Roof terraces are increasingly being incorporated within school architecture. These areas provide useful outdoor spaces where ground playing areas are otherwise limited and can also provide exciting, alternative places for learning. As many existing school buildings feature flat roofs, they can be retrofitted into older buildings relatively easily and affordably.
When designing in a roof terrace, careful attention needs to be paid to the door threshold and floor heights to ensure accessibility for all students. This can be complicated by the need to incorporate insulation within the roof deck construction to prevent heat loss from the space below.
Approved Document M to the Building Regulations 2010 (in Wales) and 2015 (in England) clearly states that its “objective is for all to travel vertically and horizontally within buildings conveniently and without discomfort…” and “…to have access to, and the use of, all the facilities provided by the building.”
This guidance is echoed in Section 4 (Safety) to the Building Standards 2017 (Scotland) which states that “safe, unassisted and convenient means of access should be provided throughout the building”. More specifically, in relation to thresholds, the documents suggests that “To be accessible, a door should not present unnecessary barriers to use, such as a step or raised profile at a threshold, that might present difficulties to a wheelchair user or be an entrapment or trip hazard to an ambulant person, whether or not using a walking aid.”
To ensure compliance with these requirements and provide a safe and welcoming experience for students and staff, it makes sense to specify products which will allow a seamless transition out onto the balcony deck. When selecting insulation materials for these constructions, there are a couple of application options.
Insulation Options for a School Roof Terrace
In many cases, the terrace concrete deck is a continuation of the internal floor deck. Whilst this helps to reduce build costs, it often means that little depth is available for the insulation layer and floor surface for the balcony. This can make it challenging to meet the U-value requirements within Approved Documents L to the Building Regulations 2013 (England), 2014 (Wales), and Section 6 (Energy) to the Building Standards (Scotland).