The most common areas governing Conversions and Extensions are:
- Building Regulations – these determine all interior building works in your home.
- Planning Permission – this determines all building works on the exterior of your home.
- Permitted Development Rights – in many cases these enable you to carry out your project without planning permission
Building regulations specify standards and quality of all works taking place in your house and above all, are legal requirements which must be strictly adhered to in every detail, such as airflow, insulation, staircases, fire safety, party walls, foundations, to mention but a few.
Compliance with building regulations is paramount and this is where our company has built an unbeatable reputation. We always finish works to a meticulous standard and are only obliged to please. For this reason we always welcome your input should you have any preferences as to the way you would like things done in your house. We always check in person each and every aspect of works, to ensure the high quality of our workmanship as well as regulatory compliance.
BUILDING REGULATIONS METHODS
Your local authority allows two methods to ensure compliance with building regulations: a) full plans and b) building notice. We use and recommend the full plans method, which ensures that your Loft Conversion or Extension will receive a completion certificate - a most important document, especially for those intending to sell their house at any time.
When constructing a loft conversion staircase, building control regulations must be adhered to and are very specific, as the staircase is a vital element. A well designed and properly built staircase will increase the available space, whilst pleasing the eye and enhancing the style and value of your loft.
Unbeatable Lofts & Extensions is dedicated to delivering the very best in staircases, using only reputable and well associated specialist firms, designing and manufacturing bespoke staircases.
The rise, going and pitch of staircases, as well as the headroom, are significant, strictly controlled factors and each of these elements must be approved by the local authority building inspector. Whilst headroom of 2m is favoured, in some cases, where the roof at the top of the staircase is angled, headroom of 1.8-2m is also acceptable.
For specific information, please contact Unbeatable Lofts or your local authority.
FIRE SAFETY REGULATIONS
Fire regulations governing buildings are very particular and strictly imposed, due to the risk of life. Building Regulations are specific, especially in three storey properties, where the risk is considered greater than in one or two storey buildings. With Loft Conversions, the fire safety regulations are more stringent than for most other types of extensions.
Some of the most important are as follows:
- Mains operated with battery backup interconnected smoke detectors
- Internal structure fire spread prevention
- External fire spread prevention
- Means of escape
Fire safety regulations will affect your loft conversion and should you wish to find out more, feel free to contact Unbeatable Lofts or your local authority.
INSULATION & AIRFLOW REGULATIONS
In accordance with the 2000 Loft Conversion Building Regulations, there are set standards for all new loft conversions, as well as for airflow circulation, which must be adhered to in order to avoid future condensation problems.
Regardless of your existing building insulation standard, any new additions such as Loft Conversions or Extensions, must be fully insulated, including cavity walls, existing ceiling throughout, slopes, the underneath of old and new roof and eaves, external flank and stud walls throughout.
We will construct your loft to avoid any cold spots. These are areas where heat escapes and emphasis is always placed on doors, joists and windows, in order to avoid such negative aspects.
Natural roof ventilation is a must and we always ensure that this is the case with your Loft Conversion, either by increasing the sizes of the rafters, and/or by inserting roof vents to ensure appropriate airflow.
PARTY WALL BUILDING REGULATIONS
“The Party Wall Act 1996” governs any work/s related to common walls with your neighbours in terraced and semi- detached houses when building a Loft Conversion.
The Act requires Owners (or your Builder) to inform neighbours of all works intended to be carried out on the party wall. The Party Wall Act envisages that most neighbours will agree for works to be carried out. In actual fact, neighbours are unable to prevent your Loft Conversion from going ahead, although they may indeed influence when and how the works proceed.
In the event that your neighbour disputes the proposed works and does not fill out the counterpart on a Party Structural Notice, each of you will need to hire different surveyors who will act as independent arbitrators, ensuring that all works carried out are of an appropriate standard, serving the best interests of you and your neighbours. Surveyors usually compile a schedule of conditions, which at all times must be adhered to by both parties and will return when work/s are completed, to ensure that they have been executed as agreed.
We recommend approaching your neighbours informally, to advise them of your intended project, giving them no less than a month’s notice before works commence.
Planning Permission is a standard requirement for all exterior works carried out to the original structure of your house. Not all alterations to your home need planning permission. There are many renovations and alterations that are covered by permitted development rights.
PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS
There are different criteria and rules for permitted development. We strongly advise you to call your local council or Unbeatable Lofts and Extensions, as this is the safest way to determine if the project you intend to carry out will be allowed under permitted development rights, or whether planning permission is required. Occasionally, local authorities remove permitted development rights in certain areas, as well as in conservation areas, national heritage locations and areas of natural beauty.
Below is a brief summary of the rules for permitted development, especially for loft conversions.
It is not permissible for any part of your dwelling to exceed the highest point of the existing roof.
No part of your dwelling can, as a result of the works, protrude beyond the plane of any existing roof slope that fronts a highway (highways are an ill-defined term but include all public roads and most footpaths, bridleways and byways).
Loft cubic metre capacity for all terraced houses is 40m3 and 50m3 for semi detached or detached houses. Greater expansion of your dwelling is not permitted.
After all extension works have been completed, your dwelling should not exceed its original size by more than the greater of 10% or 50m3 in the case of terraced houses, or 15% or 70m3 in the case of semi detached or detached properties.
There is a limitation of 115m3 in total for development in any type of property.
If you intend to have a Loft Conversion, Extension or Renovation which does not fall within permitted development, an application for planning permission must be submitted to the local authority. This process can take 8-12 weeks, accruing an extra cost of around £1,000.