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Do I need Planning Permission for a Loft Conversion?

Apart from somewhere the Christmas tree and decorations are pulled down from and put back up in, the loft area for many is not somewhere we focus too much time on. Many of us will know that good insulation is required and most times this will be the case (especially new build homes), but that tiny little loft hatch isn't the busiest door in the house!

So, do you need planning permission in order to convert your loft area? Well, there is a yes and a no answer to that. Yes if you have big plans in that you extending over a set cubic metre volume, if you are altering the building externally such as adding balconies, verandas or chimney replacement, roof enlargement does not overhang the outer face of the wall of the original house and further guidelines. No if your plans are smaller and only involve creation of a new room(s) within the existing loft space area. Full government guidelines can be read up here:

Reasons why you will need planning permission for a loft conversion include:

  • Existing property has seen additional storeys added previously.

  • Area of loft conversion will exceed 40 cubic metres for terraced houses (50 for other buildings).

  • Loft conversion will overhang existing external walls.

  • Addition of balconies or verandas.

  • The building contains existing flats within.

  • Loft conversion will exceed original height of house.

  • Has restrictions such as listed building / conversation area etc.

Common questions asked when considering a loft conversion:

  • How much will it cost? £15,000 and £20,000

  • Do I need specialist tradesmen? No, a general builder should be fine to include electrician / plumber as required.

  • Will the ceiling timbers take the weight? Most times they will be fine, they will take the weight of people and furniture. Your builder will inform you should any strengthening / doubling up be required or replacement due to rot / wood worm etc.

  • My loft hatch is too small, help! This is not a problem, it is easy to extend the loft hatch area.

  • My loft hatch is above the stair well, help! This is not a problem, this can be relocated when work starts on your loft conversion, depending on roof structure, it can be relocated to a more convenient position so that you can easily get in and out by at least pull down ladders.

  • Will it be warm enough in the loft? It might not be straight away though your builder will advise to what insulation is required in order to keep you warm up there. Many older homes will have no insulation between the loft space and roof.

  • The loft area is not high to stand in most places. Sometimes your loft area is just too small and you may need planning permission in order to extend upwards. Other times it is a case of compromising, parts of the loft area will slope down and a smaller area you can manage to walk around without crouching.

  • Does the new loft have to be inspected first? Not if you do not require planning permission. The work will be signed off by your builder and any relevant guarantees will be provided.

  • Can I add a bathroom to my loft area? Yes you can! Provision should be made to support added weight (if a bath is added). A qualified plumber will be required of course.

Title Image: Pixabay

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