Loft conversions are a great way of adding extra space to your home – and as our last post shows, there are plenty of excellent uses for them. However, you may be looking at your home and wondering whether or not you can convert your loft. Here are the main factors that you will need to consider.
It may come as a surprise, but most loft conversions don’t need planning permission. If you aren’t extending or altering the roof space, and you meet certain limits and conditions set by the Government, it’s considered to be permitted development. The biggest restriction is the amount of space that can be added – 40 cubic metres of additional roof space for terraced houses, and 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses. This is cumulative, so you will need to find out if a previous householder has made any additions to the roof space before you can begin. The Government’s Planning Portal site has an interactive miniguide on these restrictions.
If you want to convert your loft space into a habitable area, or even make certain changes to make it more usable, you’ll need approval from the Building Control department of your local authority. This can include even simple measures such as laying floorboards over the joists so that you can use the space for storage, as the joists may not be designed to support the extra weight. These regulations are designed to ensure that the conversion is safe; that the floor has enough structural strength, that the overall structure is still stable, and that fire safety has been taken into consideration.
You’ll need to make sure that your loft conversion will be practical; for example, if you want to use it as a living space, building regulations will generally require permanent stairs as opposed to retractable ones, for fire safety reasons. This means that you will have to find space on your existing top floor for the stairs to fit into. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice space from one of your bedrooms; here at Darcy Joinery, we are an expert loft staircase company and can often help you to create attractive but space-saving staircases to access your loft safely.
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