In May, I discussed the history of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Inc., as well as how many of its standard test methods are conducted. To further explain how UL serves the roofing industry, this article will focus on UL's Roofing Materials and Systems Directory and the UL Online Certifications Directory as they pertain to roofing materials and roof systems. Both directories are useful to roofing professionals and help foster proper installation of materials in the field.
UL's Roofing Materials and Systems Directory and UL's Online Certification Directory include information about roofing materials with more than 600 constructions and detailed listings based on years of UL test data. The online directory is the electronic version of UL's printed directory and can be accessed at www.ul.com. The print and online versions contain the names of companies authorized to use the UL mark on or in connection with the products evaluated by UL and found to comply with UL requirements. These companies, as well as the product manufacturers, have entered into agreements with UL to use the UL mark only in connection with products manufactured in compliance with UL's requirements.
When a roofing product or system is published in UL's directory, it signifies the following:
UL's listings contain information relating to limitations or special conditions applying to the products and the names of companies authorized to provide products bearing the UL mark.
A file number also appears for each company listing. This can help identify a particular company and the associated product category. Under individual product categories, each company is assigned an alphanumeric file number starting with the letter R. This number may or may not be required to be marked on a product.
A possible misunderstanding is that if a company's product (by designation) is listed in UL's printed or online directory, all products by that manufacturer are UL-listed or -classified.
Manufacturers are not obligated to apply UL's mark to all their products. Consequently, products that do not bear the UL mark on the product or packaging are not required to comply with UL's requirements. Accordingly, the appearance of a company's name or a product designation in either UL's printed or online directory does not ensure the products are subject to UL's Follow-Up Service. Only those products bearing the UL mark and company's name, trade name or trademark should be considered as being covered by UL's listing or classification and Follow-Up Service. The UL mark on the product or packaging is the only evidence of listing provided to authorities having jurisdiction for determining compliance with installation codes or standards.
What's the difference?
The print version of the directory is printed annually and contains all listings and classifications in effect as of the publication date. The Roofing Materials and Systems Directory is distributed in February, and the 2005 cost for the directory is $40. To assist in the use of the directory, UL provides an index of product categories and companies and a list of company identifications.
UL's online directory always is up to date and available, and there's no charge for using it. Listings and classifications are updated daily, and UL suggests when you confirm the current status of any UL record, you use UL's online directory. A great advantage of using the online directory is the ability to search for the information desired through various search capabilities.
Another advantage to the online directory is that the information from UL's Web site can be printed. UL permits the reproduction of the listing information material contained on its Web site subject to the following conditions:
Categories and information
Roofing products and roof systems are sorted by specific product categories. Each category has a set of standards for evaluations and certification. UL uses a four-letter code, shown in parentheses, following each category title as the product category guide designation. This is used to identify each product category in the printed and online directory.
General guide information for each product category can be found at the front of each category in the directory under the search parameter "Guide Information." The guide information for each product category provides important details regarding the scope and limitation of UL's certification of a product and general description of the UL marks authorized for products in that category. This information also includes the identification of UL standards or other published standards that have been used to certify products in that category.
UL recognizes product category titles may not always reflect common industry terminology. For example "asphalt shingles" are covered under "prepared roof covering materials." To assist in understanding UL's category titles, Figures 1-2 were developed to help you identify UL's product categories and the products covered under each category. I also have provided the UL category code designations, standards and types of evaluation, along with other applicable standards.
The online directory
The remainder of this article will be devoted to step-by-step examples demonstrating the navigation of UL's Online Certifications Directory.
Once you access www.ul.com and click on "Certifications" in the left column, you will enter the Online Certifications Directory. From here, there are various ways to search the system for roofing information.
For an information search, you can search by company name, UL file number, UL category code/guide information, standard number or keyword search. There also is a specific search called "Roof Deck Constructions."
A company search allows searches by company name, city, state, ZIP code and/or other keywords. In "Company Search," click company name. Then, on the search page, type a company name. All product listings by category for that manufacturer will appear.
You then can click Prepared Roof Coverings (TFWZ).R1234. This displays the company's specific roof coverings listings and products eligible to bear the UL mark.
For a file number search, click "File Number" on the search screen and input the file number, such as R1234. This will bring you directly to the company's listings.
If you want to search for a category code, such as TGFU, type TGFU in the search screen, and all classified roof systems will appear. You then can choose a company's roof system. This provides the specific roof system, including details such as external fire class, impact class, incline, type of deck, and all components composing the roof system.
For a specific search for roof deck constructions, search by "Specific Search—Roof Deck Constructions." From this page, find the area titled "Roof Deck Constructions" and input the construction number in the space provided. This displays the specific roof deck construction, including details such as whether it is fire-classified, and all components composing the roof deck construction.
Serving the industry
When used correctly, UL's printed and online directories will identify certified products; identify manufacturers of such products; and equip contractors, specifiers and authorities having jurisdiction with the information needed to take roofing products from code requirement to testing and evaluation to field installation. To obtain additional information, contact UL at (877) UL-HELPS (854-3577).
Dwayne E. Sloan is UL's principal engineer for Building Materials, Roofing Materials and Systems, and Air Ducts.