FULL PLANS BUILDING REGULATIONS APPROVAL
Meole Crescent, Shrewsbury, Shropshire.
Full Plans Building Regulations Approval.
Following a successful planning application at Meole Crescent, En-Plan: Planning & Architecture were tasked with preparing and submitting a full plans building regulations application for the approved loft conversion and rear extension.
Meole Brace is a suburb and electoral ward located in the town of Shrewsbury, which is the county town of Shropshire, England. It is situated approximately 1.5 miles southwest of Shrewsbury's town center.
Meole Brace is a residential area that offers a mix of housing types, including detached houses, semi-detached houses, and apartments. It has a range of amenities and services, including shops, schools, medical facilities, and recreational spaces. The suburb is well-connected to the rest of Shrewsbury by road and public transportation. One notable feature in Meole Brace is the Meole Brace Retail Park, which offers a variety of retail outlets and services. It is a popular shopping destination for residents and visitors alike.
The area also benefits from proximity to natural areas, including the Rea Brook and the nearby Shropshire countryside, providing opportunities for outdoor activities and leisure pursuits.
The plans were prepared and submitted to Approved Inspectors in Shrewsbury where approval was duly granted. The applicants are now obtaining quotes for the work and En-Plan: Planning & Architecture will provide continuing support where required.
What are the common problems when constructinga loft conversion?
When undergoing a loft conversion, several common building problems can arise. These can vary depending on the specific characteristics of the property and the scope of the conversion. Here are some typical challenges that may be encountered:
Structural Considerations: One of the main challenges in a loft conversion is ensuring the existing structure can support the additional weight. It may be necessary to reinforce the floor joists, add extra beams or supports, or make modifications to the load-bearing walls. An assessment by a structural engineer is often required to determine the feasibility and necessary modifications.
Headroom and Ceiling Height: Loft spaces typically have limited headroom, so achieving adequate ceiling height can be a challenge. It may be necessary to raise the roof or lower the ceiling in the floor below, which can have implications for the rest of the property and require planning permission.
Building Regulations Compliance: Loft conversions must adhere to building regulations, covering aspects such as fire safety, insulation, ventilation, and electrical and plumbing installations. Ensuring compliance with these regulations can be complex and time-consuming.
Stairs and Access: Creating a safe and convenient staircase to access the loft can present challenges, especially when space is limited. Meeting building regulations for headroom, tread size, and pitch can require careful planning and sometimes necessitate reconfiguring the existing layout.
Insulation and Ventilation: Loft spaces need adequate insulation to meet energy efficiency standards. Insulating sloping ceilings, dormer windows, and tricky corners can be challenging. Proper ventilation is also essential to prevent condensation and maintain good air quality within the converted space.
Plumbing and Heating: If the loft conversion includes adding a bathroom or en-suite, the plumbing and drainage systems may need to be extended or reconfigured. Heating the new space effectively may also require adjustments to the existing central heating system.
Party Wall Agreements: If the loft conversion involves works that affect shared walls with adjoining properties, a party wall agreement may be required. This legal agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of both property owners during construction and helps minimize potential disputes.
Planning Permission and Permitted Development Rights: Depending on the scale and design of the loft conversion, planning permission may be necessary. Understanding the permitted development rights for loft conversions in your area is important to ensure compliance with local regulations.
It's crucial to engage with experienced professionals, such as architects, builders, and structural engineers, who can assess your specific property, address these potential challenges, and guide you through the process to achieve a successful loft conversion. En-Pln can provide all of thsi for you as part of our service.
How can technical plans assist in a loft conversion project?
Technical plans play a crucial role in the successful execution of a loft conversion project. They provide detailed information and guidance to the professionals involved in the construction process, including architects, engineers, contractors, and tradespeople. Here are several ways in which technical plans can help with a loft conversion:
Design Visualization: Technical plans, such as architectural drawings and 3D models, allow you to visualize the proposed layout and design of the loft conversion. This helps you understand how the space will be utilized and ensures that it meets your requirements and preferences.
Compliance with Building Regulations: Technical plans provide a detailed overview of the proposed construction, including dimensions, materials, and specifications. They ensure compliance with building regulations, covering aspects such as fire safety, insulation, ventilation, structural stability, and accessibility. Building control authorities use these plans to assess the project and grant necessary approvals.
