Frequently Asked Questions when considering a Loft Conversion

This guide has been put together for those people who are who want to convert their loft into extra living space for themselves and their family.

You'll find step-by-step guidance for starting a loft conversion and an entire section of frequently asked questions on the subject. At the end of the guide, you'll find a section listing a handful of government websites that provide help and advice for planning loft conversions.

How to plan a loft conversion 

Measure up: Before you start, find out how big your loft space actually is. Measure its length and width. Measure the height of the ceiling, in particular. It should be no less than 2.3 metres in order to give adequate headroom. Bear in mind that the steeper the pitch of the roof, the more suitable it is for conversion.

Dormer windows can add headroom and can span a fair part of the roof. If you are short on headroom, it is worth bearing this in mind. Refer to the FAQ below for more help on deciding the configuration of the conversion.

Call in the professionals: Get advice from an architect or a builder on how the loft conversion should be configured. Using an architect to draw up the plans will save you a lot of trouble and money in the long run.

Prepare the paperwork: As well as your planning application form, you will have to submit other paperwork. Planning Application Requirements and Local Planning Application Requirements forms will need to be submitted, giving more information about your plans and the property in which you live. You may also have to submit an application to building control to make sure that your plans comply with building regulations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does 'designated land' mean and will it affect plans for a loft conversion?

Designated land means conservation areas, national parks and the broads, World Heritage sites and areas of outstanding natural beauty. Houses that are built on designated land are not allowed to have roof extensions.

What are the volume allowances for additional roof space to be added when converting a loft? 

Additional roof space such as dormer windows must not exceed the following allowances:

  • 40 cubic metres for terraced houses.
  • 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses.

Is there a height limit for a loft conversion?

Yes, no part of the loft conversion can be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.

My house is situated on a main road, will this affect my plans for a loft conversion?

If the principal elevation of your house fronts a highway, an extension that exceeds the plane of the existing roof slope is not allowed.

Is it possible to have a balcony installed?

No. Balconies, veranda's and raised platforms are not allowed in the planning regulations.

Is there a limit on the materials I can use?

The materials you use to construct the loft conversion must be in keeping with the materials used to originally build the house.

Further reading

For more information on loft conversions, take a look at the following government websites:

Planning Portal

This government website is packed with information on planning advice and facts on all manner of projects, including loft conversions. Their loft conversion mini-guide lays down the ground rules for this type of project in an easy-to-understand manner.

Ealing Borough Council

Ealing's local council website has a comprehensive planning section that takes your through the planning process step-by-step. You can find expert guidance on the pre-planning stage and how to make an online planning application.

We hope you've found this guide to be useful when planning your loft conversion. We wish you the best with your project.