The Loft Specialists

Covering Manchester, Cheshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire & London M25

Planning and building regulations

There are basically two different types of loft conversions - a "Roofline" conversion, and a "Dormer" conversion.

The various options on “Dormer” conversions are limitless.

"Roofline" loft conversions

This type of loft conversion is limited to the existing volume currently within the roof space. We would create a room/rooms within the existing shape of the roof at present using Velux windows for light and ventilation. We would not extend or alter the shape of the roof with this type of conversion.

Under standard planning regulations, planning permission is not required for this type of conversion. However, a full set of Architect's plans would be necessary along with the calculations of a Structural Engineer. This will be necessary to justify all current building regulations.

However, if your property is in a conservation area, there may be restrictions on the design and shape of the Velux windows to be installed. A planning advisor from The Loft Specialists will be more than happy to identify whether your property is in a conservation area or not.

"Dormer" loft conversions

Dormer's have been referred to in many different ways, Dormer windows, Dormer extensions, roof extensions, attic extensions.

A brief description of a Dormer would be an extension of an existing roof shape. Consider a most typical terraced property/town house where the roof would start at the gutters at the front of the house rising to the Apex, the ridge in the centre of the house, then falling again down to the gutters at the back of the house. This most typical roof shape does not usually produce a substantial habitable room, unless the house is unusually large. So with this type of roof structure, it would be advisable to extend the roof and create a Dormer (usually to the rear of the property.)
The size, shape and general design of this or any other Dormer can vary greatly. This type of conversion may also not require planning permission. Householders have what is known as a permitted development allowance. This permitted development allowance is usually measured in cubic metres. The amount allowed (cubic metres) varies from property to property. Generally, the allowance would be between 50 and 70 cubic metres or 20% of the overall volume of the property.

A Surveyor from The Loft Specialists can easily calculate the required volume for any dormer and whether or not this would fall within permitted development rights. Please note, there are further guidelines whilst trying to identify if your project would be allowed under permitted development rights.

These are;

  • No part of the new structure must rise any higher than the existing highest part of the roof at present (usually the ridge line.)
  • Looking down on a plan, no part of this new structure must exceed the current floor plan boundary.
  • The property must not be in a conservation area.

Again, as per roof line conversions, even if planning permission is not required, Architect's plans along with Structural Engineers calculations will be necessary to conform and to comply with the current building regulations.

If you are in any doubt whether your proposed project would require planning permission please do not hesitate to contact one of the Surveyor's at The Loft Specialists.

Either telephone us on 07498 65191507498 651915 or e-mail TLSlofts@aol.com

Changes to Permitted Development Rights

Planning Permission

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 home is considered to Planning permission and building regulations be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to the following limits and
conditions:

  • A volume allowance of 40 cubic metres for terraced houses
  • A volume allowance of 50 cubic metres 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 theeaves.

Designated areas include national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

Please note Building Regulations are always required.

Building regulations approval is required to convert a loft or attic into a liveable space. This is extremely important if you want your Loft Conversion to be built safely and correctly.

Loft Conversions / Building regulations

This section provides guidance for making alterations to the loft space of an existing house which is no more than two storeys high. Requirements for alterations to an apartment or other dwellings like maisonettes, or houses over three storeys, will be similar but may be more extensive and possibly extend to other parts of the building.

The regulations will be applied to ensure, for example:

  • the structural strength of the new floor is sufficient
  • the stability of the structure (including the existing roof) is not endangered
  • safe escape from fire
  • safely designed stairs to the new floor
  • reasonable sound insulation between the conversion and the rooms below.

You may wish to make these alterations to enhance the storage facilities available or to increase the living space of the home. If you plan to make the loft space more accessible or more habitable by, for example, installing a stair to it and improving it by boarding it out and lining the walls / rafters etc, more extensive work is likely to be required and the Building Regulations are likely to apply.

It is recommended that you contact Building Control to discuss your proposal and for further advice.

Boarding-out for storage

Planning permission and building regulations

In most homes, the existing timber joists that form the "floor" of the loft space ( i.e. the ceiling of the rooms below) will not have been designed to support a significant weight (known as "load"). The joists tie the pitched members of the roof together to prevent them spreading and support the ceiling lining of the rooms below.

An excessive additional load, for example from storage, it may mean that the joists are loaded beyond their design capacity. If you decide to lay flooring boards over the existing joists in the loft space, then this may require a Building Regulations Application to Building Control. Your local Building Control body will be able to advise you on this issue.

Creating a liveable space

If you decide to create a liveable space in an existing loft space of a home it is likely to require a range of alterations. Many of these could have an adverse impact on the building and its occupants if they are not properly thought out, planned and undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the legislation.

If you are unsure of any of the above notes, Please contact the Loft Specialists for advice. Click here to make an enquiry.