Peter Kamphuis invented a modular platform walkway system primarily to create a safer environment for rooftop workers, but the product has ended up offering a few other benefits too.
Mr Kamphuis, a builder and co-owner of Auckland-based Boardwalk Modular Platform Systems, says he designed the system in 2000 after recognising a need in the market.
“A roof can be a hazardous working environment for workers required to do maintenance to rooftop plant and machinery. This product provides a cost-effective solution to this challenge,” he says.
“The non-skid surface on our platforms provides a safe walkway — no more slipping on wet roofing surfaces for the roof servicemen. The product is also particularly well suited to low pitch roofs.
“In past years a common practice was to erect timber walkways, but we found timber can leach out chemicals that causes roofing iron to corrode quickly.
“If this happens, it could void a roofing manufacturer’s warranty. So the accompanying idea was to give the building owner some protection for their building’s roof too,” Mr Kamphuis explains.
Sold as units measuring 750mm x 1500mm in a range of colours, the system is simple to install and maintenance-free thereafter.
The lightweight modules are easily moved to the roof without mechanical assistance. The user can configure the modules in single file or at right angles using galvanised steel tubes and brackets designed to be fixed to the purlins.
This fixing system was tested to hold the Boardwalk system for wind loads up to 6kPa. The design factors that make the platforms safe also lend it durability.
“We rotary mould the platforms in medium-density polyethylene designed especially for products that require a high degree of rigidity.
“The long term UV8 stabilisation package meets the demands of our extreme UV levels and harsh climate. Consider that the same spec polyethylene has been used successfully for water tanks in New Zealand for the past 30 years,” Mr Kamphuis says.
The product has a 10-year warranty from the date of first installation, provided installation was carried out by a Boardwalk-approved installer and excluding damage caused by exposure to chemicals and sharp objects.
According to Mr Kamphuis, the product’s reputation as a versatile and safe walkway, the result of its portability and non-skid properties in dry and wet conditions, has spread like wildfire.
It is now also widely used as temporary flooring over wet or unstable areas, and at outdoor shows and displays.
However, as in any construction situation, an accident can happen if the end-user ignores user information.
“The platform is not designated as a bridge, and must be continuously supported underneath,” Mr Kamphuis says.