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A Customized Catwalk Provides Safe Access to Rooftop Units

Hamilton General Hospital

Founded in 1848, Hamilton General Hospital (HGH) was the first hospital in Hamilton. Along with providing general medical care to the community, it is home to a number of Hamilton Health Sciences’ key regional referral programs, including burns, cardiac catheterization, cardiac surgery, electrophysiology, endovascular treatment, extracorporeal life support (ECMO), neurosurgery, stroke, trauma and vascular surgery.  It is also home to programs that provide specialized care to our HNHBB residents: cardiology, neurology and spine. In addition to providing leading-edge care, HGH is strongly connected to its neighbourhood and supports outreach activities aimed towards enhancing the quality of life in the surrounding community.


Roof Safety Never Sleeps

The Hamilton General Hospital has one busy rooftop, with improvements to the roof and RTU’s (rooftop units) occurring on a routine basis. Safety never sleeps on this rooftop, and the maintenance team is always looking for solutions to help minimize and eliminate the risk of a slip or fall. Slips and falls are dangerous, and when they occur on a rooftop, they can be fatal. The facility maintenance team and property owner wanted to ensure a safe means of navigating to and around the newly added rooftop units. 


Why Select a Non-Penetrating Roof Catwalk System

After visiting the site with the general contractor and installer, Hamilton General Hospital selected Skyline Group’s non-penetrating aluminum roof catwalk system. This non-penetrating walkway solution checked all the boxes, a catwalk that was easy to install, safe year-round and compliant with local and national safety codes.

  • The modular system allowed for flexibility in designing the walkway solution while ensuring it can easily expand with the needs of HGH’s growing rooftop.
  • The design allowed for a quick and easy installation, reducing labour requirements.
  • The aluminum material made for a lightweight solution, eliminating any load-bearing concerns.
  • With the catwalk being manufactured in aluminum, the system would remain looking brand new, while also keeping its integrity throughout the year. Unlike a steel solution, Skyline Group’s aluminum catwalk systems require little to no maintenance, with no need to have the aluminum coated with a protective layer every year.
  • The plug-and-play process ensured that the roof would require no repairs after installation. With the system being non-penetrating, the installers were not required to reseal and repair the membrane as no screws were used to fasten the unit to the roof. Keeping the warranty and integrity of the roof intact.

Skyline Group’s experience and reputation in building high-quality non-penetrating roof walkway solutions played an important role in being selected for this roof catwalk project.

Commercial Building Looking For Interior Access to The Rooftop

Gaining Interior Access to the Rooftop

The architect designing this commercial building in Montreal attended one of our complimentary lunch and learn sessions. The main objective of their learning session was to review common hazards in climbing to a sloped rooftop.

Contractors and building personnel requiring access to the rooftop are using a portable step ladder or extension ladder to climb through the roof hatch from the top floor. The architect and building owners wanted to create a safe and compliant means of accessing the roof via the hatch opening. There is a fixed outdoor caged wall ladder on the side of the building, although this solution wasn’t always an option during the winter months, as it would pose a potential fall risk. 

Why Install an Interior Roof Hatch Ladder

Installing a roof access hatch with a fixed ladder allows contractors and maintenance personnel easy access to the roof of the building. Ultimately, eliminating the safety risks that come with climbing an exterior wall ladder. Unlike outdoor roof access ladders, interior hatch ladders require little to no maintenance, while maintaining 24/7 restricted access to the rooftop.

Primarily utilizing a portable ladder to climb through the hatch is not a long-term solution, as it would result in personnel not maintaining three points of contact throughout their climb. It was also a dangerous solution, posing a fall risk when climbing up the portable ladder and stepping off it with equipment in hand.

Why Select a Modular Aluminum Hatch Ladder on Your Next Roof Access Project

For this roof safety project, the site’s small footprint made a standard fixed hatch ladder the clear option.

After reviewing modular and fully welded steel options, the property manager selected the Skyline 7001 series hatch ladder system. Both steel and aluminum hatch ladders would be compliant and offer safe access to the rooftop, although Skyline Group’s aluminum modular hatch ladders provided more than just roof safety compliance.

