Regulations on Loft Conversions Govern Their Permitted Development

loft regulation

Any construction work that is carried out in your home or property has to be done as per the local regulations in force in your area of residence. Building regulations are meant as a protection for a homeowner and for the general public so that any work carried out does not endanger the safety and health of the people residing in them or people around who are affected by such construction. These regulations will apply to buildings and will definitely come into play if you are planning a loft conversion.

Regulations on loft conversions will concern the methods of construction and govern the quality of material used in such work. For any loft conversion, it may become necessary for you to submit a list of drawings and specifications for the conversion, and have your site inspected before any permission is granted for carrying out the work. Assessments will be carried out by the concerned authorities to ensure that all the proposed work is well within the building regulations, and site inspectors will also carry out checks during and after construction to ensure that all regulations have been complied with.

Building regulations seek to ensure that all policies presently governed by the law in these statutory instruments are followed, and all building work requires building regulations approval and compliance. Loft conversions are considered as a major work of construction that is carried out within a home, and therefore have to follow any regulations on loft conversions that may be in force during the time the approval and construction take place. Most such approval and inspections have to be obtained from local councils, who will also have the work inspected by locally approved inspectors.

Loft conversions can add value to your property and become habitable rooms that do require an approved building regulation certificate if you do plan to sell it as an additional room at a later stage. Conversions to lofts in two storey homes need to have their stairways protected by fire resistant doors, while all partitions need to be also equally fire resistant. A means of escape must be provided with partitions in case the ground level plan has an open arrangement. Existing doors can be retained if they are properly protected by fireproof coatings. Glass doors, if provided need to have glass that is fire resistant.

As an additional means of safety, most loft conversions require the provision of smoke alarms as part of the building regulations that are in place for loft conversions. Regulations may also insist on the provision of sprinkler systems to act as an additional measure of safety. Regulations will also define the headroom required in converted lofts and the amount of natural ventilation and light that is required. A proper means of exit and access is required, and additional rules may come into place when you are planning plumbing connections in the lift.

Following the regulations will ensure that your lift conversion is not a planning breach that can attract penalties and action by the authorities. Insurance companies will insist on certificates of having followed building regulations for any home insurance in future.

Loft Conversions Fire And Safety Requirements

Authorities normally impose strict regulations related to fire and safety when it comes to loft conversions. Failure to adhere to these rules and regulations not only puts lives at risks but also potentially attracting fines from the authorities. Homeowners looking to build lofts need to consider the positioning of smoke alarms, design, and incorporation of escape routes, separation of the loft conversion, and installation of fire exits.
Below is a guide on the standards and regulations that govern loft conversions:

Fire Separation Of Loft Conversion

Regulations require that the loft conversion be well separated from the other part of the house by using fire-resistant construction materials. Loft compartmentalisation from the rest of the house can be achieved by using floors, walls, and beams that are fire resistant. This can also be done using fire-proof plasterboard and fire-proof finishes that are at least 12.5mm thick. Steel beams that are finished with an anti-flame spread top coat and intumescent paint also come in handy in the separation of the loft form the main house.

Smoke And Fire Alarms

Regulations make it a requirement that each loft conversion is fitted with smoke detectors. These regulations further require that the smoke sensors be wired straight to the mains to eliminate the issue of dysfunctional batteries. It is also necessary that at least a single alarm be fitted in every loft conversion of a house.
These smoke alarms are supposed to be explicitly fitted on circulation spaces such as landings and hallways situated within 7.5m of an inhabitable room. It is also essential to have every alarm unit at least 30cm from light fittings and a safe distance from the walls. What’s more, smoke alarms need to be placed away from cooking areas and radiators.

Escape Paths

Building regulations require homeowners to design and create an escape route from the loft conversion down to the ground floor exit. The protected escape path must also have a fire protection mechanism for not less than thirty minutes. Building an escape path is achieved by building a staircase that starts from the front door and terminates at the entrance the loft conversion, provided that the walls of the staircase are fir-proof.

Loft Conversion Fire Door

The recent changes in the loft conversions fire and safety regulations involve the replacement of loft conversion doors with specific fire doors. These regulations require that all doors facing the stipulated escape path from the loft be fire resistant up to at least twenty minutes. It is essential that fire doors are installed even if the loft conversion is fitted with an escape window.

Loft Stairs

The loft stairway should be built right from the fire door and should be at least thirty minutes fire resistant in the event of a fire. Loft conversions fire and safety regulations specify that the fire door should be positioned at the bottom of the loft stairs whenever the loft stairs are situated away from the pre-existing staircase.

Escape Windows

Instead of installing the conventional escape windows, there are new types of escape windows in the market that serve the same purpose as the conventional ones without costing much. Loft conversions are supposed to be fitted with escape windows measuring about 450mm in height and 450mm in width and should be made of fire-resistant material.

loft windows

Conclusion

When building a loft conversion, it is important that you observe the regulations put in place lest you risk lives. Before you can start building, ensure that you visit the building control officers of your area for proper guidance.