Structural Considerations: Technical plans include structural details and calculations provided by structural engineers. These plans help determine the feasibility of the loft conversion and outline any necessary modifications to the existing structure, such as reinforcing floor joists, adding supporting beams, or modifying load-bearing walls.
Space Optimization: Technical plans help optimize the use of available space in the loft conversion. They indicate the placement of walls, doors, windows, and built-in storage units, ensuring efficient use of the area while considering functional needs, natural light, and circulation.
Electrical and Plumbing Layouts: Technical plans illustrate the locations of electrical outlets, light fixtures, switches, and plumbing fixtures, such as sinks, toilets, and showers. They guide electricians and plumbers during the installation process and help ensure proper placement and compliance with safety standards.
Construction and Installation Guidance: Technical plans provide step-by-step instructions for construction and installation. They include detailed dimensions, specifications, and construction techniques, guiding builders and tradespeople in executing the project accurately and efficiently.
Cost Estimation and Material Quantities: Technical plans assist in estimating the overall project cost by providing a breakdown of materials required for construction. Builders and suppliers can refer to the plans to determine quantities and specifications of materials, allowing for accurate cost estimation and smooth procurement.
Communication and Collaboration: Technical plans serve as a common reference point for all parties involved in the project. They facilitate effective communication and collaboration between the architect, engineers, contractors, and tradespeople, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working towards a unified vision.
Overall, technical plans are essential tools that provide detailed information, aid in decision-making, and guide the construction process for a loft conversion. They contribute to a smoother, more efficient, and successful project outcome.
To help you to gain Building Regulations approval more easily the government have allowed certain trade bodies to self certify their members’ work and to issue Building Regulations certificates. An example of the bodies which can issue these certificates are:
1. FENSA – Contractors registered with F ENSA can issue certificates for replacement windows.
2. CERTASS – Contractors registered with CERTASS can issue certificates for replacement windows.
3. GAS SAFE – Registered contractors can issue certificates for installations and alterations to gas, hot water and heating systems so long as the contractor is a registered installer and not just a service engineer.
4. OFTEC – Registered OFTEC installers can issue certificates for installation of and alteration to oil burning boilers and appliances.
5. HETAS – Registered HETAS installers can issue certificates for installation of and alteration to solid fuel burning boilers and appliances.
6. Part P – Electrical Contractors registered under one of the Part P schemes can issue certificates for domestic electrical work.
7. CompetentRoofer – Contractors under this scheme can carry out works to your roof either full or partial replacement. Details of the current competent person self-certification schemes can be found on: www.gov.uk/building-regulations-competent-personschemes.
Tips for using Self Certified Contractors
1. Always ensure the contractor is registered for the work they are undertaking, eg. If you are having a new heating system installed ensure the contractor is a registered installer not a service engineer.
2. Always ensure that at the end of the job the contractor issues you with a Certificate confirming that the work complies with the Building Regulations, you may need this when you come to sell your property.
3. If you are in any doubt about anything either contact the relevant trade association or contact Shropshire or
Telford & Wrekin.
What are the technical issues you can encounter when altering the roof structure?
The Roof Structure: the roof of your home is currently designed to keep out the rain and snow and to cope with some light loft storage loading. After a loft conversion your roof will have to cope with significantly increased loadings. A new floor structure will usually be required and it is likely that a number of the structural elements will usually need to be altered to allow for circulation within the room, roof windows etc. Roofs can generally be divided into two types. Trussed Rafter Roofs: these have been common since the 1970s, and roofs of this type are difficult to convert. Roof trusses are complex pieces of engineering and they should not be altered without the advice of a structural engineer. When converting this type of roof it is common for a series of beams to be installed to provide support to the new floor and to strengthen the rafters, this allows the bracing sections of the trusses to be cut out to create a clear floor area.
Traditional Roofs: these are generally made up from a series of rafters and purlins spanning between load bearing walls. These roofs are less complicated to convert than trussed rafter roofs, however, beams are often required to provide support to the new floor structure and the existing purlins and a structural engineer’s design will be required for all but the simplest conversions. When considering a loft conversion don’t be tempted to simply board over your existing ceiling joists and rafters, this can adversely affect the value of your property, negate your building insurance and in some circumstances can cause overloading and endanger the structural stability and occupants of your home.
