Roof Terrace Considerations and Regulations – 5 Things to Keep in Mind

Many activities can be improved if you do them outdoors instead of indoors: lounging, dining, entertaining, gardening, working, playing, and exercising. However, many British homeowners are at a disadvantage since space comes at a premium in many regions of the UK, and many don’t even have a balcony or a garden where they can host events and enjoy their time outdoors.

But don’t worry, there’s a solution that allows homeowners who don’t have balconies and gardens to enjoy the outdoor environment: Roof terraces. They’re practical, they allow you to host events, and they allow you to enjoy the outdoors, and in this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to start planning your roof terrace.

Roof Terrace Considerations and Regulations - 5 Things to Keep in Mind

#1 Roof Type

This shouldn’t be surprising, but the type of roof plays a central role in how you construct and design your terrace. Two main roof types cover the majority of scenarios:

Flat Roofs

The majority of the time, a roof terrace will be built on top of a flat roof. Not only is a flat terrain much more suitable for a terrace, but due to the flat roof’s similar construction to the floor structures below, it is likely to be strong enough to support a terrace structure.

This isn’t universal, however: Residential buildings with wooden frames might not be able to support a terrace. Usually, to build a roof terrace in these buildings, a steel joist needs to be installed below the roof structure.

Pitched Roofs

A roof terrace is not a good fit for a pitched roof for obvious reasons. A flat area for a roof terrace can be created, nevertheless, either by raising an exterior wall or cutting through the top. Obtaining planning permission for this kind of project may sometimes be challenging.

What’s Needed

Regardless of the type of roof the property currently has, a structural engineer will need to survey the property, drill inspection holes, and make other necessary assessments to ascertain how the roof has been built up and what improvements will be necessary to ensure the roof satisfies the necessary structural and loading requirements.

#2 Roof Terrace Building Regulations

Planning roof terraces requires taking into account a variety of building regulations. These regulations are there to ensure that the finished project satisfies minimal structural and safety criteria, complies with city planning, and protects your neighbours’ property rights. The following sections of the building regulations apply in England and Wales, though other parts of the UK have different building regulations, so different standards might apply.

  • Section A: When you construct a roof terrace, the extra weight of landscaping, furniture, and people need to be taken into account. Structural standards are covered in section A of the building regulations. It mandates that structures be built in such a way that they can support dead, imposed, and wind loads while deforming any element of the structure.
  • Section B: The standards that must be met to prevent injuries from falls, collisions, and impacts are outlined in this section of the building regulations. It covers a range of safety elements, including headspace clearance, landings on stairs, and guardrails around the perimeter of the roof.
  • Section Q: This section of the building regulations outlines the requirements for doors and windows to combat robbery. These regulations also apply to some rooflights made for flat roofs, especially those installed above one-story single-storey extensions.

Depending on the changes you’re going to make, you might need planning permission for the roof terrace, which is why it is a good idea to read your local laws and regulations in detail and contact relevant authorities in case you have questions.

#3 Design

A successful roof terrace design will incorporate aspects that can compose a beautiful terrace for you, your family, and your guests while also ensuring safety and functionality. The design team should consult with you early on in the planning process to ascertain your needs. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:

  • How are you going to use the roof terrace?
  • How many people are going to enjoy the terrace?
  • Do you have children or special needs people you need to account for?
  • What’s your budget?

By asking these questions and carefully considering the answers, you can come up with a design that will truly suit your needs without breaking the bank.

#4 Accessibility and Safety

When planning a roof terrace extension, there are accessibility and safety standards that you need to keep in mind. People who use roof terraces must be protected from tripping and falling risks.

There are many things to consider here: For example, if you want a reliable, safe and stylish way to access the terrace on the roof, you will probably need roof access rooflights, durable stairs, and an unobstructed clearing. If you want the place to be children-friendly, you need to furnish it with children-safe furniture. Accessibility and safety requirements depend on the style of your roof, the style of your home, and the individuals using the terrace, but there’s one thing that’s unchanging: They are paramount.