March 2006

Learning about lightning protection

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by Thomas L. Smith, AIA, RRC
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Editor's note: This article is based on a paper presented at the 12th International Roofing and Waterproofing Conference.

Lightning-protection systems commonly are installed on roofs located in areas prone to frequent lightning strikes. Although roofing contractors typically do not install lightning-protection systems, when such systems are integrated inadequately into a roof system or not maintained, roof-related problems can arise and the lightning-protection systems may be rendered ineffective.

Manufacturers of lightning-protection system components, roofing material manufacturers and roof system designers typically provide vague or inadequate details for securing lightning-protection systems to roofs and protecting roofs from damage by lightning-protection systems. The following information should help clear up some confusion and provide ways to avoid potential problems.

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