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Loft Conversions Question
Staircase to loft
Hi, this is a project that I would like to have done, but probably need a feasibility study and advice.
I'd like to instal a staircase to my loft but do not want to convert the loft as habitable space. My age and health don't allow me to climb ladders, it's as simple as that.
I need access, initially to remove/sort out the stuff currently in the loft. Once that has been carried out I need to lay the insulation and then lay some boarding - this is purely to enable me to move around safely, as I'm not too steady on my feet.
Above my original staircase, there is a walk-in wardrobe in the bedroom. Continuing above the stairs from the brick built wardrobe there is a high ceiling. In effect, if one wall within the wardrobe was removed, it would create a space longer than my current staircase, running directly over it at the required height and same 'going'... the floor of the wardrobe effectively becoming the stair landing.
A/ Would I need planning permission to remove the non structural wall?
B/ Would the loft be considered habitable if I put stairs in?
C/ Would it be considered habitable if I board it out?
D/ If it is considered habitable due to either of the above, how will this affect me?
E/ What would a rough ball-park figure be for the staircase and installation?
I have now contacted HBC re Building Regulations and was advised that I would need permission. They told me that if stairs are installed it automatically becomes 'habitable' and that would mean I would 'have' to board out the entire loft, fit fire door etc etc etc Basically, a complete loft conversion and I can't do that financially, so thanks for your input and I'm sorry to have wasted your time. Apparently, although I cannot access my loft via a ladder, there is no concession made for people such as myself... bureaucracy and red tape and no place for common sense and compassion.
I would check with your local authority to see if you require planning but from what you say you should not, the space would only be used for storage .
You may require building regulation approval but this would only mean issuing a Building notice to the local Building Control Officer. This means they will come & inspect the installation to make sure it complies & then they will issue you with a Completion Certificate to confirm the work passed , you should retain this as you will need it if you sell your house. You should also enquire with Building control if you need any extra fire precautions eg fire doors , heat & smoke alarms
A ball park figure for a simple staircase installation should be around £2,000.00p, get some joiners or builders off this site with good feedback to survey the job & give you a fixed price before any work starts & only pay the final amount once the job has been approved by Building Control
Answered 31st Mar 2013
You may wish to make these alterations to enhance the storage facilities available or to increase the living space of the home. If you plan to make the loft space more accessible or more habitable by, for example, installing a stair to it and improving it by boarding it out and lining the walls / rafters etc, more extensive work is likely to be required and the Building Regulations are likely to apply.
It is recommended that you contact Building Control to discuss your proposal and for further advice and you must also find out whether work you intend to carry out falls within The Party Wall etc. Act 1996.
Boarding-out for storage
In most homes, the existing timber joists that form the "floor" of the loft space ( i.e. the ceiling of the rooms below) will not have been designed to support a significant weight (known as "load"). The joists tie the pitched members of the roof together to prevent them spreading and support the ceiling lining of the rooms below.
An excessive additional load, for example from storage, it may mean that the joists are loaded beyond their design capacity. If you decide to lay flooring boards over the existing joists in the loft space, then this may require a Building Regulations Application to Building Control. Your local Building Control body will be able to advise you on this issue.
Hope this helps
Answered 31st Mar 2013