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Loft Conversions And Planning Permission

Generally planning permission is not needed for internal works, such as a basic loft conversion or a standard kitchen or dining room home extension. However there are exceptions to this, so it might be a good idea to check with a local builders.

Although planning permission may not be an issue, you still need to make sure your plans have been checked and approved by your local council to ensure they comply with the building regulations. These are in place to make sure that work done is safe and completed to an acceptable standard.

When making your plans check with your local council what the current regulations area and what costs are involved, they may vary slightly between areas. Building regulations are made up of ‘approved documents’ each one detailing the legal requirements relating to one aspect of building. The areas covered are:

  • Structural stability
  • Fire safety
  • Fire resistance
  • Resistance to moisture
  • Ventilation
  • Noise insulation
  • Stairways
  • Thermal insulation

You are required to submit a Building Regulation application to your local council. You have the choice to submit either full plans giving full details of your project, or a Building notice giving a brief outline of the work proposed

If you are paying a professional to carry out your conversation they will normally submit all relevant planning permission on your behalf.

Quality And Insulation

A basic loft conversion will require fitting a chipboard floor, a window and a stairway. Other items can be added according to what is required from the design.

The type of Conversion that is chosen have a big impact on the scale of the project;

“Velux”(skylights) conversions only use the space already available.

“Dormer” conversions use the available height but extend the side of the roof.

“Mansard” and “double mansard” create a lot more space and involve carrying out structural changes to the roof.

A Loft conversion need to be a minimum of 2.4 any lower or it may not reach legal requirements.

Extra supports may be required on the first floor to support the extra weight.

Fire rules apply to conversions within houses of over 50sq meters or two habitable rooms. Different rules apply to bungalows.

Every loft conversion needs a proper staircase, for smaller properties space saver staircases are a good option.

Heating and Ventilation

It is important to make sure loft conversions are fitted with correct heating, ventilation and insulation to maintain even temperature, reduce the chance of dampness and to prevent draughts. When planning a loft conversion make sure you have allowed for adequate windows and air vents, if unsure consult a professional tradesman for advice.

When installing insulation you are require to meet the legal minimum thickness. If planning a loft conversion remember that the depth of you insulation affects the overall height of your conversion so allow for the extra space that will be used.

If planning to convert your loft yourself it is seriously recommended that you contract professional to undertake the more difficult aspects of the project. All electrical work should be undertaken by a qualified electrician.

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