Loft conversions are a great way to add space to a home without needing to extend outwards, potentially losing precious outdoor space.
Whether you are in need of a home office, or your family is expanding and you need an extra bedroom, the humble loft conversion can transform your home, providing that extra functionality in a relatively short space of time.
One of the best aspects of loft conversions is that the majority of them do not require planning permission. Despite this, it is important to be incredibly vigilant with this side of your home improvement so that you avoid the potential for legal action down the line. It’s not worth skipping this vital step only to have to pay a fine, or worse, have the work reversed or adjusted down the line.
The great news is that it isn’t too difficult to make sure that you are on the right side of the law when it comes to regulations around your loft conversion, especially if you are aware of the additional laws and regulations you may not have heard of. Use a professional loft conversion company and you’re also much more likely to have all the right paperwork submitted.
For now, though, to help you feel more in the know, let’s take a look at loft conversion regulation considerations:
Many people choose to have an en-suite bathroom added to their loft conversion to accommodate the average 6-7 trips we all make to the loo on average every day. However, the work has to be done to building regulation standards to ensure that what is added is considered lawful. You’ll want a professional plumber and loft conversion company to be using the correct materials, applying the right wastewater structure, floor reinforcement and water pressure features so that everything is above board.
Many people choose to cut costs by having a less than trusted (or even qualified) builder do loft conversion works. A really strong sign this is a bad idea is if the builder doesn’t even bring up building regulations when you’re discussing your ideas. If they aren’t worried about being on the right side of the law, don’t assume they will be worried about doing a good job of your conversion. You can find out more about protecting yourself against building scams here.
Respecting Listed Buildings
If your building is considered a listed building then you have to have something called Listed Building Consent. This may well be challenging because it can mean there are additional orders and rules applied to your home extremely unique to the building you have.
A professional loft conversion company with expertise in this area will be able to guide you through this process and discuss design alterations that may help get the work approved.
Conservation Efforts Could Prevent Work
Any areas that are listed as conservation areas or Areas Of Outstanding Beauty will have regulations that require any homes within them, or even nearby, have to have planning permission for any work done.
It is important to check where you stand with this, as sometimes it isn’t obvious that you live in a conservation area. Anything from certain insects, to bats or reptiles could be known to use the area you are in, and that may well mean there’s some extra paperwork for you to fill out before you can go ahead with your conversion.
Sometimes You Don’t Need Permission
One should never assume they do not need planning permission unless you have a lot of experience in construction or within legislation. Instead, you should have an expert loft conversion company check whether or not you need planning permission just to be sure. In a lot of cases, however, certain conversions do not require permission if:
- Extensions don’t hang over the outer face of the original wall of the house
- Any new roofing materials are a true match (or as close as possible) to the original materials
- No balconies or raised platforms are present
- The extension does not go higher than the roof
- The new space created does not extend past the plane of the current roof slope that faces outwards onto the road
- Dormers and other conversion types are set back a minimum of 200mm from the original eaves unless this is an impossibility (except hip-to-gable extensions)
- Any side facing windows have an opening at least 1.7 metres above the floor and glazing is obscured
- Terraced houses do not have more than 40 metres squared of new space, or 50 metres squared for detached or semi-detached homes, including previous adjustments that have already been made
Northern Ireland, England, Wales & Scotland Differ
Planning permission rules differ ever so slightly between different countries in Britain so it is important to always refer to the correct regulations applicable to your location:
Building Regulations Is Not Planning Permission
One common mistake that homeowners make is assuming that planning permission is the one and only application they have to make for a loft conversion.
In fact, even if planning permission is not needed, building regulations approval is needed. You can read about building regulations approval regulations here.
It is also a great idea to have a loft conversion expert help you to prepare your plans, structural details and project compliance information to not only ensure you can apply for building regulations, but to help you have your application approved.
Extra Regulations & Rules You May Not Have Heard Of
There are an abundance of extra regulations that the average person has not heard of when it comes to building work.
The important thing is to be vigilant now so that your new loft conversion is fully legal. Here are some extra regulations you may not have heard of:
- A need for cold or warm roof insulation as recommended by your building control inspector
- Part P of the 17th Electrical Regulations has to be adhered to
- All plumbing, electrics and ventilation for any bathroom space has to meet building regulations
- Fire and safety regulations apply to any windows or rooflights in your loft space
- Any new walls have to be correctly installed as to support new roof structures
- Flooring has to be structurally sound and able to support any expected load weight
- Sound insulation has to be added
- Staircases come with specific rules
- If you intend to list the loft space as an extra bedroom certain rules have to be adhered to for that official listing
- Party Wall Agreements have to be in place for semi-detached or terraced homes
Let The Experts Help You Get Your Loft Conversion Done By The Book
Even with great enthusiasm and dedication, it is hard to be completely aware of the home improvement laws and regulations that exist around loft extensions, unless you work within that industry.
That is why it makes sense to have experts help you get the job done right. From design to completion, they can work with you to ensure every application is made, every regulation is acknowledged, and specifications to meet the necessary laws or guidelines are met. It’s the only way to completely protect yourself against legal barriers, or repercussions, instead enabling you to enjoy a beautiful, safe and legal loft conversion for boosted functionality in your home.