Roofing project advice

*I have a bit of a grand designs plan for my courtyard patio area that looks like this,

*anyone suggest how I can get the glass roof part done? Thinking it might be conservatory roof parts so it doesn’t need an steel rsj which will make it ugly. Currently there is a garage wall holding up the roof which I will take down and reinstall 8 feet further back to create the covered area o. The badly drawn by me picture

Currently looks like this


I can ask the guy that’s currently doing roofing on our house for you.

I suspect the answer will involve something like a glue-lam beam if you don’t want to go with an RSJ.

I am lucky that there is an rsj already in place 8 foot back from the current garage wall which will bear the weight of the roof so looking for something self supporting that can fill the gap as shown on my dodgy drawing

Aim being we increase our patio by 8 foot and open up a walkway through the garage to the garden which we currently don’t see from the house as have to go round the garage

Darren, if you are looking for something that has a light structure then have a chat with a greenhouse company, Robinson’s or the like. I think black aluminium will give a better look than plastic. It would be thinner. I’m sure they could produce a panel the right size for you that could come as a kit of parts.

That’s he kind of thing I am looking for bob, Ali and black to give a kind of park cast iron feel but without the weight and cost

They use s company called woodpecker joinery for their Cedar frames.

It’s a structural alteration and as such will require building regs. So you will definitely need steel.

determining factor is the span across the front - from your sketch it looks like you would want a clear span, hence the suggestions of steelwork/structural support.

Give the period of the property I would consider using some vertical supports to pick up the weight of the roof along the front, maybe two to cut the spans down to circa 2m each. One would work but may look awkward.

If it were black painted timber, the members wouldn’t need to be too big and you could add decorative black metal brackets to the corners, depending on how periodic you want it to look. I notice the roof joist ends are exposed, always nice, personally i would try to replicate this kind of detail so it looks in keeping.

The existing eaves height looks quite low, so will need to take care on how shallow the pitch of the roof is to maintain headroom under the canopy.

dodgy sketch -

climbing plants optional.

forgot to mention, this may work out cheaper than using ali/steelwork, you could even consider a nice oak frame.


Different coloured glass might be nice?


Did one in Jersey with thick blue plastic pinned tightly to batons.
It lasted 12 months as the sun killed it.

Not sure this helps in any way disclaimer

Thanks for this guys, lots to think about

Building control is a given, we need planning permission as we are in a conservation area, have a local architect on the job but the seem to be limited to drawing what I say I want hitch isn’t very helpful

I was hoping to void down supports as will make the end result less useable and makes the feeling of space we want to create errr less spacy

Is there no way of doing this without a chunky steel or supports? As I said there is no roof to support as the two bits either side are on walls that have to remain and the middle of the roof already has a load bearing rsj and will have a block wall too if we go ahead, suppose I was hoping the light greenhouse roof bob suggested would bolt to the rsj at the top and the walls at the side but be self supporting across the gutter line

The bit I am fettered by is that the front of the garage has to look as it does now so leaving a bit of tile on the wall either side seemed sensible

If your local building control person is the friendly sort (last time I contacted them, mine was) then an informal chat can clear a lot of stuff up very quickly. When I was planning my garage roof he suggested a way of doing it which saved a fair amount of work and also gained me some extra space.


If I were paying an architect I wouldn’t expect to have to do this.


Me neither. I did the garage on my own (OK, with the building inspector’s very valuable help) but I’d expect anyone with a qualification in the field to know the basics of what’s available and to be able to work out what’s required to hold it up.


Are you planning to re-do the roof of the rear part of the building ? If you are then I wonder if you could find some sort of rafter elements that would stretch from the back of the building, then under the tiles and over the existing RSJ and then out to support your transparent roof. If the elements were strong enough you might be able to use them to transfer most of the weight of the transparent roofing onto the RSJ (assuming that’s capable of taking the weight) leaving relatively little to be borne by the beam at the front. Which would mean that beam could be lightweight. The engineer who drew up the steelwork for the roof over our house used a trick like this to ease the requirements for the I-beams which span the largest gap between supports there.


Have you considered twinwall polycarbonate - light as a feather, strong, loads of grades and colours, UV-resistant and UV-blocking types, etc.

I’d look for alloy or uPVC framing or you’ll have the ballache of re-painting every 5 mins.

And as others said - sack the architect, useless cnut (ana.).

Conservation area, they’ll probably want leaded lights :grin:


On behalf of all RIBA registered architects (cough, cough, disappears up own arse…)
can I ask if the person working for you is an architect? It’s quite common for them to be a CIAT registered technician, capable of drawing what you request, but not designing it.

If they are qualified architect, then maybe look for another as others have said.


It’s also good that you know what you want to achieve design wise, the open view will allow you to appreciate the garden beyond better, so if you can afford that route go for it.

Many ways to skin that cat, steel goalpost frame that I can’t imagine wouldn’t need to be anymore than about 175mm box section, but I ain’t no Structural Engineer, I just draw pretty pictures!

Good architect + SE, job done👍