Planning a loft conversion

If you are going to convert your loft into a habitable room you will need to comply with the Building Regulations. The reason for this is to ensure that the work you propose does not place you and your family at risk from the hazard of fire and from that of structural instability.

It is important therefore that when you plan your conversion you pay special attention to how you are going to:

  • protect the structure from fire 
  • provide means of escape in case of fire and a fire alarm 
  • install the new stairway and protect it from fire 
  • provide thermal insulation and good ventilation 
  • upgrade sound insulation 
  • deal with the threat of condensation 
  • ensure that the structure is safe.

The Building Regulations require that you either deposit plans with the Council for approval or you use a Building Notice, which does not require approval. The risk with a building notice is in not knowing if the work complies with the building regulations before it is started. This can lead to costly errors being made. In both cases you will be charged building regulation fees and Building Control Surveyors will inspect the work.

Complying with the building regulations is only part of what you must do, you must check also whether Planning Permission is required and it is likely that it will, in cases where:

  • the external appearance of your house is changed 
  • your house is a listed building or situated in a Conservation Area

Failure to follow this advice could result in your work being classed as unauthorised and therefore illegal, a situation that could prejudice any future sale of your property. Putting this right can be expensive. The best advice is to seek professional help from the start and choose a builder with a reputation for good work.

If the work has impact on existing Party Walls, the Party Wall Act may apply.

The Local Authority does not enforce the Party Wall Act, therefore advice from a Part Wall Surveyor should be sought.

Example of adequate means of escape

Example of floor construction

* The floor/joist space must contain a minimum of 100mm mineral wool to reduce the passage of sound.