Guide To Selecting Rooftop Mounted Mechanical Equipment
This guide will help you make a decision about when rooftop mechanical equipment screening is necessary. This guide can help you design and select quality materials for rooftop-mounted architectural screening if your situation calls for it. Con-form Group has been working with contractors, architects, engineers, and designers for more than twenty years, helping to design rooftop equipment screening. These professionals have taught us a lot over the years about the best design, material selections, and how to match building aesthetics.
Mechanical equipment is any device that supports heating, cooling or waste management, water supply, electricity, or the like. These could include chillers and condensers as well as HVAC, compressors, or compactors. Breakers, meters, generators, containers, and other devices are all examples of mechanical equipment. This equipment is located on a roof and therefore is more susceptible to wind damage. It is also often within the direct sight of pedestrians.
A rooftop screening of mechanical equipment will require a building permit. Typically, community approval is required to ensure that it fits within the surrounding area and building envelope. For the required approval requirements, please consult your local building inspector and city planning department. An architect will often prepare a set of design drawings that are used in conjunction with a building permit. These drawings must be consistent with the community’s aesthetic standards and guidelines for screening rooftop mechanical equipment. These guidelines should be in line with the design of the community, surrounding buildings, and public view considerations. Many communities have specific guidelines for rooftop screening and architectural screening. These guidelines often use a “line of sight” approach to screening location, height, and coverage. These guidelines and assistance should not be considered as a substitute for community standards.
Considerations For Screening
The following are some considerations for a roof-mounted mechanical equipment screen:
Material Usage And Scale For Building Envelope: Rooftop equipment screening should match the existing building envelope in style, color, and structure. Example: Vertical roof lines may be covered with vertical slats and vertical louvers.
Line Of Sight: Consider the screening from all angles when designing a rooftop-mounted equipment screen. The rooftop equipment that is higher than the surrounding buildings may not require screening, as it is not visible from any vantage point. However, this may be a case where the equipment might need protection from wind loads. A rooftop screen with a roof or overhang may be considered if the building is located near an elevated structure or road. This matter should be discussed with your local code.
The Screening Of Mechanical Equipment: It is important to consider the equipment and its purpose when designing rooftop screening. Due to space limitations, height, and ventilation requirements, it may not be feasible or practical to screen all rooftop equipment. To comply with local standards, equipment may have to be painted. To achieve the recommended ventilation, some stacks must be at a certain height. The stacks can be framed with materials that match the building envelope in this instance.
Structural Considerations: Rooftop mechanical equipment screens can be attached to rooftops or are not designed to support themselves. A structural engineer should calculate wind load for your area using site conditions. Con-form Group recommends that you use screening that has UBC and IBC. A structural engineer can provide stamped drawings, performance data, and calculations about wind load.
After evaluating your needs for mechanical equipment screens using the information above, designers will then consider material selections and products for rooftop mechanical equipment screening. Here are five common options for roof-mounted mechanical equipment enclosures or screens.