Frequently asked questions.
A loft conversion is the creation of additional living space at roof level accessed by a staircase rather than a ladder. The new living space will contain fully habitable rooms and may consist of bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, playrooms or office space. A loft conversion may be constructed within the existing roof or the roof may be altered to create additional space.
Most properties can carry out a loft conversion without needing planning permission under what’s known as permitted development. Generally, a loft conversion will not require planning permission and will fall within permitted development if it complies with the following guidelines:
• The property is a single household and not flats. A loft conversion on a flat or maisonette will require planning permission.
• The property is not in a conservation area and is not a listed building.
• Any alteration to the roof does not exceed the height of the existing ridge.
• Any alteration to the roof does not extend towards the front of the property.
• The volume of the altered roof does not exceed 40m3 (on a terraced property) and 50m3 (on a semi-detached or detached property).
Even though planning permission is not required for most loft conversions, we recommend that a Lawful Development Certificate is obtained from your local Council. The Lawful Development Certificate is essentially the Council confirming that the proposed works comply with the permitted development guidelines and thus is a lawful development. It is not a requirement for this certificate to be obtained, however it is very beneficial when it comes to selling your property. The cost of this certificate is £75. The Council may take up to 8 weeks to approve this certificate, however works may commence before the certificate is issued.
Should planning permission be required, the local Council will charge a fee of £150.
A decision from the Council will take up to 8 weeks.
Irrespective of the type of loft conversion carried out, Building Regulation approval will be required. This involves a Building Inspector from an approved authority checking the works to ensure the works meet current Building Regulations.
A loft conversion on a terraced or semi-detached property would normally take 6 weeks to build.
The party wall act is legislation that relates to matters concerning the boundary between your property and your immediate neighbours. If you own a terraced or semi-detached property, the loft conversion will involve works that affect the party wall. As such, you are required to notify your adjoining owners by issuing a Party Structure Notice. If your neighbour signs this notice there is no need to appoint a party wall surveyor. If your neighbour does not feel comfortable signing this notice, then a party wall surveyor will need to be appointed. Beacon will be happy to advise and assist on any party wall issues.
If the height in your loft from the top of the existing ceiling joist to the underside of the ridgeboard is below 2.2m, converting your loft may be more difficult and may require lowering the 1st floor ceilings to create extra height or raising the height of the property. Don’t rule out the possibility of a loft conversion before speaking to us.
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