  • Its design allowed for flexibility, making it easy to install stiles in order to help in climbing out of the hatch onto the rooftop. These extensions/stiles extend past the roof hatch door, ensuring three points of contact and a handle to grab onto while stepping off the last step of the fixed hatch ladder onto the rooftop.
  • When compared to a welded or steel option, the aluminum ladder was easy to transport to the top floor and rooftop.
  • An easy and quick installation helped in reducing labour costs and overall budget requirements.
  • The serrated rungs ensure a safe climb every time.
  • Its aluminum finish keeps the ladder looking new, as it is located in an area that will receive a lot of employee foot traffic. In addition, unlike steel ladders, no maintenance is required over time to keep the aluminum ladder looking new. 

Looking to understand how you can ensure safe rooftop access? Connect with our team of safety specialists today to learn more about the hazards that are present on your rooftop.

Large Flat Commercial Rooftop Introduces a Roofline System

Companies like Amazon and IKEA are building and operating some of the largest warehouses to support the needs of consumers. As a result, we are seeing some of the largest commercial flat roofs being built, with the square footage of these rooftops getting larger every year. No matter the size, working on a roof is dangerous and poses a fall risk. We sometimes think that the larger rooftops are less dangerous as you have more space to conduct maintenance, but that’s not entirely true. It’s not the size of the flat commercial roof but where you are working in proximity to the edge of it that dictates how dangerous it is. With larger roofs you might also discover areas where personnel aren’t allowed access without approval, hence requiring a warning line system directing them away from the unauthorized area. During the winter months, hazards can also become invisible, such roof hazards include skylights or the edge of the roof not being visible due to the snow and ice overhanging a foot out from the edge.

Roof Hazard Review

For this commercial building, it all started with a roof safety and hazard review. With the rooftop having multiple RTUs (rooftop units), the facility maintenance team wanted to install a solution that would help warn roof workers that they are approaching a hazard. Ultimately, creating a safety perimeter on their roof to help ensure roof workers remain on the recommended walkway. If a roof worker were approved to go beyond the perimeter to maintain an RTU, then they would have been protected by a nearby fixed guardrail. This warning solution would also have to be visible during the winter months when most of the roof and its hazards are covered in snow.

Creating A Safe Perimeter with a Bumpline or Warning Line System

After we conducted a virtual tour of their rooftop, our roof safety specialists recommended a RoofLine system. It is a free-standing roof delineator system to be used as a bumpline or warning line on a roof where access is required; however, close access to the roof edge is not a must. The system keeps subcontractors from getting too close to the roof edge, essentially creating a visibly safety perimeter on your rooftop. Doing so can also avoid the requirement to install a permanent guardrail at the edge of the roof, making the RoofLine a cost-effective safety measure. With the warehouse expanding to meet the growing needs of its customers, it was also crucial that the system be modular. Making it quick and easy to expand their roof safety program.

Conestoga Cold Storage Creates a Safe Rooftop With a Non-Penetrating Safety Guardrail

Serving customers from across Canada and around the world, Conestoga operates five automated cold storage warehouses with a total storage volume of over 64 million cubic feet which provides fully computerized warehouse facilities, distribution centres, and a chain of cross docks that enable them to deliver product efficiently from coast to coast. This combination results in dependable service across the country.

Creating A Safe Rooftop – Living A Safety First Culture

The consultant working with Conestoga’s Western Canada team recommended a review of the rooftop prior to taking ownership of their new building, in order to ensure a safe rooftop. The review was made up of walking the same path as a facility maintenance worker, gaining safe access to the rooftop, while ensuring a safe environment on the roof where routine maintenance occurs. Skyline’s team of roof safety specialists assisted the consultant and Conestoga in reviewing the building’s rooftop safety requirements.

HVAC Roof Safety Guardrail

On this flat roof the HVAC system is slightly more than 6 feet away from the roof’s edge, so why would a safety solution be required? When a member of the facility maintenance team or a third-party service crew is required to be on the roof, they need to travel and work in an environment that is within 6 feet from the roof’s edge. When taking into consideration one’s tools and the need to work from all angles of the HVAC system, you are physically too close to a fall hazard. As a result, Skyline Group recommended an aluminum non-penetrating roof safety guardrail system that would act as a permanent safety solution. Ensuring, regardless of where you are working around the HVAC system, the risk of a fall is eliminated.

