The sky is the limit: decking and roof areas in cities

The sky is the limit: decking and roof areas in cities

28 Jul 2023

Arbor Forest Products

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This informal CPD article, ‘The sky is the limit: decking and roof areas in cities’, was provided by Arbor Forest Products, one of the largest independent timber importing businesses in the UK, providing outstanding service and distribution to merchants.

Since 2020, when restrictions were introduced in response to the pandemic, an increasing number of businesses have opted to expand their useable spaces from the inside out. Many bars and restaurants across the country were granted permission to extend their seating areas outside, including into pedestrianised roads, and most have continued to use these spaces as a permanent extension.

However, using ground-level outdoor areas isn’t always an option – particularly in major cities where roads must remain in use and available space is often minimal – and business owners in cities may need to explore alternative options for creating outside areas.

Where this is the case, it’s worth looking up: transforming roof areas is continuing to grow in popularity. Roof terrace bars and restaurants with uninterrupted views of the city skyline have long been thought of as the pinnacle of luxury, while rooftop communal areas lean into the more modern trend for offices designed with wellbeing in mind.

Whatever the intended use, composite decking can offer a stylish yet practical solution. As with any commercial space though, there are a number of important considerations before undertaking a project, from safety to design.

Safety considerations

Safety is always the priority in any commercial design scheme, and creating a roof terrace for a bar, office and anything in between is no exception.

One of the key safety considerations – and legal requirements – for all commercial projects is minimising the risk of slips. Flooring must have a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) rating of at least 36 under both wet and dry conditions. The pendulum test measures slip resistance, and is the only legally accepted measure of this in matters relating to proof of safe flooring – making it a vital consideration for any space that will be used by the public. Fortunately, some composite decking products are designed to be suitable for commercial use and have undergone rigorous safety tests.

As well as suitable flooring, there are a number of further steps that can be taken to maximize safety for any roof terrace, including the addition of lighting to decking. Lighting can be installed into decking boards, not only adding ambience but also acting as a useful guide throughout the space, including highlighting potential hazards such as stairs.

Due to the nature of rooftop spaces, where high walls are not already in place, the addition of railings is important. There is now a wide variety of railings available to choose from, including clear glass railings to avoid obstructing views across the city.

Benefits of composite decking

Practical considerations

As well as safety, commercial projects require a number of other practical considerations, such as access and inclusivity requirements.

Even where covers will be used, it’s important to consider the outdoor nature of roof terraces and choose materials accordingly. Quality composite decking provides an ideal solution for any outdoor space – including roof areas – as it won’t rot, warp or fade under adverse weather conditions.

Business owners must also consider maintenance requirements and choose materials accordingly. Where minimal maintenance but high performance is desired, composite decking from trusted brands remains a popular choice – especially when backed by warranties for added peace of mind.

Design considerations

Many of these safety and practical requirements can be addressed through design choices thanks to the versatility of composite decking, from specially designed deck lighting to complementary railings.

Composite decking is also available in a range of colours to suit the individual business aesthetic as well as being sensitive to the building and city itself. Projects can be designed to meet the unique requirements of any space, from custom inlay logo designs to the use of curved boards to accommodate the shape of the space.

What’s more, one of the benefits of composite decking is the links to sustainability. This can be built upon by adding finishing touches to the space that promote biodiversity, including the installation of composite planters. Not only can this demonstrate a business’s commitment to the environment, but it also recognises the positive link between nature and wellbeing for all users.

We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Arbor Forest Products, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively, you can go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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Arbor Forest Products

For more information from Arbor Forest Products, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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