Your loft conversion questions answered – planning permission

Do you need planning permission for a loft conversion?

If you’re looking at converting your loft space into something special, you’re probably sitting there wondering whether you need planning permission to complete the work, as it can sometimes be confusing what does and doesn’t need planning permission when it comes to house modifications. Extended Ideas are the loft conversion specialists in Derby, Lichfield and Nottingham, meaning we know a thing or two about planning permission for loft conversions, and can outline when you will need planning permission for your loft conversion. We can even help you acquire it, creating a stress-free, smooth process.

When does a loft conversion need planning permission?

If your loft conversion fits into the category of a permitted development, then you won’t need to apply for planning permission. A permitted development is one that adheres to certain regulations outlined here, on the government website. Those for loft conversions can be found in Schedule 2, Part 1, Class B of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

Some examples of the regulations that class an loft conversion as a permitted development include:
– The extension must not exceed the height of the tallest part of the roof.
– Not include verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
– Ensure that the volume allowance does not surpass 40 cubic metres for terraced houses or 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses.

Head here for the full list.

If, however, the plans for your loft conversion do not adhere to these regulations, you will need to apply for planning permission. These regulations apply to houses only, if you live in a flat, maisonette, converted house or a building in a conservation area, you must apply for planning permission. This is very simple and can be done here.

Bear in mind that with any modification to a house, it’s vital that strict safety regulations are followed, ensuring that all building work is done safely and correctly, with or without the need for planning permission. From a design, planning and permitted development point of view, I’d strongly recommend an architect and / or Local planning authority checks before any building work. If you’re unsure about any of this, contact us at Extended Ideas and we’d be happy to guide you through whether your plan for a loft conversion is safe from needing planning permission. We can also advise on building regulations approval.

What about other types of loft conversions?

There are several different types of loft conversions, some of which require planning permission, and some that don’t.

Dormer loft conversions – Dormer loft conversions are box-shaped extensions built on sloped roofs. Due to the fact building a rear dormer extension doesn’t require dramatic changes to the structure of your home, you usually don’t need planning permission to build one. If the dormer extension exceeds the height of the roof, or located on the front of the property, you will.

Velux loft conversions – Velux loft conversions simply add some light into your loft by placing new windows into the roof structure. As this is a very simple alteration to a loft, you won’t need planning permission to build a velux conversion.

Hip-to-gable loft conversions – Hip-to-gable extensions convert a ‘hip’ end of the roof into a ‘gable’ end, creating more space but without altering the structure of the house, meaning that planning permission is usually not necessary to build one, unless the structure exceeds the height of the roof. Please, please check your plans with an expert before going ahead, there are a few complex exceptions that may catch you out!

Mansard loft conversions – Usually found towards the rear of a property, mansard loft conversions turn a sloped roof into a vertical one, creating lots more space but also changing the structure of a roof quite drastically, meaning that they usually require planning permission.

L-shaped loft conversions – An L-shaped loft conversion consists of two dormer builds that join together to create an L shape. Unless it exceeds regulations, an L-shape loft conversion usually doesn’t require planning permission.

Extended Ideas can assist in designing any loft conversion, using specialist 3D designs to visualise exactly what you want. We can also help with planning application queries, too. Contact us to find out more.

What you should know about planning permission for your loft conversion

There are a few things you should know about planning permission if it’s necessary for your loft conversion.

How much does planning permission cost?

The fee for your planning permission depends on your local planning authority, as it can vary depending on location. You can use the Planning Portal fee calculator to get a rough estimate, and this will then get reviewed by your local authority. Derby city council have their own here, as do Nottingham, here.

You can expect to pay around £258 for your planning permission for a loft conversion. However, you will require drawings. Architect fees for this usually start from around £2000 in 2024.

How long does planning permission take?

Planning applications, for all modifications including loft conversions, can take 8 weeks. However, as we write this in 2024, applications are taking longer. Also, if the application requires an environmental impact assessment, it can take a bit longer, up to 16 weeks. If the changes to your house are complex and structurally complicated, it can take a bit longer than the standard 8 weeks. Extended Ideas can advise on the timeframe expected for planning permission applications to be approved.

The planning permission is then valid for three years from the date it’s approved, meaning that the work should be started within this time frame.

Is it easy to get planning permission for a loft conversion?

If you do require planning permission for your loft conversion, you may be wondering whether it’s an easy process or not. It largely depends on your location and the local authority, but in England, 86% of planning applications are approved, and Nottingham itself has a 91% approval rate for planning applications. So, you shouldn’t be worried, especially for a simple modification like a loft conversion or loft extension as long as you get expert advice and guidance.

How much does a loft conversion cost?

Depending on the scope of your loft conversion, the cost will vary, just like any house modification. To give you an impression, One of our clients in Derby spent around £65,000 on a loft conversion. This was built in 2023 and it was small and complex.

Extended Ideas tailor design prices around your project, creating a stress-free experience that starts from £995. We create unique 3D visuals to demonstrate to you what your project will look like, and help apply for the planning permission if necessary. I’m Stuart, a specialist architect, and brings endless creativity and years of expertise to the table, working closely with you to ensure that your loft conversion or extension is exactly what you envision.

So, whether you’re looking to create space for a cosy bedroom, additional storage space or that dream games room, Extended Ideas have all the technical knowhow to make it happen quickly and efficiently, and for a competitive price.

Every project undertaken by Extended Ideas adheres to proper planning permissions and complies with relevant building regulations. Stuart Columbell (BA Hons, Pgd, PgCert) is a member of the Architects Registration Board (ARB), a government-regulated body dedicated to upholding high standards and ensuring safe practices in the field.

Contact us today to start your dream loft conversion journey. We also specialise in any type of house extension.