...Loft & Attic Conversions All types of building work, structural work
and home/office extentions

Planning & building regulations

Do you need building regulation? – Yes

Do you need planning? – Not usually

All these areas are covered by the architect / structural engineer and submitted to the local council for approval. They are inspected by the council at key stages and a compliance certificate is issue at the end of the job.

For further information visit www.planningportal.gov.uk

Planning Permissions

Planning permission is not normally required. However, permission is required where you extend or alter the roof space and it exceeds specified limits and conditions.

Under new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008 a loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • A volume allowance of 40 cubic metres additional roof space for terraced houses*
  • A volume allowance of 50 cubic metres additional roof space for detached and semi-detached houses*
  • No extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts the highway
  • No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof
  • Materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house No verandas, balconies or raised platforms
  • Side-facing windows to be obscure-glazed; any opening to be 1.7m above the floor
  • Roof extensions not to be permitted development in designated areas**
  • Roof extensions, apart from hip to gable ones, to be set back, as far as practicable, at least 20cm from the eaves

*Bear in mind that any previous roof space additions must be included within the volume allowances listed above. Although you may not have created additional space a previous owner may have done so.

Please note: the permitted development allowances described here apply to houses not flats, maisonettes or other buildings. However here are some situations that you might require planning.

Building Regulations

When undertaking a new project the loft conversion building regulations, as you would probably expect, are in-depth and dense. At this point it should be noted that the building regulations are not the same as planning permission and, in some cases, both the building regulations and the planning permission criteria must be complied with.

The regulations are the minimum allowed standards of construction and design as laid down by the government and, for loft conversions, they fall into five main categories:

Structural Stability

For anything other than light storage solutions you will need to install new ceiling joists and will more than likely have to double them up. That new room in the loft is going to have to carry some serious weight and the loft conversion building regulations quite rightly insist that joists and load-bearing walls are strong enough to support that extra weight. It is very likely that you will also have to install new steel beams to support those new joists. Another facet to structural stability is the roof itself and whether its structure needs to be altered to fit in your new loft design.

Fire Safety

It goes without saying that the loft conversion building regulations on this point are very strict and rightly so. The plans for your loft conversion must give plenty of consideration to fire safety and your design will need to include a self-closing fire door. Your new loft floors and walls must be able to resist fire for thirty minutes and glazed door panels must be made of fire-resisting glass.

Escape from the loft in the event of fire must be addressed with each new room in the loft having an escape window that is at least 450mm x 450mm. It must be ensured that the escape window can be accessed from outside with a ladder – sounds obvious but not a detail to be overlooked.

Mains operated smoke alarms, linked to others in the property, must also be installed.