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FAQs 

PLEASE REVIEW OUR FAQS 
BUILDING REGULATIONS – UK 
Planning permission is not normally necessary for loft conversions, although this does depend on a number of conditions (for example, there must be no extension higher than the highest part of the roof, no balconies, and there are volume limits too, as well as a number of other factors to consider). 
 
However, building regulations are always part of the process for all loft conversions, whether the conversion needs planning permission or not. 
Can my property be converted? 
When was the last time you popped your head up into the loft to bung in a few surplus boxes that will probably never see the light of day again? Then it is time to get up there with your torch and tape measure, to find out what you’ve got.  
 
The main concern is the head height of your existing property. Ideally, you need a minimum of 2.2m head height in your existing loft space. This should be measured from the APEX of the roof to the top of the existing joist. Remember, you will lose some of this height when your new floor and ceilings are installed. 
 
It is still possible to carry out a loft conversion if your head height is below 2.2m, We have carried out loft conversions with finished ceiling heights as low as 1850mm,  
 
Awc loft conversions will be able to advise you and hopefully find a solution so that you can experience the benefits of a loft conversion. 
 
 
Do I need planning permission for my loft conversion? 
A number of factors must be taken into consideration when when asking “Do I need planning permission for my loft conversion?” 
 
You would not normally need to obtain planning permission for your loft conversion providing that: 
 
The house is a single family dwelling and not a flat or maisonette 
The proposed extension or dormer window should not be raised above the highest part of the roof 
The slope of any part of the roof, which faces a highway, must not be extended (excluding hip to gable conversion) 
The loft conversion does not amount to more than 40 cubic meters in the case of a terraced house or 50 cubic meters in any other case. (This is measured externally) 
 
When combined with any other existing extension to a house exceed the permitted development allowance 
 
You will need to apply for planning permission when: 
Your property is a flat 
The existing ridge line to your roof needs to be raised 
The slope or any part of the roof which faces a highway is to be altered (excluding hip to gable conversion) 
The proposed loft conversion exceeds 40 cubic meters in the case of a terraced house or 50 cubic meters in any other case. (This is measured externally) 
When the proposed loft conversion combined with any other existing extension to a house exceed the permitted development allowance 
The building is listed as being of special architectural or historic interest 
The building is situated in a conservation area 
The permitted development rights of your property are restricted by conditions attached to a previous planning permission or your property deeds 
An “Article 4 Direction” covers the building 
 
Awc loft conversions will prepare plans and building calculations and ensure that the necessary notices and permissions are agreed with your local authority. 
 
 
How long will my loft conversion take? 
Depending on the size of your conversion, building work is normally completed within six to eight weeks dependent upon the complexity. 
The expected time scale of your conversion will be confirmed to you before work commences on your property. 
 
 
Will there be much disturbance when my loft conversion is carried out? 
There will be some disturbance with builders present on a daily basis, but the first two-thirds of the project will be carried out from the scaffold through the roof, without disturbing the house internally. Only when we breakthrough to install the stairs and carry out any necessary alterations to the landing area, will there be any disturbance internally. However, our team will be thorough in cleaning through on a daily basis before leaving the site. 
 
Will a loft conversion add value to my property? 
Yes, it has been proven that by converting your loft area into additional living space the price of your property will increase. 
 
 
How do loft conversion building regulations work? 
Each and every loft conversion must be inspected for approval, either by your local authority’s Building Control, or by independent, regulated inspectors. No matter who is charged with inspecting your conversion, a ‘building notice’ is required from your local authority before any construction work can begin. We will apply for the building notice on your behalf. Once the application is submitted, construction cannot begin until at least 7 days later. 
 
Three inspections will be required during the construction of your loft conversion. After the final inspection has taken place and the work has been passed (i.e. your loft conversion meets the building regulations), a completion certificate will be issued. It’s important to keep this somewhere safe so you can prove the safety of your conversion if you ever sell your property. 
 
 
What do loft conversion building regulations cover? 
UK building regulations will cover a number of elements of a loft conversion, including the floor, the structural soundness and the insulation. The regulations are there to ensure that the new structure is completely safe. 
 
