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Thread: Parapet Ladder

  1. #1
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    Default Parapet Ladder

    I've been meaning to post about some of the access techniques I've worked up for flat roofs, and finally remembered to take some pictures this morning:

    1) Often, I have to go up to the roof from a balcony, and often the ladder is steeper than it ought to be because of the limited depth of the balcony. In that case whenever possible I tie off the two sides of the balcony, it only takes a minute and eliminates the possibility of the latter sliding sideways (especially if it's a slick metal cap) and greatly reduces the possibility of the latter going over backwards.

    2) Here in Chicago it's not unusual to reach the top of the ladder only to discover that there is a substantial drop down to the roof on the other side - three to four feet is common, and sometimes it's five or six. If it is more than three 3 feet or so getting down off the ladder to the roof is bad enough, but getting up again can be a really terrifying experience, especially in the rain.

    In order to deal with parapets like this I cut down an old ladder to four rungs and installed a set of adjustable feet at the bottom, which gives the ladder about an extra foot of height when they are fully extended. I use this parapet ladder with a pair of stabilizers that slip into the interior of the top two rungs, this way the ladder is held off the surface of the parapet wall and you can get a full foot on the top rung.

    3) On flat roofs the parapet ladder comes in handy for other things as well, in this picture you can see how the adjustable legs are both extended for additional height and also extended to different lengths to compensate for the slope of the roof.

    In combination with the orange step through ladder extensions seen in the picture this makes going up and over the parapet piece of cake, and every point you have a firm grasp of a support, and as you are stepping through the ladder instead of around it the operation of crossing the top of the wall is much less hazardous (and much more comfortable).

    The parapet ladder is a bit awkward to carry, but I've worked out a pretty good technique for getting it up the main ladder, over the top of the wall, and then back down again.

    And once I had started doing it this way I would never consider going back to attempting to step around an unsecured ladder and/or pull myself back up over a tall parapet wall and onto the ladder ... especially under wet and/or windy conditions!

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Parapet Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    In that case whenever possible I tie off the two sides of the balcony,
    Michael, I know you posted pics, but I am having trouble imagining how the tying-off the ladder will help prevent falling backwards. I see the side-to-side, but not backwards. Maybe I'm not imaginative enough. I don't doubt that it is safer...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    2) In order to deal with parapets like this I cut down an old ladder to four rungs and installed a set of adjustable feet at the bottom, which gives the ladder about an extra foot of height when they are fully extended.


    I can hardly wait to read what JP has to say about modifying the ladder and voiding the warranty as well as the instructions.


    Thanks for sharing.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Parapet Ladder

    I'm not sure about the safety aspect but talk about beyond the standards, my hat's off to you. Be careful because killing yourself won't accomplish much.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Parapet Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    but I am having trouble imagining how the tying-off the ladder will help prevent falling backwards. I see the side-to-side, but not backwards. Maybe I'm not imaginative enough. I don't doubt that it is safer...


    Gunnar,

    The two ropes 'sort of' act as the third side of the triangle.

    The balcony is the base, the ladder is the hypotenuse, and that angle is the 'hinge point' where the ladder would rotate outward from the wall.

    By tying the ladder down right next to the wall, the ropes 'sort of' add that vertical side of the triangle and tie the upper end of the hypotenuse to the base ... sort of ... probably enough to make it workable.

    I can hardly wait to read what JP has to say about modifying the ladder and voiding the warranty as well as the instructions.
    I don't see a modified ladder, only a short off the shelf sort ladder ...

    Although I do have to wonder if his insurance would pay up for him falling off that modified ... wait, I didn't just say "modified", did I? ... ladder with the hacked off rails drilled with holes ...

    Michael,

    Those were the few times I would use my Telesteps ladder, and it would give me more height than that. I never liked that thing extended out very far as it was almost like trying to climb a wet noodle at full extension.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
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    Angry Re: Parapet Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ... ladder with the hacked off rails drilled with holes ... Those were the few times I would use my Telesteps ladder, and it would give me more height than that..
    Actually, the extensions are installed in accordance with the manufacturers installation instructions as regards position, with the manufacturers OEM mounting hardware.

    Around here there a lot of flat roofs, and some of them have that kind of parapet, and though of course you can disclaim them, almost every time I get up on one I find something significant.

    IMO, this setup makes it a lot safer to get onto (and off ) such roofs then the way I originally did it ( and as far as I know everybody else does it ) - that's why I bothered to post that.

    BTW, I had to get up on that one via the backdoor because the hatch was way to heavy to lift from the interior - "What could they have been thinking when they built this thing?"... grumble, grumble...

    Once I got up there I discovered that someone ( looked to me like AC installer based on the material) had neatly piled a bunch of trash on top of it.

    --------

    You can see my telescoping ladder sitting there in the balcony, it was there in case I needed to access something on the roof beyond the reach of the parapet ladder. OMO the telescoping ladders make lousy parapet ladders because you can't pull them up from the top unless you want to be standing on top of a ladder try to collapse then again

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

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