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Frequently Asked Questions
Is my loft convertible?
Generally speaking if you can stand up in your loft and still have some room above your head to the highest point about 7 foot, a conversion can be carried out.
What kind of conversion can I have?
Dormer: creates extra space for the stairs or room. Gives additional space for bath or shower room.
Velux: For smaller conversions where there is already adequate headroom.
Do I need building regulations or planning?
In all cases Building Regulation approval is required, but planning, which relates to the exterior of your home, in most cases does not.
What are the Building Regulations?
The Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings, primarily to ensure the safety and health for people in or around those buildings, but also for energy conservation and access to and about buildings.
Why comply with the Building Regulations?
It’s important to understand building regulations as you are responsible for making sure that the work complies with them if you are carrying out building work personally.
If you are employing a builder, the responsibility will usually be theirs – but you should confirm this at the beginning. Also bear in mind that if you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations.
Remember that complying with Building Regulations is a separate matter from getting planning permission for your work
What building work should comply with Building Regulations?
The following types of project amount to ‘Building Work’ as defined in Regulation 3 of the Building Regulations:
the erection or extension of a building
the installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations
an alteration project involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the ongoing compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings
the insertion of insulation into a cavity wall
the underpinning of the foundations of a building
If you are planning to carry out such work, then it should comply with the Building Regulations.
The works themselves should meet the relevant technical requirements in the Building Regulations and they should not make other fabric, services and fittings less compliant than they previously were – or dangerous. For example, if you replace external windows or doors the building should comply to at least the same degree as it did before or, where it exceeded the standards, not be reduced below the standards in relation to:
means of escape from fire
air supply for combustion appliances and their flues
Also, in this example, the replacement window / door should also fully satisfy the requirements for energy conservation and ventilation for health
The Building Regulations may also apply to certain changes of use of an existing building. This is because the change of use may result in the building as a whole no longer complying with the requirements which will apply to its new type of use, and so having to be upgraded to meet additional requirements specified in the regulations for which building work may also be require.
What do the regulations cover?
The requirements with which building work should comply are contained in Schedule 1 to the Building Regulations and are grouped under the fourteen ‘parts’ below:
Part A – Structure
Part B – Fire safety
Part C – Site preparation and resistance to moisture
Part D – Toxic substances
Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound
Part F – Ventilation
Part G – Hygiene
Part H – Drainage and waste disposal
Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
Part K – Protection from falling, collision and impact
Part L – Conservation of fuel and power
Part M – Access to and use of buildings
Part N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning
Part P – Electrical safety
They set out the broad objectives or functions which the individual aspects of the building design and construction should set out to achieve. They are therefore often referred to as ‘functional requirements’ and are expressed in terms of what is ‘reasonable’, ‘adequate’, or ‘appropriate’. Not all the functional requirements may apply to your building work, but all those which do apply should be complied with as part of the overall process of complying with the Building Regulations.
Government publishes guidance on ways of meeting these requirements in what are known as Approved Documents. The guidance in these documents does not have to be followed if you wish to satisfy the requirements in some other way, but it will be taken into account when your building control service is considering whether your plans of proposed work, or work in progress, are to be approved or not.
The following link will let you enter details of where you live and then take you to your local authority website where you can find out more.
How do I get building regulations approval and planning consent?
Following our initial survey, we will inform you of the planning relevant to your property. Once an order has been placed Building Regulations approval and planning, if required, will be dealt with by Attic Designs. We will deal with all correspondence to the council.
What do I need to do?
In short – nothing. Everything will be dealt with on your behalf by Attic Designs.
Do I need to organise other trades like plumbers and electricians?
Attic Designs employ all trades to take your conversion from initial design through to completion.
How long does a conversion take?
Obviously it depends on the type of conversion required, but as a guide 3 to 4 weeks would see the conversion completed.
Will there be much disruption?
Attic Designs access the loft via the scaffolding on the outside of the property and builds the conversion to a near finished stage. At this point our workmen install the new staircase and the loft is plastered and the final details added. Generally 2 to 3 weeks access via the scaffolding and the last week we will need to access the conversion via the existing stairs / hallway.
Can I view any lofts completed?
We offer an extensive list of show houses to view to confirm our professional build quality.
How much will it cost?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer to this question, because will design each loft to your specified requirements. A survey needs to be carried out to determine all the relevant factors.
What areas do you cover?
Most areas are covered, but Exeter, East Devon, Mid Devon, Teignbridge and parts of Somerset are the areas we tend to specialise in.
Will you sub-contract the work out to people outside of you organization?
No, all our carpenters are full time employees of attic designs. Only specialist skills such as electrical work is carried out by fully insured firms that meet our requirements.
Are the modern properties with truss roofs looks like a big W of timber) able to be converted?
Generally speaking as long as there is sufficient height then a conversion is possible.
Part N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning