News Article

Safety Matters, and other Loft Conversion Considerations

01.11.16

When carrying out any building work, safety always needs to be at the forefront of your mind. Once your work is completed, you’ll also need to make sure that it’s been carried out to a high standard and level of safety; this is where building regulations come in. 

Couple this with planning permission, and you might be feeling a little bamboozled with information. And that’s why it pays to use an experienced loft conversion company. Take these points as examples:

Planning Permission

No one wants to fall foul of the local planning department, but it can be so difficult to know whether planning permission is needed or not. Permitted development rights mean that usually a loft conversion will not require planning permission unless you’re planning one of the following:

A dormer loft conversion, as these extend outwards beyond the line of the roof.
A hip to gable conversion, as this requires the sloped side of the roof – or the hip side –
to be turned into a flat walled side, known as a gable.
A mansard loft conversion, which involves extending the roof’s pitch to around 72 degrees.
A loft conversion within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a National Park or other conservation areas; you’ll need to apply for special planning permission in these circumstances
and be prepared that it may not be granted.

Furthermore, even under permitted development rights, there are certain requirements that you’ll need to meet, and you may need to apply for a party wall agreement between you and your neighbours if you join onto next door’s property. 

You’d be forgiven for feeling a little bewildered by what you can and can’t do, and if this is the case, it’s wise to consult a specialist loft conversion company who can guide you through any required processes.

Building Regulations

On top of planning permission, you’ll also need to comply with Building Regulations. These are certain design and safety aspects of the build that will need approval from the Building Control Officer at your local authority. 

The Building Control Officer will inspect the work at various stages to make sure that it complies with health and safety laws. This could be anything from access out of the building in the event of a fire to structural support issues. 

On the final inspection they should issue you with a completion certificate; if for any reason you are not given one, do not settle any final invoices with your contractors, as it may mean that further work is required to bring the loft conversion up to the required safety standard.

Works Safety

Since April 2015, it’s the homeowners’ responsibility to ensure safety on their building projects. All projects should have a health and safety plan, which you may be required to manage. Check with your loft conversion company whether they have a risk assessment and health and safety plan in place before work commences, and make sure you’re happy with it.   

To take some of the weight from your shoulders, it’s always wise to instruct a company experienced in completing loft conversions. Essex homeowners can turn to Bespoke Lofts for this service, as we are experienced at carrying out loft conversions to a high standard. Safety matters to us, both during the build and after completion.

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