The highs and lows of con­vert­ing a flat roof into a ter­race

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Jonathon Wing­field

need to em­ploy a so­lic­i­tor but there is prob­a­bly more chance of a land­lord giv­ing per­mis­sion than an owner-oc­cu­pier.

Only you can de­cide if their fi­nan­cial re­mu­ner­a­tion is worth­while. How­ever, of­fer­ing to in­stall a new in­su­lated roof may be an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion, par­tic­u­larly if you were to also take on the re­spon­si­bil­ity for on­go­ing main­te­nance.

In ad­di­tion to the visual ap­pear­ance, ie en­sur­ing that any balustrad­ing is in keep­ing or ap­pro­pri­ate for the style of prop­erty, the plan­ners will need to be con­vinced that the roof ter­race will not ad­versely af­fect the pri­vacy of sur­round­ing res­i­dents. Your neigh­bours will be par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about be­ing over­looked from above. I sus­pect the po­ten­tial for noise and smells from your pro­posed BBQ par­ties will not go un­no­ticed.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence such plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions fre­quently gen­er­ate a vo­cif­er­ous level of ob­jec­tions so be sure to do ev­ery­thing le­git­i­mately. Out of cour­tesy it is a good idea to dis­cuss your plans with neigh­bours. They may not sup­port the project but it is much bet­ter than them hear­ing a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion has al­ready been lodged. Go­ing ahead with­out the req­ui­site per­mis­sions will be costly if the lo­cal author­ity starts en­force­ment ac­tion. It will also be prob­lem­at­i­cal when you come to sell the prop­erty as the buyer’s con­veyancer will want ev­i­dence of the per­mis­sion.

Once you have over­come the le­gal ob­sta­cles the rest is pretty straight­for­ward. You will re­quire a struc­tural en­gi­neer to con­firm that the sup­port­ing walls are ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing the pro­posed load­ing. Make sure you give them an ac­cu­rate idea as to how many peo­ple could be us­ing the space at any one time.

While the foun­da­tions may be ad­e­quate it is un­likely the ex­ist­ing roof will be strong enough as gen­er­ally flat roofs are only de­signed to al­low for rou­tine main­te­nance work. If this is the case ad­di­tional struc­tural sup­port span­ning from the walls is re­quired.

It is also es­sen­tial to con­sider drainage as the ex­ist­ing roof will have a gen­tle fall and gul­leys. A low bud­get so­lu­tion is to use tim­ber deck­ing. De­pend­ing on the method of sup­port, the ex­ist­ing weather-proof sur­face could then be main­tained while also pro­vid­ing a level fin­ished sur­face.

In the event you are not con­sid­er­ing a new solid sur­face your de­signer must also give con­sid­er­a­tion to fu­ture main­te­nance of the roof.

There are spe­cial­ist de­sign and build firms that will deal with ev­ery as­pect of the build but this comes at a price. In gen­eral it is al­ways more eco­nom­i­cal to project man­age your­self but if you want to avoid the stress then hire an ar­chi­tect who can guide you through the process. One cau­tion­ary note how­ever, is to as­sess ex­actly how shel­tered this area of roof is. It may seem a great idea but there’s lit­tle point in spend­ing thou­sands of pounds on some­thing that can be rarely used due it be­ing too ex­posed.

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