Want More Living Space?

A Loft or Garage Conversion Could Be The Perfect Solution

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Planning & Building Regulations

Planning permission is not normally required. However, permission is required where you extend or alter the roof space and it exceeds specified limits and conditions.


Under new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008 a loft conversion for your home is considered to planning permission and building regulations be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • A volume allowance of 40 cubic metres for terraced houses.
  • A volume allowance of 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses.
  • No extension beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts the highway.
  • No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof.
  • Materials to be similar in appearance to the existing house.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • Side-facing windows to be obscure-glazed; any opening to be 1.7m above the floor.
  • Roof extensions not to be permitted development in designated areas.
  • Roof extensions (apart from hip to gable ones) to be set back as far as practicable, at least 20cm from the eaves.


Designated areas such as national parks and the broads, areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation areas, grade listed buildings and world heritage sites will require an application for planning permission.


Please note Building Regulations are always required.


Building regulations approval is required to convert a loft or attic into a liveable space. This is extremely important if you want your Loft Conversion to be built safely and correctly.


Loft Conversions / Building regulations

This section provides guidance for making alterations to the loft space of an existing house which is no more than two storeys high. Requirements for alterations to an apartment or other dwellings like maisonettes, or houses over three storeys, will be similar but may be more extensive and possibly extend to other parts of the building.


The regulations will be applied to ensure, for example:

  • the structural strength of the new floor is sufficient
  • the stability of the structure (including the existing roof) is not endangered
  • safe escape from fire
  • safely designed stairs to the new floor
  • reasonable sound insulation between the conversion and the rooms below.


You may wish to make these alterations to enhance the storage facilities available or to increase the living space of the home. If you plan to make the loft space more accessible or more habitable by, for example, installing a stair to it and improving it by boarding it out and lining the walls / rafters etc, more extensive work is likely to be required and the Building Regulations are likely to apply.


It is recommended that you contact Building Control to discuss your proposal and for further advice.


Planning permission and building regulations

In most homes, the existing timber joists that form the "floor" of the loft space ( i.e. the ceiling of the rooms below) will not have been designed to support a significant weight (known as "load"). The joists tie the pitched members of the roof together to prevent them spreading and support the ceiling lining of the rooms below.


An excessive additional load, for example from storage, it may mean that the joists are loaded beyond their design capacity. If you decide to lay flooring boards over the existing joists in the loft space, then this may require a Building Regulations Application to Building Control. Your local Building Control body will be able to advise you on this issue.


Creating a liveable space

If you decide to create a liveable space in an existing loft space of a home it is likely to require a range of alterations. Many of these could have an adverse impact on the building and its occupants if they are not properly thought out, planned and undertaken in accordance with the requirements of the legislation.


Garage Conversion / Planning Permission

Planning Permission is not generally required for a garage conversion, in fact only about 10% require Local Authority Planning Permission. This is under the new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008, providing the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building.


The majority of properties have what is termed Permitted Development Rights. Permitted Development is a category of work, which can be undertaken without the need for planning permission. Garage conversions fall within this category most of the time. Some properties have had their Permitted Development Rights taken away at the time they were built and in these cases planning permission has to be applied for.


We would advise that you make a simple phone call to your local Planning office, to check if you require Planning Permission. If we are instructed to convert your garage, we will do this for you and get the answer in writing.


Garage Conversion / Building Regulations

All garage conversions require a Building Regulation approval. Complete Conversions will take care of this on your behalf. Garage conversions have to comply with the Building Regulations, which are part of the Building Act 1984 (Amended by the building regulations act 1991).