When it comes to high-rise buildings, having a safe and easy way to access the roof is necessary for maintenance and emergencies. A roof access hatch is a practical way to do it!

A roof access hatch provides a secure way for getting to the rooftop, whether it’s for inspections, repairs, or installing equipment. But here’s the thing: choosing the right roof access hatch for your building isn’t something you should take lightly. Every commercial property owner or manager needs to make sure the rooftop access points are safe, durable, and functional. It’s the best way to avoid unnecessary headaches! That’s why we’ve created this quick step-by-step guide for you, where we’ll dive into everything you need to know when it comes when selecting the best roof access hatch.

Figure Out What Your Needs Are

Before running off and purchasing a roof access system, it’s important to know how it will be used. It’s not a one-size-fits-all type of thing we’re dealing with here! Your building’s purpose will define what your needs are when it comes to selecting a roof access hatch. 

Choosing the Best Roof Access Hatch for Your Building, Sonaa
Choosing the Best Roof Access Hatch for Your Building, Sonaa
Choosing the Best Roof Access Hatch for Your Building, Sonaa

Banks, labs, pharmacies, and embassies, for example, require greater security to ward off intruders plotting their way into the building. These types of buildings need greater security at every entrance and exit. Thankfully, there are high-security roof access hatches specifically designed for keeping unwanted visitors out! These often feature heavier gauge material, bulletproof view windows, and deadlocks.

On the other hand, buildings such as hotels, restaurants, condominiums, and workspaces will require something a bit more aesthetic that doesn’t sacrifice functionality. Roof access hatches for these cases can be made out of polycarbonate domes and other materials that add visual appeal and natural illumination. A bit of sunlight not only boosts morale but also helps reduce energy costs!

The Right Size for Your Roof Access Hatch

This next point to consider goes hand in hand with the building’s purpose, which we just discussed. Is the access required for moving equipment, or is it only for personnel? This question is essential because it will make a huge difference in the size of the roof access hatch you’ll choose.

Knowing how often and why are personnel using the access hatch is a must. Will they be carrying bulky equipment or tools up to the roof? If so, you’ll need a bigger hatch. Roof access hatches for equipment are larger and usually come in double-cover models for extra convenience. While there are several standard sizes out there, most manufacturers can custom-build a roof hatch if the pre-existing ones can’t cover your needs. The equipment’s size will help you figure out the right size for the hatch and whether you need stairs or a ladder.

If roof access is meant only for personnel, then a small, single-cover roof access hatch will do. Measure twice, choose once!

Choosing the Right Material

Now, let’s take a look at the materials! The two factors mentioned above definitely influence this decision. Roof access hatches are made in a variety of materials, each with its own appeal. The right choice will largely depend on the weather and budget, though. You’ve got the classic steel, sturdy and reliable, ready to withstand the test of time. Then there’s aluminium, lightweight and resistant to corrosion. And let’s not forget about galvanised steel, a blend of strength and protection. Consider the following things when evaluating materials:

  • Frequency of use: Go for something sturdy and durable if you require constant roof access.
  • Weather conditions: If your location gets a lot of rain or snow, choose something that will withstand the elements! Coastal areas might require anti-corrosive materials as well.
  • Aesthetics: Find materials that add visual appeal, such as polycarbonate domes. This will usually apply to structures such as hotels, residential buildings, and so on.
  • Purpose: If you require high security, then go for something heavy-duty and resistant to any form of tampering.

Overall, materials such as aluminium, stainless steel, and copper offer aesthetic value and high-corrosion resistance. However, these are also more expensive. The cheapest option for those on a budget would be galvanised steel.

Ease of Use

Can you guess what else we’re going to reference in this step? Your building’s purpose, of course! All roof access hatches should easily open upward from the inside. However, if you’ve chosen a larger size or heavier material for your hatch, then you should install compression springs or anything else to counterbalance it. These are particularly important for hatches that will see a lot of large equipment and tools coming to and fro.

No matter how the roof hatch will be used, whether for equipment or just maintenance staff, it needs to have an automatic lock to hold the cover open at all times. This will guarantee everyone’s safety by making sure the hatch door doesn’t accidentally close or cause any injuries.

Extra Considerations

Here are a couple of other things to take into account before installing a roof access hatch:

  • Security: If your commercial property requires it, you can add tamper-proof locks, deadbolts, or even electronic access controls to the access hatch.
  • Insulation: Some hatch manufacturers include insulation options on their roof access systems to prevent loss of energy efficiency. Be sure all corners of the hatch are fully welded as well. Also, check that the cover isn’t overlapping on anything. A snug fit means it’s watertight and weathertight.

When it comes to choosing the best roof access hatch for your building, there are a bunch of factors to think about. Safety, durability, functionality, and budget all play a big role. First and foremost, make sure you prioritise safety features like strong locks and handrails. Second, it’s always a great idea to go for materials that can handle whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Don’t forget to consider the size and weight capacity too. You want to make sure it can handle the load and fit your building’s specific needs. And lastly, pick a hatch that’s easy to use and maintain.

By keeping all these factors in mind, you’ll have a roof access solution that’s reliable and efficient for your high-rise building.

In need of maintenance for your building? Sonaa Abseiling Service, serving the Eastern Suburbs, Western Sydney, and Sutherland Shire is here to help! Learn more about our services here. You can also give us a call at 04 4917 8470 or email us at info@sonaa.com.au and ask about our free quotations! We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.