Rooftop terraces are great additions to any project. Especially for buildings in big cities, having a rooftop space can increase the value of the property significantly. According to a recent report, a rooftop terrace in London can add 10%, maybe up to 30%, to the value of the property. This is one reason why rooftops in London have doubled year-on-year since 2013.
However, designing the roof terrace isn’t as easy as you may think. In this blog post, we take a closer look at 4 things you need to think about when specifying the roof terraces on your future projects:
1. For Refurbishment Projects, Check the Roof Type
If you’re working on a refurb project, the first thing you should do is check the structure’s existing roof type
On a flat roof, it is relatively easy to create a roof terrace. Steel and concrete-framed buildings usually have the structural strength for such spaces. For timber-framed structures, there is a high chance that they will require upgrading to create the structural load bearing capacity for a roof terrace.
For refurb projects, it is best to have a structural engineer survey the property to get a clearer understanding of what is possible and what upgrades the structure may require. This will ensure that the changes to the roof do not hinder the building’s structure, waterproofing, fireproofing or insulation.
2. Obtain Planning Permissions
Next, you will likely need to obtain planning permission for the project. This will depend on how much work is required and the current traits of the property. One of the biggest reasons for permission for a roof terrace to be denied is loss of privacy. If the space looks out over a neighbouring property, you need to take suitable measures to ensure that the neighbour’s privacy is maintained. You can use privacy screens and frosted glass balustrades to do this.
Additionally, based on the location, there could be restrictions on installing objects that increase the overall height of a building, so make sure you investigate this beforehand and come up with a solution.
3. Ensure Compliance with Building Regulations and Standards
Your roof terrace needs to meet the current building regulations and standards to ensure the residents’ safety. This needs to be checked while planning the space. In England, specifications are mentioned in Approved Document A, Approved Document B, Approved Document H and Approved Document K. In Scotland, you need to check the Building Standards technical handbooks, in Northern Ireland, the Building Regulations in Northern Ireland and in Wales, the Approved Documents for Wales.
4. Design Your Space
Once you have consulted with the structural engineer, obtained the necessary permissions and looked up the local building safety regulations and standards, it is time to design the space in line with what you have learned.
One of the most important aspects of designing a roof terrace is choosing the decking. It will have a big impact on the look of the space, so you need to decide accordingly. Based on the latest building safety regulations, roofs and balconies are considered to be part of the external wall systems of buildings; thus, they can only be created using non-combustible materials. Roof terraces have some exceptions to this however, and our team of consultants will be happy to advise on this.
Here are five things to consider before selecting the right decking:
The latest Building Safety regulations state that the external wall systems of buildings need to be created using non-combustible materials. This includes balconies and terraces, so you must take this into consideration when you choose your decking.
Since the new regulations were enforced, a number of options for non-combustible decking have become available on the market. However, aluminium decking and mineral composite decking are the two most popular choices.
When selecting your decking, you need to ensure that the product has a fire rating of Class A1 or A2, s1 d0, according to the requirements mentioned in BS EN 13501-1.
Safety and Durability
Next, you want to take into consideration other safety aspects like the slip resistance and impact testing of the decking and check the durability and the warranty to ensure a better experience for the residents.
Make sure you go for a product that has been tested for slip resistance and performed well. Generally, a score of less than 25 is considered a high slip risk, while anything greater than 36 has a low slip risk.
You also need to check whether the product has been through impact testing and what durability and warranty periods are being offered by the manufacturer.
With the race towards net zero gaining momentum in the UK, you should also factor in the sustainability and the carbon footprint of the product. You want to choose a decking partner that has taken various steps to reduce their carbon footprint. In some cases, they may also be able to provide data with regards to the actual carbon footprint of the product.
Especially when it comes to aluminium decking, you want to go for a product that is made with 100% recyclable materials. The entire range of aluminium decking at MyDek is made from 100% recyclable aluminium.
Design and Finishes
Now that you’ve covered the technical aspects, it’s time to look at the design aspects of the decking. There are various finishes available, especially if you go for aluminium decking – some decking boards have a woodgrain finish that has the natural look of timber, while others have smooth finishes that are similar in look to porcelain decking.
You should also check what colours are available to ensure that you find the right shade to match the colour scheme of the project. You can ask the brand to send samples of the products so you can see them and make an informed decision.
Installation Process and Onsite Support
Last but not least, you want to check whether the decking system you’ve selected is easy to install. Decking systems that have complicated installation systems can be time-consuming – and there’s an increased chance of error – therefore specify one that’s simple to put in.
You should also check with the company about what support they can offer on site – or even if they offer training beforehand – to ensure that everything runs smoothly on installation day.