Why Use a Non-Penetrating Roof Safety Guardrail

Both penetrating and non-penetrating systems will keep roof workers safe while working on a commercial flat roof, minimizing the risk of injury. The modular aluminum self-ballasted roof safety guardrail systems were selected by Conestoga due to the following:

  • Being a self-ballasted non-penetrating system meant that there was no need to fasten the roof safety guardrail to the brand-new rooftop. Eliminating the need for the roof to be resealed from potential water leaks, and increase labor costs.
  • Its modular design brought various advantages;
    • Easy and quick installation.
    • When compared to a welded solution, the modular system was extremely easy to transport to the rooftop.
    • Its design allowed for flexibility, as the roof evolves with time so will the safety guardrail solution.
  • Its aluminum material ensures that the unit will not corrode during the harsh winter months.
  • Due to roof load requirements, this aluminum guardrail also minimized the strain that would be placed on the roof.
  • With the roof safety guardrail system requiring less time to transport and install on-site, the project was also completed under budget and on time.

Looking to understand how you can ensure a safe and compliant rooftop? Connect with our team of safety specialists for your complimentary safety lunch and learn session.

Starbucks Creates Safe Roof Access with a Modular Aluminum Ladder


Starbucks was in the midst of opening a new location in Orilia, Ontario, when they noticed that the building drawings were missing a safe means of accessing the rooftop from the outside of the building. Starbucks reached out to the Skyline team to get an understanding of how they can go about ensuring safe roof access. Due to the new building being ready any day now, Starbucks required a solution that would be easy to install with a quick turnaround time from design to delivery.

Why Use a Modular Aluminum Roof Access Ladder

The height safety specialists at Skyline Group reviewed the building designs and recommended a modular aluminum cage ladder that would ensure a safe and compliant climb to the rooftop. The solution checked all of their boxes.

  • Surpassed both national and local safety standards and regulations.
  • Its aluminum structure and modular design made installation quick and easy.
  • The aluminum material ensured that the ladder would remain looking new for years to come and protect it from rusting. Unlike a steel ladder, an aluminum ladder doesn’t require maintenance to ensure its coating remains intact. Contemplating selecting an aluminum roof access ladder versus a steel roof access ladder?
  • The ladder cage adds a layer of safety when climbing, with the integrated platform and guardrail providing a safe means of stepping off the ladder onto the rooftop.
  • It is not compliant or recommended to cut your ladder short, in order to restrict public access. This is why a lockable cage door was integrated into the design, this is common around buildings that have a lot of pedestrian foot traffic.
  • The ladder and its components were all stocked in our Ontario warehouse, making a quick turnaround possible. With the ladder and its components being manufactured in aluminum, there was no need to delay the delivery in order to have the unit coated or painted.

Restricting Roof Access to The Public

During our discussions with Starbucks, they were looking to ensure that once on the roof there would be a safe means of stepping off the ladder onto the small rooftop. Due to the size of the rooftop you are always close to the edge of the roof, especially when stepping off of the ladder. This is why a walkway and guardrail system was integrated into the design of the ladder, ensuring the user would have a safe passage away from the edge of the ladder and roof. They also wanted to ensure that access to the ladder was restricted to only those employees or service personnel that were approved to be on the roof. As a result, Skyline introduced a lockable cage gate to the design, to restrict any unwanted access to the rooftop while still ensuring the ladder met local safety guidelines.

A Roof Crossover Closes The Gap Between Two Flat Roof Buildings

A Roof Crossover Closes The Gap Between Two Flat Roof Buildings

It is not uncommon to find two separate buildings, adjacent to one another separated by a few feet, and owned by the same company. Sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to grow our building footprint on the current land we own, but instead purchase the adjacent building to allow for further growth. This gap in building elevations can also occur when your flat roof has various elevations, creating a fall hazard from each rooftop.

