Rooftop supports are free-standing devices that are used to support systems and equipment such as pipes, ductwork, work platforms, and HVAC equipment on the rooftops of commercial buildings. They may have pivot and height adjustment options. Most rooftop supports consist of plastic bases that attach to one or more metal legs with supporting cross-members. Base materials include high-density polypropylene (HDPE) with ultraviolet (UV) protection. The legs and braces are usually made of stainless steel or galvanized carbon steel, and attach to the bases with nuts and washers. Uplift bars are recommended for environments with seismic activity or high winds. Although rooftop supports can be used with either flat or sloped roofs, they must be spaced appropriately and distribute the weight evenly.
Types of Rooftop Supports
There are many different types of rooftop supports. Choices include pipe supports, duct supports, cable tray supports, equipment supports, and solar panel supports. Pipe supports are designed to support pipes and piping systems on building rooftops. Duct supports are designed to support ducts and ductwork used by heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Cable tray supports are similar to these other rooftop support systems, but add a prefabricated vertical support that resembles a ladder. Equipment supports may feature a single center leg rather than two distributed legs to better support air handling units (AHU), blowers, and exhaust fans. Solar panel supports connect both vertical and horizontal members to create a structure that can support the weight of photovoltaic panels (PV). Specialty rooftop supports for telecommunications application are also available.
Suppliers of rooftop supports may offer products and accessories such as walkways, crossovers, stairs and ramps. Rooftop walkways allow personnel to work on and access rooftop equipment such as HVAC systems without stepping directly onto the roof itself. Crossovers allow access to rooftop areas that may be obstructed by pipes and piping systems, ducts and ductwork, cable trays, or other rooftop equipment. Rooftop stairs and stairways enable personnel to reach different parts of a commercial building’s roof while protecting flashing and roofing material from damage caused by foot traffic. Like crossovers and stairs, rooftop ramps permit maintenance personnel such as mechanical contractors to access HVAC systems.