Roof access seems to have become more important to me as I got older (wiser?). Two realizations dawned on me. 1. Climbing a ladder to visit a roof is pretty ’thrilling’ for the unaccustomed. 2. How is anyone motivated to maintain the roof and the stuff up there if they can't easily get to ’up there’. Reason 2 is the main reason to build easy access to the roof into every project - even a remodeling.
So what are the options?
A. Do nothing - we’ve already covered that. However, this isn't an option for 3-story (or more) buildings because of code.
B. Permanent ladder and roof hatch - this is better than nothing, but it is hard to climb a ladder with a tool box, roofing repair materials or even a clipboard. It is even more difficult if the trip is over 20’ and you are caged in. OSHA! This is about a $3000 solution costing you just 10 SF, but it’s only rudimentary. If lack of maintenance creates problems because of roof access difficulties, you will regret not spending more.