We are asked often whether it is possible to for example add an additional storey to a flat roofed commercial building or to loft convert an existing commercial property.
The answer is normally yes, depending on planning considerations with the local planning authority.
Practically speaking on the first example here of adding an additional storey to a flat roofed building, the feasibility is assessed with :
- A desk top study of the locale to establish whether there is a chance that the proposal might fit in with the street scene and therefore potentially be acceptable to planners.
- An early discussion with sketch designs with the planners to ensure that they are not fundamentally opposed and generally happy with the proposal in principle.
- Providing all is positive on the above two points, we would then seek to have trial holes dug to expose the existing foundation arrangements and beams (in strategic places) to enable a structural engineer to assess suitability for receiving additional loads of a further storey and what the likely (if any) support improvements would need to be.
- We would normally at this stage report back feasibility once we had heard back from the engineer to our client with a suggested way in which the project may be achieved, for example using lightweight METSEC type steel construction or timber frame to reduce loadings if the existing building would be too close to design load limits if using more traditional methods / systems of building.
- If instructed to proceed with the drawing work following our feasibility study, we would then produce concept stage layouts and elevations showing the spaces after taking a more detailed brief of the clients space requriements.