Should Roof Access Walkways and Stairs be Taken as Extras?

Should Roof Access Walkways and Stairs be Taken as Extras?

20th December 2019

Are you among the several building owners and managers who assume the need for roof access walkways and stairs? This access equipment has often been perceived as “extras.” Well, did you know that access equipment is vital for the safety of your employees and the life of the roof?

Common Rooftop Challenges

The following are some of the most common rooftop challenges:

1.    Rooftop Maintenance Will be Required at Some Point
Regular rooftop inspection is essential for any roof regardless of whether it’s brand new or old. And unless you have a drone to do a flyover inspection, your maintenance crew will have to inspect in person. For older roofs, you’ll need to conduct both preventive maintenance and carry out repairs requiring workers to be on the roof. All of this activity increases foot traffic build-up over time. 

2.    Rooftop Equipment Will Also Require Maintenance
Besides the roof maintenance, rooftop equipment like the HVAC system, pipes, and pipe supports will require constant maintenance. This maintenance is also likely to cause foot traffic on the roof. 

3.    More Buildings are Allowing Access to All Employees and the Public
Today, more buildings are inspired to optimise all available space and the need for the sustainability movement. This includes opening the roof to all employees and to the public. For instance, having green roofs means more people visiting to appreciate the diversity of plant life found on different green roofs, leading to more foot traffic. 

4.    Some Rooftop Equipment Could Restrict Access
A typical commercial rooftop is usually crowded with things like equipment and equipment supports, pipes and pipe supports, vents, solar panels, and satellites. This could make it quite challenging for maintenance workers to access certain areas of the roof to work on equipment or the roof itself. Without the right access means, they may be forced to go over, under, or around the equipment obstructing the way. This could lead to damage to equipment and put the workers at risk of slips and falls, sharp edges, and hot equipment. Scaffolds and ladders may not be efficient to bring to the roof - they can puncture the surface of the roof thus increasing the risks of falls.
How Roof Access Stairs and Walkways Can Help

From the challenges in the aforementioned, foot traffic is one of the main causes of rooftop problems. Fortunately, roof access stairs and walkways can be a lasting solution to these problems. The following reasons explain how this is so:

●    Walkways provide a physical buffer to prevent direct contact with foot traffic. They also limit foot traffic on other roof areas. The quality and durability of the walkways are essential for the best results. Galvanised steel or aluminum walkways are the most reputable access equipment used in most buildings. 
●    They eliminate the need for scaffolds and ladders that could damage the roof’s surface.
●    They help maintenance workers and the public to avoid falls, slips and other injuries by providing a clear path for both trained and untrained personnel alike. 
●    They provide safe, convenient access to areas that could otherwise be challenging because of pipes and other equipment.