Completing the perfect loft conversion: planning permission and red tape

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Before you can start work on your loft conversion, you’ll need to think about the appropriate regulations and whether your plans abide by them. The planning regime is pretty relaxed when it comes to loft conversions, but it’s important to do your homework properly. Most loft conversions don’t need planning permission but you will need to make sure that the project complies with the building regulations. This part of our step-by-step guide will help you through the regulatory process.

When you need planning permission

There are a number of circumstances in which you will need to seek planning permission for your loft conversion. If the area of the extra space exceeds 40 cubic metres for terraced houses or 50 cubic metres for semi-detached houses, you’ll need planning permission. This is also the case if your property is located in a national park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a World Heritage Site or a conservation area.

Planning permission is also required if the materials used in the work are dissimilar in appearance to the rest of the house, if the conversion exceeds the highest part of the roof in height or if it reaches beyond the existing roof slope at the front, if it overhangs the outer face of the original wall, or if there are balconies or raised platforms.

At our first home visit, an Econoloft specialist will advise you if you require planning permission and can look after the process for you.

Building regulations

All loft conversion projects must be compliant with building regulations regardless of whether or not they need planning permission. Turning a loft into a livable space will require a number of alterations. Therefore, the regulations are in place to ensure safety standards are met across a number of areas. They are intended to make sure that the stability of the overall structure is not adversely affected by the work, that access is adequate (particularly in the event of a fire), that the new floor is strong enough to bear the increased weight and that there is sufficient sound insulation.

However, the exact application of the regulations will depend on the specific project at hand. New walls will need to support the roof where other supports have been removed, and new floor joists will probably be needed to bear the additional weight. A fire-resistant door will also be required, and you’ll need to ensure that your chosen staircase provides easy access to and exit from the converted loft space.

Once you are confident you want a loft conversion from Econoloft we will prepare a quote for you.  If you are happy with the figures, our internal draughtsmen will work with our designers to produce your plans to the the highest standard and specifications.  As Econoloft offer a one stop shop, you can be assured that our experts manage your bespoke loft conversion from start to finish.

The work will be inspected at various points by a building control officer, who will issue a completion certificate once it’s done.

Health and safety

Since 2015, homeowners have been charged with responsibility over seeing health and safety on building projects. This includes loft conversions. You should therefore ensure that an adequate health and safety plan is in place before starting work. Make sure you ask your chosen loft conversion specialist about this. Of course, they will have a lot of experience when it comes to health and safety in loft conversion work, so should have no trouble in implementing a robust safety plan.

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