Most of our clients love planning their loft conversions – it’s exciting to finally let your ideas take a concrete form and find out exactly what you can achieve with your eco loft conversion. There’s a lot to take into account during this planning stage, and you need to consider regulations that are imposed by bodies such as the council or planning office, and logistical issues that need to be considered before you begin building work.
Loft Extension Planning Permission
The majority of loft extensions and conversions don’t require planning permission. Loft conversions are covered as permitted developments, but this depends on your area, your planned conversion, and whether or not your house has already been developed. It’s essential that you gain the necessary permissions for your conversion before any work takes place.
Building Regulations for Loft Conversions
Even if you didn’t need planning permission, your loft conversion will need building regulations approval to ensure that your new room is a safe liveable space. The regulations apply to the structure of the new floor, the stability of the entire house (including the existing roof), fire escape routes, the staircase, and sound insulation. Working with an expert such as Eco Loft ensures that you don’t need to worry about any of these aspects, and can rest assured that everything will be built to the highest possible standard.
Some homeowners, particularly people who live in period properties, prefer to take out a structural survey in addition to the building regulations. A structural survey looks at slightly more information than the building regulations, but isn’t always necessary in every conversion.
Timeframes for Loft Conversions
Every loft conversion is different – the scale of your conversion, type of loft conversion, and your fixtures and fittings will always affect how long it takes to complete. The average conversion takes approximately 6-8 weeks, if there are no delays due to the weather. We will let you know when the key dates are so that you can either look forward to them or schedule around them.
The building inspector is likely to visit twice over this time, once at around 3-4 weeks to take a look at progress, and then at the end of the build to assess the final work.
The space available at the beginning of your loft conversion will be different to the final dimensions. Your loft space will need to fulfil minimum space criteria (mainly head height) before a loft conversion can be carried out. The space also needs to allow for new floor joists to support your flooring, your new insulation, the pitch of the roof, and any walls that you’ve put in as part of the conversion. There will also need to be safe room for access and exit, and there are strict regulations in place to ensure that this aspect of your conversion is in-keeping with basic safety standards.
Access to Your Loft Conversion
Your loft conversion will need a fixed staircase to provide safe access. Installation and knocking through is one of the last parts of a loft conversion. The staircase needs to be built to fire safety regulations, and be enclosed within 30 minute fire resisting walls to allow time to flee the building in case of fire.
Good ventilation is essential for home comfort and to maintain the quality of your build. Loft conversions require 2-3 points of ventilation; to the converted roof, the habitable room, and the bath/shower room if your planned loft conversion includes this. The roof ventilation prevents timber decay and mould through good airflow, while the rest of the ventilation maintains a consistent humidity and prevents condensation and mould growth in the interior.
In the unfortunate event that your home catches fire, you need a safe escape from the loft space with plenty of time to get to the main exit from the house. This is why fire safety regulations require the stairs to be enclosed with a particular type of wall, require self-closing fire doors, and emergency windows if the converted room only has one escape route. We will discuss all of the fire safety regulations, along with other building regulations, to ensure that your loft conversion is compliant.
The energy efficiency of your loft conversion depends on your preferences, plans, and your budget. We combine green building materials with environmentally-friendly processes and products to ensure that your loft conversion is as energy efficient as you require. This includes organic insulation, triple-glazed windows, and energy-efficient heating methods so that you save on energy bills while maintaining a low carbon footprint.
If your loft conversion includes a bathroom, WC, or even a kitchen, you will need to consider drainage as part of the plans. In most instances, additional drainage systems simply connect with your existing plumbing without needing to carry out any work below ground.
Roof drainage will also require consideration to ensure that your plans include gutters and downpipes with sufficient capacity for average rainfall in your area.