Every home improvement project is subject to unique considerations, and requires careful planning. For example; is planning permission required for an extension, or a loft conversion? Is a loft conversion an extension? Or is a loft conversion subject to different rules and constraints?

If you’re planning a loft conversion there’s good news!

Loft conversions are often considered a permitted development. So, if they meet certain requirements and guidelines set out by law it isn’t even necessary to apply for planning permission.

Under what circumstances is a loft conversion considered an extension?

If a simple loft conversion isn’t going to create the space you need, it may be necessary to apply for extension permission. In this case, it’s important get permission before starting work on anything major. This is because there are strict regulations about the relevant specifications for every project.

While this may make your project a little more complicated, it can still be far simpler than a traditional extension. This is because you won’t need to ‘start from the ground up’ with completely new foundations.

Planning a loft conversion can be a big undertaking. If you’re trying to decide which type of project will be best for your needs our article on choosing between a loft conversion or extension might be of use!

So is my loft conversion an extension?

From a regulatory standpoint if either:

You live in a terraced house and are building a loft conversion which adds more than 40m3 of living space.

Or if you live in a detached or semi-detached house and your loft conversion will add more that 50m3.

Then your loft conversion is an extension.

It’s also important to consider that if your house has previously had it’s roof space extended, this will count towards your total allowance!

Furthermore, if your loft conversion is going to become the highest part of your existing roof, overhang the outer face of your homes walls, or you are planning to use a material that is significantly different from the rest of the roof, it will be more likely to require planning permission.

Converted loft space

How do I make sure my project meets local planning regulations?

Local planning regulations are often nuanced, so working with a specialist loft conversion architect can be invaluable. By working with an experienced architect you will have the best chance of creating a design that won’t have to undergo the (sometimes lengthy) planning process.

Working with an expert is even more important if you’re planning a larger project. The bigger the scope, the more likely your project is to require extension planning permission. Remember; it’s vital that your project meets the appropriate specifications before the build!

Will where I live affect my loft conversion?

Sometimes the location of your house is the deciding factor in how the government view your project. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether your loft conversion is technically an extension. If your home is in a ‘dedicated area’ – for example a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you may have to apply for planning permission.

Need a hand understanding the specifics of your project?

Failing to comply with building regulations and planning permission rules can have serious implications. If you’re found to be in violation, you may have to undo your work, and even pay a hefty fine. Needless to say, it’s always best to play by the rules and seek out all the relevant planning permission before starting any work. Not only will this save you a lot of time and money in the long run, but it will also help to avoid any stressful legal complications down the road.

If you’re looking for a detailed insight into the relevant planning rules check out this article from Planning Portal.

We’re always excited to chat about new projects, so if you need a hand getting your design off the ground why not chat with a member of our expert team?