Do You Need Planning Permission for Your Loft Conversion?
Loft conversions are an easy and convenient way to increase your home’s plinth area without putting up a new structure. While this option is quite economical, many people are reluctant to undertake loft conversion projects for fear of being denied planning permission. Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed possible to convert your loft without permission. All you have to do follow a few easy steps.
In order for you to determine whether you need to apply for planning permission, you will need to procure the services of an architect, builder or civil engineer. Once you tell them what you intend to do with your attic space, they will be able to advice you on whether you need to apply for planning permission or not.
Make sure that their advice is based on your final design as changes to your design may warrant application for planning permission. Alternatively, you can enlist the services of your local building control such as city council to guide you on which conversions are allowable without planning authorization.
Whether you need planning permission or not you will still have to ensure that you get building regulations approval. These regulations are in place to certify that any conversion jobs completed are structurally sound. They also vary from project to project depending on the features covered by each regulation.
The key elements include but is not limited to fire safety with regards to materials used, insulation and alarm systems, sound insulation, walls, joists and floors, staircase accessibility in case of a fire and load bearing support.
Apart from the requirements above, you may also be faced with additional authorization requirements depending on the following factors.
If you live in a protected historic building, you may face some roadblocks depending on the historic classification grade. Some historic buildings are not eligible for conversions that are bound to alter their original design significantly. So if you live in a historic building, ensure that the changes you wish to make are acceptable by the Heritage Protection Guide. You can find the guidelines on The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings or the Historic England website.
Endangered species habitat
If for some reason, your attic has been inhabited by any protected species such as bats, various bird species, dormice, wart-biter crickets and V-moths, then you will have to shelf your loft conversion plans. You can get the entire list of protected species on www.phlorum.com.
While there are ways to work around it, you will need to hire an ecologist to survey the site and advice on whether you can still convert the loft or not. Even so, your planning permission might still get rejected should they decide to carry out a survey of their own and come to a different conclusion. On the positive side you may still be able to carry on with your conversion if you are successful in getting a mitigation license stating that your project will not endanger the protected species residing in your loft.
Party Wall Agreement
If you live in a detached or semidetached house, you will need to inform you neighbour of your proposed loft conversion especially if the job will affect the shared wall. In this case you will need a Party wall agreement between you and your neighbour stating that the conversion will not affect their property.
You can find templates online that you can then customize to your specifications with regards to you and your neighbours’ situation. If they are reluctant to sign off, you can have an independent surveyor come in and approve your conversion.
In conclusion, you will not need planning permission for your proposed loft conversion if your project stays within the guidelines stated below.
Also do not forget to reinforce the floor below as your current existing floor may not have been built for heavy usage. Ensure you discuss this with your architect, builder or civil engineer.
9 Important Questions That You Need to Ask Before You Consider a Loft Conversion
A loft conversion can be quite an exciting project. It gives homeowners an opportunity to be creative and increase the living space in your house. However, before you rush to start this task, there are several things that you must consider. The planning process can be quite hectic, but it will surely save you time and money over time. To help you get organized and ensure that you have a project that you will be proud of, there are questions that you should ask yourself. Here are the loft conversion questions that you should ask before starting your project.
Why do you want a loft conversion?
There are several reasons why homeowners choose to extend their living space. One reason is to make improvements in the property that they have invested in for many years. If you are planning to stay in the home permanently, then you need to invest in a quality loft conversion project. In addition, other people opt to convert their loft to add value to their homes and make more profit when they sell the property. You can always speak to a real estate agent to determine how much value the conversion will add to your home.
Some people can also convert their loft to create short-term space. This is usually done when a homeowner needs extra space but does not have the financial ability to move to a bigger home. Knowing why you want a conversion will help you to set up your budget accordingly and avoid overspending in the process. If a conversion is a short-term solution, then it may make sense to save the cash and move instead of spending it in a home that you will leave after a few years.
How much money do you want to spend in the loft conversion?
Even though this may sound obvious, many people consider a loft conversion before deciding on their budget. This usually results in a project that looks ideal but is way out of the stipulated budget. If you are planning on a loft conversion, then you should think critically and come up with a realistic figure that you wish to spend. Make sure that you communicate this to your building contractor before you get started with your design as you may get recommendations to save money on your loft conversion. This will help you to save lots of time and will ensure that you do not spend more money than you have planned to.
What design styles do you like?
After ascertaining your set budget, you need to think about the style that you want for your loft conversion. You should never assume that your architect and loft conversion building contractors know what you want. There are many loft conversion styles and designs out there and you need to research extensively to come up with the exact design that you want. Ensure that you discuss every detail that you want with the contractors. You can check out our loft conversion ideas to help you make a decision.
Is it necessary to consider building regulations when converting my loft?
When converting your loft, you must consider the local building regulations. You can get a building completion certificate from your local authority or a nationally approved building inspection company. This will ensure that your loft conversion project is built according to the set building regulation standards. Your property may be devalued if you do not have this certificate and you may have problems selling your house in the future since a building completion certificate is necessary during the selling process.
When do you want the project to be done?
