Drivers of airport roof system design and specification, and the impact of geographical location


The design and specification of airport roofs is influenced by several drivers including the geographical location of the facility.

The drive to leave a mark with aesthetic impact has become more evident in the last decade as airport design has become more lavish with increased intricacies. The building and roof design do not just showcase an architect’s vision. There is a desire for the building design to blend in with the airport’s location and surroundings or relate to the history and culture.

The performance of airport buildings and passenger terminals is however the overall key driver. There is a reason for the focus on roof performance. The commercial viability of an airport is closely tied to round the clock operation of its buildings and infrastructure with minimum or ideally no disruption to service. The speed of construction and costs have a considerable commercial impact.

The comfort of passengers along with the safety and protection of assets or cargo are also important considerations. Airport roof system design is integral to achieving airport building design objectives. We will now consider how the geographical location of the facility can influence airport building roof performance in the following areas:


When a roof is specified for an airport is situated in a sunny location, consideration may be given to the impact of natural light on the aesthetics of the building. The designer of buildings within an airport situated in a coastal location for example may wish to consider the impact of the ocean and scenery on their detail.


The specifier and designer of a roof will need to consider how the airport roof building is affected by external noise. The users of the facility can to some extent be isolated from external noise and part of this can be achieved by the use of roof boards that feature some sound absorbing characteristics in their construction.

Weather resistance

The geographical location of an airport will have a great impact on building design. An airport located in a hot region, for example, will experience very different weather conditions from one situated in a colder location.

The design of the airport roof must take into account its exposure to weathering from the sun, rain and hailstorms and perhaps how the build-up of snow could impact its performance.

Fire resistance

A major consideration when designing an airport roof is its resistance to the passage of fire. Designers of the buildings must comply with regulations that are determined by their location as these will be subject to variations in each country.

Additional considerations are the speed of construction and improved programming. Whilst these do not deliver in terms of building performance, building products that can help expedite the installation stage are often sought out in a sector where the quick return on investment is critical.

What is a roof cover board and where on the airport roof is it installed?

Roof cover boards are substrates manufactured from various materials. They are traditionally installed between the insulation and the waterproofing membrane layer of a flat roof system as cover boards or above the roof deck as a roof board. The type of roof cover board selected should reflect the project specifics.

DensDeck® Roof Boards can help improve acoustic performance and increase the resistance of the roof to fire spread. The boards can help accommodate roof access for roof maintenance. Roof cover boards can also help certain types of roof coverings resist damage from extreme weather or flying debris. DensDeck® Roof Boards can help improve the wind uplift resistance of the overall roof build-up as they enhance the stability of the fixing at both points that fasten the two objects together.

DensDeck® high performance, glass mat faced gypsum roof and cover boards are designed to meet the needs of commercial structures in various critical sectors and infrastructure projects such as passenger airports, cargo facilities and airbases worldwide.

To learn more about the drivers of airport roof system design and specification and how geographical location can impact these, you can download our ‘Airport roof design’ white paper or contact one of our team today who will be happy to help.

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