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An Upgraded HVAC System Requires Improved Rooftop Safety

An Upgraded HVAC System Requires Improved Rooftop Safety

Safety Culture

TELUS is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company providing wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security services. Their long-standing commitment to putting customers first fuels every aspect of their business, making them distinct in customer service excellence and loyalty.

Requiring Safe Access to A Small Rooftop

There is a misconception at times that a smaller rooftop can be easier to maintain and gain safe access to. One challenge amongst all rooftops with a limited footprint is that many of the HVAC units, and other RTUs, are within 6 feet of the roof’s edge. Thus, requiring a permanent guardrail or barrier to be installed to prevent the risk of a height-related injury. With Telus looking to upgrade its HVAC system, an updated safety solution was required.
roofbarrier rooftop guardrail system

Improved Rooftop Safety With A Guardrail System

Due to our knowledge and experience in providing height safety solutions that meet the communication industry’s needs, our team of safety specialists were consulted. The Trail office in British Columbia purchased two 5001 RoofBarrier systems; one straight 30-foot linear section with 4-foot outriggers and one 20’ x 25’ L section with 4-foot outriggers. Here is what made our roof barrier and guardrail system the primary choice for this site.


  • The 5001 RoofBarrier is a modular solution, making it quick and easy to install and transport to the roof.
  • The safety guardrail is manufactured in galvanized steel, minimizing the risk of corrosion.
  • With our roof safety solutions being stocked and ready to ship, we were able to meet the contractor’s timeline to install the upgraded HVAC system.
  • Our non-penetrating self-ballasted solution meant that the roof membrane would not require repairs. On the other hand, with a fixed guardrail, once the installation is complete you need to re-seal the area to ensure there are no potential water leaks that were made by the screws and fasteners.

All in all our self-ballasted roof guardrail solution saved both the contractor and end-user time and money.

Rooftop Safety Compliance Part 1 – Gaining Safe Access to Your Roof

While working on rooftops, safety is a priority! With advancements in infrastructure and the need for businesses to evolve their physical space, commercial roofs across the country are becoming crowded. This is gradually impacting local standards and height safety regulations that are calling for various safety solutions.

During part 1 of this webinar, our rooftop safety expert will be focusing on how to ensure safe and hazard-free access to your rooftop, by reviewing the following topics.

  • Roof access trends and available solutions
  • Review of roof access ladder codes, standards & regulations
  • Review of roof access points and how to eliminate a potential hazard
  • Checklist for how to go about selecting a roof access ladder

Best Practices in Rooftop Safety for Commercial & Industrial Buildings

While working on rooftops, safety is a priority! With advancements in infrastructure and the need for businesses to evolve their physical space, commercial roofs across the country are becoming crowded. This is gradually impacting local standards and height safety regulations that are calling for various solutions, such as roof guardrails, lifeline access ladders and more. During this webinar, our rooftop safety expert will be touching on the following topics.

  • The importance of rooftop safety
  • Height safety trends and available solutions
  • Review of codes, standards & regulations
  • Review of roof access points and how to eliminate a potential hazard
  • Checklist for how to go about selecting your rooftop safety equipment

The Toronto Transit Commission Ensures Safe Access to Rooftop Units

The Toronto Transit Commission Ensures Safe Access to Rooftop Units

Toronto Transit Commission

The Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) assumed responsibility for municipal transit services in the City of Toronto on September 1, 1921. This began an era of consolidation and expansion that accompanied and accelerated the astonishing growth of Toronto as a city. The TTC has played an important role in Toronto’s past and as we look ahead, it is exciting to think about how they are shaping the city’s future.

ensuring roof safety & compliance

The Toronto Transit Commission was looking to not only ensure rooftop safety compliance but take all safety precautions that would reduce the risk of a rooftop related injury. With the TTC having a safety-first culture, they reached out to the Skyline Group after conducting a self-rooftop safety assessment to review various hazards and related height safety solutions. Today’s industrial and commercial rooftops can quickly become crowded with various units sitting on the roof. When reviewing rooftop safety concerns, safety personnel are looking at how an employee or third-party contractor would go about approaching such rooftop units safely, for routine inspection and maintenance. These units come in various sizes and as such can be covered by regular snowfall during Toronto’s winter months. As a result, it is important to ensure that there is safe passage in and around these units year-round, reducing the risk of someone tripping over a duct system or stepping into a snow-covered skylight. This is no different at the TTC facility. When reviewing their rooftop HVAC systems, Skyline was tasked to ensure safe passage to each system, while enabling the maintenance team to be safe while working at heights. The criteria to be met fell into two categories: compliance and design.


