UK Building Regulations For Loft Conversions

by Craig Ellyard - Date: 2007-02-02 - Word Count: 404 Share This!

If you are planning a loft conversion then you need to know about the building regulations. Nothing to do with planning permission, the building regulations are the minimum allowed standards of construction and design.

These standards must be adhered to when building a loft conversion and failure to meet them will result in your local building control office refusing permission for the work to be carried out.

The building regulations apply to all building work but, for loft conversions, they fall into five main categories:

Structural Stability

For anything other than light storage solutions you will need to install new ceiling joists and will more than likely have to double them up.

That new room in the loft is going to have to carry some serious weight and the loft conversion building regulations insist that joists and load-bearing walls are strong enough to support that extra weight, this will almost certainly mean that new steel beams will be required to support those new joists.

Fire Safety

It goes without saying that the loft conversion building regulations on this point are very strict and rightly so.

Loft floors and walls must be able to resist fire for thirty minutes and glazed door panels must be made of fire-resisting glass.

Escape from the loft in the event of fire must be addressed with each new room in the loft having an escape window that is at least 450mm x 450mm.

Mains operated smoke alarms, linked to others in the property, must also be installed.


New loft conversions need rapid and background ventilation. Rapid ventilation simply means a window which is equivalent to 1/20th of the floor area.

The new roof void needs to be ventilated to prevent condensation and you may also need to ventilate at the eaves level and ridge.

There must also be a minimum air space of 50mm between the roof covering and the insulation though this may not be necessary in older houses with no roofing felt.


Ladder access is not acceptable for a loft conversion were the new room is an habitable one. Again the fire regulations apply and the staircase must be enclosed with fitted fire doors also necessary in most cases


The loft conversion building regulations insist that your loft, including new internal walls, must be fully insulated.

Though they sound complicated any professional architect or builder will be able to guide you through the red-tape when you make your building regulations application.

If in any doubt contact the building control department of your local council.

Related Tags: building regulations, loft conversion, loft, planning permission

Craig Ellyard is a staff writer for and has written extensively on the rules and regulations surrounding loft conversions. The loft conversion UK website is an independent resource for anyone planning a loft conversion with information on DIY, design and building regulations

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