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Loft / Attic Conversions Advice

Do I need Planning Permission?

Many loft or attic conversions do not need planning permission at all. However you should obtain advice as you may need it in your case. Some examples of those which require planning permission are

  • if the loft conversion changes the outside appearance of your property
  • if the new room(s) will constitute a change of use, for instance an office
  • if the volume of the extended roof exceeds 40 cubic metres for a terraced property and 50 cubic metres for a semi detached or detached house
  • if the loft is converted into more than two habitable rooms
  • if you live in a conservation area

An architect will be able to advise you on whether you need planning permission, or you could contact your Local Authority yourself. Our Council Links page will direct you to your own Local Council's website for more information on planning regulations in your area. If you need to apply for planning permission the Planning Department will require several copies of your drawings and a fee. Then your planning application will be placed on the Planning Register ( which is available for members of the public to view) and your application will be published in the local press. You should receive a decision from the Planning Department within eight weeks, or if it will take longer they should write to you and and ask for an extension of time.

Loft Conversions Book Loft Conversions

Loft Conversions has almost 300 full colour illustrations, step-by-step notes, tips and advice throughout. It is designed to assist anyone planning a loft conversion, and to ensure the project meets all the requirements of 'good building practice' and complies with building regulations

Building Regulations

Even if planning permission is not necessary, the design of your loft extension must meet building regulations. These cover such things as fire escapes, ventilation, and, if the property is semi detached, sound insulation

Party Wall legislation will need to be considered. In principle you can do work on a party wall, but the adjoining owner needs at least 1 months notice before work commences. Details can be found on the Party Wall Act 1996

The Building Control Department of your Local Council will require several copies of all your drawings. Your application will be placed on the Building Register. There will be a fee for this. Any member of the public may look at the register and may lodge an objection. You should receive a decision from the Building Control Department within five weeks..

Will I Need Planning Permission For My Loft Conversion

When building a loft conversion many people are worried about applying for planning permission. But, in most cases, they are worrying over nothing. The vast majority of loft conversions will not require planning permission. And, if they adopt proposals published in December 2006, the government will soon make it even easier for householders to build loft conversions and home extensions without having to apply for planning permission.

As the law stands at the moment the only instances in which a homeowner would need to apply for planning permission for a loft conversion is if:

  • The property is situated in a national park
  • If any part of the loft conversion will be higher than the current roof line of the property
  • If an addition to the roof slope faces a highway
  • If the property is a listed building
  • If the original house is to be increased by 50 cubic meters (40 cu m for terraced houses) or 10% in both cases - this means that if a property already has an extension, for example to the kitchen, then planning permission may be required depending on the size of the existing extension.

If none of the above criteria applies to your property than planning permission will not be required. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean you can just go ahead and start knocking holes in your roof for skylights.

ALL loft conversions will need to conform to the building regulations enforced by the local council.

The building regulations are the minimum allowed standards of construction and design as laid down by the government. Building regulation approval is given, or declined, by the local authority. This approval must be obtained before work can begin on your loft conversion.

To gain the necessary approval you, or your architect/builder, must submit the proposed plans of your project to the council. Their building control officers will then either issue approval for your work to begin or they may ask you to change certain points of the design before approval is given.

Although many people resent having to comply with the building regulations they are there as a safeguard and will ensure that your work will be completed within the law and, because the council will inspect the work as it progresses, that your loft conversion is built to a high, and safe, standard.

Making an application for building regulations approval isn't too difficult a process and, if you are employing an architect or specialist loft building company, they will have plenty of experience in how to submit plans correctly ensuring that approval is quickly given and that your loft conversion is built without unnecessary delay.

Craig Ellyard is a staff writer for http://www.loft-conversion-uk.com and has written extensively on the rules and regulations surrounding loft conversions. The loft conversion UK website is an independent resource for anyone planning a loft conversion with information on DIY, design and building regulations.

The views and information held within this site are intended only as a guide. Expert advice should be obtained before embarking on any large project. House Conversions Online are not responsible for information held on any pages external to this website.