Home Improvement

Do you need planning permission for a loft conversion?

Want to add that much-needed extra space to your home, but not sure on the regulations? Sometimes, it isn’t as simple as hiring a builder and cracking on with the renovation. Whether you live in a flat, house or a conservation area, it’s always best to check whether planning permission is needed for your loft conversion. And it’s important to note that there isn’t a ‘one rule fits all’ scenario when applying for planning permission; it depends on the size of the loft conversion, the materials used and much more.

So, if you are

  • Considering having a loft conversion;
  • Looking for the legal options to do so;
  • Want to know if there is a way around planning permission

…then read on!

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is the legal process that determines whether your proposed building developments should be permitted. Planning permission is often required if you’re building something new, making a change to your home like an house extension, or changing the use of your building.

You should apply for planning permission through your local authority before a building project starts. You can make the planning application yourself or gain help from a professional agent who can draft building plans for you. Once your application has been submitted to your local planning authority, it’s time to sit back and wait for a decision – it can take up to eight weeks.

What is permitted development?

Permitted development, short for permitted development rights, is an automatic grant of planning permission that allows building works to be carried out without having to make a planning application. Most houses have permitted development rights, but it all depends on the size of your extension, so it’s always best to check.

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Building regulations for loft conversions

There are five main types of loft conversions, and the one you choose will be determined by a number of factors, including the age of your home and your budget. No matter which loft conversion you go for, building regulations should always be met, whether you need planning permission or not. This will make sure that any work carried out is structurally sound, fire safe and reasonably insulated. There are a long list of building regulation stipulations that loft conversions should adhere to, here are the basics:

  • Fire-resistant doors and smoke alarms will be needed to make the room fire safe
  • New floor joists will be needed to support the weight of the new construction
  • It’s important to make sure that noise between rooms is sufficiently insulated
  • Retractable stairs don’t meet building regulations so new stairs will be needed to provide escape in the event of a fire 
  • New walls will be needed to support any existing or new roofs

To avoid any legal action against you, it’s always best to check with national and local authorities and gain the correct certification needed prior to any work carried out.

Do you need a party wall agreement?

When carrying out a loft conversion in semi-detached and terraced properties, you’ll need to tell your neighbour of your intention to start works – along with a summary of the design proposals and copies of your plans so they can ‘agree’ with the plans. If they don’t want to give their consent, a surveyor will be needed to draw up a party wall award, setting out what work should happen and how and when it will be carried out.

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At FantasticServices.com we have a range of trusted partners who provide professional architectural services like house extensions, outbuildings and loft conversions. You can also benefit from interior design or change your kitchen with professional kitchen design services. The experts will be happy to assist with legal requirements such as planning permission, helping your project go ahead without a hitch. We’ll turn your design dream into reality!

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Takeaways

Undertaking a loft conversion isn’t as simple as hiring a builder; there’s a lot involved. Here are some of the main things to think about when it comes to loft conversions:

  • There are many designs to choose from, so set your budget first and figure out how much space you’ll need
  • Make sure you obtain planning permission when needed
  • Don’t forget to inform your neighbour and gain their consent

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What loft conversion are you going for? Tell us in the comments section below…

Image Source: Shutterstock / Freedomz

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