Loft Conversion Building Regulations or rules
The Building Regulations are applicable for all loft conversions into habitable room
spaces. They probably encompass more aspects of the Building Regulations compliance sections than for most other
types of residential extensions yet many homeowners perceive a loft conversion to be a relatively simple process
with relatively few rules not worthy of a fully thought through pre-approved design using their own professional
loft conversion designer or architect which can often be very short sighted.
Out of all the various types house extensions there are (single storey side, rear front, two storey side rear
front etc.) the loft conversion is the one most common for a ‘Building Notice’ type application through the Council
which is significantly different from a ‘full plans’ type approval through Building Control Department. Many
homeowners do not understand the difference of the two types of approval processes and the rules to each that are
applicable which I would try to clarify here.
The Building Notice application route - This is usually where no one person or building designer has
formed a true and worked through design for the loft conversion. Basic details (usually non constructional) are
submitted to the Building inspector (Council or private approved) with the required fee where they simply state
that the works installed will be to the approved documents of the current building regulations and that the
approval process will be completed on site as work proceeds by the site visiting Building Inspector.
Most of the time the site visiting building inspector never knows what he is going to view for approval until he
sees it installed on site. Some times it is acceptable other times it is not. In other words it is a type of adhoc
make it up as you go along type of approval process. The experienced loft conversion specialists usually get it
right most of the time and the inexperienced or poorly controlled newcomers do not. This can leave the homeowner
very vulnerable to mistakes, delays and increased costs as there is no pre-approved design anyone is actually
The Full Plans application route - This is where your own loft conversion designer or architect has
prepared a scheme design complete with plans and specifications and is submitted to the council for prior approval
before starting on site. When approved, the design is then given to the successful tendering builder to install the
works to the pre-approved design for the price stated.
These types of works and Building regulations approval process for a loft conversion usually have the least
complications and problems for all involved.
Would I ever have complicated works completed to my own property without some form of pre-approved design - not
on your life. You have been warned!