Roof top facilities are a clever way of using ‘dead’ space to create additional residential amenity and a strong marketing feature, especially in urban renewal projects in which public open space is already at a premium.
In the past, roof tops were left to air conditioning, water harvesting and lift infrastructure, but with additional thought at the planning stage, a concrete desert can be an inner-city oasis.
A roof top garden featuring raised beds and barbecues is a smart way of adding common areas (and the prestige of eagle-eye views). Newer developments are even making use of the external lift housing by turning the blank wall into a screen for an outdoor cinema.
The sky’s the limit!
The investment of a few thousand dollars into a thoughtfully designed roof top facility can also increase property yield as ground floor space that might have been devoted to common areas can be transferred to the roof top.
In addition, roof top gardens and communal living areas are cheaper to install and maintain than other value-added common area facilities such as gyms.
If the foot print is large enough, a roof top dining area can be an option to consider – with relevant approval- providing the owners and public with a casual or formal dining space with the potential high cityscape views that roadside competitors cannot match.
Roof top gardens can also go a long way to satisfying sustainability requirements within the city of Sydney which is actively encouraging developers to look at green roofs and green walls as part of their projects.
But before rushing off to create elaborate roof top gardens, it’s important to know the market.
Developments which are designed to attract Asian investors might wish to reconsider turning the roof space into a garden – in other words, giving the building a ‘green hat’.
In Chinese folklore, a ‘green hat’ is cultural shorthand for a man who has been cuckolded.
In winter, the addition of a fire place can be welcoming but this does come with the added issues of insurance notifications.
For summer, moveable furniture and shade areas are advantageous but consideration needs to be given to how furniture is to be stored during high winds and storms.
Purchasers of inner city projects are looking for sophisticated, metropolitan lifestyles with forward-thinking features. Roof top space provide the opportunity to create a unique point of difference and an on-going amenity that, if designed and planned thoughtfully will be a well used and well-loved common property facility.