Compliance Requirements
  • Platforms, stairs and guardrails designed to comply with all applicable loads, including OBC Part 3, OBC Part 4 and OSHA Reg. 851 S.14.
  • Platforms and stairs designed for a concentrated live load capacity of 1.3 kN and distributed live load capacity of 1.5 kPa.
  • Guardrails designed for a concentrated live load capacity of 1.0kN, compliant with OBC
  • Total dead load of system not to exceed 0.5 kPa.
  • Dead load (0.5 kPa) plus live load (1.5 kPa) of platforms, guardrails, and stairs onto existing roof not to exceed 2.0 kPa, unfactored.
  • Dead load plus live load (2.0 kPa) of platforms, stairs, and guardrails not to exceed a maximum concentrated load onto the existing roof of 1.3kN. Achieved by having support posts on 600mm centres, max.
Design Requirements
  • Customization capabilities as some of the rooftop units are not standard in size.
  • Modular in design and installation.
  • Lightweight while still being robust to support the load requirements.
  • A permanent walkway, guardrail, platform and crossover solution.
  • Made of long-lasting anti-corrosive material.
  • Must meet a strict and short delivery time.
Roof Guardrail
Safety Roof Ladder
Walkway with Guardrail

Making Roof Safety & Compliance Easy

After a review of the rooftop access points and those rooftop units that require routine maintenance by the TTC. Skyline Group proposed a safety solution that ensured a safe walkway, including a guardrail system, manufactured in aluminum. This reduced the chance of a slip during the winter months, while offering a safe and secure platform to work from. The high-quality aluminum also offered corrosion protection for 10+ years. A crossover solution helped the facilities maintenance team safely walk and work at heights while on the roof. With the height safety solution being modular and made of aluminum, the general contractor was able to transport the units with ease. The savings in labor alone reduced the budget requirements for installation, enabling the opportunity for the general contractor to work on other rooftop-related projects for the TTC. This customized roof safety solution was not only under budget, but met strict deadlines.

Mohawk College Solves Tomorrow’s Height Safety Concerns Today

Mohawk College Solves Tomorrow’s Height Safety Concerns Today

A Leader Among Ontario's Colleges

Mohawk College is a leader among Ontario’s colleges. Deeply rooted in the local community and the present demands, they have a global perspective that addresses the needs of the future. Transforming the educational experience is at the core of Mohawk! They have honed their expertise in the technologies shaping the world and building a better and more inclusive tomorrow — artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, biotechnology, digital health and cybersecurity, to name a few. Students strive and grow with various applied learning opportunities facilitated both on and off campus. For example, the video you see below was created by Mohawk students looking to gain experience and get creative in showcasing their rooftop safety solutions.

As an inclusive college, Mohawk benefits from the diversity of thoughts, experiences, skills and talents of its students, faculty, staff, and administrators. They focus on creating an environment that reflects all identities, where every student belongs, is welcome and has a voice.

Solar Panel Safety

In the same manner that the Mohawk College is working towards finding creative ways to prepare their students for tomorrow’s needs, their facility maintenance team is constantly striving for improved safety for students, faculty, and service providers. With such a large rooftop, ensuring a safe environment is essential for the college. As the campus and facilities grow, the rooftop will tend to get busier with the latest technology to support the advancements impacting the students and staff.

Mohawk is the first Ontario college to get a STARS® Gold Rating for sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This is partly due to the 100+ solar panels you will find on the college’s various rooftops. With the solar panels covering much of the roof, personnel must walk within 6 feet of the roof’s edge to access multiple sections of the rooftop. With the solar panels being so close to the roof’s edge, when maintenance is required, the working environment of the service personnel would pose a potential fall hazard. The facility maintenance team knew that anytime you are within 6 feet of a fall from a rooftop, you need a height safety solution.

Safety Roof Ladder

Non-Penetrating Guardrail System

The facility maintenance team reached out to the rooftop safety specialists at Skyline Group to better understand their needs and the available solutions. The Mohawk team was looking for a solution that was:

  • Quick and easy to install
  • Stocked ready to ship
  • Non-penetrating, eliminating the need to penetrate the roof membrane, which would require further repairs and costs to reseal those areas of the roof.
  • Compliant with Ontario height safety regulations and standards
  • Protected against corrosion during the winter months

As a result, the Skyline Group recommended their RoofBarrier 5001 series, as it would meet the college’s growing rooftop safety needs.

“I have worked with Skyline Group for a few years and have always had a great experience from working with the sales team to the team in production. The products have always been in stock and were ready to ship once the shop drawings were signed off. The safety guardrails are quick and easy to assemble.”


