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24 August 2020

Taking Advantage of Roofs as Liveable Space

Riverland House 5 copy

When designing a flat roof, the primary purpose is clear: to protect the building from the elements by ensuring the enclosure is watertight. While this is the main objective of any roof area, using the space for a dual purpose is often overlooked.

A flat roof can be utilised in a variety of ways to add value to a property. As the pitch generally sits between one to two degrees, the opportunities to create a useable space are very achievable.

With land shortages and medium-density living on the rise in urban environments, the ability to increase living space is necessary to improve the quality of life in cityscapes.

Throughout the world, roof spaces have been used in a variety of ways that create value socially, economically and environmentally. From rooftop decks that help maximise outdoor living spaces to roof gardens that can be used to grow food or even roofs that can accommodate solar panels. 

With innovative products such as decking pedestals and roof mounts becoming more popular, roof spaces can be transformed into additional flat spaces for living and enjoying. The creative uses for a flat roof can be endless with the right design.

We have witnessed a rise in green roof specifications on multi-level apartments and commercial buildings in recent years. Green roofs contribute to sustainable values such as combating stormwater runoff, filtering carbon dioxide and improving aesthetics around often grey, concrete environments.


Of course, cost considerations come into effect when designing a flat roof with a dual purpose. The long-term rewards will often outweigh the initial costs especially when considering the roof space can be utilised throughout the entire building’s life cycle.

Solar panels, vegetable gardens or rooftop patios are hard to quantify or monetise over decades of use. But often designing for the future contributes to a long-term goal and sustainable journey. Additional living space will always be appreciated, and an accessible flat roof keeps options open and enables us to create functional, efficient space for years to come.

Photo: Riverlands House by Warren and Mahoney

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