As a result, FMs are having to increasingly consider upgrading or adding to cooling plant to meet these new needs and maintain comfort for building occupiers. However, this can be a challenge. In the past, when installing HVAC on flat roofs on new buildings, contractors often craned in steel RSJs or cast traditional concrete plinths as supports for mounting plant on roofs. However, once installed these supports provide little or no flexibility should the specification of the plant change or require re- siting at a later date. This is a sticking point for FMs working in buildings that use these supports and would like to add to existing cooling.

Other factors that FMs need to consider today when retrofitting cooling include lighter roof construction which means greater care has to be taken regarding the weight of plant on roofs and the correct load dispersal. FMs need an accurate understanding of an existing or new roof structure to ensure it can take the weight of the plant and support system.

Meanwhile, using traditional penetrative support systems on flat roofs may also compromise roof integrity causing thermal bridging, possible leaks, or potentially affecting roof warranty requirements. Therefore, with traditional installation methods having a number of drawbacks when retrofitting cooling on flat roofs, FMs need a cost effective, less intrusive, easy to install support alternative.

So, what is the solution? Faced with the challenges of mounting AC on flat roofs, manufacturers set out to provide an economical alternative. A solution to these installation headaches is to use non-penetrative, repeatable support structures mounted on anti-vibration mats. These structures are configurable in that they can be adjusted according to the demands of each individual project.

Ideal for both retrofitting and new build, non- penetrative systems are quick and easy to install, ensuring project cost and time clarity, negating the need for time consuming and costly penetrations through the roof in the form of poured or pre-cast concrete plinths, steels or fabrications which may cause a headache for FMs. Non-penetrative support systems thus have the advantage of maintaining the integrity of the roof membrane, therefore avoiding thermal bridging and the potential for moisture ingress.

Extend In fact, the latest non-penetrative solutions are ideal for FMs since they are easy to retrofit and extend in the future, helping FMs to accommodate future temperature changes and ensure comfortable conditions inside the building. Offering a quick and simple solution to AC installation on flat roofs, these non-penetrative solutions, such as Big Foot System’s Multi Frame,

are incredibly flexible allowing installers to configure the frame to meet a building’s needs. The Multi Frame is simple to extend with the extension pack allowing great flexibility and making it possible to install long arrays of VRF or split systems without worrying about the distance. Meanwhile, the Multi Frame’s ability to spread the load means even lightweight roofs can house AC units simply. Quick to install, the non-penetrative frames save time on site avoiding the detailing needed with penetrative systems. Meanwhile, since the Multi Frame can be reconfigured it can be reused again and again, offering a cost- effective support option.

Available in a 1m x 1.2 metres box section frame, the Multi Frame and extender kit makes installation easy for FMs due to its flexibility. Multiple configurations are possible with this unique, highly flexible frame, allowing the frame to suit the requirements of multiple installations with varying configurations on one roof using the same boxed framework. Any length of L shaped or dog-leg frames can be fitted according to the demands of each individual project, ideal for retrofitting AC units on flat roofs. It is therefore well suited for tricky retrofit installations where other plant or pipes are already taking up roof space. It is also ideal for lightweight weak roofs where it is essential to spread the load evenly, in this instance, for example, dog leg frames can be utilised to spread the load. The design load is 500kg.

Wind resistance can be a concern when supporting tall and relatively light equipment, but can be dealt with by selecting the appropriate frame. Units can be positioned back-to-back to reduce impact area and wider frames are used to generate greater stability to resist tipping. Back- to-back systems supported on a Multi Frame have the ability to withstand wind speeds in excess of 100mph, giving FMs the peace of mind that the AC equipment will stay securely installed reducing health and safety risks.

Drop on bars for simple, quick and easy installation help to give the product a less than 20-minute build time which saves time on site. In addition, its adjustable leg assemblies and integrated rubber mats afford installation flexibility allowing uneven surfaces to be easily tackled and making positioning the frame easy.

So, with temperatures rising, FMs can now easily meet the challenge of maintaining comfort for building occupiers. By opting for easy to install, non-penetrative support systems when upgrading or extending AC, FMs can not only ensure they meet today’s cooling demands but are also future-ready to meet any further temperature rises that occur. TOMORROW’S FM | 47

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