Do I need planning permission for a loft conversion?

A loft conversion can be a great way to add extra living space to your home without having to move to a larger property. Additionally, a loft conversion can add value to your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers. However, before you start any work on converting your loft space, it’s important to understand whether or not you will need planning permission.

In general, planning permission is not required for a loft conversion if the work is considered to be permitted development, as long as it adheres to certain limits and conditions that are outlined in Schedule 2, Part 1, Class B of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.  Dormer window additions and roof lights can require planning permission depending on the details.

Permitted development is a set of guidelines established by the government that outlines what types of home improvements can be made without the need for additional planning permission. These guidelines typically include restrictions on the size and scale of the work, as well as requirements for the materials used and the overall impact on the surrounding area.

For a loft conversion to be considered permitted development, any alterations to the roof must:

  • Not exceed the volume allowance of 40 cubic meters of additional space for terraced houses, or 50 cubic meters for detached and semi-detached houses. Any previous roof space additions must be included within this volume allowance. Although you may not have created additional space a previous owner may have done so.
  • Not have any dormers or extensions on the roof plane of the principal (generally the front) elevation facing the road.
  • Not contain any extension higher than the highest part of the roof
  • Be constructed with materials similar in appearance to the existing house.
  • Not including verandas, balconies or raised platforms
  • Have obscure-glazed side facing windows for any opening 1.7m above the floor
  • Roof extensions to be set back at least 20cm from the eaves, as measured along the roof plane (excluding hip to gable).
  • Not be in a conservation area, area of outstanding natural beauty, within a National Park, a World Heritage Site, the Broads etc.
  • Any alteration such as a roof light would protrude more than 0.15 metres beyond the plane of the slope of the original roof when measured from the perpendicular with the external surface of the original roof;

The limits and conditions for loft conversion permitted development above only apply to houses. Planning permission will have to be sought if you live in any of the following:

  • Flats
  • Maisonettes
  • Converted houses
  • Houses created through the permitted development right to change use
  • Other non-dwelling buildings
  • Homes in areas where there may be a planning condition or other restriction that limits permitted development rights

If your proposed loft conversion does not meet the requirements for permitted development, you will typically need to apply for planning permission. Applying for loft conversion planning permission can be done online no matter where you like in the UK.

If you live in a conservation area, you will likely need to apply for planning permission for a loft conversion. This is because conservation areas are designated by local authorities to protect and preserve the character and appearance of the area, and any changes to the exterior of a building in a conservation area may require permission. If you live in a listed building, you will also need to apply for listed building consent in addition to planning permission.

In order to determine whether planning permission is required for your loft conversion, you will need to check the specific regulations that apply to your property. This can usually be done by visiting your local council’s website, or by contacting them directly.

With any loft conversion, whether it falls under permitted development or not, you will also have to follow strict building regulations and would require building regulation consent. Building regulations set out the minimum standards for health and safety, and energy efficiency in new builds and extensions. This means that your loft conversion will have to comply with certain standards, such as having adequate fire protection, ventilation, and insulation.

Overall, it is important to check whether planning permission is required for your loft conversion. Even if the work is considered to be permitted development, it is always best to check with your local council to confirm whether planning permission is necessary for your specific project. And it’s important to hire a professional to design and construct the loft conversion to ensure it meets all the requirements.

Related Content

For simple proposals you’re unlikely to need a Town Planning Consultant, however if this all seems confusing CONTACT US to see if we can help guide you through the process.

The government has set out guidance explaining the rules on permitted development for householders, what these mean and how they should be applied in particular sets of circumstances: Permitted development rights for householders: technical guidance.

Our Permitted Development & Use Class eBook helps you understand the type of work that typically requires planning permission and which processes you’ll likely have to go through.

We have lots more information for you in our series of eBooks and Practical Guides which cover everything from the very basics of town planning to application processes and what developers need to consider.

do you need planning permission for a loft conversion