Roof Decks: Things You Should Know Before Installing One Having One Could Enhance Your Building

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Every building has a roof, but not every building has a roof deck.  For many city dwellers, a retreat above the city’s streets is one of the ultimate amenities.  For many co-op and condominium properties, it’s a tempting amenity to consider. A roof deck can provide a sanctuary for residents, and may increase unit values at the same time.

“It’s definitely a good amenity and adds value to individual apartments but [by how much is] very difficult to quantify," says Larry Lubin, a broker with Klara Madlin Real Estate on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. "If it’s nicely decked with planters and deck furniture and has really great views, it could make an apartment worth a few percentage points more.”

Sarah Marsh, Principal of MAAI Marsh Architects, a New York City-based architecture and design firm, says that roof decks are potentially a wonderful amenity for a building’s community and useful for many functions.  “It can be a unique environment magically offering placidity in a hyper-energized urban setting.”

But before you think about installing a roof deck for your building, there are factors to consider, ranging from meeting the necessary city permits and requirements to the design of the space and type of materials used. Let’s look at a few of them.

Permits and Requirements

New York City zoning has a say as to where roof decks are permitted to be built, their size, and whether the deck constitutes additional floor area.  According to the New York City Building Code, “...construction may only begin after the Department approves construction plans and issues permits for a deck or porch. Only a New York State licensed professional engineer or registered architect may design them.”  

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