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Planning Laws for Loft Conversions Explained

In April 2014, an amendment to the government planning portal’s Technical Guidance on Permitted Development for Householders related to loft conversions. East London builders and householders were required to take note of a clarification regarding the measurement of eaves, which must now be at least 20 cm from the roof edge up the roof slope to the edge of a new addition to the roof. 

This was an extension to the rules for permitted development within which, in most localities, no planning permission is required. These rules were already complicated, but they still have to be complied with, or you may be ordered to put things back exactly as they were. 

What the Rules Say 

You can’t make a change that would take the roof any higher than its current highest part. You may not put a dormer or other extension to the roof at the front of the house where that faces a road. You can’t add more than 40 cubic metres to the roof space of a terraced house or 50 cubic metres to the roof space of a semi-detached or detached house. No dormer or other extension from the existing roof can overhang the wall of the original house: it must be set back. You can’t add a veranda, except a mock or Juliet balcony with no external access.

The materials used have to give a similar appearance to the outside of the rest of the house. If you put a window at side of the house it must be obscure-glazed. The only part of a side window that can open must be 1.7 metres from floor level.

Where the Rules Apply

These permitted development rights for householders apply throughout England. The only exceptions are in a few conservation areas, where the local planning authorities must agree all proposed changes.

All loft conversion specialist builders should be fully familiar with all the permitted development rules and local planning policies. They should be able to give guidance to their clients as to whether they will need planning permission. To find out for yourself, you could apply to your council for a Lawful Development Certificate. If you are likely to sell your house in the future, it is handy to have one of these to hand over at the time to forestall any questions about compliance.

At Bespoke Lofts, we have completed many loft conversions East London wide, so we know what is likely to be allowed. Our sympathetic and helpful design team will let you know if anything you would like to do with your loft will take you outside the permitted development limits, and then help you either to make amendments to bring your project in line with the rules, or to make your planning application. Give us a call to arrange an initial chat at no cost.

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