Commercial Flat Rooftops

This telecommunications company has two offices adjacent to one another in Saskatchewan. Accessing both rooftops for maintenance became time-consuming as personnel were required to climb up via the Skyline roof access ladder to review one of the rooftops. While descending and climbing the adjacent rooftop for further maintenance. The company recognized that joining the two roof levels with a stair and walkway would provide a quicker and safer means of accessing both roofs. This would ultimately reduce time and related labour costs when looking to maintain the rooftops

skylight safety
skylight safety

Rooftop Crossover & Bridge System

After a virtual review of the flat roof, Skyline Group recommended a customized crossover system to close the gap between the two rooftops. The system would include a welded aluminum walkway with aluminum guardrails to ensure a safe and compliant roof walkway, while including a toe board to reduce the risk of a tool falling from the roof.

Why a Penetrating Crossover & Bridge System

Both penetrating and non-penetrating crossover systems will keep roof workers safe while travelling from one rooftop to the next. And are considered compliant with all height safety standards. Our modular aluminum fixed crossover solution was the preferred choice, due to the following:

  • The flexible design of the supports allows for multiple options when mounting to the roof. Due to the large span, this crossover was fixed to raised curbs for added strength and durability.
  • Its lightweight modular design brought various advantages, such as;
    • Easy and quick installation (no welding required on-site).
    • Pre-set railing and rung heights to ensure safety compliance during installation.
    • When compared to a welded solution, this system was flat-packed and easy to transport to the rooftop.
    • Its design allowed for flexibility, integrating a toe board for increased safety.
  • Its aluminum construction is non-corrosive, ensuring extended longevity and very little maintenance.
  • The aluminum grated walkway created a grippy surface year-round, minimizing the build-up of snow, ice, and debris.
  • No painting or galvanizing is required for an aluminum solution, resulting in a shorter lead time and minimal required maintenance.
  • The lightweight aluminum structure required less time to transport and install on-site, reducing the overall cost of the project.

“Once we received the bridge we installed per the design. During the final review the client was impressed at the design and the installation”

Roofing Contractor

Quebec City International Airport Creates a Hazard-Free Rooftop

Quebec City International Airport Creates a Hazard-Free Rooftop

The rooftops at international airports are busy with various units requiring routine maintenance. These flat rooftops include several HVAC units, ducts, gas lines, IT-related technology and much more. Creating a hazard-free roof is critical year-round, especially during the winter months when many of the hazards could be covered with snow.

Protecting HVAC Technicians & Roof Workers

Rooftop HVAC units play a big role in keeping a space well-ventilated and comfortable. During the summer months, the outdoor temperatures can reach above 30 degrees Celsius in Quebec City, requiring the HVAC units to be working efficiently 24/7. When a unit is working inefficiently, the space it supports can become uncomfortable, especially when taking into consideration the amount of natural light heating up the space through the building’s big viewing windows. Therefore, when a HVAC unit isn’t working, it requires immediate attention and service. With the unit installed close to the edge of the flat roof, the maintenance team at the Quebec City airport reached out to Skyline Group’s roof safety specialists to discuss a roof safety solution that would create a safe perimeter around the HVAC system.

roof safety
roof safety

HVAC Safety Barrier

On this flat roof the HVAC system is slightly more than six feet away from the roof’s edge, so why would a safety solution be required? When a member of the facility maintenance team, or a third-party service worker, is required to be on the roof they need to travel and work in an environment that is within six feet of the roof’s edge. When taking into consideration one’s tools and the need to work from all angles of the HVAC system, you are physically too close to a fall hazard. As a result, the Skyline Group recommended a 5001 series RoofBarrier system that would act as a permanent safety solution, ensuring that regardless of who is on the roof, the risk of falling is eliminated.

Why a Non-Penetrating Roof Barrier

Both penetrating and non-penetrating systems will keep roof workers safe while working on a commercial flat roof, minimizing the risk of injury. The Quebec City airport preferred the 5001 series modular self-ballasted solution due to the following;

  • Being a self-ballasted unit meant that there was no need to fasten the roof barrier to the new rooftop. Eliminating the need for the roof to be resealed from potential leaks.
  • It’s modular design brought various advantages;
    • Easy and quick installation
    • When compared to a welded solution, the 5001 series is extremely easy to transport to the rooftop.
    • Its design allowed for flexibility, as the roof grows with the needs of the airport, so will the safety solution.
  • Its galvanized steel material ensures that the unit will not corrode during the harsh winter months.

