Traditionally, building services were always supported on a building’s flat roof-top using heavy concrete plinths to support their weight, these structures required several trades to build, using materials such as bricks piers and steelwork which could risk damaging the waterproof and insulation qualities of the roof, causing the landlord and tenant maintenance issues.
Therefore, the introduction of non-invasive, independent and lightweight supports are becoming a popular choice as they are a flexible and fast solution for project managers, contractors and consultants. The galvanised framework is supported by polypropylene , plastic or rubber feet which stand on the surface or the roof and are strong enough to manage very heavy building services such as large chillers and packaged plantrooms. They are non penetrating and can be positioned at the last minute during a project without prior location planning and with relatively simple installation.
However, it is important to consider which system would be most suitable for any individual project, taking the height and location of a building into account. These lightweight solutions can be susceptible to wind in exposed, high areas and coastal environments, guidance should be sought from the manufacturer prior to purchase.
Heavy services with concentrated loads such as air handling units will require consideration with regard to the building’s roofing insulation to ensure that it is not compressing and compromising the roof construction. Professional advice should be a prerequisite, to calculate the foot pressures, leg reactions and a have a good knowledge of flat roof design to enable the consumer to make the right decision.
It is important to choose a supporting system product manufacturer who can provide experienced technical support, maintenance and service manuals. With this long term experience on hand to help and all factors considered, these alternative solutions could be the way forward for future projects which require mechanical and electrical building services – saving time and money