Loft and AtticBuildify Ltd
The phrases ‘loft’ and ‘attic’ are sometimes interchanged to describe a vast void beneath, or partly under, a roof that is accessible but above the main occupied sections.
According to certain definitions, the term ‘attic’ refers to the full storey of a building beneath the roof, whereas the phrase ‘loft’ refers to one or more rooms or areas beneath the roof, but not the entire level.
The following are the differences between a loft room and an attic room, according to the government:
- A fixed staircase leads to a loft room, which has the entire loft area converted to a living space, including the sloped eaves if the house has a pitched roof.
- The eaves section of the loft has been squared off to create a box room in the centre of an attic room, which is accessed by a fixed staircase.
In classical architecture, the term attic refers to the low ornamental columns that commonly appear in the upper floor of a structure above the main façade. It was later used to refer to any ornate facade above a building’s main story, as well as the space encompassed by that facade.
The word ‘loft’ is supposed to have originated from the Old Norse word ‘lopt,’ which means upper chamber, upper region, or sky, and is related to the Old High German word ‘luft,’ which means air.
Loft conversions have been estimated to improve the value of a home by up to 20-25% while also providing up to 30% extra living space. This valuable property represents a good development opportunity and, in most cases, a viable option to relocating.
Loft conversions are classified into several categories.
Loft conversions come in a variety of styles, including Dormer, Velux, Gable End, and Mansard.
A Dormer is a roof structure with a window that juts out from the roof, rather than functioning within the pitch like a Velux window. Because of the extra headroom they provide, dormer loft conversions are among the most popular.
Velux loft conversions take their name from the brand of roof window, and work with the pitch of the roof to simply add skylights rather than making drastic changes to the exterior of the house or the pitch of the roof. These are also popular since they rarely require planning permission and can often be completed in less time than other loft conversion due to the minimal changes to the roof.
Gable End loft conversions alter the roof’s design to create vertical walls on one or both ends of the structure. When compared to Velux and Dormer loft conversions, these provide significantly greater headroom and usable floorspace, but they take longer to construct and are usually more expensive due to the heavy work involved.
Mansard loft conversions are the most drastic, but they also add the greatest room to a home. The roof pitch is changed to make a roof that points out at 72 degrees or greater, giving the roof three walls instead of two. This type of loft conversion frequently necessitates planning permission.
To turn a loft into livable space, you’ll need to get approval from the building regulations. The floor will be physically sound, the roof will be stable, the stairs will be appropriately planned, there will be reasonable sound insulation, and there will be a safe exit in the event of a fire.
Planning permission for Loft Conversion
Loft conversions are frequently possible as Permitted Developments, which do not require planning permission. If the proposals do not fall within these parameters, however, planning clearance will be necessary. If the house is in a conservation area or is a listed building, planning clearance may be required.
Permitted development rules differ from one municipality to the next, but in general, loft conversions completed as permitted projects must:
- In a terraced property, it must be no more than 40 cubic metres, and in a detached or semi-detached house, it must be no more than 50 cubic metres.
- Extend no further than the roof’s present plane.
- Be constructed with materials that are visually similar to those used in the existing home.
- There are no verandas, balconies, or raised platforms on the property.
- Set the distance back as far as possible.
- The old house’s outside face should not be overhandled.
By issuing article 4 directions, some local governments remove approved development rights.
Article 4 direction
In most cases, it is up to a local planning body to decide whether or not to accept a development. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 in England and Wales, on the other hand, allows the central government to approve certain types of developments known as permitted developments. Permitted developments do not require local planning authority approval because the Order grants permission. Permitted developments usually refer to small alterations to existing structures.
Local planning authorities, on the other hand, can issue an article 4 direction to withdraw approved development rights in order to conserve the character of a certain region. When the character of a recognised important region is threatened by a certain form of development, article 4 directions are typically employed. One or more properties, as well as one or more types of development, may be covered by an article 4 directive.
The most common use of Article 4 directions is to revoke approved development rights in conservation areas. They’re typically utilised in this context to revoke approved construction rights for developments that front a’relevant location,’ which might include things like enlarging, improving, or remodelling a home, changing a gate, painting a façade, or installing satellite dishes. A highway, waterway, or open area is referred to as a’relevant location.’ These directions, as well as those used to revoke permitted development rights affecting listed buildings (such as development in the curtilage of a listed building, which is governed by the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990), do not require the secretary of state’s approval.
Directions relating to developments in conservation areas that do not front a relevant location, as well as directions withdrawing authorised development rights affecting structures that are not in a conservation area and do not affect listed buildings, must be approved by the secretary of state (typically these directions are used to restrict temporary developments on a site). Within 28 days, the Secretary of State can alter or cancel the order.
An article 4 directive does not rule out the possibility of a certain form of development; it just states that it is not permissible without planning authorization.
Permitted development rights should not be revoked unless there is a compelling reason to do so, and certain projects (such as work by statutory undertakers) are exempt. ‘The use of Article 4 directions to remove national permitted development rights should be limited to situations where this is necessary to protect local amenity or the wellbeing of the area (this could include the use of Article 4 directions to require planning permission for the demolition of local facilities),’ according to the National Planning Policy Framework. And that, when it comes to communications infrastructure, local planning authorities should not “…impose blanket Article 4 instructions over a large region or a broad range of telecoms development…”
You can inquire with the local planning authority to see if a property is affected by an article 4 direction.
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 took effect in May 2013, modifying permitted development privileges. These changes include making it easier to switch between different use classes and allowing greater extensions to both home and commercial properties. As a result, local governments have enacted article 4 directives, which aim to limit the conversion of office space to residential space. It remains to be seen if the Secretary of State will uphold these orders.
NB On 14 October 2013, in response to a question from Zac Goldsmith about powers to combat the proliferation of betting shops in a local area, Brandon Lewis, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, stated: ‘Local planning authorities can issue a ‘Article 4′ direction, in consultation with the local community, which removes permitted development rights and ensures that where there is a change of use, a planning application is submitted.’
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