What considerations need to be made when planning a loft extension?

04 July 2018

When planning a loft extension, the first question you need to ask is ‘what am I going to be using the space for?’. There are many potential uses for loft space. However, in order to get the perfect design, you need to know what you will be using the space for.

There are generally two types of loft extension. Utilisation of space already available is known as a Velux conversion. Whereas if you extend outwards, this is known as a dormer conversion. For the latter, you will almost certainly require planning permission.

Can I create an extension using my existing loft space?

In order to work out whether you can convert your existing space in the first place, you will need to consult an architect. However, it is possible to investigate this yourself. It is important to look for signs of wet or dry rot which will need treatment. Additionally, some roof spaces are unsuitable for conversion due to their dimensions so make sure you speak to your architect about this.

loft conversion traditional

What other considerations will I need to make?

Bats. A sign that there are bats in your roof space is the presence of droppings. The Wildlife and Countryside act 1981 and Conservation Regulation 1994 protects bats and their roosts. As such, appropriate advice must be taken before starting work. Even if no bats are evident currently, you would still need to inform the authorities if they existed there previously. Do not attempt to catch themselves as an in-curable form of bat rabies is currently in existence.

Heating and ventilation. During the summer, heat rises. Meaning that loft space can get quite hot and stuffy. However, sufficient insulation is required to keep the space warm in winter. In April 2006, new regulations came into force. So make sure these are adhered to

Stairs. You will need to determine a suitable location for your staircase. Specifically, making sure that there is enough head room. It may be necessary to loose part of or an entire room to accomodate the stairs.

Let others know. Make sure that there are no coventants on your home which restrict work on it. As such, this reduces the likelihood of disputes occuring between both parties.

Next steps. Once you have done all of the above, you can begin sourcing a suitable architect and builder to create plans which can eventually be submitted to your local authority. Ensure that you have met the requirements of any building regulations or planning permissions. A suitable level of health and safety on site must also be maintained.

dorma conversion

UK building regulations

In addition to the above, there are also a number of considerations that will need to be made regarding building regulations. If you do not adhere to these, your local authority might not grant you permission to commence work. The five categories that these fall into are structural stability, fire safety, ventilation, staircases and insulation. For more information about these, please visit this link.


In this post we have looked at a number of considerations that need to be made when creating a loft extension. Including:

Are you considering a new loft conversion?

Contact Phoenix Design Management today for more information.

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