Building control for loft conversion

Building control for loft conversion

When converting your loft into a usable living space, it’s important to know and adhere to the building regulations in order to avoid costly mistakes and potential safety hazards. A loft conversion is a big project, so it’s best to know what is required to get building control approval. This article will discuss the different aspects of building control and how to obtain approval for your loft conversion.

What are building regulations?

Building regulations are a set of regulations in the United Kingdom that dictate the standard of construction for buildings. There are several reasons why these regulations are important for loft conversions.

The most important reason is safety. The building regulations ensure that all building work meets a certain standard so that the finished product is safe for inhabitants. This includes fire safety.

Another reason is that the loft conversion building regulations help to conserve energy. By following the regulations, builders can create structures that are more energy efficient, which can save homeowners money on their energy bills in the long run.

Finally, the building regulations ensure that all construction projects meet a certain quality standard. This helps to protect homeowners against shoddy workmanship and ensures that they receive a good value for their money.

When did building regs come in for loft conversions?

Building regulations for loft conversion were introduced in 1990. This means that any loft conversions carried out after this date must comply with the building regulations, regardless of whether or not the property is listed.

Do you need building control for a loft conversion?

Yes, you will need building regulations approval for a loft conversion. The specific requirements will vary depending on the type of conversion that you are doing, but in general, there are certain things that you will need to do in order to receive building regulations approval.

One of the most important things is to make sure that your loft space is safe for use, this includes the existing roof slope. This means ensuring that the floors and stairs are strong enough to support people and that any electrical wiring and appliances are properly installed and safe.

You will also need to make sure that the loft space is energy efficient. This includes installing insulation and making sure that all windows and doors are properly sealed.

Finally, you will need to make sure that your loft space meets all other requirements of the building regulations, such as minimum room sizes, ceiling height, sound insulation, and so on. Meeting these requirements can be tricky, so it’s best to consult with an expert to make sure that your conversion is done correctly.

Building vcontrol for loft conversions

Should I use my local building control or a private building regulations company?

One of the first decisions that you will have to make is whether to use your local authority or a private building regulations company. Both have their pros and cons, so let’s take a look at each option in more detail.

Using your local authority for building control

Your local authority is responsible for enforcing the building regulations in your area. This means that they will inspect your conversion project to make sure that it meets all of the requirements of the building regulations.

Pros

  • You will be dealing directly with the local authority that will ultimately be the ones providing the building regulations approval
  • It is cheaper than a private company
  • You will need to notify them 2 days before you start work

Cons

  • They are usually less flexible with their schedule so you may have to wait longer for an inspection, potentially holding work up
  • You might get different building control inspectors coming to each site visit which sometimes creates issues.

Using a private building regulations company

A private building regulations company is a business that specialises in helping people obtain building control approval for their conversions. They will work with you every step of the way to make sure that your conversion meets all of the requirements of the building regulations.

Pros

  • A private building regulations company can be more flexible with time
  • You might be able to hire an inspector that specialises in loft conversions
  • They will usually be more open to giving advice when challenges arise

Cons

  • It may cost a little more – although it should be very similar
  • You will need to notify them ~5 days before starting work

What is a building control completion certificate?

A building control completion certificate is a document that confirms that a building or conversion project has met all of the requirements of the building regulations. This document is usually issued by the local authority or an approved inspector after they have inspected the project and confirmed that it is in compliance with the regulations.

This document is important because it proves that the project has been approved by the local authority, and it can be used as proof of compliance when selling or renting out the property.

The steps to achieving building regulations approval

In order to achieve building regulations approval for your loft conversion, you will need to follow a few simple steps:

  1. Give your local authority or private building regulations company ‘building notice’. You will need to give them at least 2 days’ notice before starting work (5 days if you are using a private building regulations company. You do not need the drawings from the structural engineer at this stage but it’s advised to present them.
  2. Have your conversion inspected by the local authority or private building regulations company. They will check to make sure that it meets all of the requirements of the building regulations.
  3. Receive a Building Regulations Completion Certificate once the inspection is complete. This document confirms that your conversion has met all of the requirements of the building regulations.

What can I expect in the building regulations inspections

The local authority or private building regulations company will carry out a series of inspections during the course of your conversion project to make sure that it is complying with the building regulations. The type and number of inspections will vary depending on the project, but here is a general overview of what you can expect:

Installation of the beams and new floor joists

  • Check that the new floor joists have been installed in line with the drawings
  • They will check the connections between the joists
  • Make sure it’s safe to support the extra weight

The staircase installation

  • The location is safe
  • The pitch is to the set standard 42degree max
  • The head height of +1.9m
  • All the rises need to be of equal height
  • The handrails need to be a certain height and the spindles are the correct distance apart

Insulation in floors, walls and ceilings

  • Before the plasterboard goes up the insulation must be checked and approved

Final inspection after completion 

  • This is to make sure everything has been built correctly. Windows, Sockets, etc.
  • They will check all the regulated measurements (ceiling height, etc)

After the final inspection, you will receive your building regulations certificate

What is an illegal loft conversion?

An illegal loft conversion is a conversion that has been carried out without meeting the requirements of the building regulations. This could include not obtaining the required planning permission, not having the conversion inspected by a qualified inspector, or not receiving a building control completion certificate.

Another thing to consider is The Party Wall act. It’s best to ask your building control company if your loft conversions fall within.

If you are considering carrying out a loft conversion, it is important to make sure that you are aware of the building regulations and that your conversion will be in compliance with them. Failing to do so could result in costly mistakes and potential safety hazards.

Can I put a window in my loft?

When converting your loft into a usable living space, one of the first things you will need to decide is whether or not to install a window. This decision will be based on a number of factors, including the type of loft conversion you are doing, the available space, and the regulations in your area.

If you are planning to install a window in your loft, it is important to make sure that it meets all of the requirements of the building regulations. This includes making sure that the window is large enough to provide an adequate amount of light and ventilation, and that it is installed in a safe location.

If you are unsure about whether or not your proposed window meets the requirements of the building regulations, it is best to consult with a qualified inspector. They will be able to advise you on whether or not your window is in compliance, and they may also be able to recommend an appropriate location for it.

Do you need a smoke alarm in the loft?

Smoke alarms are a requirement in all homes, regardless of the type of conversion. This is to ensure that everyone in the home has an early warning in the event of a fire.

When converting your loft into a living space, it is important to install a smoke alarm in the loft. This will give you an early warning in the event of a fire, and it will also help to protect the rest of your home from smoke damage.

Do loft conversions need fire doors?

Yes, Fire doors are a requirement in all loft conversions, regardless of the type. This is to ensure that everyone in the home has an escape route in the event of a fire.

When converting your loft into a living space, it is important to install a fire door in the loft. This will provide an escape route in the event of a fire, and it will also help to protect the rest of your home from smoke damage.

Read more about fire regulations.

Conclusion

A loft conversion is a big project, and it’s essential to make sure that you are aware of the building regulations before starting. In this article, we have discussed the different aspects of building control and how to go about obtaining approval for your loft conversion.

It is important to remember most loft conversions will not require planning permission, but they will all need to meet the requirements of the building regulations in order to be safe.

Make sure you consult with a qualified inspector if you have any questions about whether or not your proposed conversion meets these requirements.

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