Rules on planning permission for loft conversions have been relaxed due in part to the lack of new homes being built over the last few years. Most loft extensions now come under permitted development; however, care should be taken and advice sought if altering roof height or shape. This may be required if there is a need for more headroom and this adjustment will require planning permission, as will any addition like a balcony that protrudes from a Dormer window.
When it comes to seeking the help of the professionals, Specialist Loft Conversions and their partners will be able to advise you on the best way forward in order to begin your project smoothly and finish with the results you are after.
All building extensions and conversions are overseen and approved under building regulations that are responsible for making sure the work is up to standard and safe for the purpose. The building regulation department has to be notified before the commencement of works and then arrange a timetable of inspections with the builder. This will be agreed in stages to allow the inspector to satisfy himself of excellent workmanship and safety before certain areas are covered from view.
Building regs is a vital department. To uphold standards and safety, not only for the general public but to also make sure contractors are up to date with the rules. Sometimes consumers or builders complain that inspections delay the completion of works, but If there was no regulation any handyman could build a loft conversion that could be a potential death-trap for any unsuspecting future purchaser of the property.
One obvious risk is fire and the safety aspects of people escaping from upper stories. Stairs and doors must be protected with 30-minute fire resistant materials. These unique woods, for floors, ceilings, and doors for fireproofing are easily available, along with fire resistant paint to blend with decoration, and possibly add a few minutes of necessary time.
Installation and placement of electrical supply are paramount about the above, and any works have to be carried out by a certified electrician.
Depending on available budget, thought could also be given to a sprinkler system that would need to be considered in the very early stages. Any installation of this system to reduce the risk of fire would be at stage one of the project, along with insulation between ceiling and roof voids. The government policy on global warming and green energy will lay down measures regarding the required thicknesses of insulation.
Another primary responsibility of building regs is access and safety to escape routes, should an accident occur.
Access via a staircase will be governed by available space, and there are rules laid down requiring minimum ceiling height, turns on a stairway and size of step treads.
Spiral staircases will save space, but consideration must be given to ease of access and how the extra space created in the loft conversion is to be used.
It would be foolhardy indeed if a significant investment were made to a project that was unsafe or uncomfortable to get the full benefit from.