High Rise Building Escapes Costly Repairs with a Roof Barrier System

High Rise Building Escapes Costly Repairs with a Roof Barrier System

Place de Ville high-rise buildings, located in downtown Ottawa, are made up of a few office towers, hotels, and a cinema. The buildings are also linked via an underground shopping complex. Place de Ville C is one of the tallest office buildings in Ottawa, and was referred to as Ottawa’s Toronto Dominion Centre and Montreal’s Place Ville Marie.

Quick & Easy roof guardrail Installation

The facility maintenance team’s primary concern was looking for a non-penetrating self-ballasted rooftop guardrail and barrier system that is quick and easy for the contractor to install. They had originally specified a roof safety guardrail that required to be fastened to the rooftop, and would not only take multiple days to set up but also require a crane rental to bring the material up to the rooftop.

architectural roof guardrail

Self-Ballasted Roof Barrier System

Our team proposed the non-penetrating self-ballasted 5003 series RoofBarrier system.

  • Its modular design made the solution extremely easy to transport.
  • The design will also ensure the installation process is quick and easy for the subcontractors, reducing lead time and labor costs.
  • Its lightweight construction allowed for the roof guardrail system to be brought to the roof via the building’s service elevators, eliminating the need for a crane rental in downtown Ottawa.
  • With the 5003 RoofBarrier guardrails being a self-ballasted solution, there was no need for the unit to be fastened to the rooftop. Eliminating the need to make holes into the roof membrane that would have required costly repairs to reseal the roof.

Deciding between a non-penetrating roof barrier and one that is fastened to the roof? Here are five reasons why you would select a non-penetrating roof guardrail solution.

Rooftop Safety Trends – Raising the Bar on Rooftop Safety Compliance

Canadian Roofing Contractors Association interviewed Vernon Ghinn, our VP of roof safety specialists, to chat about the future of height safety and its impact on regulations.



The building design process includes many considerations for serving the occupants working or living within it. And often, the technology required to optimize the building’s safety, comfort, and efficiency end up being installed on the roof. These components may be necessary, but any piece of equipment added to the rooftop poses a degree of risk for those who may need to work in that space. And with rooftop footprints and configurations in constant flux, safety considerations cannot fall through the cracks.

“Like every building component, roof footprint, features, and conditions can evolve; these changes can introduce challenges with accessing equipment,” says Vernon Ghinn, a roof access and safety specialist at Skyline Group. “That’s why rooftop safety isn’t a set it and forget it responsibility; it is something that should be reviewed and improved upon quarterly to ensure you’re staying in compliance and keeping everyone safe.”


Working at height comes with numerous risks. More and more, those risks include having to navigate access points (e.g., ladders or hatches) or rooftop equipment (e.g., HVAC systems, ducts, solar panels) that have been installed throughout the roof and – more frequently – near roof edges.

For example, says Ghinn, “At times, rooftop units are installed at the edge because that happens to be the quickest and easiest location for the installers to place the unit. However, the challenge lies in servicing those units, as a safety solution will be required to create a safe perimeter and working environment.”

Roofing layouts can also pose risks. For instance, flat industrial and commercial roofs can become slippery to walk on when wet depending on the roofing membrane.
Added to these traditional hazards are the ones that appear over time. For example, building upgrades that affect the roof structure and design can also impact its elevations, requiring new roof safety equipment and considerations.

“That’s why it is important to understand the future state of your roof and how the roof is being accessed,” says another safety rep with Skyline. “Corridors are provided inside the building for safe access, so the same consideration should be given to the safety personnel required to keep the building running while accessing the roof.”

Another trend impacting roof safety is that rooftops are becoming more crowded. As land prices rise and available space in populated areas decreases, organizations optimize their investment by making use of their open space. Some of that focus is being turned to rooftops, where building operators turn their rooftop into a publicly accessed area (e.g., a garden or patio) or invest in energy-efficient technologies (e.g., green roofs or solar panels). The result is a very busy environment that requires safer access to all roof areas and increased awareness of common rooftop safety hazards.

