Most loft conversions can be done without permission from the city. That noted, regulations and rules about loft conversions vary from borough to borough. You need to check whether you need to get permission, for your loft conversion. If you are planning a loft conversion in Essex, here are some of the situations where you will need a building permit.
- In case you are using building materials different from those used to construct the house, you will need to get a permit for the work. Permission is also necessary if you are adding balconies and verandas.
- You will need a building permit if you live in a conservation area such as a Game park or reserve. If protected animals are nesting in your home, you will need to have someone do a bat survey and get a mitigation licence.
- Apart from these issues, you may need to sign a wall agreement with your neighbour if your conversion will affect the walls that join your properties. A Party Wall Agreement ensures that the work you do is fair and will not negatively affect your neighbour’s property. If they are not satisfied, it is within their rights to get an independent surveyor to approve your construction. Bear in mind that you will pay for this surveyor.
What Makes a House Unsuitable for Conversion?
Some houses are not suitable for conversion, because the ceiling is too low and raising the roof may not be possible. You also cannot convert the loft if you do not own the freehold to the loft space. It is also not possible if you live in a listed building.
Building Regulations Assessment
Whether or not you need permission for your loft, it will need to meet all the building regulations. Building regulations ensure that people living in your building and around it are safe. The rules also serve to ensure the conservation of power and fuel to protect the environment. Building regulation cover then following elements.
- Fire Safety
Your conversion must include a fire-resistant door to ensure that the new room is fire safe. There must be fire alarms powered by the mains in that room. It is essential to ensure that there are no fire hazards in your new loft.
- Flooring and Beams
There is a need to add to the number of floor joists to support the added weight. If there are none, the structure could collapse and injure you and the people in your home.
- Sound Insulation
There should be proper noise insulation in the home. You can use soundproofing spray foam or acoustic caulk for your loft conversion insulation
You must build new stairs so that it is easy for occupants to escape if there is a fire. Bear in mind that retractable stairs and ladders do not count in this case and you must make actual stairs.
New walls should support the old roof or new roof where the old supports have been removed.
There are many other regulations and reasons for permission, so make sure that you check your local government website before starting your loft conversion in Essex.