If you’ve ever found yourself wondering “what planning permission do I need for a loft conversion?”, you’ve come to the right place. Loft conversions are a great way to add some additional living space to your home—one that doesn’t require you to add to the footprint of your house, which can be problematic for some homes. Building outward can be expensive, so to compromise, you can change the existing space at the top of your property into a functioning area.
Like many construction projects, there are typically many questions whose answers are not always easy to find. What planning permission do I need for a loft conversion? Can I have a balcony? Is there a specific height needed for loft conversion? In this post we’re going to address some of the more common questions that crop up regarding this kind of project, beginning with the big one;
Do I Need Planning Permission for a Loft Conversion?
As you might expect, given the variation from one property to the next, whether or not you need planning permission for your loft conversion largely depends on the specific circumstances of your project.
If you are converting your loft for use as a storage space, you will most likely not require planning permission. However, this type of conversion will almost certainly not meet the building regulation standards for a habitable room, which is what most people mean when they talk about loft conversions. So, if you are looking to do a large loft conversion, in other words, turning it into a liveable space, you will probably need planning permission.
The best course of action is to have your loft professionally surveyed to determine if planning permission would be necessary, but as a general rule, if you are not making any structural changes, you shouldn’t need planning permission to go ahead with your project.
How Much is the Average Loft Conversion?
Like planning permission, the price of your loft conversion will vary significantly depending on the scope of the project. This is more complicated than “the bigger the conversion, the higher the cost”—there are other factors that can drive the price up (or bring it down) such as how much structural work needs to be undertaken to make the loft suitable for the conversion.
As a rough guide, you are looking at between €15,000 and €22,000 for a conversion with a single bedroom. If you would like an ensuite installed as well, you can expect to add around €3,000 to that price.
The things that can cause that variation in price include the quality of materials you choose, the finishes, and fixtures as well as any special unique requests, such as a particular type of insulation. It should be noted that these estimates don’t include VAT.
What Planning Permission Do I Need for a Loft Conversion?
As we have mentioned above, there are situations where planning permission is not required at all, however this is rarely the case for a loft conversion that is intended for living in, such as a bedroom. And, while some people choose to convert their attic under the auspices of it being for storage and then use it as a room, we would not recommend that. The regulations put in place regarding habitable rooms are almost entirely to do with the safety of the occupants.
So, what planning permission do you need? There is no specific form of planning permission for loft conversions, with this falling under the same bracket as any other alteration to your property. The general rule of thumb is that if it is small and discrete, there is a good chance you won’t need planning permission for it. This is why you won’t need planning permission to convert your loft for storage, since that will usually not require any substantial alterations.
However, for loft conversions that are intended to be used as a habitable room, you will need planning permission in almost all cases, if for no other reason than your loft will almost certainly need structural changes to meet the regulations for a habitable room. You can find a definition for a habitable room in Ireland on the ISB website.
Can I Convert the Loft Myself?
For the more DIY-inclined people out there, you might be asking if you can do your own loft conversion. Legally speaking, there is no requirement to have a particular specialist or someone with a certain set of qualifications or certifications to carry out the work. However, given the nature of what is being done, the work will need to be inspected—often at multiple stages throughout the project—to ensure that everything meets building regulations. Also, if the property is a terraced or semi-detached house, the adjoining neighbours of the house will need to be notified of the construction plans.
DIY loft conversions are technically okay to do but, practically speaking, if you don’t have enough experience in the trade—particularly regarding building regulations—you might find that any money saved will feel like scant reward for the headaches and stress of it all!
Loft Conversion Tips
Converting a loft may not be as big a project as a full house extension, but it is not small by any means. For this reason, it is extremely important that proper thought and planning goes into a loft conversion—not just from the construction side, but from the homeowner as well.
Think of it like this; if you are having a kitchen extension added or a sunroom extension built, you know a lot about your extension before you even start. With a loft conversion, there are many purposes that space could be put to, so carefully consider what you want to do with it before you settle on a style or layout.
Beyond that, the best advice we can give is our own; always seek professional advice about your prospective loft conversion, so you can build your dream project, taking into account any physical and financial limitations.
Loft Conversion Stairs
Stairs are often overlooked in the early stages of planning a loft conversion. Homeowners are so taken with the idea of the additional space they are going to create that they forget to factor in how they’re going to get up there!
There are plenty of compact options for loft staircases—after all, a lack of space for stairs is a common problem with loft conversions—but be sure to consider what you’re planning on doing with your converted loft when choosing your stairs. For example, narrow spiral staircases make it incredibly difficult to get larger items up there, and basically impossible to get the likes of a couch into the loft.
To some extent you will be limited by the size and shape of your house, but knowledge is power. You don’t want to go ordering an expensive three-seater couch halfway through the conversion process, only to find you can’t get it into the loft when it’s complete.
Loft Conversion Ireland
Don’t fret over questions like “what planning permission do I need for a loft conversion”, we have experts on hand who can take you through the process. We can provide you with the highest quality loft conversions Cork has to offer.
AD Services Building Contractors are a construction company with over 20 years of experience satisfying clients across Ireland. We specialise in a wide range of construction projects, whether it is a simple bathroom renovation or a full house extension, and we are happy to work with old and new builds alike.
If you would like more information on loft conversion planning permission, or would like a quote for your loft conversion, give us a call or contact us through the website today!