Tips on Loft Conversions (OneStopBuildShop.co.uk)
A loft conversion is an excellent way to add space and value to your home. Here's some advice from OneStopBuildShop.co.uk.
In October 2008, the rules changed and planning permission is now not normally required, within specified limits and conditions.
A loft conversion for your property is now considered to be a permitted development (and does not require planning permission) as long as it meets 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. Designated areas include national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.
- Roof extensions, apart from hip to gable ones, to be set back, as far as practicable, at least 20cm from the eaves.
Building regulations approval is always required to convert a loft or attic into a liveable space.
A "Liveable Space" - is where you intend to use the room as a normal part of your house (be it as a bedroom, living room, study etc). This includes spare bedrooms which may be used infrequently.
It is essential you follow the regulations. If you don't, you will have wasted your money as you won't be able to use the loft and you won't be able to count it as "liveable space" when it comes to selling your home.
The regulations will be applied to ensure, for example:
- The structural strength of the new floor is sufficient (most ceiling structures are not strong enough to serve as a floor. Upgrading the structure will involve the installation of new floor joists and in some cases steel or timber beams to carry the floor and roof loads).
- The stability of the structure (including the existing roof) is not endangered.
- Safe escape from fire (for example, the formation of a room in the roof of a two-storey house creates a potentially increased risk to occupants of the new floor in the event of a fire. As a result of this the regulations require that a protected escape route be formed between the new rooms and a final exit such as the front door).
- Safely designed stairs to the new floor (ladders are not sufficient).
- reasonable sound insulation between the conversion and the rooms below.
When you're ready, use www.OneStopBuildShop.co.uk/trades to find local professional loft converters, or alternatively www.onestopbuildshop.co.uk/materials to purchase all the materials needed, which OneStopBuildShop.co.uk will deliver for free.
- Firsts things first, you need to find out exactly what your dealing with. Take a torch and a tape measure and note the ceiling height. Bear in mind that a minimum height of 2.3 metres will be required to provide enough headroom.
- The steeper the slope (or pitch) of the roof, the more suitable it will be for conversion. If your roof has a very steep pitch you may be able to squeeze in a mezzanine level
- Planning Permission - As stated above, this may not be necessary, so check the parameters and see if you need to apply.
- Building Regulations - as stated above, this is always necessary. Attention to fire-safety regulations is very important with loft conversions. Check the regulations with your local authority and if necessary involve an architect or structural engineer.
- Take your time planning. It is far better to have a job completed correctly and taking longer than ending up as an expensive mistake.
- If you're going to be working on a wall shared with your neighbours (a party wall), then you may need to draw up an agreement with them before you can begin the work
- A loft conversion is often a smart investment, as it makes good use of dead space and can dramatically improve the value and enjoyment of a property. Resisting the temptation to move could save you time and stress!
- If you have work done between September and November, the weather can be surprisingly good and builders are usually less busy.
- If you trust your builders and can move out while work is on, you, and they, will find it less stressful.
- Insure the conversion work, or make sure that your builder has insurance.
For further information:
Find professional loft convertors and materials at OneStopBuildShop.co.uk
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