When is planning permission required for a loft conversion?

loft conversion

If you are mulling over the prospect of selling your home, you may wonder what could increase its appeal to buyers. You could feel reticent about pouring money into major home improvement projects; however, take heart that they could actually make back a lot more money than you put in.

Converting your loft into liveable space, for example, could cost you only about £15,000, says Homebuilding & Renovating, but add £62,000 to your home’s value, according to The Sun. You might not even need planning permission, though there remain certain scenarios where you would.

You are unlikely to need planning permission

While you could see this as a source of comfort, you should still check for definite whether planning permission would be necessary. After all, if it is, you could find yourself waiting a while to get approval – and then there are other hurdles, like Building Regulations, to think about.

However, we’ll pivot the subject back to planning permission for now. If the changes you want to make to the loft will be relatively modest, they might fall under the “permitted development rule”, therefore saving you from needing planning permission.

When would you actually need that permission, however?

If you’re uncertain, the Planning Portal website outlines the limits and conditions to which your conversion must adhere. For example, the project must not add any extensions that exceed the highway-fronting principal elevation’s existing roof slope plane. 

Similarly, any extension higher than the roof’s highest part is out of the question, as are any verandas, balconies or raised platforms. If you are set to install side-facing windows, those must be obscure-glazed, with any opening 1.7m above the floor.

How much space would you be able to add?

Of course, the choice would be largely up to you, but there will be a specific threshold before planning permission becomes mandatory. If your house is terraced, your volume allowance for extra roof space is 40 cubic metres, while it’s 50 cubic metres if the house is detached or semi-detached.

It’s crucial to emphasise that these allowances include any previous additions made to the roof space before you started working towards the loft conversion. These additions include any made by previous owners of the house; therefore, your “true” allowance might not be too easy to calculate.

Other restrictions apply. For example, roof extensions would not be categorised as “permitted development” in designated areas. Those include national parks, conservation areas, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites.

A loft conversion is still much easier than you might think

As previously mentioned, there are Building Regulations to heed, too – with Parts L, K, B and P likely to be especially applicable to you. However, rest assured that, in many instances, a loft conversion is more practically viable than you probably realise.

You might not even need to raise the roof, while loft boarding from a company like Instaloft can help to ensure that the insulation in your loft’s floor remains just as effective as before. 

Written by Julie Hanson

Julie is passionate about property – development, investment and portfolio planning. Along with husband Alec, Julie is actively building a property portfolio while helping others to do the same.

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