Loft Conversion

Introduction

The traditional way of achieving more space in your existing home has been to build an extension. But in the past twenty years, loft conversion has come into its own and more and more people are choosing to build up instead of out.

This is because it can be done without losing any garden space and it can usually be undertaken with less disruption to the existing house than an extension causes. Crucially it also tends to be a cheaper way of getting more floor space because you are working within the existing footprint of the house rather than adding to it.

Until recently, the big speculative developers almost invariably ignored the loft space and concentrated on supplying as cheap a roof covering as possible. But driven by high land prices and increasing consumer demand, they have begun to build homes with third storey living spaces. The space in a loft or attic can be as much as 30% of the total floor area of the home. While it usually only contains a cold water storage cistern and chimney stack, in almost all cases it is wasted space that can be turned into habitable space.

Planning Permission

Some loft conversions may involve getting Planning Permission approval from your local council. Always remember that councils may have different views on planning applications depending on where you live. You may need permission

  1. If you change the shape of the roof at the front of the house or at the side if you have a corner plot. This includes adding dormer windows.
  2. If your house has already been extended, you may have used up your permitted development rights in which case all changes to roof shape (whether to front, back or side) will need planning permission.
  3. If your house is listed or if it happens to be in a conservation area, you will need permission even to put rooflights in - indeed they may well insist on dormers instead of rooflights.

Building Controls

You will need to keep the following things in mind for your loft: The roof structure must be structurally sound and weatherproof. Fire planning must be addressed. Make sure that the insulation materials are high quality and adequate for your needs. Waste pipes from toilets, showers and baths must not be over length or under angle. Also, the stairs must be safe to climb and with banister rails.