Accessing the rooftop of any structure poses a safety risk. There are many variables to consider, including the type of rooftop, weather conditions, OSHA requirements, etc. That’s where rooftop walkway systems come into play. How are these systems designed? What materials are they constructed out of? How are they installed on a rooftop?
First, how are these systems usually designed? Rooftop walkway systems serve a few important functions. They simultaneously protect a roof from foot traffic damage and protect workers or employees from slips, trips, and falls by giving them a sturdy way to access rooftop equipment. Often there are certain safety features included. Our METALWALK® walkway system includes features such as non-skid grading, safety handrail (if required), and toeboards. Depending on the roof type, whether a standing seam metal roof or R-Panel metal roof, different installation techniques will be required.
So, when are certain safety features, like a handrail, required? OSHA requires railings if you’re within 10’- 0” of the roof edge. Railings are also a good idea if you’re on a higher pitched roof system (2:12 to 6:12 roof pitches). Make sure that your rooftop walkway supplier can provide proof that their railings have been independently tested to meet or exceed the OSHA 200lb lateral load testing standards. Don’t forget to find out if this is required on your project.
The components that make up the system can be made from a variety of materials. These materials include galvanized steel, galvalume, aluminum, and stainless steel. Galvanized steel construction is the most common material used for walkway grating. It’s strong, durable, and corrosion resistant. By some estimations, it can provide 50-70 years of corrosion protection and beyond.
Upon installation, there are certain factors to consider. What is the roof panel you’re dealing with? Many metal buildings use standing seam roofs. You will want to install the system with non-penetrating seam clamps to avoid damaging the rooftop or voiding any roof warranty. The style of clamp needed will vary based on the manufacturer and the profile of the roof panel.
Another factor to consider is the pitch of the roof. Often, it’s possible to pitch correct the walkway system so that it runs level. With METALWALK®, we can pitch correct the perpendicular running walkway runs level up to a 6:12 pitch upon request. The parallel running walkway runs (eave to ridge) must follow the slope angle.
Other questions to consider include: What kind of warranty is included with the system? Can PE stamped drawings be provided? Design Components, Inc. can provide PE stamped drawings for all 50 states.
Taking the time to consider these factors when specifying a rooftop walkway system will help to ensure a successful project from beginning to end. More than that, you can be confident that whoever must step foot onto that rooftop will be able to do so safely and securely.