Things You Need To Know Before Starting Loft Conversion

Things You Need To Know Before Starting Loft Conversion

Most of the time, when planning your loft conversion, you may not need planning permission (this is based on the type of conversion) as it comes under PD, but building regulations must be followed to guarantee the integrity of any alteration to protect your property and its occupants.

As a matter of fact, building regulations determines nearly everything that will be done to give you your loft. It determines the layout of the materials, staircase type and positioning. In planning your loft, there are specific guidelines to keep in mind

If the conversion goal is to create a functional storage area, seeking to meet building regulations ensures safety to avoid overloading the timber joists that acts as a floor since they are not designed to handle the excessive weight.

When the conversion aims to create extra space for living, then approval needs to be sought. This is because a loft conversion requires significant alterations to be made, thus affecting the integrity of the original structure, putting the building and residents at substantial risk.

The gist of the building regulation for a loft conversion is

The summary of the rules concerning loft conversions are

  • Support new floor joists with an existing wall that reaches down to the foundation
  • When new timbers are installed, the roof will need to be reinforced
  • Larger new floor joists that can take the weight needs to be installed
  • A staircase is compulsory for exit in the event of a fire
  • A space-saving staircase can be used for the loft where space is a challenge, but a retractable ladder is prohibited
  • The attic must be insulated

Other regulations to be aware of is the guidelines to follow when placing the stairs in your loft. Check out our post on where to position your loft staircase.
Planning permission Guidelines

A loft conversion project falls under PD (Permitted Development), meaning that you don’t need to apply for planning permission most of the time. If you follow the conditions stipulated below, you will be fine

  • For terraced house, the new space must not be more than 40m3, and 50m3 detached or semi-detached
  • The converted loft must not go beyond the principal elevation
  • No difference in materials between the rest of the house and the addition. Same materials must be used
  • The new loft must not be higher than the peak of the existing roof.
  • No raised platforms, verandas, or balconies included in the conversion
  • The original walls are not overhung by the loft conversion
  • There must be obscured glaze for any side-facing window
  • Your property is not on any designated site
  • Except when it is a hip to a gable loft conversion, the roof extension must be set back from the original eaves with a minimum of 20cm.

If there is an instance where your loft conversion does not comply with these guidelines, then you need planning permission

Party Wall Agreement

This depends mainly on the type of loft conversion and the effect on the shared wall. Your contractor can help you with counsel on how to go around this. You need to speak with your neighbour two months before commencing the project to get a wall agreement.

Your neighbour can respond in one of two ways. Either your neighbour agrees or disagrees. It will be more cost-effective and pleasant for you to come to a win-win resolution with your neighbour. Otherwise, you need to get an agreement that outlines the responsibilities and terms for any damage to the party wall.