Editor's note: The following article is adapted with
permission from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) from
a peer-reviewed paper, "Wind Vulnerability Assessment of Roof
Systems and Rooftop Equipment for Critical Facilities: A
Preliminary Protocol for Design Professionals," presented at ASCE's
April 2011 Structures Congress.
Roof systems and rooftop equipment are key building components
that frequently are damaged during high winds. These components'
wind vulnerability depends on various factors, including adequacy
of their design and installation and material degradation over
time. Leakage from damaged roofs or rooftop equipment has
interrupted numerous facility operations, and many critical
facilities, such as emergency operations centers, fire and police
stations, hospitals, nursing homes, power plants, schools and other
buildings that are essential for delivering vital services or
protecting a community, have been forced to evacuate occupants
because of roof leakage.
By identifying wind vulnerabilities, mitigation efforts can be
undertaken to avoid future damage and disruption of services
provided by critical facilities. Design professionals can use the
following preliminary protocol to systematically guide their
assessments of roof systems and rooftop equipment.
FEMA P-424, "Design Guide for Improving School Safety in
Earthquakes, Floods, and High Winds"; FEMA P-543, "Design Guide for
Improving Critical Facility Safety from Flooding and High Winds";
and FEMA P-577, "Design Guide for Improving Hospital Safety in
Earthquakes, Floods, and High Winds" recommend performing a
vulnerability assessment on all critical facilities older than five
years. If a facility is located in a hurricane-prone region (as
defined in ASCE 7-10, "Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other
Structures"), the assessment is recommended regardless of building
age. These publications note it is particularly important to
perform assessments on facilities located in hurricane- and...
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