Case Studies

DERBIGUM Americas Inc.

Making Buildings Smarter by Planning for the Future

DERBIGUM Americas Inc. (DERBIGUM) boasts over 75 years of industry-leading roofing experience. DERBIGUM has three production sites to deliver over 161 million square feet of modified bitumen membranes and 77 million pounds of liquid products annually. Based in Kansas City, Mo., DERBIGUM reaches a global community of owners and contractors with a focus on sustainable building materials.

The DERBIGUM story begins in 1932 in Europe. Originally known as Imperbel, the family-owned and -operated business produced waterproofing mastics. DERBIGUM entered the U.S. roofing market in 1979, when a group of contractors turned inventors purchased the company’s marketing and manufacturing rights. Operating under the DERBIGUM America Corporation, DERBIGUM offered American building owners a durable alternative to antiquated built-up roofs and EPDM, PVC single-ply membranes.

International Presence, Personal Attention

Today, DERBIGUM operates throughout the U.S., Europe and Africa with 350 employees worldwide. The company has one production site in the U.S, as well as two in Belgium. “We happen to be headquartered in Missouri, but we’re a national and international commercial roofing manufacturer,” explains Bob Seeley, CEO of DERBIGUM. “We make products for commercial buildings only; we do very few residential jobs. Our target market mainly consists of flat-roof buildings for schools, universities, museums, malls, manufacturing facilities and beyond.”

DERBIGUM targets mid- to high-end clients who, as Seeley says, “simply cannot afford to not have a reliable roof.” This is where DERBIGUM comes in. “We mainly target owners who absolutely need a sturdy sustainable roof, because they have sensitive, expensive equipment, supplies or food housed in their facilities,” Seeley continues. “Examples include food-processing plants, computer manufacturers, automakers, pharmaceutical plants. That’s really our core business.”

Roofing for a Greener Tomorrow

DERBIGUM has recently developed roofing products that meet the needs of the present, but do not compromise the planet for future generations. The company believes that sustainable roofing is an evolving concept, requiring an aggressive, proactive mentality and strategy. Sustainable products stem from sustainable practices, which DERBIGUM upholds by adhering to ISO 9001-2008 and ISO 14001-2004 certifications.

“We’ve made great strides in the past few years,” details Seeley. “We’ve introduced more new products in the past five years than the company has developed over the last 25 years.” DERBIGUM dove into the green energy revolution head first, leading the roofing industry with innovative products, from vegetative roofing to photovoltaic panels to refractive day lighting products.

DERBIGUM’s DerbiSolar line, comprised of a white acrylic membrane, combines a strong roofing system with integrated solar panels. “The roofing membranes themselves conserve energy due to the light color,” explains Seeley. “With this product line we’ve invested in research and collecting data, which is presented to owners to show them what the paybacks and advantages are over the long term. We provide customers with a financial package that puts into perspective the real savings.”

DERBIGUM is also readying production on the DerbiPure roofing system, which contains no petroleum products, only vegetable oil and pine resin. “Today, virtually every roofing membrane is made from petroleum, which is an exhaustible resource,” adds Seeley. “This product has the same longevity as regular petroleum-based products, but with the renewable benefits.”

The company knows how to harness what nature provides on a daily basis: sunlight. DERBIGUM’s refractory prismatic roofing system, Daylyte, consists of angled glass that helps allow more natural light into a space. “The concept is similar to a skylight,” reveals Seeley. “The prismatic dome shape reflects sunlight and disperses it more efficiently throughout a building. This system reduces electricity usage, lowering the buildings energy bills.”

The company’s Daylyte system even offers sensors to regulate light intensity during the day. “Well, typically a building gets peak sunlight from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” says Seeley. “So, when the sun goes down, the sensors turn the lights up. We’re seeing more and more companies demanding these kinds of refractive systems, not just large plants, but office buildings, as well.”

The company is also at the forefront of increasingly popular vegetative roof installations. “In the last two to three years living roofs are on the rise,” shares Seeley. “A lot of companies are starting to do this but what sets us apart is our basis for the plant system is triple-reinforced. Owners want to put their plants on top of our membranes because they last between 20 and 25 years; you won’t find yourself tearing plants up every few years to redo the roof.”

Seeley admits the amount of green roof work depends on the area, but it is most prevalent throughout Washington, D.C., and Chicago. “Cities with strict stormwater management rules are attracted to this option. It takes some of the weight off the 100-year-old, or older, city infrastructure.”

Through the onset of the recession and tough times for many in the industry, DERBIGUM has remained successful through its innovation and ability to cover vast ground. “We’ve offset the recession through new products and being able to pick up market share throughout the country,” Seeley says.

After 75 years in business, DERBIGUM is keeping stride with the needs of the modern world. DERBIGUM Americas Inc. continues to lead national and international markets alike through products that make sense today with a plan for tomorrow.

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Spring 2018



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