Converting You Loft – Some Definitions & Information

To accompany my weekly blogs on converting your loft I enclosed some definitions of commonly used terms.

Building Regulations

Building Regulations are the minimum standards of design, construction, and safety that must be achieved when converting your loft. Building Regulations aim to create a safe, healthy and secure space. All loft conversions which create new habitable space must be compliant with building regulations.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is the formal approval of your Local Authority for the proposed alterations to the exterior of your property. Whether you need planning permission for your proposed loft conversion will depend upon the location, type, and status of your home and the works you wish to carry out. If you need planning permission for your loft conversion proposals you must get this before you start work.

Permitted Development rights

Permitted Development rights allow you to carry out certain building works without planning approval.

Certificate of Lawfulness

A Certificate of Lawfulness is confirmation that you do not need planning permission for the proposed works and that you can carry them out under Permitted Development rights.

Flats & Maisonettes

If you live in a flat or a maisonette you do not have Permitted Development rights and you will need to apply for planning approval to convert your loft. As a leaseholder, you should check you own the loft space (the details of ownership should be on your deeds). You will also need to obtain consent to the works from the freeholder of your building.

Designated Areas

These include conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), The Broads, National Parks & Word Heritage Sites. You have restricted or no Permitted Development rights in designated areas and will have to apply for planning approval to convert your loft.

Structural elements

Some definitions for structural elements found in typical lofts

Bracing – sloping timbers that support the purlins
Ceiling joists – horizontal timbers that hold up the plaster ceiling in the rooms below your loft space. They are designed for a ceiling and are not strong enough for a new floor
Floor joists – Horizontal timbers that support the floor. New floor joists are always required when converting a loft
Gable or gable-end – The vertical triangular upper part of a wall at the end of a ridged roof
Hip – The peaked part of the roof where two roof slopes meet. A hipped-end is typically found at the side of 1930s semi-detached houses
Hip beam – A sloping structural timber, which runs in line with the junction of the two roofs (the Hip) and that supports the roof load
β€˜Hip to gable’ – Where a hipped-end is converted to gable-end as part of a loft conversion
Purlins – large often square horizontal timbers that are at right angles to the rafters and that support them in the middle
Rafters – sloping timbers that support the tiles or slates on your roof
Ridge – The highest point of your loft
Ridge beam – A thin horizontal timber at the highest point of the loft. Pairs of rafters join at the ridge beam
Skeiling – The inside of a sloping ceiling, the finished underside of the rafters
Trusses – Structural elements running from the front to the back of loft that hold up the roof
Valley – A depression where two roof slopes meet creating a valley

For details of my other loft blogs please check out my website:

Please note this is a guide and is not a definitive source of legal information.

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