Spirit of York Distillery Getting Into The Spirit of Height Safety

Spirit of York Distillery Getting Into The Spirit of Height Safety

Company

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.

Challenge

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.

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

Customer

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.

Challenge

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.

Solution

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.

Toronto Community Housing Upgrades Rooftop Safety to Meet TSSA Regulations

Toronto Community Housing Upgrades Rooftop Safety to Meet TSSA Regulations

CUSTOMER

The Toronto Community Housing is the largest social housing provider in Canada and the second largest in North America. They are wholly owned by the City of Toronto and operate in​ a non-profit manner. Toronto Community Housing has 2,100 buildings​ and 50 million square feet of residential space, which represent a $9 billion public asset.

Toronto Community Housing homes and communities are in 106 of Toronto’s 140 neighborhoods, providing homes to nearly 60,000 low and moderate-income households. Their 110,000 residents come from many different backgrounds with a diversity in age, education, language, mental and physical disability, religion, ethnicity and race.

Challenge

The Toronto Community Housing was looking for a budget friendly solution to meet the strict rooftop safety requirements of the TSSA. In order for the TSSA to service both the mechanical penthouses and electrical transformer located on the roof, a safe passage would need to be created from both the north and south wing roof access points to the mechanical penthouse. With the roof having no guardrail or parapet at least 42” in height, the full length of the walkway (on both sides) would require guardrail system to eliminate any rooftop hazards.

Solution

The Toronto Community Housing was looking for a long lasting and non-penetrating solution that would be used in conjunction with their current paver walkway system. It was important that the units be tested by a third party, ensuring compliance, while being aesthetically pleasing. A non-penetrating aluminum RoofBarrier system was the perfect solution for their needs. Not only does the Skyline Group RoofBarrier system surpass Canadian rooftop safety standards, it’s galvanized steel material will ensure it looks new even after years of usage. Unique to the Skyline Group RoofBarrier system, it’s modular design and lightweight material made it easy and cost effective for the general contractors during installation. While also making it a budget friendly solution.

Looking For A Rooftop Safety Solution That Meets Hurricane Loadings

Looking For A Rooftop Safety Solution That Meets Hurricane Loadings

Customer

Bristol Myers Squibb believes in the power of science to address some of the most challenging diseases of our time. Their focus on these unmet needs comes during a remarkable time when unprecedented scientific breakthroughs are advancing the treatment of disease as never before in human history.

They work every day to transform patients’ lives through science. Each day, their employees worldwide work together to meet the needs of their patients. Bristol combines the agility of biotech with the reach and resources of an established pharmaceutical company to create a global leading biopharma company powered by talented individuals who drive scientific innovation.

With numerous advancements in oncology, hematology, immunology, and cardiovascular disease, they are dedicated to helping patients prevail over serious diseases.

Challenge

The 460,000 square foot facility on 33 acres produces biologics medicines and Coumadin. Bristol reached out to our rooftop safety specialists to better understand their rooftop safety needs and ensure compliance on a crowded roof. With various large HVAC units, ducts, pipes and more, Bristol was looking to ensure that these RTUs (rooftop units) could be easily maintained. There are many rooftop guardrail, crossover and access ladder providers in North America that can help with meeting safety compliance, although the company was looking for;
  • A modular solution that is quick and easy for the contractor to install.
  • One single supplier that can help provide the required roof safety products and be actively involved in delivering stamped drawings for the basis of design.
  • Has experience working on large-scale design projects, as this project was valued at over $500,000.
  • Can incorporate an aesthetically pleasing guardrail design, limiting visibility from the ground.
  • Most importantly, be certified by a third party to meet hurricane loading requirements. While still requiring a non-penetrating solution to minimize roof damage, repairs, and potential leakage.

Solution

Our team proposed a solution comprised of various galvanized non-penetrating 5003 Series RoofBarrier systems, aluminum crossovers and access ladders. In some areas of the roof, where ducts were located on the edge of the roof, we proposed a fixed guardrail system alongside the parapet. Here is what our solution was able to solve.

