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Roof Gardens In Offices: What To Consider

14 April 2022

As the trend of outdoor spaces for commercial offices continues to grow, property developers, architects and contractors are turning traditionally unused roofs into functional roof gardens.

These spaces offer workers and visitors the opportunity to engage with biophilic design and allowing for a more hybrid workspace, increasing mental wellbeing and productivity at work.

However, when designing buildings at height and creating external flooring installations, there are several considerations you should make. By considering these challenges as early as possible, you can avoid any unforeseen delays in your project timeline.

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Fire Rating Requirements For Office Roof Gardens

Building fire regulations for roof systems state that the system must be tested and rated as a complete build-up. This system-led approach includes every component, from membrane to surface material, and is rated as a whole.

Whilst this ensures a more accurate fire rating, it does restrict architects and specifiers from swapping out products during the building project. Importantly: the components of the tested system cannot be swapped, without another test being carried out on the ‘new’ system if not already tested.

To correctly determine your building’s fire safety requirements, we always advise that you ask your local Fire Safety Office or Building Control, as each building will require different fire-ratings for each component.

Fortunately, there is now a way to simplify product selection. To make things simpler, you can now purchase an ‘off the shelf’ system, which includes everything from membranes, Buzon’s adjustable pedestals and surface materials. These systems have been combined and tested as a whole, providing a B Roof (t4) certification.

 

Accessibility & Levels

A common feature of roof terraces will be the implementation of slope correction, either to create ramps or to create a level surface if the substrate is laid to fall in order to facilitate water runoff.

Due to the nature of roof terraces and gardens, it is uncommon for them to be completely flat.  Through intentional building design, or the use of tapered insulation, you are able to allow for natural water dispersion, preventing roof damage and health hazards caused by pooling water.

We recently covered slope correction in depth, so please refer to our blog to find out how to calculate the correct amount of slope correction for your project requirements.

Looking for adjustable roof pedestals that facilitate slope correction?

Buzon’s pedestal ranges, such as the DPH and fire-rated A-PED range all come with a built-in slope correction feature of up to 5%.   All our ranges come with slope correcting accessories that can be mounted onto the head or base of the pedestal as required.

For accessibility ramps, there are a number of accessories you can use, such as the U-PH5. The U-PH5 Slope Corrector can be set to the desired incline, locked into position and used at the base of the pedestal, allowing you to maintain the adjustment value of the slope and keeping the head of the pedestal horizontal.  It is compatible with all of our standard pedestal ranges;  in fact we even have a B-rated version (U-PH5-FR) for our self-extinguishing Class B-rated range of pedestals, the BC-FR. If falls greater than 5% need to be catered for, the U-PH5 can be used in multiples of up to 3.

 

Loading Requirements For Office Roof Gardens

Roof gardens for commercial use, by design, can see regular heavy footfall and are subjected to heavy loads through planters, benches etc, and it’s worth remembering that insulation has minimum dead load requirements that need to be satisfied.

Most adjustable pedestals are manufactured using polypropylene recycled plastic and can differ greatly when it comes to load-bearing properties between different manufacturers.

It’s important to look at each pedestal’s compression test results during specification, as this will allow you to determine the max load they will be capable of withstanding.

Buzon’s range of adjustable pedestals were designed with this in mind and offer superior load-bearing capabilities, allowing for heavy pavers or heavy planters to be used without issue.

 

Facilitating Drainage For Office Roof Gardens

As mentioned above, one key part of roof terrace design is the natural drainage of rainfall. This can be achieved through a number of design choices alongside compensating for a fall on your roof.

Paver separation is crucial for commercial office projects, as not only does it contribute to a more uniform final aesthetic, but it can also help to facilitate waterflow. By using spacer tabs, you can easily achieve uniform spacing between each paver.

Does your project involve odd shapes or curves?

Pedestal ranges such as Buzon’s BC range have been cleverly designed to support unusual shapes and curves, through the use of both rectangular and circular tabs that can be individually positioned to suit your needs.

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Conclusion

These are just a few of the main considerations you should make during the design process of your office roof garden or terrace. By choosing the right products that are tested and certified, you can meet building regulations and also avoid any complications later on in your project timeline.            

If you’re looking to create outdoor office space in your next commercial office development, take a look at the Buzon range of adjustable pedestals to achieve your desired raised external flooring.

If you have any questions, just ask – advice costs nothing and we are on hand, with no worry of obligation.

If you need any more information on the subject, feel free to call us on + 44 (0)20 8614 0874 today.

Alternatively, you can let us know your query by filling in the form below and an expert will be in touch soon. We look forward to hearing from you.

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