IMPs is based on the life-cycle assessment of this product category. It is a major step forward for the metal construction industry in reporting the environmental impact of IMPs.”
IMPs are composed of rigid foam that is sandwiched between two sheets of coated metal. Their steel or aluminum panel facings create a vapor, air, and moisture barrier that provide long-term thermal stability. According to MCA-member manufacturers, IMPs
offer long-term durability
come in a multitude of colors and finishes
offer cost-competitive construction advantages and long-term high performance to help lower operating costs for building owners in any construction market.
Although the credit of Georgia Tech’s 63-21 win over Western Carolina last weekend belongs to the team and coaches of the Atlanta-based institute, maybe, just maybe, metal roofing played a role in the win? Okay it’s a stretch, but consider this: Georgia Tech players began practicing in the school’s new indoor practice facility in August, and that facility has a metal roof that is designed to arc like a perfectly thrown pass and provide maximum space inside. If the roof “played a role in a winning football formula,” says Bill Croucher, director of engineering at Lancaster-PA-based Fabral, then “Fabral is happy to be part of it.”
It sounds like a win-win to us.
Croucher says that metal is a top choice for curved roofs on stadiums and practice facilities because it provides a choice of color, profiles, and paint and substrates; has a high-recycled content; and is 100% recyclable when the useful life of the roof is over. Moreover, Fabral’s structural standing-seam metal roof offers superior wind-uplift resistance and is Class A fire rated.
Joseph A. Knight, AIA, Knight Architects, Inc., Atlanta, points out that the metal roof panels stretch the full width of the 80,000-square-foot building, without any end-seams. The 24-gauge Galvalume panels are 245-feet long and 16-inches wide. “The metal shines and contrasts nicely with the adjacent brick buildings, as well as the brick at the base of the practice facility itself,” Knight says. “There is really no other material we could have used that would have presented such an aesthetically and economically strong solution.”
Wondering about a possible defect in the Metal Composite Material (MCM) panels you’re installing, such as a deflection or bow, a surface imperfection, or a problem with the finish or color? While these instances may be rare, a new white paper by the Metal Construction Association (MCA), available at no charge, can help you determine whether a MCM panel or system is not meeting current code and industry standards.
It’s vital that installers, architects and designers know acceptance criteria for painted metal surfaces. However, “questions concerning visual appearance often arise during the architectural walk-through on a project,” says Andy Williams, MCA’s director of codes and standards. “This white paper highlights many real-life situations so that architects and designers can understand what to expect. More knowledge at the beginning of a project prevents problems from developing later in the process.”