Joists 
Using your loft as a living space will mean that the floor has to hold a lot more weight than it did originally. As such, the structural strength of the new floor of your loft conversion must be sufficient enough to hold the added weight, or it will not meet building regulations. Any joists and load-bearing walls must be strong enough to support the extra weight, and you may also have to install steel beams to support the new joists. 
 
Fire doors, fire alarms and fire escape 
there is 2 options with the fire proofing of the loft conversion.  
option 1: change all doors on habitable rooms on all floors leading to the staircase to 30 min fire doors and also install a mains wired/linked fire alarm system on each floor. 
option 2: install a mains wired/linked fire alram sytem to all habital rooms and all landings  
either option you will still need doors enclosing the stairwell to all the way to the front door and all glazing in these areas must be fire rated. 
 
open plan living room 
if you have a open plan living room you will need a plumis sprinkler sytem installed along with any of the above 2 options. 
 
Stairs and access 
The stairs to the new floor of the loft conversion must be safely designed. Any staircase to the new living space must be wide enough to allow anyone to use them easily in case of an emergency. 
 
Headroom and ceiling height 
Your loft conversion must offer sufficient headroom and a high enough ceiling height for it to be a practical living space. This applies both to the living area itself, and the staircase up to the conversion as well. 
 
Insulation depth, energy efficiency and U-Value 
Any dwelling should be energy efficient. Any walls, roof slopes, ceilings and new windows and doors installed in a loft conversion will be measured to determine how much heat passes through the glass and framework. The amount of heat lost must not exceed a certain limit, known as the ‘U-Value’. Even if the rest of your existing property doesn’t comply with this standard, your new loft conversion still must have sufficient insulation to meet the building regulations. 
 
In terms of keeping sound transference to a minimum, insulation between the conversion and the rooms below must be sufficiently effective, as must the insulation in any new internal walls. If you live in a terraced or semi-detached house, you may also find that you have to improve the insulation between yours and your neighbours’ lofts. 
 
Ventilation 
Your new loft conversion must be ventilated properly to ensure that it meets building regulations. There should be a window that is a twentieth of the total floor area of the new living space, and there should be a mechanical fan of sufficient power if you are installing a bathroom. The roof void must also be ventilated to prevent condensation. 
 
The information provided about loft conversions and building regulations above is designed as a brief guide to get you started thinking about what you might need to do to comply and get your conversion passed. However, each conversion will be judged individually. If you have any questions about loft conversions and building regulations in your area, you should call your local authority. We will be able to provide further advice also. 
 
will i need a party wall agreement? 
yes you will need a part wall agreement if you are a terraced or semi detached house. (please see THE PARTY WALL ACT EXPLANATION BOOKLET)  
Permitted Development 
Since the changes were made to planning law in Oct 2008 it is very likely that your loft can be converted under permitted development. Planning will only be required under certain circumstances (see planning permission). Permitted development is the best way to maximizing your potential space as planning permission will usually mean some constraints on the size of your conversion. The following states the conditions for permitted development: 
 
The house is a single family dwelling and not a flat or maisonette 
The proposed extension or dormer window should not be raised above the highest part of the roof 
The slope of any part of the roof, which faces a highway, must not be extended. 
Dormers can be built on the rear and the hipped side when the slope of any part of the roof, do not face a highway. A ‘hip to gable’ conversion is also permitted in the same circumstances. 
 
The proposed loft conversion exceeds 40 cubic meters in the case of a terraced house or 50 cubic meters in any other case. (This is volume added externally with dormers etc.) 
 
In cases where work can be done under permitted development, a ‘certificate of lawful development’ may be obtained prior to commencing the project. 
 
Certificate of Lawful Development 
These can be obtained from the local authorities and are not planning applications. The purpose of these certificates is to ensure that your proposed extension or conversion is within your permitted volume. Plans will need to be submitted to the local authority, who will check and confirm in writing the legitimacy of the proposed work. These can take approximately 6 weeks but are not a legal requirement. 
 
 
 
Please refer to the following links for external information on loft conversions:-