Many people prefer building work to be done during the spring or summer months. These seasons have good weather and they ensure that construction work takes less time to complete. Irrespective of when you want the building work to start, you must ensure that you start planning for the loft conversion process early. Surveys, designs, applying for planning permissions,, getting building regulations approvals and hiring building contractors take lots of time. It may take several months for your conversion project to get started. This is why you need to be realistic and start the process early enough.
How long will the loft conversion project take?
On average, it will take about eight weeks for a loft conversion to be completed. However, the time will vary from one loft to another and depending the building work that is needed. You should also take into consideration the time taken to have the loft conversion plans drawn up and getting planning permission.
Will the loft conversion affect my neighbors?
Before you start your loft conversion planning process, it is important that you consider your neighbors. You will need their cooperation, especially if the construction work will affect a wall that you share. Furthermore, you may need to access their land during the building process. Ensure that you talk to your neighbors to let them know about your project in advance. You need to know whether they have any objections or problems with your upcoming project. This way, you can make minor alterations to your loft conversion plans to prevent your neighbors from raising any material planning objections that will delay your project. Furthermore, you will be able to be on good terms with all your neighbors.
Will my utilities be strained?
When you add extra living space to your home, you can be sure that your heating requirements, water, and electricity needs will also increase. Your builder should advise you whether a new fuse board is necessary to handle the additional circuits and breakers or whether the shower or bathroom in your loft will affect the water pressure in the rest of the house, necessitating installation of an unvented cylinder or pump.
Do you need work done anywhere else in your home?
Before you start your loft conversion project, you should check around your home to determine whether you need work done anywhere else in your home. By getting all the work done at the same time, you will save money and time. Furthermore, you will reduce the amount of disruption and time you have contractors in your house.
A loft conversion is a perfect way of adding space to your home. It can come in handy if you have a baby on the way, need a home office, or you have visitors coming to stay. A loft conversion project will add an extra shower room or bedroom upstairs and it will be a less costly project than moving to a bigger property. By asking these loft conversion questions, you will be able to come up with the best plans that will guarantee a successful project.
You have a beautiful house but there is always a need for more space. It is very common to see lofted houses in London and getting a loft conversion is the best option when converting to two stories doesn't make any sense. There are a lot of things to consider before opting for a loft conversion. There is also a lot of money involved in getting this conversation started. It costs almost £15,000 for a single room in the roof with a bed and a bath and the price goes up to almost £55,000 if you want a room that is manufactured off-site and then canned into position.
there are certain things that you should know about before you go for a loft conversion. Some of them are mentioned below.
Lofting is not possible if your house is completely packed, you will need a specified amount of free space for lofting. You should consider making a pathway to reach a room and there should be enough sunlight and heating in the room. The roof should be in a comfortable position and the room should measure at least 5,500mm side to side, inclusive of a chimney, and 7,500mm front to back. With enough space, you can use the room however you like, you can make it a kids play area, a mini-movie space, or a calm place where you get some alone time.
Loft conversations do not require any specific permissions but if you are planning to make structural changes then taking permission from local authorities is mandatory. Permission is also required if you want to extend the height of the roof or the dome to create extra space. There are also specific regulations that you have to follow. The loft should be safe and there should be risks or structural damage. There should be proper stairs and ventilation too. If you wish to have a party wall you should inform your neighbors and give adjoining notice according to the Party wall agreement 1996.
The lofted room should have proper insulation and plumbing. There are various other factors that have to be considered but these two make a room resizable. It is impossible to provide insulation to a room if the walls are too thin and add insulation padding and might suck the space of the room and make it too tiny. There should be water and plumbing facilities in the room and most rooms have a washroom so it is necessary to have an efficient drainage system connected to the room.
There are different styles and models of lofts available like Rooftop conversion, Dormer conversion, Hip-to-Gable conversions, etc but not all of them are suitable for a single home. You have to look at the floor, the roof, the structure, and select a type of loft. The cost of following upon different lofts also varies so you have to make a decision wisely.
Loft conversions are common everywhere so you can go around the neighborhood and look out for similar lofted houses and consider the same time of loft conversions they have.
Your financial expenses will not remain the same after you get a lofting conversion. There will be additional expenses to fill up the interior and to equip the room with necessary gadgets. You will have to clean the room regularly and make sure the room is safe from pests and other rodents. All of this increases the expenses and a loft conversion is not cheap. Normal loft conversion costs £15,000 for a single room in the roof with a bed and a bath and the price goes up to almost £55,000 if you want a room that is manufactured off-site and then canned into position. The lofted room which had a bed and a bath could add up to an additional 20% value to the house.
It is necessary for you to tell your insurance company about the loft conversion. You should show them all the documents and make a change to your insurance policy. The loft conversion can increase your insurance premium. You should also notify them about moving to a different place when the construction work is going on. You can also get renovations insurance and this will help you from any loss of raw material, accidents while renovation, and property owners' liability.
A loft conversion is a huge expense and you should be 100% sure if you want to get a loft conversion. It costs a lot and increases your expenses but it also adds value to your house. You have to take care of so many things like electricity, waterproofing, soundproofing, etc but in the end, it will be worth it. The new room will be the perfect place to enjoy your alone time or spend time with friends and family.