Do You Have a Rooftop and Riser Management Program?

April 30, 2018 | By: Nicole Lloyd

Property owners and managers always want their buildings to be safe, efficient, and profitable. A management program for rooftop and riser spaces is indispensable in ensuring these areas stay organized and secure. And with proper planning, these spaces can also bring in some valuable revenue.

What are the riser and rooftop spaces?

The term “riser” refers to a series of core holes that are cut into each floor of a building, typically located in electrical rooms, telephone closets, and the like. A vertical floor-to-floor pathway connects these core holes to each other. Telecommunication companies and property managers use these core holes for cabling for fiber optics, communications, Dish TV, cellular carriers, and more. This cabling provides services for tenants and customers on each floor.

The rooftop area also has value. You can use this space on top o the building for communications infrastructures such as satellite TV dishes or large server rooms for cellular sites. Both riser and rooftop spaces can be leased out to telecommunication companies to generate revenue.

These spaces, however, involve complicated installation and maintenance procedures. Developing a rooftop and riser management program can help make these processes run much more smoothly.

What is a riser and rooftop management program, and why do you need one?

A rooftop and riser management program enables facility managers and engineers to police and generate revenue from the communication service carriers using the riser and rooftop space.

In the past, telecommunication companies owned and managed these areas. In 1996, however, the Telecom Act was passed, shifting the extensive responsibilities to property owners. With the numerous guidelines and regulations involved in installing, monitoring, and maintaining these spaces, managing the areas can seem overwhelming. A good management program, however, makes handling these responsibilities much easier.

A rooftop and riser management program improves the safety and organization of these spaces. This program dictates who has access to the closets in which the cores are located and who will be allowed to rent and use the areas. Additionally, a rooftop and riser program is necessary for developing a plan for leasing out the spaces and generating profit.

Should you develop a standalone program or hire a company?

There are companies that will manage your rooftop and riser areas for you, or you can choose to design your own program. Best practice, however, is to use a hybrid of the two approaches. Ideally, in addition to hiring a rooftop and riser management company, property managers and engineers would be aware and educated about the rooftop and riser program in place.

How to pick the right rooftop and riser management company

If you decide to hire a company to aid in your rooftop and riser management, there are some factors to consider. First, it’s best to work with an organization that is not solely an electrical company and to make sure that the company has experience working with the pertinent carriers.

Additionally, regarding generating revenue, the company should satisfy a few requirements. First, it should know what a standard rate range is for infrastructure revenue to the landlord. The company should also be able to formulate riser and rooftop capacity or capacity for growth of income and to balance revenue and remediation of risers.

Leasing the space and generating revenue

You can lease out riser and rooftop space to telecommunication companies for profit. There is a nearly endless list of companies who may be interested in leasing the areas, including but not limited to Verizon, ATT, Windstream, and Comcast.

These companies need the spaces for many different reasons. For instance, sometimes a company may need to build a server room in a data closet for a particular customer or tenant. Other times a cellular company may require server room and antennae farm on the roof because of the location and height of the building. As previously mentioned, a suitable rooftop and riser management program should enable you to plan for and manage the revenue you gather from leasing these spaces.

The importance of a good license agreement

One of the most vital aspects of a reliable rooftop and riser management program is the license agreement. This agreement holds parties accountable for the renting of spaces, maintenance of those spaces, and remediation of the infrastructure when the term of the deal comes to an end or equipment becomes obsolete.

Without this license agreement, problems are likely to occur. Contractors and subcontractors, for example, may enter the building and access rooftop and riser areas. Before management is aware, the subcontractor has installed low-voltage cabling and other ancillary equipment throughout the site. This type of cabling is a safety hazard as it can release poisonous gases during a fire.

Contractors know, however, that if there’s an “in force” license agreement in place and they enter these areas without permission, they are trespassing. The license agreement holds them accountable.

This agreement ensures that only contractors with clearance are permitted in these areas. And it compels these contractors to use best-practice and agreed-upon methods in their maintenance work. The license agreement keeps these spaces safe and secure.

A quality rooftop and riser management program

Overall, if you develop a rooftop and riser management program — one with a solid license agreement, educated property managers and engineers, and a plan to generate revenue — your riser and rooftop will not only be safe and code-compliant but will also allow you to bring in extra profit.



Mark Gallman SMA,SMT, LEED® Green Associate™  Maintenance Manager