UK loft conversion planning permission guide

Loft conversions can be a great way to add extra living space to your home. Not only does it add value to your property, but a loft conversion can also be a very cost-effective way of increasing the amount of space you have.

However, before you start a loft conversion on your existing house, it is important to be aware of the planning permission regulations that may apply. In most cases, it is not necessary to obtain planning permission for a loft conversion, as it will be covered by Permitted Development Rights but there are some exceptions.

This guide will help you understand when your loft conversion falls under Permitted Development rights and when you will need loft conversion planning permission for your loft conversion project.

Uk loft conversion planning permission guide

Do all UK loft conversions Require planning permission?

No, it is possible to convert your loft space thanks to the Permitted Development Rights granted by the government.

Permitted Development Rights to apply to houses like terraced houses, semi-detached houses and detached houses that meet the criteria.

You will need to apply for planning permission if you are planning to build a loft conversion in any of the following:

  • Maisonettes
  • Flat
  • Converted house
  • Houses created through the permitted development right to change.
  • Other non-dwelling buildings
  • Homes in cities or towns where there may be a planning condition or other restriction that restricts permitted development rights

When is a UK loft conversion considered Permitted development?

A loft conversion is considered to be a permitted development, which means you do not need planning permission if it meets specific criteria.

To be considered Permitted Development, the following conditions must be met:

  • The loft conversion must not exceed 40 cubic meters in volume on a terraced house and 50 cubic meters on a detached or semi-detached house
  • The loft conversion must not exceed the height of the existing roof (or ridge height if this is higher)
  • The loft conversion must not result in more than 50% of the roof’s total surface being taken up by new roof lights or dormers
  • You must comply with the loft conversion building regulations
  • There are no raised platforms or balconies on the loft conversion.
  • The materials used in the loft conversion must match the original or be very close.
  • Any additional extensions must not extend beyond the existing roof slope.
  • The extra area does not extend beyond the current roof slope’s plane facing the highway.

If your project meets all of the above criteria, then you will not need planning permission for your loft conversion.

However, if you live in a conservation area or a listed building, there may be additional restrictions in place. It is always best to check with your local council before starting any work.

Can you build a loft conversion without planning permission?

In most cases, it is possible to build a loft conversion without planning permission if it falls under Permitted Development.

However, there are a few exceptions, so it is important to check with your local council to find out whether or not you need planning permission for your loft conversion. If you do need planning permission, you can start the process online and you should have a decision from your local authorities in less than 8 weeks. (Read on for more details)

There are also a few things you can do to make the process easier, such as finding a good builder who has experience with UK loft conversion Planning Permission applications and with building regulations approval.

How to Apply for Planning Permission for a loft conversion?

If you are planning to convert your loft space and do not meet the criteria for permitted development, you will need to apply for planning permission. The process can take around 8 weeks.

There are a few things you can do to make the process easier, such as finding a good architect or builder who has experience with loft conversion planning permission applications.

Applying for a loft conversion is not complicated and can be done online with the following links:

For England, you can apply via The Planning Portal.

For Scotland, you can apply via the ePlanning website.

For Wales, you can apply via the Welsh planning portal.

For Northern Ireland, you can apply via nidirect website.

It can take a couple of months for a planning application to be processed, so it is important to start the process early if you want to have your Loft conversion completed by a specific deadline.

If you want to look at the Permitted Development criteria in more detail you can read the government’s technical guidance on permitted development rights for householders.

What is the cost of a planning permission application?

In most cases, there is a fee for applying for planning permission for loft conversions and you can expect to spend a few hundred pounds.

The cost varies depending on where you live and the size of the project.

No application charge is required for certain uses, such as listed buildings or those that are to be destroyed in a conservation area.

You and use the planning portal and ePlanning Planning Permission fee calculators to check the cost of the Planning Permission for your loft conversion.

How long does a loft planning permission take?

You should get a decision from your local authorities regarding your Planning Permission application within 8 weeks for a straightforward Planning Permission application, 13 weeks for a complicated one, and up to 16 weeks if an Environmental Impact Assessment needs to be completed.

How long does planning permission last?

Approved planning permission for a loft conversion is valid for 3 years from the date of approval. You must start the loft conversion within this time, but the construction can be finished after the 3 years are up.

You will be notified by the local planning authority on your Planning Permission letter of approval if there is any variation to the 3 years deadline

Do I need building regulations approval?

You will still need to get building control approval for your loft conversion whether or not you need loft conversion planning permission.

Building regulations are crucial since they ensure that any loft conversion is safe and sound and that the stairway has been built correctly and it’s safe to flee during a fire.

It is highly advised the builder you choose has experience with building regulations.

Find out more in our fire regulations for a loft conversion blog.

Types of loft conversions

There are many different types of loft conversions that you can consider, depending on your budget and the amount of space you have available. The most common type of loft conversions are:

  • Dormer loft conversion.
  • Velux loft conversions.
  • Pitched roof loft conversions
  • Mansard loft conversion

Conclusion

A loft conversion is a great way to add extra living space to your home without having to go through the hassle of applying for planning permission. However, there are some cases where you will need to apply for planning permission. In this guide, we have outlined when you do and do not need planning permission for a Loft conversion. We also provide tips on how to apply for planning permission if you need it, as well as information on the cost and duration of the process. Start early if you want your Loft conversion completed by a specific deadline!

If you need any more advice, feel free to contact us!

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