If your home’s living space is not enough to cater to your family’s needs and you have decided to have a loft conversion instead of moving to a new house, you may want to understand the building regulations before you convert your loft.
Your loft conversion has to meet the building regulation requirements, but you need to know these building regulations and those that apply to loft conversions.
What are building regulations?
The government sets building regulations as a standard for building, designing and altering any building. Note that building regulations and planning permission is different. You would need planning permission if your loft conversion exceeds certain limits, but you need to comply with building regulation regardless of the need for planning permission.
In some cases, homeowners need both building regulation and planning permission for loft conversions.
Do I need building regulation approval for a loft conversion?
Yes, you do. You need to get a building regulation approval to convert your loft to a living space.
What do I need the building regulation approval for?
The government set standards for any building work through these regulations. There are different aspects of the building work you have to comply with, and they include the following.
- Fire escape
These set standards in building regulations ensure that a building is safe for the occupants.
Who approves building regulation and assesses the standards?
You may decide to get approval from your local building authority at your local council or a government-approved private building inspector.
To get the approval, you have to submit a building notice or full plan. If you decide to submit the full plan, you will also submit a detailed drawing which the inspector has to check and approve. The drawing is usually complex and detailed but gives a clear view of the specification.
Submitting a building notice means that you can start converting your loft without getting approval, but the builder must ensure the conversion complies with building regulation.
What building regulation would I get an assessment to have a loft conversion?
The inspector will check for the following.
· Fire escape
This will include your fire protection system, fire-resistant doors and smoke alarms
· Sound insulation
The inspector will check for the sound insulation between the rooms in your home and the party wall if you have neighbours with converted lofts.
Your existing ceiling joists may not support the conversion, so you need to install new floors joists. The inspector will check if the new floor joist can support the structure and check the new beam and steels.
· Safety of the stairs
The inspector has to check how safe your stairs are and if the structure provides sufficient support for the floors and ceilings.
· Windows and doors
The inspector has to check the windows and doors for thermal heat loss to ensure that they are energy efficient.
The inspector will also assess your home’s general safety by checking if the glazed part of the window is less than 800mm from the ground level, 300mm from the door and about 15000mm from floor level. You would have to install safety glazing.
The inspection would also include door and window assessment for proper ventilation, depending on the room. A bathroom should have a higher ventilation level than other rooms in the house because it has more moisture. Having windows in a bathroom will give ventilation, but you also need an extractor window and fan.
Unprotected areas in your room need fireproof doors, so the inspector will check your fire escape route for fireproof doors. You may also need self-closing to fix some windows if there is a risk of fire spreading to adjoining properties.
Your new windows need to be large to be a means of escape, and you have to install at least one window in each room.
· Internal walls
The building authority inspector will check your internal walls if you intend to open a wall, build a new wall, or knock through a wall. The inspector will factor in the effect any of these will have on your building.
Alterations during the conversion can collapse the roof or crack a wall, so the inspector has to check the roof thoroughly.
· External wall
You need to ensure the existing walls can accommodate the new weight and that structure remains stable after converting a loft. The inspector will also check your weather resistance ad thermal efficiency, and if you intend to clad or re-render your walls, the inspector will have to assess your walls.
Your electrical work has to comply with building regulation. You have to notify the building authority if you intend to install a new fuse box or consumer unit, alter the existing circuit, or install a new circuit.
· Bathrooms and kitchens
The building inspector may not have to check your bathrooms and kitchen, but the fire safety, thermal performance, ventilation, drainage, and electrics need to meet the required standard.
If you have to increase your roof size, you will increase your gutters and rainwater pipes because insufficient drainage puts you at risk of flooding.
When is the right time to notify the inspector about the loft conversion?
It is best to notify the inspector as soon as possible.
When does the inspector check for a loft conversion?
You have to notify the building inspector at least seven days before the day you intend to start your loft conversion. The inspector will visit the site and check the building before work can commence. Possible inspection includes:
- Fire regulation
- Doors and windows
- Structure (stairs, steels, and timbers)
- Final inspection
What will happen if the loft conversion does not meet the required standards?
If any building regulation does not meet the standard, the builder will need to resolve the problem and contact the inspector to check the resolved issue.
What happens after my loft conversion is complete?
The inspector will perform a final inspection of the building before signing off the project to give a completion certificate.
What is the cost of building control?
Building control for a standard loft conversion usually costs about £600 – £800.
Building regulation for a loft conversion
Building regulations aim to protect you and keep your home safe. It ensures that your house meets the set standards, so ensure you contract an expert loft conversion company London for your loft conversion to avoid building regulation issues.
Our experts at Loft London are available to help you have the loft conversion that meets building regulation requirements. Contact us today on 020 7100 5428 to have our experts check your property for your loft conversion. Our loft extension cost London is affordable, and we provide excellent services.