“Ultimately, it is important that your roof access and safety solutions stay up to speed with your roof as it goes through different transformations,” adds a Skyline rep.

Roof Guardrail


As building envelopes adapt, so do safety compliance obligations. This is also true of roof and height safety standards, which are constantly adapting to reflect emerging hazards.

“The number of roof fall-related injuries is alarming, so it’s only natural that local and national standards are getting stricter,” says the Skyline safety rep, explaining, “Today, more and more third-party service providers have their own safety guidelines that prevent employees from working on roofs unless the right safety equipment and protocols are in place.”

Aligning with such standards is a critical challenge, especially since failing to keep a building compliant or ensure an installation meets local safety guidelines can lead to severe injuries and costly liabilities. As such, it’s important to recognize hazards as they emerge and never lose sight of one’s safety responsibilities.

“It’s about accessing the roof safely, while working in a hazard-free environment, in order to get back down from the roof safely,” says Ghinn, adding, “The fact is that the number of roof fall-related injuries is alarming, meaning there is room to improve on safety. The good news, though, is that the risks we’re seeing out there today can be mitigated with the right partners and height safety solutions that are readily available.”


No doubt, modern rooftop hazards require modern safety solutions. For example, says the Skyline rep: “We see too many access ladders that are cut short at the bottom, requiring an extension ladder to gain access to the actual roof access ladder itself. This is often done to restrict roof ladder access to the public, but climbing a small ladder to grab the roof access ladder and then climb onto it is simply dangerous. That’s why we developed a lockable gate to block the first five-plus feet of steps and restrict unwanted access.”

The ability to manufacture ladders, guardrails, roof catwalks, and various other rooftop safety solutions in modular sections is also beneficial for today’s contractors. These solutions can be transported to the roof via a service elevator versus renting a crane, while also being installed in a fraction of the time. All while offering the capability to customize a solution that best fits the needs of the roof and local guidelines.

“The savings become quite substantial for all parties,” says Skyline’s rep, explaining, “Our non-penetrating permanent guardrail system, for example, is designed to be modular, making it quick and simple to install without needing to fasten into the existing roof frame. This eliminates the need to reseal the roof membrane for old or newly warranted roofs after an installation.”

Protecting workers and staying in compliance means understanding your rooftop hazards before heading up onto the roof, while having a solution in place to mitigate the risks as they unfold. After all, adds Ghinn, “Nobody should discover safety by accident.”

Roof Guardrail

Creating A Safe Catwalk on A Crowded Hospital Rooftop

Creating A Safe Catwalk on A Crowded Hospital Rooftop

Ottawa Medical Centre

For more than one hundred years, The Royal has been a community landmark and a beacon of hope for those needing health care. In February 1910, the first tuberculosis patient was admitted to the Lady Grey Hospital, known in the early days as “the San”. In 1969, the facility was renamed the Royal Ottawa Hospital (ROH).

Reviewing Roof Hazards

Like any medical center, the roof of the ROH is crowded with multiple rooftop units that make it challenging to navigate the roof safely. On this roof, the HVAC units were installed towards the center of the rooftop, more than 6 feet away from the edge. With the various gas lines, ducts and other RTUs, the only passage from the roof access point to the HVAC units was a walkway close to the edge of the roof. With the HVAC units requiring routine maintenance, the 50-foot catwalk located adjacent to the roof edge became quite busy with maintenance personnel. With the catwalk being too close to the roof’s edge, a safety barrier and guardrail were specified by the contractor.

Skyline Roof

An Upgraded Rooftop Catwalk System

The contractor working on repairing sections of the roof reached out to our team of rooftop safety compliance experts to learn how a permanent, yet non-fixed, guardrail solution can be installed. The RoofBarrier 5001 Series is a self-ballasted permanent rooftop guardrail that is non-penetrating. With the galvanized steel safety rail system not requiring any penetration of the roof membrane, no further repairs to the roof would be needed. Ultimately, saving time and money for both the contractor and the Royal Ottawa Hospital. 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 and installation costs.

roof railing



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