Flat Roofs Defects – Norwegian Building Sector Perspectives
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Flat roof constructions covered with flexible roofing is a common feature on large buildings, as they are robust and require little maintenance. However, faults in flat roof design or their assembly could lead to costly building damages or defects. A preliminary mapping of main risk factors for flat roof defects has been carried out by studying design, assembly, and maintenance practices. This article is based on semi-structured interviews with actors in the Norwegian building sector between September 2017 and March 2018. The interviews did not target a specific subgroup; a broad and explorative approach was instead chosen in order to seek out opinions from all parts of the supply chain. The goal was to map knowledge and attitudes regarding flat roof faults. A point of particular interest concerned the perceived prevalence of substandard constructions due to counterfeit materials or shoddy building practices. It was found that most roof faults could be attributed to aging or design flaws. Counterfeit materials or shoddy workmanship was perceived to be uncommon among large and well-established companies. However, responders from several backgrounds – manufacturer, municipal and university building owners – suspected that such malpractices might be more common among smaller contractors geared towards the non-professional market. As a whole, the Norwegian roofing industry was perceived by respondents as generally trustworthy and compliant with regulations. However, interview responses suggest further research is required on the practices in the nonprofessional sector.