A loft conversion is also referred to as an attic conversion. It is the process of converting or transforming an empty loft or attic space into a functional room. Often times the conversions are typically into a bedroom, office space, gym space or a storage space. Loft conversion is a process of improving the beauty and functionality of your home, it is becoming one of the most popular forms of home improvement in the United Kingdom and especially in Essex as a result of the various perceived benefits associated with it. The installation of loft conversion is a complex and complicated process, and while you may attempt to the process of Do It Yourself (DIY), the majority of the work often results in choosing to contract vas specialist loft conversion company to undertake the task, and at Essex Loft Conversion, you can be sure of a thoroughly procession service that both meets your desire, taste, architectural design and most importantly satisfaction.
If you are courting the thought of converting that loft in your house to a more useable and functional space, then there are a number of considerations you should make which ranges from suitability, to cost of conversion, to building regulations approval and whether you need planning permission or if the work can be done under permitted development.
All loft conversions definitely require building regulation approval, regardless of whether planning permission is needed or not. This is not to say that in most cases planning permission is not needed, but we hope to underlie the importance of building regulation approval in the process of converting your loft. A building control surveyor will inspect your work at various stages and will issue you with a completion certificate on final inspection.
Planning conversion is not normally required. However, planning permission is essential where you extend or alter the roof space and it exceeds specified limits and conditions. If your home is semi-detached or terraced, you will need to inform your neighbors of your proposal.
A building regulation approval is required when converting a loft into a livable space, the conversion of the loft into a livable space is in an existing house which is not more than two storey high. Like any new building or significant home renovation, loft conversions require building regulations approval to ensure safety measures are in place. Of particular importance are Part K and L of the building.
Part K of the building regulations sets measures to prevent the building from falling, collisions and impact. This ensures that there is minimal headroom of 2m in all escape routes, including stairs. Although the head height can be reduced to 1.8m if you hope to achieve a sloping roof, but the center and of the stairs must be 2m.
Par L demands that the set targets for thermal efficiency are met. You would need to ensure that you minimize the loss of heat through walls, floors and most importantly, the roof. And this can be easily achieved as any modern and good quality insulation if fitted would effectively handle that.
Part B will also be of concern as it covers fire safety. As a result of the height of the loft being just 2m, you can’t essentially rely on the windows as a means of escape. So the Part B ensures that the floors, stairs, and doors of the rooms must have at least 30 minutes fire resistance.
Part P of the building regulation focuses on electrical safety. This basically means you will need to use certified electricians for any electrical work in your loft.
Additions of up to 50m3 (40m3 for a terraced home) fall under Permitted Development, but you will need planning permission for any conversion if you live in a listed building or a conservation area. You will also need permission if you are altering the roof height or shape, as may be the case if you have to raise it for headroom. Roof stairs and dormers can be installed under Permitted Development, but they must not sit forward of the roof plane on the principal elevation, nor must they be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.
A loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:
- A volume allowance of 40 cubic meters additional roof space for terraced houses
- A volume allowance of 50 cubic meters additional roof space 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 the original eaves
- The roof enlargement cannot over hang the outer face of the wall of the original house
- No part of the roof light, dormer or extension projects by more than 15cm in front of any existing roof slope of the house which faces onto a road and forms the principal or side elevation of the house
- Your building is in a conservation area
- Your building is a listed building
At Essex Loft Conversions, we strictly adhere to the building regulations and planning permission to ensure that
- The structural strength of the new floor is sufficient
- The stability of the structure is not endangered
- Safe escape from fire
- Safely designed stairs to the new floor
- Reasonable sound insulation between conversions and the rooms
We hope this article gave you a better idea of what you can do and cannot do when you are undertaking a loft conversion. And if you are ready to engage the services of a professional firm that would give you a beautiful aesthetic to your loft conversion that you should contact us at Essex Loft Conversions you can be guaranteed of the ultimate customer experience and satisfaction.