Do I need planning permission for my loft conversion project?

A loft conversion is an excellent way of adding value to your home (by up to 20% in fact), as well as more space for your family to enjoy. But do you need planning permission for such a project?

If we take a look at the Government’s Planning Portal website, it confirms that permission is only required if you are altering or extending the roof space in a way that exceeds ‘specified limits and conditions’.

Therefore, if you are simply installing Velux windows from Ken’s Yard, you won’t need to seek out the appropriate permission before the fitters come round but if you are including a balcony or veranda along with your newly fitted skylights you will need a thumbs up from your local authority.

Planning permission will also be required if:

  • The extension is higher than the highest part of your property’s roof.
  • The materials used are not similar in appearance to the rest of the house.
  • The roof enlargement overhangs the wall of the original house.

As well as planning permission, there are other important aspects of a loft conversion to consider such as the presence of protected species in your attic space. Bats, for example, may be lodging in the roof, and these are protected so if you find some while checking the space you will need to apply for a wildlife license before any work can begin. This ensures the safe removal of any protected animals from their habitat and that work in their environment can be carried out.

Fire safety is also important, so this needs to be taken into careful consideration when designing a loft conversion and the provisions for escape accounted for. Fire resisting doors are a new necessary feature for loft conversions, because escaping from a window is too dangerous so the integrity of the stairs to the lower floor must be protected.

A buildings regulation approval will also be required when converting a loft into a liveable space, even if planning permission is not. This ensures the structural strength of the floor is sufficient, there is a safe escape from a fire and the stairs have been safely designed; sound insulation is also required between the loft and rooms below and the existing roof structure will need to be checked to ensure the new design will not endanger its stability.

When it comes to obtaining or checking if you need planning permission for your loft conversion it’s best to do this as early as possible, it’s safe to say it’s not a quick process! Use a professional to put together your drawings and perhaps work with a solicitor to submit the application to the local council. This will cost money but it’s a guaranteed way of ensuring you have everything you need when making your application.

A loft conversion can also have implications when it comes to home insurance, so ensure you’ve done everything by the book to be able to class this space as another room and get it covered with the rest of the house!