Roofing Trends in 2014

Roofing Trends 2014

The change of the financial year has businesses looking out for fresh trends in every direction that one turns, so why shouldn't roofing and infrastructure be at the top of all?

With the construction industry continuing its fast paced spread, buildings are standing out as the largest component of the infrastructure development profile. The character of the building envelopes diverse uses such as residential development, industrial, commercial and logistic warehousing purposes, are all in demand. Additionally, as infrastructure development is pushed by the government, there is motivation to support the environment and attend to the aesthetics of the urban landscape. In this scenario, there is a conscious decision to support development with clean technology and best practices. It's in this space that roofing trends play a vital role as important visual architectural design elements that can be sourced for sustainability and economy.

The trends expected to develop are naturally inclined towards encouraging green technologies and lifestyles. Luckily for customers the market today offers multiple options for materials and products to match every need.

While the design and choice of building materials seems to be the primary concern, it has to be emphasized that workmanship and installation procedures have to be well known too. There are no shortcuts there, for it is then that the thinking for sustainability and durability translates into reality and works for returns exceeding expectations. The rising demand for engineered solutions like steel PEBs with their green character combined with professional installation and maintenance is a case in point.

Metallic sheen

The incremental budget of 5-10 percent for green technology may sound like a big budget investment for many. However, as with other options, metal roofing has also been reinvented with the use of traditional materials like aluminum in far safer and durable make overs. Metal roofs are increasing in popularity as their benefits are proving themselves in the field. Among Zamil's latest products, MaxSEAM for example, are holistic roofing systems acting as a monolithic membrane that completely protects the building from adverse weather. Designed as a water barrier, the raised seam assists drainage at critical areas and, along with the machine-applied sealant (inside the seams), it increases the lap sealing to 100% tightness. Then there is brand Proflex from M&B Engineering, which is synonymous with maintenance-free self-supported roofing solutions. These are minus ancillary support and are ideal for clear span coverage requirements.

Infrastructure Development

With the industry growing at 10-15 percent annually, demand is pegged at 500,000 MT/p.a. Looking at the demand, names such as Kirby India have reinvented themselves to offer heavy engineering applications including high rise buildings, power plants, commercial buildings like airports and malls, and residential areas too. A lot of confusion about accessories, insulation compatible materials, installation and maintenance knowledge is being addressed by manufacturers. They are training the workforce and the customers themselves, resulting in confidence and relationship building. Where required, metal roofing is a part of the package in products like pre engineered Steel buildings (PEB). This has seen the growth of PEB manufacturers emerging as total solution providers. The sector has already made its mark in mega projects like shipyards, infrastructure projects and others. These are lighter weight solutions that can be fabricated and erected way faster than their concrete counterparts. This makes the customer comfortable with single window access for their project requirements. The benefits of flexibility, saving on time, work on site issues, larger floor space, and the green score of using steel in a project encourage involvement with a clear conscience. This was experienced when Interarch set up all steel buildings for their clients looking for green construction for a project. The roofs were made reflective with the use of steel and white paint. The overall building design catered for good ventilation and natural lighting. TataBluescope Steel, a major player in the vertical, sells its Zincalume and Duraflex brands to meet requirements of economical and smaller projects as well. The trend of setting up widespread dealership networks by organized Steel PEB companies now offers greater customer interactivity resulting in greater popularity and demand.

Looks like new

Product innovation is guided by requirements like color options, safer materials and green practices. Profiles like standing seam and double lock cover large spans of space with no worries of water seepage. Concealed fixed systems dominate over screw down solutions as being lesser fault prone during installation and therefore provide durability. This is showing as metal roofs are being preferred for industries, warehouses and even malls like the Magnet Mall, Mumbai. While these are growing in popularity, the Indian market for steel roofing is still evolving in comparison with per capita consumption in China or Western countries. This is expected to improve as customer product knowledge grows and the market gets more organized to overcome disrepute coming from non-standard product use. Increased efforts and investment in R&D means products are better suited for Indian conditions, and also meet global expectations.

The extensive possibility of retrofitting metal roofing is another reason for increased popularity. Self-supported structures like those installed by Proflex for a project is a case in point. The project plan was rehashed to include a metal roof instead of RCC. With engineering ingenuity at play, the roof was erected from inside the pre-existing structure.

Petersberg Supermarket

Tensile Membrane: Cool color and light

Before the shape, the color of your roof will catch the eye. Cutting lighting costs for interiors is another trend streaming through roofs. The top performers are the tensile roofing solutions. Tensile fabrics are the ideal solution for quick installation across large spans. Their translucent nature filters daylight, while the heights they can be raised to create the ambience of openness in atriums and lobby spaces of areas like shopping or office environments. Internal lighting at night shining outwards presents a different personality of the structure, thanks to these innovations. Manufacturers of tensile membranes like Serge Ferrari, Mehler, Etacon, Taiyo Membrane and other global players in India back the strength of their products with design and engineering services for roof design support. This showed up in the increasing number of domes, curved roofs and winged panels on the skyline. The flowing design possibilities with these materials also work for smaller installations like awnings, car parks and roof top structures. Together there was lesser material, therefore lesser load on the building structure. This has encouraged a growing number of clients opening up for tensile roofing to light up their projects, a trend that is expected to spread this year.