  • The 5003 series is considered to be an architectural guardrail. It is a non-penetrating self-ballasted guardrail comprised of curved handrails, making the bars invisible when at ground level.
  • Its modular design and lightweight material ensured a quick and easy installation. While also offering the opportunity to grow their safety needs further, as the roof plans expand to meet production requirements.
  • Our company prides itself on being a one-stop shop to making rooftop safety access and compliance easy. With thousands of projects under our belt and years of experience working with contractors, engineers, consultants and building owners, Bristol felt at ease working with our height specialists.
  • Create a safe passage around the roof, along with to and from each roof access point.
  • We were one of the only suppliers to test this custom non-penetrating guardrail system with up to 60-mile winds with a third party to meet hurricane loading requirements for the area.

5 Reasons Why You Would Select A Non-Penetrating Rooftop Guardrail System

5 Reasons Why You Would Select A Non-Penetrating Rooftop Guardrail System

Both penetrating and non-penetrating systems will keep roof workers (contractors, maintenance staff, and service teams) safe while working on a commercial flat roof, minimizing the risk of injury. Why do facility managers and roofing contractors prefer installing a non-penetrating roof barrier system? Here are 5 common reasons why you would select a non-penetrating rooftop guardrail.

Flexibility

A non-penetrating solution gives you the flexibility to install the system wherever you need it on the roof, regardless of any load barring or structural concerns. This type of system also enables you to reuse the same equipment once a roof is reroofed. Yes, you can do so as well with a fixed guardrail, although the simplicity of just moving the system to the side for a repair to the roof and putting it back in place without making more holes is usually underestimated.

Quick & Easy While Reducing Costs

Our line of RoofBarrier guardrails require less installation time and labor due to their modular design! For contractors, this means you’ll be saving on installation time, labor, and costs. If you are a facility manager, the reduction in labor will contribute towards reducing your overall budgetary requirements.

No Roof Repairs Required

If you plan on fastening the system to the roof, once the installation is complete you will need to repair and/or reseal those sections of the roof. Often the cost of resealing and repairing the flat roof is not taken into consideration when choosing between a fixed guardrail vs non-penetrating guardrail solution.

No Structural Concerns

At times, due to where the barrier needs to be located in order to ensure rooftop safety compliance, fastening a guardrail may not be an option. We have also come across this scenario when working on older buildings and/or historical sites where preserving the site is of utmost importance.

Modular – Growing with Your Roof Needs

As your rooftop grows in either square footage and/or safety requirements, you may require an upgraded HVAC system to meet your growing needs. With a non-penetrating guardrail, you can move the system to a different location on the roof with ease or add onto an existing unit with basic hand tools, ensuring rooftop safety compliance.

Summary

Ultimately, it comes down to how quick and easy the installation process is with a modular non-penetrating guardrail system. With a non-penetrating system there is no need for any re-work to be done to the roof after installation is complete, unlike fixed systems where you need to repair and reseal the roof, potentially voiding your roof warranty.

Is A Non-Penetrating Guardrail System Non-Permanent?

Is A Non-Penetrating Guardrail System Non-Permanent?

A non-penetrating rooftop guardrail or barrier system is made up of uprights, top rails, mid rails, weighted base plates, and various clamps and screws. They are non-penetrating because the base plates that enable the posts and rails to freely stand upright are weighted, thus not requiring the installer to fasten the uprights to the roof.

Having a non-penetrating guardrail is indeed a permanent rooftop safety solution. Both penetrating and non-penetrating systems will keep roof workers (contractors, maintenance staff, and service teams) safe while working on the roof, minimizing the risk of a fall-related injury. Our line of rooftop guardrail solutions has remained on roofs with minimal maintenance requirements for 10+ years. Just like guardrail solutions that are fastened to the roof, non-penetrating systems will stand the test of time. With that being said, why do facility managers and roofing contractors prefer installing a non-penetrating roof barrier system? Here is why you would choose a non-penetrating rooftop guardrail;

