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Loft Conversion

You are thinking of converting the loft into another bedroom, but will you require planning permission?

It depends. If you wish to put a dormer window on the roof slope facing the road, and you increase the overall height of your house, and if the extra volume is 40 cubic metres or more, you will need to apply for planning permission. If you put the new windows at the back, do not raise the ridge of your house and the increase in volume is less than 40 cubic metres, you can go ahead without permission.

My advice is that you should always check with the planners - the rules for conservation areas or those in a national park are stricter - and a mistake or a misunderstanding can be very expensive.

Purchase Procedure
Joint Ownership
Loft Conversion

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07711 350758


The Estate Office
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W12 2PH

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Is it a complex, drawnout business getting permission?

You may be surprised at the amount of administration required to construct a simple loft extension. In addition to planning consent, you will require approval under the building regulations (although you will be pleased to know that the very stringent requirements for staircases are relaxed if it only leads to one bedroom). If your house is semi-detached or part of a terrace, the Party Wall Acts come into play and the neighbour’s agreement is desirable. The neighbour has the right to employ a surveyor at your expense.

Should you use a normal builder or a specialist?

There are numerous firms that specialise in making loft conversions. If your house is fairly conventional and if you want extra space with the minimum of expense and hassle, you should ask around in your area and follow recommendations as to who might do a good job. If you want something smart, stylish and to your own taste, ask around for a good architect.

This is not a lucrative or particularly exciting area for architects and you may find that many are not willing to undertake the commission of converting your loft. But if you find the right person it can be very rewarding.

  Ann Morris author of "A-Z Guide to Property" serialised in the Daily Telegraph