It is generally realised that a form of permission is required for building work or alterations of properties. However, it may not always be clear how the planning and building regulations approval regimes differ.
Building regulations are set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health & safety for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.
Planning permission seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment.
For many types of building work, separate permission under both regimes (separate processes) will be required. For other building work, such as internal alterations, buildings regulations approval will probably be needed, but planning permission may not be.
The Legal History Of Planning Permission For Roof Lifts & Lofts:
In 2015 General Permitted Development (GPDO) came into force and revoked The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development), which was the previous version of the legislation. Within this legislation was the “permitted development right”, which lofts are covered under, but not roof lifts. These development rights allow you to modify your building within a specific set of perimeters without the need for planning permission. Roof Lifts on 99.9% of occasions go outside of these parameters, and therefore need planning permission.
What does this mean for your roof lift?
As a roof lift on nearly all occasions, lifts the ridge height (this is the highest point or peak of the roof), then this by default requires planning permission from your local authority. On most occasions this is usually a straightforward process if handled correctly, but the following condition will help or hinder your planning progress:
- If you live in a conservation area and all the buildings are very similar, then this will usually make a lift difficult to get planning permission for, but certainly not impossible.
- If you live on a hill, and therefore the roof line across the nearby buildings vary, then this helps the planning process for a roof lift.
- Some authorities also consider how close your property is to other neighbouring properties.
- If you wish to add front (highway) facing dormers as part of the roof lift, this can add to the complication of getting planning permission, but again we have seen lots of these passed with projects we have managed.
- Rear and most side dormers normally fall within permitted development criteria, so this usually does not delay and stop you getting planning permission.
So what does that really mean, in English?
By default all roof lifts will need planning permission, but don’t worry, 99% of our applications go through the first time. We work as a team, and we have a huge amount of experience submitting planning permissions for roof lifts and specialist loft conversions, so your in good hands with TVM Lofts.
What are the exceptions?
It’s almost impossible to list all of the exceptions to the above, as each local authority is different, and many have conservation areas that have stricter rules applied. Our advice is, call us and we can guide you for your specific information for your roof lift project.
As you have already read, building regulations have to be applied to all alterations to a building, but which ones apply to a roof raise or roof lift. That’s easy, they all do; from the base construction, to the electrical work, through to the insulation level and fire safety, they all apply to a all roof lifts and loft conversion just the same.
It would be silly of me to list all of the core regulations here, so here is a quick summary of the big ones, not always the most obvious:
1) Construction – Any change to the building, must comply with very strict regulations as to what can be done and how. The construction of a dormer loft conversion, must be made to a minimum standard, such as the rafters being double bolted and so on. All of this means that the property is sturdy and able to take the weight and strains it could be out under from you and the great British weather.
2) Fire Doors – I don’t have to explain why this is here, but it does ensure that you are able to escape the building, safely and with minimal risk to you and your family. Different rules apply to different types of buildings, such as bungalows and houses. The main difference is escaping from a window above first floor level is not deemed suitable, so internal fire doors are needed.
3) Floor & beams – It is unlikely that the existing ceiling joists will be adequate to support the loft conversions weight. To overcome this new floor joists are needed, and these must be supported correctly either via supporting walls or steel beams.
4) Sound Insulation – This is required between habitable rooms. With a terraced or semi-detached house, the building control body may also ask for sound insulation between the converted loft and the neighbours loft to be improved.
The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. TVM Lofts have years of experience dealing with the regulations, and work closely with the local authority and supporting bodies to ensure our loft conversions are 100% within the regulations. On almost every occasion, the roof space when we have finished is more structurally capable than when we started…