Building Code Requirements – Membrane Roof Covering for Walking Decks

Clarifying the Specifics of Building Code Requirements for a Walkable Vinyl Roof Deck Membrane

Outdoor living areas have become a popular part of the design of both single family and multi-residential projects and they have specific building code requirements. Buyers are a mix of younger families or downsizing empty-nesters – both groups of which are choosing to live in modern designs with little or no maintenance requirements so they have more time to enjoy living. These types of homes often have no space for entertaining friends or family so architects and designers are exploring cost-effective ways to open up the home by offering outdoor living spaces like roof decks.

But the IBC has no area that specifically addresses walkable roofing. This can put building officials in a tough spot; code requires a roofing approved product. But when these creative designs come into play and the roof will be used for pedestrian traffic, furniture, hot tubs and the like what should be done? This is the grey area.

Membrane roof coverings are designed, manufactured and tested to withstand direct “service” foot traffic. Slip resistance, and abrasion resistance from sustained loads are not part of a roofing membrane standard’s criteria but are essential to pedestrian traffic membrane.

Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)

It is not mandatory that the AHJ use evaluation reports, but rather evaluation reports are there to facilitate a product’s acceptance by an AHJ. ICC-ES evaluation reports remove the burden of determining a product’s proof of Code compliance for its intended use.

ICC-ES Evaluation Report requirements for a membrane roof covering suitable for pedestrian traffic:

The International Code Council (ICC) developed and administers the International Building Code (IBC). ICC Evaluation Services (ICC-ES), a subsidiary of ICC, is an approved agency which provides evaluation reports that can be used to determine if a unique product is suitable for its intended use.

ICC-ES creates acceptance criteria (AC) for products with a similar usage. In the case of Duradek Ultra Roof and Walking Deck membrane, it is AC 39 for Walking Decks and AC 75 for Membrane Roof Covering Systems.

Acceptance Criteria (AC) are scrutinized and updated to meet the ever-evolving International Codes.

For a comprehensive overview of the criteria required for AC 39 for Walking Decks and AC 75 for Membrane Roof Covering Systems, here are some great resources put together by Duradek’s technical manager, Len Viegener for your reference:

Understanding Building Code Requirements and Evaluation Reports from Duradek (PDFs):

Why a CCMC Evaluation Report is Important for Building Code Requirements
CCMC on Membrane Roof Decks Evaluation ReportsWhy is an Evaluation Report so Important | in Canada/CCMC (2 page .pdf)
Duradek’s CCMC Evaluation Report 13134-R (4 page .pdf)

Why an ICC-ES Evaluation Report is Important for Building Code RequirementsICC on Membrane Roof Decks Evaluation Reports
Why is an Evaluation Report So Important | in U.S./ICC-ES (2 page .pdf)
Duradek’s ICC-ES Evaluation Report ESR-2151 (3 page .pdf)

Understanding how ICC-ES helps to show when a product meets Building Code RequirementsReference Guide for Undersanding ICC-ES Reports
Anatomy of an ICC-ES Report (2 pg .pdf formatted for double-sided print/tri-fold brochure)
Anatomy of an ICC-ES Report (chart) (1 page .pdf – chart only)


For more product test and evaluation results, visit Duradek’s Testing and Approvals page or email our office to request further information.

Originally published July 28, 2015

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