People are constantly looking for creative ways to expand their living space and increase the value of their home. Unsurprisingly, one of the most popular ways to do this is by converting the loft into a usable space. Whether you need to add a new bedroom in time for a new arrival, or you want to add a private office space away from the rest of the house, making the most of the space in the rafters is an appealing choice.
It turns out, you can't just pop a double bed, a desk and a lamp into your loft and call it a day. As with most major renovations, there are a few legal hoops that you have to jump through before you can declare your loft conversion as a safe and functional room. You've probably seen properties for sale with the elusive promise of a 'potential fourth bedroom subject to regulations'. This just means that there's a loft that could be turned into a bedroom, so long as it complies with building regulations.
But what are these building regulations and what do you need to do to comply with them? Let's find out.
General Loft Conversion Regulations
Whether you're planning to turn your loft into a bedroom or an attic, there are some fundamental building regulations that your conversion needs to comply with. Most of these are to do with the stability and safety of the loft itself and set out the minimum requirements for things such as:
- The structural integrity of the loft floor and ceiling
- The installation of a suitable stairway access
- Any changes you plan to make to the outside of your home
- The additional fire escape route
- The insulation required in the floor and walls
Specific Bedroom Regulations
Once you've made sure that your loft conversion complies with the various regulations listed above, you can turn your attention to the more specific, additional regulations that you must adhere to if you want to use the finished space as a bedroom. That's right, there's an extra layer of regulations in place to make sure that the room can be used as a bedroom safely. These regulations include:
- Headroom - There needs to be sufficient room for someone to get in and out of the bed without hitting their head. This might mean that you have to make alterations to the pitch or overall height of the room. Bear in mind that the headroom required along your allocated fire escape route needs to be a minimum of 2 metres.
- Insulation - When it comes to insulation for a loft conversion bedroom, there needs to be 50mm of insulation along the roof as well as sufficient insulation in the floors and walls. You should consider the additional insulation required when you're making your headroom calculations.
- Fire and safety - The requirements for fire safety vary greatly depending on the nature of your loft conversion. As such, it's important that you contact your local authority or building control specialist to ensure that your loft bedroom conversion complies. In general, taller buildings have stricter fire requirements for obvious reasons. Descending from a third or fourth storey in an emergency is going to be infinitely harder than the first or second.
- A proper loft staircase - Unlike your usual lofts that you maybe pop into once or twice a year, loft bedroom conversions require a suitable, sturdy staircase. Typical aluminium or concertina loft ladders are not appropriate for use in this scenario. Instead, you should opt for a loft staircase. These staircases offer permanent access to your loft, boast a traditional wood look, and will help you create a safe loft conversion.
- A fire safety door - This door should be able to open fully allowing easy access in and out of the new loft bedroom. Doors along the proposed fire escape route also need to be replaced/upgraded to fire doors. This helps to control the spread of a fire, should the worst occur.
Does Boarding a Loft Add Value?
If you decide to do a loft conversion that complies with the necessary building regulations, it can definitely add value to your home. If your loft conversion also applies to the specific bedroom guidelines, you can safely upgrade your housing listing from a 3 bedroom property to a 4 bedroom property! This can make your home much more appealing to potential buyers when/if you decide to sell it.
Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer a wide range of loft staircases, designed to help you get your loft conversion underway. If you're unsure which loft staircase is right for you, why not drop us an email? email@example.com.