Jeremy Dowling – Engineering Services Officer

Decommissioning of a Non-Compliant Access Ladder

Decommissioning of a Non-Compliant Access Ladder

Fort McMurray Jubilee Plaza

There’s something for everyone in the family at the Fort McMurray Jubilee Plaza. Located at the corner of Hardin Street and MacDonald Avenue, Jubilee Plaza is where people of all ages are encouraged to hang out, have fun and relax—designed as a year-round social gathering place, regardless of the season. As the seasons change, so do the activities, including markets, outdoor entertainment, public rallies, fitness-related activities, and various community events.

rooftop elevation

The facility maintenance team at the Jubilee Plaza looked to access an elevated part of the roof. They noticed that the access ladder currently in place was no longer safe. Over the years, the installed ladder had become rusted and, after its most recent safety review by the maintenance team, was deemed non-compliant.

For the maintenance team, this provided an opportunity to upgrade the ladder to better meet their needs. The retired ladder was currently located at the side of the building, requiring personnel to climb up from the pedestrian walkway from the ground level. Jubilee Plaza was looking to install the new ladder in a much more convenient part of the roof, near the main roof access point. To do so, they would need to consider the edge of the roof, slanted window and limited wall space that was available for the installation to take place.

The primary challenge for the Jubilee Plaza maintenance team was to have a custom access ladder solution shipped “yesterday,” as immediate rooftop access was required.

Rooftop Safety

Fixed Aluminum roof ladder

The general contractor working with Jubilee Plaza recommended our line of modular access ladders. The general contractor and facility maintenance team selected the 7002 series fixed aluminum ladders with a platform and handrail combination due to the following reasons.

  • The quick turnaround on design, quoting and delivery.
  • The capability to customize a solution that best meets the roof’s needs while remaining compliant with local safety guidelines.
  • The modular design of the ladder made it quick and easy to install and transport to the roof.
  • Non-corrosive aluminum material.
  • The design ensured that the access ladder and platform did not obstruct the large window and its view.
  • The perforated platform ensured year-round safe access.
Rooftop Safety
Access Ladder

Keeping Maintenance Team Safe on A Sloped Commercial Roof

Keeping Maintenance Team Safe on A Sloped Commercial Roof

Thunderbay Retail Centre

595 West Arthur Street is in Thunder Bay’s central highway commercial neighbourhood on the northeast corner of the signalized intersection of West Arthur Street and Mountdale Avenue. This multi-tenant, L-Shaped retail strip centre is surrounded by national retailers, International Airport, several hotels, a growing residential base and the busiest commercial corridor in Thunder Bay.

The commercial site covers 96,500 square feet and features approximately 250 feet of frontage. The building was built in 1993, consisting of a multi-tenant building with a small two-storey section.

Sloped Commercial Roof

The rooftop units (RTUs) were built close to the roof edge of a sloped commercial rooftop. Not only was the degree of the slope making it very difficult for the maintenance crew to have a safe passage to the HVAC units, but a safe environment to conduct maintenance wasn’t possible. A local contractor invited our team of walkway and guardrail specialists to help create a compliant and safe roof environment.

Rooftop Safety

Roof Walkway Creates A Safe Pathway

The local general contractor working on the mall, and the building owner, selected Skyline Group’s walkway and roof barrier solutions for the following reasons.

  • Skyline Group’s consulting expertise and experience in making rooftop access and compliance easy.
  • Build quality along with engineered stamped drawings.
    During a time when supply challenges are of great concern, we had the stock to deliver a quick and easy turnaround.
  • Custom capabilities to ensure a safe environment for maintenance staff.
    The unit’s modularity drastically reduced installation costs, making it a quick and easy installation. This also made it possible to grow the system over time as the rooftop gets busier with future RTUs.
  • The walkway and guardrail systems are manufactured in aluminum, facilitating transportation to the roof and the installation process. The lightweight solution also made meeting roof load bearing requirements a breeze.
  • The perforated walkway made it safe for rooftop access during the winter months.

Telecommunications Facility Upgrades Capacity Creating a Crowded Rooftop

Telecommunications Facility Upgrades Capacity Creating a Crowded Rooftop

Roger's Toronto Switch Facility

The founder of Rogers, Ted Rogers, purchased his first radio station, CHFI, in 1960. They have grown over the years to becoming a leading technology and media company that strives to provide the very best in wireless, residential, sports, and media. With a highly skilled and diversified workforce of approximately 25,300 employees, Rogers makes more possible every day, proudly connecting their customers to a world of possibilities and the moments that matter most in their lives.

Upgraded Cooling System

Rogers was planning to upgrade to their existing Wireline Switch facility in Toronto. With the facility upgrade requiring various rooftop units (cooling systems, ducts, and electrical distribution systems) to be replaced and located closer to the edge of the roof, the contractor and project engineer needed a rooftop safety compliance partner. With the new placement of the rooftop cooling units, a safety solution was required to ensure safe passage on the roof during routine maintenance.

