Quick Guide to Layout Planning in Commercial Roofing

When it comes to commercial roofing, what are the most essential aspects to consider? For a building that may require several access points and withstand heavier loads, this question needs a closer look.

For a commercial building, flat or slope roofs are the norm due to the potential use of rooftop equipment like solar panels and HVAC units. Compared to residential roofs, commercial roofs are larger, covering tens of thousands of square feet.

Commercial roofs use sturdier materials that are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, heavy machinery, and intense foot traffic. Therefore, you will often see commercial roofing installed with metal sheets, modified bitumen, gravel and tar systems, and single-ply membranes.

Commercial Roofing and Layout Planning: A Quick Guide

1. Building Assessment and Needs

  • Measure the roof and assess its shape be it rectangular or L-shaped. This will influence the drainage layout and material selection.
  • Evaluate the building structure to check the weight the roof can handle for additions like rooftop solar panels, maintenance access pathways, and HVAC units.
  • Since most commercial roofs are flat or have low slopes, assess the rainwater runoff points to ensure sufficient drainage.

2. Codes and Regulations

  • Installing a commercial roof is not a linear process. Certain local building codes have to be adhered to, based on the roof design planned. This concerns the materials used, fire safety compliance, snow load capacity, and wind resistance.
  • Consider incorporating ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant features like ramps or lifts for accessibility if public access to the roof is required.

3. Selecting appropriate material

  • Based on the location of your commercial building, choose the materials that can withstand the climate in your area. This includes factors like high winds, intense sunlight, and heavy snowfall while considering the material’s lifespan and potential maintenance needs.
  • The long-term cost of ownership can be considered where some materials might have a higher initial cost but less maintenance with a longer lifespan.

4. Equipment access and placement

  • If the layout planning of your commercial roofing already inputs HVAC units, vents, and other equipment, ensure that proper functioning, accessibility for maintenance, and minimal interference with drainage is carried out.
  • Consider specific access points for maintenance staff, potential walkways, and service paths across the roof. Consider these pathways keeping safety in mind like proper railings and slip-resistant surfaces.

5. Drainage system design

  • It is imperative to decide the number and locations of drains based on the roof size and slope level. So, ensure that water flow is evenly distributed toward the drains. Scuppers too should be planned and placed strategically as they are the outlets that channel water runoff from the roof’s edge and prevent pooling.
  • Some large complexes have intricate roof structures so an internal drainage pipe system with funnels might be necessary to collect and channel water to the drains.

You may also like to read about:

By carefully considering all these factors, you can get an easy guide to plan the layout of your commercial roof. You may also seek professional consultation with commercial roofing experts to plan a durable, functional, and code-compliant layout.