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There are three key loads to determine when mounting an AMI antenna system. They are dead load, which is the weight of the equipment, mount, ballast, and ice; the turning moment, which is the twisting action that winds apply to the NPRM and the equipment to corkscrew it all into the roof membrane; and finally the lifting force, which are the forces from the wind that want to fly the NPRM and the equipment off the rooftop.

M. J. Martin

A non-penetrating roof mount is a type of mounting system used to install equipment, such as AMI antennas on the roofs of buildings without the need for drilling or penetrating the roof surface. It typically consists of a weighted base or frame that holds the equipment securely in place.

Non-penetrating roof mounts are popular in various applications, including AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) networks in Canada, for several reasons:

Easy Installation: Non-penetrating roof mounts can be assembled and installed quickly and easily without the need for specialized tools or extensive construction work. This reduces installation time and associated costs.

Roof Protection: Since non-penetrating mounts do not require drilling holes or penetrating the roof, they help preserve the integrity of the roof surface. This is particularly important for buildings with flat or low-slope roofs, as any penetration could potentially lead to leaks and water damage.

Versatility: These mounts are designed to accommodate various types of equipment, including antennas, receivers, and transmitters. They offer adjustable angles and heights, allowing for optimal positioning to achieve better signal reception or transmission.

Portability: Non-penetrating roof mounts are often modular and can be disassembled easily. This feature makes them portable and reusable, which is advantageous in situations where equipment needs to be relocated or when temporary installations are required.

Compliance with Regulations: In Canada, there are building codes and regulations in place to ensure the safety and structural integrity of roofs. Non-penetrating roof mounts provide a solution that adheres to these regulations, as they do not compromise the roof’s integrity.

For AMI networks in Canada, which are used for advanced metering and communication between utility providers and smart meters, non-penetrating roof mounts offer an efficient and reliable way to install the necessary equipment on rooftops. They provide a secure platform for antennas or other devices, enabling effective wireless communication while minimizing potential roof damage and ensuring compliance with local regulations.

Calculating the ballast for a non-penetrating roof mount in Canada involves considering various factors, including the wind load requirements, roof type, equipment weight, and regional climatic conditions. While I can provide a general overview of the process, it’s important to consult with a structural engineer or a professional experienced in non-penetrating roof mount installations for accurate calculations specific to your situation.

Here are the basic steps involved in calculating the ballast for a non-penetrating roof mount:

  1. Determine Wind Load Requirements: Wind load requirements are determined based on the geographic location and local building codes. The wind load depends on factors such as the height of the building, terrain, exposure category, and wind speed.
  2. Assess Roof Type and Slope: The type and slope of the roof play a significant role in determining the ballast required. Flat or low-slope roofs have different considerations compared to pitched roofs. The roof material, structural capacity, and any slope limitations must be taken into account.
  3. Determine Equipment Weight: Calculate the total weight of the equipment that will be mounted on the non-penetrating roof mount, including antennas, dishes, and other components.
  4. Consider Safety Factors: Safety factors are used to account for uncertainties and additional loads beyond the basic calculations. Typically, a safety factor of 1.5 to 2 is applied to the wind load.
  5. Calculate Required Ballast: The ballast required for the non-penetrating roof mount is calculated by dividing the wind load by the weight of the ballast per unit area. The weight of the ballast per unit area depends on the specific design and manufacturer specifications of the roof mount system being used.
  6. Select Ballast Material: The ballast can consist of various materials, such as concrete blocks, rubber pads, or steel plates. The material selected should provide sufficient weight to counterbalance the wind load while also distributing the load evenly across the roof surface.

It’s important to note that the calculation process can be complex, and it is advisable to involve a professional with expertise in structural engineering or roof mount installations to ensure accuracy and compliance with local regulations and building codes.

In Canada, building codes and regulations are typically established at the provincial level, rather than on a national scale. Each province or territory may have its own specific requirements for non-penetrating roof mounts. Therefore, it is crucial to consult the local building authority or a qualified professional familiar with the applicable codes in your specific region.

About the Author:

Michael Martin is the Vice President of Technology with Metercor Inc., a Smart Meter, IoT, and Smart City systems integrator based in Canada. He has more than 40 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies. He is a business and technology consultant. He was a senior executive consultant for 15 years with IBM, where he worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX). Martin served on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V).  He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology. He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section.  He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has completed over 30 next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, Indigenous Canada awareness, and more.