Big Foot Systems Provides Flexible Support to a West Yorkshire Shopping Centre

Big Foot Systems has supplied non-penetrative supports for rooftop plant to a shopping centre in West Yorkshire. A £260m development, the shopping centre totals 51,096mM2 of retail and leisure space and has space for over 80 stores.

During the development, one of the main anchor tenants at the shopping centre requested that the developer provide paving slabs for the rooftop so their contractor could position the store’s air handling units (AHUs) on them. However, the developer’s mechanical engineer understood the risks with the tenant using this method of support on a fragile single ply membraned warm roof. Placing slabs directly on a single ply membrane roof can tear through it, leading to destructive roof leaks and costly damage, and will often invalidate any warranty mentioning longevity of roof finish. This was a concern since the developer owned and maintained the shopping centre roofs.

As the market leader in non-penetrative rooftop load management products, it was requested that Big Foot Systems utilise its extensive technical knowledge and experience to provide a design that would safely and evenly support the plant loads without damaging the roof, giving the developer confidence that the membrane would be protected.

Following Big Foot providing the anchor tenant with its HD Frames to support all AHUs, the shell and core fit-out contractor approached Big Foot Systems to provide further supports for packaged plant rooms and AHUs at the shopping centre. Big Foot Systems’ non-penetrative supports were crucial in order to uphold the landlord’s roof warranty.

“The contractor knew that Big Foot Systems’ products would solve the issue of potentially puncturing the delicate single ply roof while ensuring the rooftop plant was going to be safe and secure” explains Ashley ten Wolde, UK Project Team Manager, Big Foot Systems. “Working collaboratively with the plant room and AHU manufacturer, we were able to provide support solutions to safely manage the loads imposed on the shopping centre roof and also gave the developer confidence that there would be no future issues with the integrity of the roof.”

Big Foot’s non-penetrative supports were successfully installed at the shopping centre, thus helping to protect the landlord’s roof warranty. However, the supports also offer future benefits to the shopping centre since they can accommodate any planned expansion of the development. The shopping centre has been designed so that if demand was such in the future, another floor of stores could be easily added. Big Foot’s non-penetrative design ensures that in the event of expansion, plant could be lifted and positioned on the new roof with no need to remove concrete upstands or steel stubs. Therefore Big Foot Systems’ design has the added bonus of saving time and labour costs on site with the potential to reuse the supports. The modular design means there is also the possibility to extend the frames, making it both versatile and cost effective.

Big Foot’s Heavy Duty (HD) Custom Frames are project specific, non-penetrative support frames for large, heavy, irregular shaped or unevenly loaded plant. With the aid of technical surveyors, a highly skilled engineering team and use of engineering tools such as ANSYS (FEA/CFD) etc. Big Foot Systems can design and manufacture complete one-off solutions. Solutions include frames similar to a standard Light Duty product but utilising larger and longer sectional bars; a custom arrangement of HD Cubes or HD Beams; or, for more complex applications, a frame can be designed and fabricated specifically for the project requirements.

Offering specifiers a comprehensive range of freestanding systems, Big Foot’s products are designed and manufactured by the company for a wide variety of applications, including HVAC, solar units and safe access equipment. The product portfolio provides complete, simple, safe and secure non-penetrative, prefabricated roof support systems negating a need for time consuming and costly penetrations through the roof.

Big Foot Systems’ products and systems are quick and easy to install, ensuring project cost and time clarity, thus reducing the need for complex, time-consuming and expensive detailing. Offering improved roof aesthetics, Big Foot Systems provides engineered solutions that are innovative in design, robust and repeatable. Big Foot combines market leading products and services, which include system design and on-site support. Available to install in all weathers utilising familiar componentry, all systems are designed with safety, security and simplicity in mind. Finally, Big Foot Systems offers short manufacture and delivery lead times to help a project meet its schedule and stay within budget.

For further information on all products and services offered by Big Foot Systems email: or telephone 01323 844355.

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