  • Gives you the flexibility to move the system, enabling you to reuse the same equipment once a roof is reroofed.
  • Our line of RoofBarrier guardrails require less installation time and labor due to their modular design! For contractors, this means you’ll be saving on installation time, labor, and costs. If you are a facility manager, the reduced labor requirements will help towards reducing your overall budgetary requirements.
  • Depending on the design and material of your roof, fastening a guardrail may simply not be an option.
  • If you plan on fastening the system to the roof, once the installation is complete, you will need to repair and/or reseal those sections of the roof. More often than not, the cost of resealing and repairing the commercial roof is not taken into consideration when choosing between a penetrating vs non-penetrating guardrail.
  • Unlike others, our array of roof barrier products are modular in design, making it extremely easy to set up and install on-site. All you need are a few simple hand tools.
  • With each standard RoofBarrier base plate weighing 40 – 100 lbs, non-penetrating systems will withstand sunshine, high winds, rain and snow.
  • If your yearly rooftop inspection/audit yields maintenance and/or repairs, having a modular non-penetrating solution will facilitate the process. Furthermore, making it simple to ensure rooftop safety compliance.
  • Meets and surpasses North American rooftop safety regulations.

Ultimately, it comes down to how quick and easy the installation process is with a modular non-penetrating guardrail system. There is also no need for any re-work to be done to the roof after installation, unlike fixed systems where you need to repair and reseal the roof, potentially voiding your roof warranty.

5 Common Rooftop Safety Hazards

5 Common Rooftop Safety Hazards

While working on rooftops safety is a priority! With advancements in infrastructure and the need for businesses to evolve their physical space, flat roofs across the country are becoming crowded. These rooftop units (RTUs) and the crowding that occurs are a cause for concern. Today’s rooftops are presenting various potential hazards. This article will take you through the 5 most common hazards we encounter on a regular basis.

RooF Edge Awareness

Whether you have all the time in the world to finish the project at hand, or just a few minutes before closing time to get home, there is always a risk we lose track of where we are on the roof. Roof edge awareness is ensuring that you are aware of how close you are to the edge of the roof at all times. At any point in time, if you need to travel close to the roof’s edge to get to an area of the roof, or conduct service/work while remaining close to the edge of a roof, a permanent safety solution like a roof barrier may be required. You also have the option of setting up a warning line system to help roof workers to quickly identify a hazard, whether that hazard is the edge of the roof or a skylight.

Weather & Visibility Concerns

Always keep a look out for changes in weather that can reduce visibility while on the roof. Rooftop surfaces like TPO membranes can become very slippery when wet, at the same token they can also blind you while working on a sunny summer day. Depending where you are located in the country you might also be subject to high amounts of snow, keep in mind that snow can easily cover access points and hazards, like skylights, overnight. Ensure you always have safe passage, regardless of the weather, to and from your rooftop access points.

Skylights, Hatches, and Other RTUs

As a safety precaution, you should always take the time to review the roof plan prior to stepping onto the roof. On the roof plan you will find the location of various rooftop units you are possibly looking to service that are close to the edge, along with vents, ducts, gas lines and more. Knowing this in advance will help ensure you take the safest path to your destination on the roof, while being aware of where the roof guardrail systems are located. In the event you are required to work close to the edge of the roof you will at least know if it is a safe environment.

Often, a roof safety hazard is only brought to the attention of a building owner once a contractor or service provider visits the roof to service an RTU, like a HVAC system. At which point it becomes an urgent request so that maintenance can continue, as work may be temporarily suspended until a roof guardrail is installed.

Roof Access Ladder Placement

There is a perception that many rooftop fall accidents and injuries occur on the roof itself, but the reality is that these accidents often occur when attempting to access the roof. With that comes training, employees who require routine access to the rooftop should undergo training to safely ascend and descend.

Before using a fixed hatch or roof access ladder, it is important to check the integrity of the ladder and ensure it’s safe to climb. No matter if it is the first time and only time you require to access the ladder or it’s a daily routine for you, reviewing points of failure is about putting safety top of mind. A fixed access ladder should have its feet secured to the wall and possibly the ground, with the top of the ladder being secured to the roof. Annual fixed access ladder inspections should be well documented and help to ensure your fixed access ladder is always safe.

