Most loft conversions can be carried out without planning permission, but you'll still need to satisfy building regulations. Here, we give you the lowdown on planning a loft conversion.
It's important to know whether you'll need planning permission before you begin - especially as it can take a long time to get approval - and you'll also need to make sure that your conversion meets building regulations.
Below, we'll tell you how to work out whether you will need to get planning permission, what building regulations to consider, and any other permissions you may need in place before you get started.
To check whether you need to get planning permission, you'll need an architect or builder to confirm this. But as a guide, you shouldn't need planning permission if your proposed conversion satisfies the following conditions:
If you're unsure, or think you might need planning permission, an initial discussion with an architect or builder should be able to confirm this.
Planning permission is just one of the things you need to think about when getting your loft converted. We've heard from experts and homeowners about the top mistakes and frustrations, so visit our page on to make sure you avoid the same annoyances.
Regardless of whether or not you need planning permission, your loft conversion will have to meet building regulations approval.
Building regulations are in place to make sure that any work done is structurally sound, that the new room is fire safe and that sound is reasonably insulated between the loft and the rooms below.
The specific regulations that apply will depend on the type of conversion you have. As a starting point, the elements covered by building regulation include:
This isn't the complete list - there are plenty more things to be taken into consideration when planning your conversion. You can find further information by visiting the government planning portal website, or by speaking with your builder, architect or local building control.
If the work you're planning is going to affect the wall that joins your house to your neighbour's, you'll need to have a Party Wall Agreement. This is an agreement between you and your neighbour that aims to ensure that work done is fair and won't endanger your neighbour's property.
You'll need to give a Party Wall Notice - a summary of your proposed work and copies of your plans - to your adjoining neighbours. You can find free templates for these online, or get help from your builder or architect. It's then up to your neighbour to sign their agreement.
If they are concerned, they may request an independent party wall surveyor to approve the work. You can recommend a surveyor, but it's ultimately up to them to decide who they use, and you're obliged to pay for their services.
The surveyor will come and inspect the plans, and may request further documentation, before signing off the work to go ahead, or asking for any reasonable amendments to be made.
You can find out more about the Party Wall etc Act 1966 and what it covers by visiting the government planning website.
If you think you have bats living in your loft, you'll need to have a bat survey, which can cost £300 to £400. Bats are a protected species and, if your loft is home to a roost of them, you may need to obtain a mitigation licence to carry out the work.