Under new regulations that came into effect from 1st October 2008 a loft conversion for your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:
- A volume allowance of 40 cubic meters additional roof space for terraced properties.
- A volume allowance of 50 cubic meters additional roof space for detached and semi-detached properties.
- 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 extension not to be permitted development in designated areas.
- Roof extensions, apart from hip to gables ones, to be set back, as far as practicable, at least 20cm from the eaves.
Please note: bear in mind that any previous roof space additions must be included within the volume allowances listed above. Although you may not have created additional space a previous owner may have done so.
Designated areas include: conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, national parks and world heritage sites. The permitted development allowances described here apply to houses and not flats, maisonettes or other buildings.
The loft in your home could be the extra room you require. Designing loft conversions requires a good sense of volume, a thorough measure of the existing loft and of the relevant areas of the existing house.
Some common facets of the design often overlooked in loft conversions include access stairs, fire escape and headroom which affects the usable floor space. We use laser measuring equipment and digital angle finders to accurately measure the space available, we then build a 3D computer model within our building information modelling software. This allows us to walk through and analyse the design in real time and view sections of the proposed conversion within the context of the existing house.
To help increase the usable floor space the design can incorporate dormer roofs. Bespoke stairs can be designed where possible to work within the confines of the existing space and/or alterations can be designed to the existing layout to accommodate access where needed. Clever use of elements such as roof lights give those extra few millimetres required to fit in a toilet or squeeze in the required headroom for a stair.
Upon our initial meeting I will climb into the loft and assess if a conversion is feasible and discuss what may be required to make it work.
Apart from the obvious advantage of gaining another room, a properly constructed loft conversion will improve the thermal efficiency of the roof thereby decreasing heat loss reducing your heating costs.
Further opportunity is available during the construction to install under-floor heating and remove the need for obstructive radiators.