Basements can add valuable space in a new property. Vanessa Howard, Chief Marketing Officer at Roof Maker, explores how walk-on rooflights can help housebuilders create additional living spaces through the construction of basements that don’t comprise on natural light or the usability of the space above.
With the cost of land and construction continuing to increase, housebuilders and property developers are now looking at new ways to maximise living spaces. A successful and profitable way for professionals to create additional areas, particularly in built-up urban areas where outdoor spaces for potential extension opportunities are limited, is through the creation of basement living areas.
Whilst loft conversions have been a popular method of increasing living spaces for many years, their location means they are commonly used as an additional bedroom. Located closer to main living areas, such as kitchens and lounges, basements provide easy access points that enable the space to be utilised by homeowners in a more versatile way.
However, in order to ensure the basement is legally habitable, it has to meet necessary building regulations by achieving sufficient levels of insulation and ventilation, whilst also creating emergency escape routes and providing minimum head heights. Another significant factor that must be considered by housebuilders is natural lighting. An effective yet easy way to improve the light ingress of the space is the specification of walk-on rooflights that also offer aesthetic benefits.
Let there be light
For most basements, the installation of glazing to side walls isn’t possible. This makes it paramount that the light entering the basement from above achieves its full potential. Whilst there are many methods of making a basement appear brighter than it is, with mirrors and solar tubes being just two examples, walk-on rooflights offer the most beneficial and practical solution for property developers.
As they provide maximum light ingress without impeding on the functionality of the floor space above, walk-on rooflights enable developers to create additional living spaces underneath existing spaces, such as kitchens or garden patios, that can be utilised to their full potential.
The rooflights offer dual benefits as they not only ensure the basement is bathed in natural light, particularly if the build is on a southern elevation, but also provide an interesting view of the space above. However, privacy can become a significant concern, particularly if the walk-on rooflights are installed in a garden where they offer an uninterrupted view into the basement and its contents below.
To combat this issue, rooflights are constructed of toughened/laminated safety glass that help to prevent intruders from breaking through as the first layer of glazing shatters on impact, leaving the two remaining panes intact. Walk-on rooflights are also specified in a range of tints, specifically designed to offer maximum privacy if the location of their installation means they are frequently overlooked.
Roof Maker offers a wide range of tints across its entire rooflight range, including its opaque Satinova option that provides complete privacy without affecting the quality of natural light being filtered through. Its blue tint is also designed to protect furniture from fading, whilst its sun tint autonomously decreases light transmission into the room, particularly on bright days where glaring may occur.
Many homeowners may also be concerned about the safety of the walk-on rooflight, particularly if they have young children who may potentially slip on the glass. Walk-on rooflights feature a slimline design that provides a completely flush fitting and flat installation, whilst also offering a range of textured/decorative glass options designed for anti-slip purposes. This may be particularly useful if it is installed in a garden where children may frequently run across the rooflight.
The specification of toughened glass also enables the rooflights to comply to BS EN1279 parts 2 and 3 as it is combined with 66.5mm argon filled triple glazing and 20mm polyamide insulation sections to ensure it provides the greatest energy efficiency and durability possible. The construction of the rooflights also supports the insulation and ventilation performance of the basement, complying with part L of Building Regulations that states all windows and doors must have an Uw value of 2.0W/m2K or less.
Roof Maker’s walk-on rooflights offer an Uw value of 0.6W/m2K, ensuring developers can not only comply with all necessary regulations but also provide homeowners with the most energy-efficient living space possible. The installation of walk-on rooflights also offers greater sustainability benefits as they reduce the dependency on artificial lighting – a factor that is becoming more prominent with the ever-increasing cost of lighting and heating a home.
With the UK housing market looking to take off once again, property developers can take an innovative and adaptable approach to developments by extending not only upwards and outwards, but also exploring the usability of the space below.