Skyline Ladders

Galvanized steel Safety Rail System

To ensure compliance and eliminate any hazard while maintaining the rooftop HVAC units, our team of height safety experts recommended a 17’ x 22’ x 4’ (adjustable corner) galvanized steel guardrail system. The RoofBarrier 5001 Series is a non-penetrating permanent guardrail system that meets the most stringent of rooftop safety regulations. With the galvanized steel safety rail system not requiring any roof penetration, the solution was easy to incorporate into the current building envelope. Our guardrail systems are also shipped in prefabricated modular sections, creating an efficient and quick installation with no on-site welding, further reducing on-site labor requirements and installation costs.

Spirit of York Distillery Getting Into The Spirit of Height Safety

Spirit of York Distillery Getting Into The Spirit of Height Safety

Toronto Based York Distillery

The vision for Spirit of York Distillery was always a big, bold, aspirational, enduring goal – to craft some of the world’s most premium, best-tasting spirits. Toronto is a world-class city, deserving of world-class spirits. Capable of rivalling those made in any other primary market or city. Spirit of York is that spirit.

The Spirit of York Distillery team is passionate, spirited, and determined to bring something unique to the table. Through a spirit of collaboration, they’ve distilled these premium spirits down to their very DNA and essence. To produce a premium, distinctive spirit. They’ve all had a hand in turning Spirit of York into the success it is today. Each bottle is proudly filled and sealed by hand at the distillery.

Custom Safety Requirements

Spirit of York Distillery required a height safety solution to gain access to a 10-foot by 10-foot four-story tower housing their equipment. Woodbecker Inc., a construction management and general contractor, worked with our team of height safety specialists to have an elegant, safe, and compliant access ladder with an aluminum walkway system designed.

Rooftop Safety

An Elegant Height Safety Solution

We can talk about what we designed for the distillery or let James Becker, owner of Woodbecker Inc., speak about his experience.

Replacement of a non-compliant wood guardrail & crossover system

Replacement of a non-compliant wood guardrail & crossover system

Toronto Commercial Rooftop

The McDonald’s Canadian corporate headquarters is located at 1 McDonald’s Place in Toronto. Lennard Commercial Realty manages the commercial property. Their extensive experience and broad expertise, topped by their key connections, make them a great partner for large and small organizations.

Rooftop Safety Plan

To expedite the need for service on their HVAC systems, the original structure was manufactured on-site out of wood. Fast forward a few years later, and Lennard Commercial Realty’s maintenance team had a few safety concerns with their rooftop safety plan and the walkway wood structure. The team identified that the wood structure was non-compliant with local height safety guidelines. It was ultimately rotting away due to the snow and rain penetrating the wood. With the building also being 11 stories high, the structure was subject to high winds, making the walkway and platform system unstable during windy weather.

Lennard’s facility maintenance team was concerned with the current structure not meeting local safety guidelines, ultimately rendering it non-compliant. Even if the system were in perfect condition, it still wouldn’t be considered compliant as it does not meet local height safety regulations.

The facility maintenance team was looking for a permanent solution to provide safe access to the building’s extensive HVAC system. Lennard reached out to our rooftop safety specialists to discuss their safety goals below.

  • The requirement for a permanent solution.
  • The system to be powder coated with a customer yellow color to match the rest of the building and roof.
  • A stocked solution as a quick turnaround would be required.
  • A solution that would be quick and easy to install.
  • An anti-slip walkway and crossover system.
  • A solution that meets both local and TSSA height safety guidelines.
Skyline Ladders
Skyline Ladders

Roof Safety Audit Delivers Results

We worked with a local contractor, High Tech Communications, to conduct an on-site roof audit. Virtual and on-site safety audits are fulfilled complimentary by our team and help provide a great deal of context and direction when creating a customized rooftop safety solution.

Our team delivered a custom walkway and crossover solution that not only met the requirements listed above but surpassed them.

  • All drawings were stamped by engineering and included solutions that would yield a 4-week turnaround.
  • The system met all local and TSSA guidelines, ensuring a compliant safety solution.
  • Perforated walkways and steps to ensure maximum grip during the winter months.
  • The system was fully modular, making it easy to install on-site. This helped in reducing the overall installation costs of the solution.
  • The walkway, platforms and guardrails are all manufactured in aluminum. This lightweight material made it easy and less costly to transport the material to the roof.
  • With the system being self-ballasted, the unit was not required to penetrate the roof membrane. This eliminated the need for repairs to reseal any holes the installation would have made.
roof railing


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