Roof Stability and Structure

You may be working on the roof due to its degrading structure, working towards improving its stability and integrity. Assuming you have assessed the roof structure and are standing on a compliant and safe roof. One thing to note, and especially applicable to older structures, it is important to assess the roof and understand its load ratings and structure. Doing so will help you better understand what can and cannot be installed as a safety solution to the roof. Some solutions can be manufactured in steel, adding a lot of weight to certain parts of the roof, while also requiring a secure location to fix the solution. We have encountered many projects where the structure of the building yields an aluminum lightweight non-penetrating modular roof guardrail, like our Roofbarrier solutions.

How about changes in elevation on the roof? Portions of the rooftop may be higher and/or lower than the roof access point. Such drops in roof elevation can also include narrow walkways, making it that you are always walking or working near a fall hazard. These environments will need careful consideration as there are a mixture of crossover ladders, access ladders, walkways and guardrails that may need to be considered when creating a safe working environment.

Don’t discover safety by accident! Reach out to your rooftop or height safety provider to learn how you can create a safe and compliant rooftop environment.

Choosing the Right Base Plate for Your Rooftop Guardrail System

Choosing the Right Base Plate for Your Rooftop Guardrail System

What is a Base Plate?

Baseplates hold up the guardrail posts of non-penetrating free-standing roof barrier systems that can be used in a temporary and/or permanent installation. Their weight, material, and profile are all considered when looking to protect your flat commercial roof from a fall hazard.

Base Plate For Your Rooftop Guardrail System

Material & Weight

The material and weight of a base plate go hand in hand. You are essentially looking for a base plate made of heavy material to protect you from a potential fall. Otherwise, if the base plates are lightweight, the barrier itself will move with ease when trying to stop you from falling. Especially when considering that the average worker is carrying various heavy tools with them, adding to the stress on the guardrail.

Base plates are commonly made from galvanized steel or powder-coated steel. It’s important to remember that your roof is subject to high winds, rain, and possibly snow, depending on where you live. The base plates are a critical component in creating a safe and compliant guardrail solution; if they are made of a material that degrades over time, you will not be able to guarantee safe passage around the roof. Therefore, you want to ensure your steel base plates are coated with an anti-corrosive layer, also minimizing the potential of rust leaching onto the roof itself and causing damage.

For example, let’s say you were to use heavy paver blocks… With various temperature changes, pavers tend to crack, eliminating the support you once thought you had. It also breaks without warning, only noticeable during your yearly roof safety inspection.

There is no set rule in terms of how heavy a base plate should be. Our standard base plates are either powder coated or galvanized and weigh 40 – 100 lbs each. If you use a cantilever style design where the weighted base plates are extended a few feet from the post, you can use a lighter weight like our 40 lb base plates.

Profile & Design

Above, we talked about base plates potentially damaging the roof. That is correct; if you have a membrane roof you will want to ensure that the steel base plates do not damage the roof. Which is why all of our heavy base plates include a thick rubber mat on the bottom, ensuring your roof remains looking new.

Moving around 100-pound base plates can get quite tiresome. Look out for base plates that include ergonomic handles to help lift and carry them safely across the roof. This is especially important if you are considering a temporary installation.

One of the most underrated features of a base plate is its profile. Our base plates are “low-profile”; they are manufactured slim and wide to reduce any chance of tripping. This is especially important if you are working during the winter months. Fresh snowfall will cover skylights, roof edges, access hatches, ducts, and your base plates. A trip can pose a severe risk of injury.

Can I Interchange Base Plates?

It is not advised to purchase your guardrails from one manufacturer and your base plates from another. Likewise, when looking to replace your base plates, it is best to consult the manufacturer of your guardrail system. They may look like they fit and have a very similar design, although it may not be safe. 

When To Consider a Rooftop Warning Line System Versus a Safety Guardrail

When To Consider a Rooftop Warning Line System Versus a Safety Guardrail

What is a Rooftop Guardrail or Barrier System?

First, let’s start with what is a rooftop guardrail/barrier. Unlike a warning line or bump line system, a guardrail system is intended to prevent roof workers from an injury or fatal fall. A guardrail is a form of fall protection referred to as a roof barrier, protecting personnel working near the roof edge. It comprises of uprights, top rails, mid rails, weighted base plates, and various clamps and screws. Not having a parapet on the roof poses a risk of tools falling to the levels below. In these cases, you will find that some of these roof barrier designs include a toe board.

