Why do you need to tell the Council?
We are responsible for enforcing Building Regulations, which make sure that buildings are constructed or altered to reasonable standards and are safe.
In the case of loft conversions the following are examples of the things that you and/or your builder must consider.
- If the space is for a use other than light storage, it will need a new floor. New joists will have to be installed and these must be supported and kept clear of the existing ceiling; they are not allowed to rest on the existing ceiling joists.
- The existing foundations and lintels may need to be exposed to check they can carry additional loads. The floor and supporting structure may need new beams or steelwork to support the loft conversion. You may need structural calculations to make sure these elements are adequate.
- The Building Regulations require floors and certain walls/doors to resist fire for a specified period. In houses up to three storeys this is usually 30 minutes. If a fire was to occur in the house it is important that the occupants could escape safely, so escape windows are required.
- In order to prevent unpleasant living conditions, ventilation has to be provided to habitable rooms, bathrooms and kitchens. The regulations require either background (trickle) or rapid ventilation, or in certain circumstances, both.
- Condensation can also affect areas that cannot be seen such as roof spaces. If this is excessive and remains undetected it can cause problems. Ventilation must be provided to roof spaces and this is particularly important in loft conversions.
- You will need to think about the type of stair you would like to use to get to your new room. Ideally, you should have a traditional stair that will give safe and easy access and allow you to escape quickly if there's a fire.
- The walls and roof to the loft conversion must, as well as keeping out the elements, also keep in the heat. They have to be constructed of materials that help reduce heat loss which can help keep heating costs down.