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  • According to research carried out by the office of the Mayor of London in 2014, just under 20 per cent of UK households live in flats. In the capital, these numbers are inflated, with more than half the accommodation (52%) being apartments. In other big cities across the country, the ratio of flats to houses is also higher than the national average.

    Whether a city home is a flat or a house, it’s likely to have very little – or no – outdoor space. But there are ways to create outdoor areas that add value and a touch of luxury to a dwelling. Balconies are one popular choice, while roof terraces – which are often accessed through a rooflight – allow you to make the most of an otherwise unused area.

    You can read all about the many health benefits of having an outdoor living space in our latest blog post here.

    Rooflights for roof terrace access

    When creating a new outdoor space with a roof terrace, access is an important consideration.

    Roof terrace access can be split into two main types:

    Access from the same level – This is often the result of an extension project, where a single-storey extension is added to a property, and the flat roof of the extension is turned into a terrace. In this situation, access can be fairly easy: a set of doors can be built into the existing upper-storey wall to provide access.

    Access via stairs – If the roof is directly above the rest of the accommodation, then a set of stairs will need to be installed to provide a route to the terrace.

    Rooflights are a popular solution for roof terrace access, as they can create the vertical space necessary for the staircase and the associated headspace clearance.

    Rooflights have the added benefit of flooding interior spaces with natural daylight and, with options ranging from hinged and sliding rooflights to box rooflights, there’s sure to be a design that suits your project.

    Approved Document K

    Approved Document K sets out the requirements that must be met to prevent injuries due to falls, collisions and impacts. It deals with the safety of a variety of building elements, including as headspace clearance and landings on staircases.

    ● Headspace clearance for access rooflights – According to Approved Document K, there needs to be at least 2m of head clearance on any staircase (measured from the pitch line). Rooflights can help you to achieve this headspace clearance by providing additional vertical space over a staircase. Box rooflights are an ideal choice, but hinged and sliding rooflights may also provide a suitable solution if they can be opened remotely.

    ● Landing requirements – The last step at both the bottom and top of a flight of stairs should be considered a landing. Part K specifies that the width and length of a landing should be at least as great as the smallest width of the flight of stairs. In most cases, the width of a landing should be at least 400mm and free from obstructions such as swinging doors.

    The trend for outdoor living continues to grow, and for city homes with limited space, roof terraces can expand the amount of living space, while providing a beautiful outdoor area perfect for enjoying the fresh air, entertaining and spending quality time with loved ones.

    To find out more about creating a roof terrace, and the benefits of using access rooflights, please download our latest guide to specifying roof terraces with access rooflights.