Adding rooftop amenities to a mixed-use or multifamily development is a more complicated process than simply setting out a few nice chairs on a rooftop patio. Without proper planning, developers end up making costly mistakes that might even threaten the integrity of the project as a whole. So, when planning your amenity deck for long term beauty and occupant enjoyment, it really pays off to pinpoint and address red flags beforehand.
Here are some of the things developers should always keep in mind:
Visualizing the space
A final set of design and engineering decisions revolves around your vision and the intended use of the area on your rooftop deck. These decisions can be affected by both the physical location of the building and the regulatory environment, so be prepared to work through the planning stages alongside a qualified and specialized landscape architect. With the right planning and execution, your business could benefit greatly from this new space. Be sure to consider your market, target demographic, and existing clientele when deciding on an approach.
Coordinating rooftop design and construction
There is a saying in construction: the first person in gets to do what they want. What this means is that in an uncoordinated construction site, there are always cost overruns and delays because someone else has put their systems where the next person expected to be able to go. In the case of rooftop amenities, lack of coordination between the designer and structural, plumbing and electrical consultants is even more of a red flag. They all need to understand what must happen underneath the structure because when they start putting things on the roof, the drainage and everything changes, and all of that involves costs.
If you engaged a landscape architect to design, observe, and consult before, during, and after the rooftop construction then most of this worry should be taken care of, but if you didn’t, then you as the developer need to ensure that everyone knows what everyone else needs to be doing. The earlier in the planning process you can get the team together the faster and less expensive the final rooftop construction project will be.
Allowing enough time to execute your project
No matter how good your rooftop designer is, or how fast your contractor is, no one can deliver a rooftop amenity deck overnight. Proper planning takes time, and construction milestones are important to set and achieve. Discuss this early with your architectural and engineering team, and they will be able to assist you in putting together a proper timeline so decision on details like structures, power, drainage, and others can be scheduled to deliver the finished product on time.
Knowing the physical challenges
You may think of your building's rooftop as an untapped, potentially profitable space, but first and foremost, it's a physical structure with sharply defined limitations you'll need to address. Before you can think seriously about adding a pool and setting up a lounge on the roof, you'll need to make sure the roof is capable of supporting the additional weight of those amenity features.
Providing access to the roof can be another red flag to overcome. You may need to install stairways and elevators to allow easy access for users and service staff.
Considering rooftop amenities in your proforma
Often times, developers do not budget for rooftop amenities because they do not consider them from the beginning, so these are not included in the proforma. This is a red flag you should try and avoid for your own sake. Ideally, as the developer, you should start to think about the rooftop amenities you may want to add to your development project at the very first feasibility study stage. That way, the landscape architect you hire to come up with different design options can help you develop a budget that is realistic and in tune with the end goals and objectives of the project you are working on. Let the landscape architect guide you in your budget creation and help you eliminate unpleasant surprises further down the road.
Engaging a landscape architect right from the beginning
Rooftop amenities are and should be an extension of the interior living space of a building and should be in harmony with its architecture. For this reason, you want to engage a landscape architect who will help you consider the appropriate design of the rooftop amenity right from the beginning.
Experienced landscape architects will ask you the hard questions early on, allowing you to be realistic about the end goals and objectives of the design. Can your design withstand the load of a desired rooftop amenity? It's definitively best to find out early into your drawings, and avoid limitations and problems later on.