Residential (other)

Socialite Rooftop Restaurant, Slatters Development

We’re thrilled to have completed a rooftop restaurant project at a major hotel located in the heart of the historic city of Canterbury.

Nestled amongst a string of listed and period buildings, the Socialite rooftop restaurant and bar at the Hampton by Hilton Slatters Hotel commands breath-taking views of the city’s iconic cathedral.

The Slatters Development site – of which the hotel is a part – has a prolific heritage stretching back to Tudor times. Over the years it has grown, accommodating Georgian and Victorian architecture.

A radical shake-up

Just over 12 years ago, however, structural issues were discovered, and it was evident that extra measures would be necessary to guarantee the security of the premises and to revitalise the Slatters Development as a venue.

Harwood was integral in securing this first phase through essential building regulation guidance and construction consultation. Together with RGB Group and Maith Design, we undertook the building control for the Slatters Hotel element of the development.

We saw this project through to fruition to create a fabulous hotel with 129 guest rooms on four floors.

Following the development of the new hotel, there was an unused space on top of the building, which the owners intended to use at a later date to create a new rooftop restaurant.

Fire safety at height

When it was announced that the fifth-floor restaurant and bar project would proceed, we were approached again, this time by Milestone Project Consultancy, to provide building control services.

Our experienced and knowledgeable team advised on the crucial building control elements for the new rooftop facility. The nature of the restaurant’s rooftop location meant that it required its own fire evacuation means.

Providing operability while retaining fire security is vital for an installation in such a location. With so many people on the rooftop at any one time, it was essential to provide acoustic control that would mitigate noise while preserving fire safety.

Adam Dodd, Harwood’s Operations Director, seasoned in handling large-scale commercial ventures and assisting clients, comments on fire safety at the rooftop restaurant:

“It was crucial for the safety of the building’s inhabitants that a fully accessible escape route, independent from the main building, was established in the unfortunate event there should be a fire at the rooftop restaurant. Building regulations are clear that the evacuation means must be separate from the rest of the building due to the rooftop location.

“We are used to providing expert advice which correctly interprets Approved Document B of the building regulations Fire Safety section. The welfare of customers and occupants is always foremost in any design and construction matter, and Harwood is happy that the restaurant complies fully with these important regulations.”

Ventilation for the dining and kitchen premises was another matter on which Harwood supplied comprehensive expertise, in accordance with Approved Document F. The complex required an appropriate ventilation system to avoid causing discomfort to neighbours through cooking fumes, or noise from appliances such as ventilator drives.

Adam continues:

“Superior ventilation and exhaust were imperative on the premises to clear steam and cooking fumes. Harwood advised on which ventilation system would be most appropriate to keep the environment clear.

“Getting the right ventilation system can be a complex process for restaurant owners, which is why Harwood was vital in recommending the right solution to do the job safely and completely.”

A towering success

The rooftop restaurant – The Socialite – opened in summer 2022 and has been busy with customers enjoying the impressive views across the historic city.

With the project now complete, Zaw Htut, Director at Milestone Project Consultancy comments: “We were very pleased to work alongside Harwood Building Control at the Socialite: the team was able to expertly guide us through the regulatory challenges specific to a development of this type. Adam and the team at Harwood are incredibly knowledgeable, and together with their open, friendly approach, they made an essential contribution to the overall success of the project. We look forward to many more future projects together!”

Online feedback for the restaurant has been overwhelmingly positive, and it is a pleasure to know that stringent building regulations protect this restaurant’s patrons.

To find out more about Harwood, and how we provide Approved Inspector building control services for commercial construction projects across England and Wales, covering a range of sectors, speak to our one of our team now on +44 (0)1227 931 777 or email

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