Building managers must contend with various obstacles and elements that can wreak havoc on commercial rooftops and any equipment stored on them. Each aspect of the roof—from the membrane to the roof edge—requires regular maintenance and inspection. Without the right rooftop equipment, however, your workers will be unable to do their job without endangering themselves or the commercial roof that they’re trying to protect.
In order to ensure the safety of your workforce and the longevity of your roof, facility managers need to invest in these four proven products. By investing in rooftop supports, access walkways, equipment platforms, and more, you’ll be able to dramatically extend the lifespan of your roof—recapturing your initial investment several times over.
- Rooftop Equipment Platforms
A lot of equipment goes on top of the commercial roof because it’s not easy to fit anywhere else. Generators, HVAC pumps, satellite dishes, and even telecom antennae are all commonly placed on commercial roofs.
Without proper planning and support, a commercial roof is not an ideal spot for most of this equipment. Heavy infrastructure can sink in and damage roof membranes or crush insulation, while penetrating fasteners can promote leaks. Lastly, the equipment might be heavy enough that it causes the roof to sink, which promotes ponding of snowmelt and rainwater. Over time, the weight of rainwater in this deflection can even cause the roof to collapse.
Rooftop equipment platforms prevent this damage by spreading the weight of heavy equipment over a larger area. This means that there’s less risk of deflection, and no damage to the roof surface. Meanwhile, ballasted non-penetrating bases prevent leaks.
- Pipe, Duct, and Cable Tray Supports
When possible, you want to avoid having electrical cables, water pipes, or ventilation ducts in direct contact with the roof surface. Unlike heavy equipment, there’s less crush risk regarding the roof surface, but other hazards make it desirable to keep this equipment supported.
Pipes, for example, aren’t necessarily a rigid or static construct. They move based on thermal expansion and contraction, as well as when exposed to dynamic forces from the fluids inside them. Without support, pipes can become uncontrollable and begin to leak at the joints, damaging the roof.
Pipe, duct, and cable tray supports can help protect your roof from leakage, condensation, and even electrical fires, all by properly elevating this sensitive equipment away from the roof surface.
- Crossovers and Stairs
Now that you have your pipes mounted on supports and your heavy equipment mounted on platforms, you need to start adding safe ways for your workers and contractors to navigate the roof surface. Stairs and crossovers are essential to this process because they encourage safety.
For example, the average roofing contractor might not look for a safe way around a cable tray support if no alternative is presented. Rather than trying to go around the cable run, they might simply attempt to climb over it. This presents several hazards. They could trip and fall—which is never safe as far as the roof surface is concerned—or in the worst-case scenario they could come directly into contact with high-voltage wires.
Crossovers and stairs provide a safe, accessible, and easily marked way for roofing contractors to navigate to equipment platforms and over pipe and cable runs without putting themselves at risk. When used as part of a complete roof access walkway system, they provide the ultimate in safety.
- Roof Access Walkways
When workers access unprotected roofs, they run the risk of crushing insulation and tearing the roof membrane. This promotes leaks while making the roof operate less efficiently.
One solution to this is to provide a roof walkway that simply consists of an extra-thick layer of TPO that’s textured to provide a firm grip. In theory, this extra layer of protection is enough to save the roof.
We find two problems with this. First, the roll of membrane doesn’t provide a sufficient deterrent to workers who are tempted to wander off the path. The membrane is at the same level of the roof itself, so it’s easy to wander about. Second of all, the membrane doesn’t come with the advantage of guardrails. Roofing contractors need anchor points when working near the roof edge or around skylights, which means that they need a dedicated roof walkway system with integrated guardrails in order to maintain adequate safety.
Get the Roofing Products You Need with PHP Systems/Design
Here at PHP Systems/Design, we supply products that have been proven to help extend the longevity of industrial or commercial rooftops, including rooftop equipment support, pipe, duct, and cable tray supports, walkways, stairs, and crossovers, and more. All our products are vetted to provide the ultimate in rooftop safety, using ballasted legs and non-penetrating bases to ensure that your roof stays pristine as long as possible. We work with you to provide custom designs.