Planning Regulations

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Five Questions to ask before starting Loft Conversion:

Loft Conversion is a smart way of using the dead spaces in the house. Instead of misusing a space as a mere storage room, loft conversion rejuvenates the space by creating a study room or an extra guestroom.

Tempting as it may sound, it is important to ask yourself these five questions before taking the plunge. Is Your Attic Up To It? It is a popular myth that any attic can be converted.

Actually, every attic has different dimensions and measurements. And therefore, every attic might not be suitable for converting. For example, if the roof of the attic is low in the middle part or if its pitch is too steep, a decent-sized room will not be possible to create. Every country has their building regulations and most of them stipulate headroom of at least 2 – 2.5 meters under the apex.

If that’s the case, to give height to the attic, you would have to lower the ceiling of the room which is situated below the attic. This would cost much more than what you would have gained from the attic room.

Will Your Pocket Allow You? Loft Conversion costs good money. A basic fit-out only (a bedroom and a shower room) can cost you five-digit sum.

Also whenever you budget money for a loft conversion, remember to aside at least 15% for unforeseen expenditure. Are Your Neighbours OK With It? It the loft conversion works are affecting adjoining property in any way (common wall, ceiling or floor), you should be first getting an approval from your neighbours.

Make sure that the approval is in written, i.e. party-wall agreement. Do not try doing a covert conversion! Who Else Should You Inform? Loft conversion often affects the premium you pay for your house. Its advisable to inform your mortgage lender.


Building Regulations:

In some circumstances a property may not require planning permission at all eg. if the proposed loft conversion is the property’s   first extension and doesn’t exceed 40 cubic metres on a terraced property and 50 cubic metres on others. These circumstances  do not apply however, if your property is located in a conservation area.

Once your loft conversion plans have been approved and signed by you the homeowner, you’ll have to submit them to your Local Authority for approval, which normally takes between two  and three months to complete.

Once you’ve received approval from your local authority, the next step is to prepare Building and  Fire Regulation Plans to submit to your Local Authority Building Control department. This submission will generally take around 6  weeks to complete.

Once approval has been granted you then need to serve Statutory Commencement Notice upon the Local  Authority Building Control Department in accordance with the Regulation 14 of the Building Regulation 1985 (amended 1994).

As mentioned above one of the major benefits of, and motivations behind, many loft conversions is that they can significantly  increase the value of your home. Should you decide to sell your property the prospective buyer’s surveyor will check on the
permissions for the conversion, and its compliance with the relevant regulations. It’s therefore not worth cutting corners or taking  chances.

Do the job properly using professional builders/architects. This is the best piece of advice I can offer you. The  additional cost of using professionals is offset by the peace of mind you will receive knowing that the job has been properly, to a  high standard, and will stand up to the scrutiny of any surveyor.