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Safety & Compliance: Best Practices for Selecting & Installing Roof Pipe Supports

Posted by Art Valentz on September 6, 2023

Safety and compliance are critical factors when selecting and installing roof pipe supports. These supports are vital for maintaining the structural integrity of the roofing system and preventing potential hazards.

Properly designed and installed roof pipe supports ensure secure placement of pipes and equipment, minimizing movement and potential failures. They distribute weight evenly, reducing stress and improving overall system performance. These systems are also designed to mitigate hazards, such as accidental dislodgment or falling objects.

In this article, we will explore the technical best practices for selecting and installing roof pipe supports to maximize safety and compliance. We will discuss thorough site assessments, load requirements, material properties, secure attachment methods, and fall protection.

Understanding Roof Pipe Supports

Roof pipe supports, also known as pipe hangers or pipe stands, are structural components designed to provide support and stability to pipes. Thus, they also improve the stability of associated equipment in roofing systems. They serve as a means of preventing excessive movement or stress on the roof structure.

There are various types of roof pipe supports available:

  1. Pipe Stands: These are versatile supports that elevate pipes above the roof surface, providing clearance and preventing direct contact between the pipe and the roof. Pipe stands are commonly used in commercial and industrial settings to support a wide range of pipe sizes and materials.
  2. Pipe Hangers: Pipe hangers are suspension devices that attach to the underside of the roof and support pipes from above. They are used when pipes need to be suspended vertically or horizontally, allowing for flexibility in pipe routing and system design.
  3. Pipe Supports with Insulation Inserts: In applications where pipes require insulation, supports with insulation inserts are used. These supports incorporate insulation inserts that provide thermal separation between the pipe and the support, preventing heat transfer and maintaining energy efficiency.

Roof pipe supports play a crucial role in load distribution and stability within a roofing system. They help:

  • Distribute the weight of pipes, equipment, and fluids evenly,
  • Minimize concentrated loads and reduce stress on the roof structure.
  • Prevent excessive deflection, vibrations, and potential failures.
  • Ensure that loads are transferred to the roof structure in a controlled and balanced manner.
  • Maintain the structural integrity of the roof and prevents issues such as roof deflection, leaks, and compromised performance of the entire roofing system.

However, all this is only possible if you choose the right materials for your rooftop pipe support. The installation method also plays a critical role herein.

Best Practices for Selecting The Best Roof Pipe Supports

Before selecting roof pipe supports, it is vital to conduct a comprehensive site assessment. This assessment involves understanding the project requirements, including:

  • Pipe sizes,
  • Weights,
  • Locations, and
  • The specific characteristics of the roof structure.

By evaluating these factors, you can determine the type and configuration of support needed to meet the project's demands. After the assessment, here are some best practices to follow.

Material Properties & Corrosion Resistance

Material selection is crucial for ensuring the longevity and performance of roof pipe supports. The chosen materials must possess suitable mechanical properties, such as strength and load-bearing capacity, to withstand the anticipated loads.

Considering the environmental conditions and potential exposure to chemicals, moisture, or corrosive agents is also essential. You need to select materials with high corrosion resistance. This ensures the long-term durability of the supports and prevents premature failure.

Relevant Building Codes & Industry Standards

Compliance with building codes and industry standards is vital to ensure the proper design and installation of roof pipe supports. You must adhere to the requirements outlined in relevant codes, such as:

  • Load calculations,
  • Material specifications, and
  • Installation practices.

Building codes and regulations often stipulate specific requirements for load calculations, material selection, and installation practices related to roof pipe supports. ASCE 7 or other relevant local codes help you ensure that your support can handle the anticipated loads.

Obtain Necessary Permits & Inspections

Obtaining the necessary permits and inspections is a crucial step in complying with building codes and regulations. Before installing roof pipe supports, it is important to consult with local authorities and obtain the required permits.

Scheduling inspections during and after installation also helps verify compliance and find any issues therein.

Load Requirements

This consideration also includes dead loads, live loads, and environmental factors. You must carefully consider load requirements for finding a relevant roof pipe support.

When evaluating dead loads, make sure you include the weight of the pipes and associated equipment. For live loads, including any and all fluid flow or mechanical vibrations. And finally, for environmental factors, you need to consider wind loads and seismic loads specific to your geographical location.

By analyzing these loads, you can then find the appropriate support systems to withstand the imposed forces.

Best Practices for Installation of Roof Pipe Supports

There are five major best practices to keep in mind with roof pipe support installation:

1.  Properly Anchoring Supports to the Roof Structure

During installation, ensure that your roof pipe supports are securely anchored to the roof structure. This involves using appropriate fasteners, such as screws or bolts, that are compatible with the roof material. They must also be capable of withstanding the anticipated loads.

Adequate anchoring ensures that the supports remain stable and reliable under normal operating conditions and potential external forces. PHP Systems, for example, uses a zero-penetration system to ensure there is no unnecessary stress on your roof.

2.  Ensuring Appropriate Spacing & Alignment of Supports

The spacing and alignment of roof pipe supports are critical for maintaining the stability and performance of the entire system. Supports should be positioned at regular intervals along the length of the pipe. This helps distribute the load evenly.

Proper alignment ensures that the pipes are straight and level, minimizing stress concentrations and potential misalignment issues.

3.  Implementing Secure Attachment Methods & Techniques

To enhance the strength and reliability of the installed roof pipe supports and hangers, secure attachment methods, and techniques should be employed. This may include using clamps, brackets, or straps to firmly connect the supports to the pipes and associated equipment. Adequate reinforcement and proper tightening of fasteners help prevent loosening or detachment over time.

4.  Considering Thermal Expansion & Contraction During Installation

Thermal expansion and contraction are common phenomena in roofing systems due to temperature variations. You must account for thermal movements when installing roof pipe supports. Make sure that the contractor is providing sufficient space and using flexible connections.

For example, PHP Systems/Design uses expansion joints or slip joints. This allows for the natural expansion and contraction of the pipes without imposing excessive stress on the supports or the roof structure.

5.  Conducting Regular Inspections & Maintenance of Installed Supports

Regular inspections and maintenance of installed roof pipe supports and hangers help identify potential issues before they pose a material threat. Visual inspections can detect signs of damage, corrosion, or misalignment.

It is important that you ask your contractor to repair any damage as quickly as possible. This will allow for better structural integrity and performance of the supports. Regular maintenance practices help prolong the lifespan of the supports and contribute to the overall longevity of the roofing system.

PHP Systems Rooftop Pipe Supports

PHP Systems, a leading designer and manufacturer of rooftop pipe supports, offers innovative and sustainable solutions that prioritize safety and compliance. Successful installations using PHP Systems' products have demonstrated their positive impact on:

  • Safety,
  • Structural integrity,
  • Performance, and
  • Regulatory compliance.

We help businesses in commercial and industrial sectors enhance their roofing systems' performance, come rain or shine. In the dynamic world of commercial and industrial roofing, pipes play a major role in ensuring smooth operations. PHP Systems is here to help you achieve a reliable and secure roofing environment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help!

Topics: Roof Safety

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