Camera Roof Mounting / Parapet Mount Installation Guide
By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 14, 2016
One of the most common camera mounts are parapet mounts, and they can be found on the roofs of all types of buildings; old and new, used to hold cameras in systems from small sheds to huge office buildings.
The picture of the worker with a harness looks to be attached directly to a piece of unistrut. I don't believe that would satisfy OSHA and I'm not sure that would support 5000lbs. It may provide confidence of being attached to something. He should use an edge rated SRL or just a fall restraint lanyard that would prevent a fall from occurring, depending on where else he needs to work. It's hard to find anyone to rent guard rails or similar fall prevention systems in my area.
In cases where I needed to get cameras further from the wall, I used to use extended length wall mounts, not parapet mounts, because customers really hated the look of the parapet mount on the outside wall.
I used to use the Videolarm WM40, as it added an extra 10-12", I think getting the center of the dome 20" from the wall, and it was plain, not very objectionable from an aesthetic standpoint. There are others, as well, but I think that was the longest.
I had to do this with the one and only parapet mount I installed. I learned a lot from it.
The building it was being installed on was built in the 1930s. Its exterior wall construction consisted of stucco/lath, then foam board insulation, on top of brick, air gap, and then more brick. On top of the parapet tin flashing was installed to cap it off, and draped down the inside of the parapet and angled away from it. The tin came down nearly to the roof surface (tar and gravel).
As a result, our plan to install the mounting plate on the inside of the parapet was pretty much dead in the water. We would either have had to cut the tin flashing around it and either replace it or fashion some other rain shield, or attempted to squish it flat against the parapet with fasteners. Neither was practical, so we chose to install the plate on the face of the building.
What we found however was that over decades of neglect, the brick underneath had become soft and punky and wouldn't reliably hold any sort of anchor. We ended up drilling directly through the entire parapet and installing all-thread cut to length, which we were able to access under the tin flashing to install nuts and washers. Six in all, I believe 3/8" and a good 18" long. You could probably bungee jump from that parapet mount now. Installed IPEX box and conduit underneath which went straight into the building from behind, and conduit right up the pole arm. Looks pretty good.
Another thing we discovered unfortunately after mounting everything was that the parapet mount plate was touching the tin flashing cap. Since this flashing went around the entire building it was either picking up EMF, a ground loop, or some other type of electrical interference because the TurboHD PTZ we installed suffered from sporadic interference (but only occasionally, and didn't degrade the picture at all). Grounding the mount/camera didn't seem to help. When the camera was exchanged with an IP unit and the CAT5 we installed with baluns was converted to ethernet, the problem went away.
If I had to do that install again knowing what I learned, I would sooner install a long wall mount on a corner bracket if necessary. The corner wasn't 90 degrees so we could have gotten away with just the wall mount and the camera would have seen all angles, albeit been closer to the wall.
TLDR: It's not common but can be done with acceptable results. If you're doing it without the benefit of someone else's experience, it will be a learning opportunity!
I have a customer that doesn't want to see pipe or wire on the walls of his building so i suggested using parapet mounts, this way all wire emt will be on the roof and unseen.. is there a better way to do this?
You may want to add that parapet mounts need not necessarily be installed ON a parapet. I have seen them mounted to various types of weighted bases either for temporary installation or in cases where mounting directly to the parapet was not possible or desirable (in fact, second-to-last photo of the harnessed worker shows this). The long cantilever provided by the parapet mount helps get the camera over the edge, and with the double-45 bend is usually more aesthetically pleasing than a straight plank or pipe sticking out flat from the parapet.
I generally don't see this sort of option marketed however, so I'm left to wonder if they're custom fabricated or an aftermarket option? The one in the above article sure looks fancy.