Internal alterations

Loft conversions/roof space conversions

Generally all roof space conversions will be subject to the Building Regulations.

Roof space or attic conversions require a building regulation application where the intention is to provide additional accommodation in an existing roof void, which will be used on a regular basis.

Where the intended use is to store lightweight items such as suitcases, general household items, etc., then the provision of loose boarding is generally acceptable. In such cases the access would be expected to be made by ladder through an existing loft hatch in the ceiling of the area below. Remember that ceiling joists are not generally intended to act as a floor and are not designed to support heavy loads.

Therefore it is important to inform us and make an application where the proposed work is anything other than light storage in a roof void.

Most people mistakenly believe that roof space conversions are simple. This is not the case. They should be designed and constructed by people aware of the health and safety aspects affecting building occupiers.

The following must be considered and catered for in roof space conversions:

  • floors, certain walls and doors are required to be structurally able to resist the effects of fire for a specified period. Such provisions are essential to ensure safe means of escape in the event of fire or other emergency
  • the new floor and room layout requires a safe and easy exit route in the event of fire
  • the provision of an automatic smoke or fire detection system to give early warning of any fire is necessary
  • the provision of escape windows is an important aspect of life safety in such conversions
  • the structural adequacy of the “new floor” has to be designed and checked to ensure it can safely support the new loads placed upon it without suffering collapse or excessive deflection
  • ventilation is essential to most room areas to prevent unpleasant living conditions
  • condensation, if not properly catered for, especially in areas where it cannot be seen, can cause problems
  • the walls and roof of the roof space conversion require not only to keep out the rain and effects of damp, but also reduce heat loss
  • if a bathroom or shower room is to be included, additional ventilation measures will be required to prevent excessive condensation, and any waste water drainage will need to be properly formed

Please refer to the Borough of Poole LABC guide to extending your home for further information.

Internal alterations

General repairs and maintenance

Works of repair are not normally covered by the regulations and will not normally require an application to be made. Repair is not specifically defined in the regulations but is usually taken to mean replacement, redecoration, routine maintenance, making good, but not new work or alteration.

Material alterations

An alteration is material is if the work or any part of it, would at any stage result in:

  • a building or controlled service or fitting not complying with a requirement of the regulations where previously it did
  • a building or controlled service or fitting which before the work commenced did not comply with a requirement of the regulations, being more unsatisfactory in relation to such a requirement

In both the above cases, a building regulations application should be made.

Health and safety

The building owner and the builder must ensure that any replacement and/or repair of a building will not cause danger to health and safety. You should ensure that your proposal will not affect:

  • flues from appliances
  • any ventilation openings which serve any appliance
  • ventilation openings to rooms
  • any existing means of escape in case of fire routes

Removal of load bearing walls

Where part of, or the whole of, a load-bearing wall is to be removed, an application should be made. This applies equally to internal walls between rooms and to new openings for new windows and doors in external walls.

Cavity wall insulation

An application is required and will normally be made by the installer of the material.

Page last updated: 02 April 2019
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