Kerala Veterinary Science University

Traditionally popular: Shingle & Clay Tiles

In terms of design, the trend is to fall back on traditional looks, without the inconvenience of traditional, or locally, sourced materials. Many traditional materials like wood, stone or clay are being replicated with modern technology, keeping exploitation of natural resources in mind. However, the looks are now backed by standard quality and size, durability and eco-friendly thought processes for products and their manufacturer. The newly developed roofing systems for these products include insulation, in the form of under lays, and offer insulation benefits. These systems are a holistic offering when correctly installed by a trained workforce. The after sales service and warranty assurance add the touch of sophistication to the entire exercise.

Grindwell Norton Saint Gobain

The positive trend of manufactured fiberglass tiles or asphalt roofing shingles ensures uniform quality, long life products that a customer can rely on. Technology upgrading is a benefit of globalization that is keeping up traditional products. In India, leading the movement is CertainTeed from Saint-Gobain, when one considers standard roofing shingle, tiles and siding. So the asphalt slates and shingles from CertainShields from Saint-Gobain are an ideal solution for independent cottage type structures to projects looking for the retro look. The texture is traditional, the color range contemporary, the materials smart, and work for all. With the curved or arched roofs growing in popularity, shingles are occupying larger market shares due to their easy use and maintenance features. Undulating shapes add a flowing grace to structures, while the shape often becoming a 'self cleaning' end product. Besides, its fitting into green rating requirements is another winning aspect. Saint-Gobain's CertainTeed is ahead in the fiberglass shingles market. Its reflective heat reducing options Solaris and Vinyl Sidings score for low maintenance properties.

Simultaneously, overcoming the weak spots of traditional and locally manufactured clay tiles are companies like Monier and Weinerberger, both operating their India business from Bengaluru. These manufacturers have identified and overcome common problems like standardization in terms of raw material, dimension, colors, and durability. With the versatility of manufactured products when considering installation and maintenance through the lifecycle, terracotta tiles are back on rooftops. They offer roofing clay tiles along with their branded bricks for cladding. Here too, different colors and textures combine with customized fittings to secure overhead coverings. Daylight roofing tiles like Monier's CoolRoof combine insulation underlay with ventilation eaves reducing climate control bills by a whopping 60%. Paired with Translucent tiles power bills reduce as natural light freely enters the buildings. All this is delivered with waterproof assurance of their Rainsheld range.

Monier Roofing

Sun roof technology

As roofing materials have become innovative and standardized, a range of support products have developed. These not only preserve and insulate the roof, but go ahead with enhancing benefits like waterproofing, thermal sealing, preserving features like color and surface textures. They are designed for different types of roofs including sloping, ventilated and flat roofs. This covers integration of solar roofing systems, especially in commercial establishments. There are fresh guidelines being issued to make installation of solar systems viable for high rise residential complexes too. Hiccups like subsidies and other encouraging policies are also being ironed out.

Newer designs in solar panels are encouraging their applicability as a design element for roofing and cladding. Trends like solar shingles are being tracked abroad for their viability of entering the Indian market. Overall solar rooftop products are a focal point for architects designing commercial areas like airports, hotels and hospitals, which can be heavy energy guzzlers. The roof of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai is a case in point. Spread over 50,000 m2 the traditional jalee pattern is replicated with special dichroic lenses that follow the sun's movement, lighting the interiors during the day. With all the Indian artwork included here, modern technology combines with tradition in the best possible way.

Safety at work

On one side, the products like tensile roofing or metal roofing keep sites safe. They do this with minimal onsite work for tailoring the product components, thereby reducing wastage. On the other side, worker safety during installation or maintenance was a sidelined concern. As roofing goes higher with towering structures, safety for workers is being worked out. Construction procedures are worked out for faster completion, but with protection for workers and equipment. Industrial harnesses and other equipment beyond simple hard caps and safety nets are in demand to reduce workplace hazards for construction workers and supervisors. Karam Industries, earlier an essentially export business, is now addressing a growing demand for personal safety equipment in the domestic market. Like other elements of a roofing system, these too require correct understanding of usage to be effective. Both construction associations and equipment manufacturers are encouragingly building focus on training and education of workers and site owners.

Besides their individual eco-friendly strengths, modern roofing is covering requirements of faster construction, lighter loads with adaptability towards newer construction techniques. The versatile nature of these supporting products are often the foundation for current trends, because architects and the construction professionals shed inhibitions they may have had earlier with some materials, modern or traditional. And that itself is a fresh trend!
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