Roof guardrails are manufactured in various materials and can be either fixed to the roof or non-penetrating, freely standing with a weighted base plate. Both options are permanent solutions, but with the non-penetrating design, you have the flexibility to move the guardrail around the roof with ease. This is becoming a popular solution as it requires minimal on-site setup time, especially if you are looking at our modular RoofBarrier system.

What is a Bump Line or Warning Line System?

Warning barriers and bump lines are intended to visually warn roof workers of a potential rooftop injury or fall. Ultimately, only alerting you not to pass the warning line without additional safety equipment. Bump lines are usually set up around the work area at least 2 meters (6 feet 6 inches) from the hazard. Common hazards would include a nearby roof edge, an open access hatch, and a glass skylight. These systems are commonly made up of uprights, a weighted base plate in order to be freestanding, a chain or rope linking the uprights together, and several high visibility flags that are not too far apart.

When a work area is enclosed, and a bump line is installed in a manner that meets local regulations, the site is considered a safe work environment, enabling personnel to work freely without a permanent guardrail in place. In essence, the warning system acts as a safety perimeter for all those working on the roof. Please note that each region differs in how a bump line should be used, along with how many posts are required for a given length of space. Always refer to your local rooftop safety guidelines or speak to a height safety specialist for more information. Keep in mind that anyone outside the area working less than 2 meters from a hazard must use appropriate fall protection on the rooftop, possibly
requiring a safety system like our RoofBarrier system.

When Should I be Considering a Warning Line System?

Fixed Aluminum Guardrail
RoofLine Series

Warning line systems are traditionally used and designed to access areas of a commercial flat rooftop nearing the roof edge. The bump line system would be placed 2 meters from the roof edge, warning personnel of a nearby hazard. The design, like many permanent guardrail systems, is freestanding. This eliminates the requirement to penetrate the roof, ultimately exposing your building to leaks and extra labor in order to patch the roof.

In many scenarios, the work that is being done on a roof is near the edge. With advancements in building technology, we are finding that roofs are becoming more crowded than ever before. For example, many HVAC units are installed only feet or inches away from the roof edge, with gas lines, ducts and other RTUs taking up most of the space. To maintain those units regularly, building owners must meet safety compliance codes and ensure safe passage to and from the HVAC unit. Along with creating a secure and safe site for maintenance to be done around the HVAC unit. Being so close to the roof edge makes a bump line not feasible and not compliant. Now, what if the HVAC unit is located in the middle of the roof, far away from the roof edge, but the pathway to get to the HVAC unit is hugging the edge of the roof? The HVAC working area itself wouldn’t require a permanent barrier-type solution, enabling the use of a bump line system. However, the pathway itself would need a guardrail on the side nearing the roof edge to ensure a safe and compliant environment.

The Verdict

Whether you’re a building owner, contractor, engineer, consultant, or supplier of safety equipment, we have an obligation to make sure we provide a safe environment for our colleagues, family, and friends to work in. If you are unsure about rooftop safety regulations in your region, it is important that you consult your company’s safety official and/or a third party that has compliance experience. Nobody wants to discover safety by accident!

Lansdowne Heritage Horticulture Building Keeps its Charm with A Safety Guardrail and Access Ladder

Lansdowne Heritage Horticulture Building Keeps its Charm with A Safety Guardrail and Access Ladder

Solution

The architect and general contractor reached out to our team of rooftop safety experts to conduct an on-site safety audit. Once the on-site visit was completed the team recommended an aluminum safety solution comprised of various guardrails, walkways, and a fixed ladder system. The rooftop safety solution yielded a;

  • Quick and easy installation with its modular design.
  • Lightweight design and material, eliminating the need for extra support to meet the load requirements.
  • Non-slip raised walkway, creating a safe passage to and from the HVAC units.
  • Non-corrosive aluminum material, ensuring the solution looks like new for years to come.
  • Non-penetrating rooftop system, keeping the building’s heritage intact.

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