Supporting Rooftop Equipment

Association of Construction and Development
April 18, 2013 — 1,626 views  

Rooftops are used extensively for installing heavy equipments like your TV antenna, compressor, security camera, lighting assembly, solar power stage, exhaust pipes, and many more. It is a general practice because it saves ground space and is often the only place available if you are living in an apartment. For equipments like the solar power assembly or the security camera, there is no suitable place better than the rooftop.

The Reason Why Rooftop Support Systems are Needed

Innovative solutions proving to be economically beneficial are constantly coming into the market. There is an array of non-invasive rooftop support systems which are used extensively. Better than the conventional methods, these equipments are environment-friendly, provide strong and stable support for expensive gadgets, reduce vibration, and also help to extend the longevity of the roof. There are a lot of different categories of things that people need to fix on their terrace, all having their own specific set of requirements. The versatility and durability of the support system is important. The supporting system design should be flexible in order to adapt to different equipment requirements.

Categories of Rooftop Support System

Rooftop support systems can be classified into three general categories namely, non-penetrating supports, flashed curbs supports, and flashed steel supports. The design of the supporting structure is based on two basic concepts; one consists of curbs with a metal cap sheet flashed into the roof, and the other has a structural steel frame supported by a vertical steel post embedded in the roof membrane.

  • Curbs: Two types of curbs namely the “runner”, which is a continuous type, and the other one, typically in the shape of a square or rectangle, are made to hold equipments on them. The item which is to be fixed is supported either along the sides or the center depending on its size and shape. For rooftop pipe fittings, individual curbs are made at a constant distance from each other, and then the pipes are laid and fixed on them.
  • Flashed Steel Support: Larger and heavier equipments require structural steel reinforcements to carry the weight. Equipments like generators, cooling towers, and satellite dishes are fixed by steel supports, but steel supports can be used to fix other lighter equipments as well. A variety of steel bars are used to construct the strong base of the support system. Various shapes and designs are adopted which best fit the shape and size of the equipment.
  • Non-penetrating Supports: Assemblies that do not embed into the roof surface, fall under this category.The supports vary with the requirement, ranging from simple wooden blocks to fully customized steel bases.These assemblies are held on the surface of the rooftop by a layer of protecting material. The material is typically placed between the surface of the roof and the base of the non-penetrating blocks. This support system is used for pipes and complex cooling units, with many extending pieces, and a variety of other equipments. The major advantage of using this type of support system is that the whole assembly can be easily moved around and can adapt to changes in the requirements with time. As it is non-invasive in nature, the rooftop membrane is unharmed.

Association of Construction and Development