Accessing your Loft Conversion: if you want to convert your loft for habitable use you will need to install a staircase and careful design of this can be critical to the success of your conversion. If there is enough headroom it is often best to continue the stair in the existing stairwell as this saves space and gives a feeling of continuity within the home, alternatively part of a room will have to be partitioned off to accommodate the
new staircase. Wherever the stair is installed it should be designed in accordance with the following guidance.
Pitch: the maximum pitch for the stair should not exceed 42 degrees. Rise and Going: the maximum rise of each tread of a domestic stair should not exceed 220mm and the going should be at least 220mm.
Headroom: the clear headroom over the stair should be at least 2m, for some loft conversions the Building Regulations allow a reduced headroom of 1.9m over the centre of the stair and 1.8m on the outside edge.
Handrails and Balustrades: the stair should be provided with a handrail at least 900mm high and any exposed edges of stairs or landings should be provided with balustrading at least 900mm high. For loft
conversions where space is very limited and only one room is created, a steeper traditional staircase may be acceptable where floor space is very restricted. Where you propose this solution you are advised to speak with our building control team at an early stage.
Fire Precautions: house fires can kill and fire precautions are a major concern for the Building Regulations. The most dangerous fires generally occur at night when everyone is asleep and to give you awareness of a fire it is important that you install smoke detection. When converting have mains powered, interlinked smoke detectors in the hall/landing areas on every floor of your house.
Single Storey Houses: the Building Regulations requirements for fire precautions in two storey housing are quite simple as it is generally felt that if you couldn’t get down the stairs you could jump from a first floor window. If you are converting the loft of a bungalow you will need to ensure that you have mains powered interlinked smoke detection at ground and first floor level and that all habitable rooms at first floor level have an ‘escape window’.
Escape Windows: as their name suggests, are windows that are large enough to allow people to escape or be rescued through them. They need to have a clear opening area of at least 0.33m2 and a clear width
of at least 450mm wide and 450mm high. The bottom of the opening light should be no more than 1100mm above floor level and they should allow people to escape to a place free from danger. Escape windows need to be fitted with escape hinges that allow the window to fully open. Some of the standard hinges fitted to upvc windows do not achieve this so it is wise to check this with your glazing supplier when you order
Two Storey Houses: when you convert the loft of a house and create a third floor the Building Regulations require you to look at the fire precautions within the house a lot more seriously. Mains operated smoke detection needs to be fitted to give you awareness of a fire and, due to the height of your new floor, you can no longer rely on escaping safely through the windows. The only safe way out of the house is now down the stairs. So it is therefore vital that the stair is protected from fire. To protect the stair all of the doors that open onto the stair need to be twenty-minute rated fire doors and the stair should end up in a hall with a door direct to the outside. Generally, unless a sprinkler system or alternative escape stair is provided, stairs cannot discharge into other rooms in three storey properties.
Three Storey Houses: if your house already has three storeys and you wish to add one or more additional floors, loft conversions become more complicated. You are likely to need to install a sprinkler system or a second escape stair and the project will need specialist design. Please contact us and we will be happy to provide you with more detailed advice if you are considering one of these projects. Fire is very dangerous and careful design and planning is required to ensure that the risks it poses are minimised.
Bathrooms: it is often a nice idea to include a bath or shower room in your loft conversion, the best place for this is generally directly above your existing bathroom as this should ensure that you can connect into the existing drainage and water supplies without the need for excessive pipework. Any bath or shower rooms will also need to be fitted with an extract fan to improve ventilation. It is a good idea to decide on the location of any bathrooms at an early stage in your space planning process.
Thermal Insulation: CO2 emissions are a major concern in today’s environment and you will need to provide a high level of insulation to your roof as part of your loft conversion. The most common way of achieving this is to place a high performance insulation board in between and below the rafters. Unless your roof has a breathable felt you will need to leave a void above the insulation and ensure that you have effective roof ventilation to prevent the build up of condensation.
Heating: to maximise the usability of the room you will probably want to install heating and in most instances the most effective way of doing this is to extend the existing central heating system. You will need to check with your plumber or heating engineer to ensure that your existing boiler has sufficient capacity to serve any
additional radiators and any new radiators should be fitted with thermostatic valves to control the room temperature. If it is not possible to extend the existing system or if you prefer an alternative method of heating, e.g. electric panel heaters, careful consideration should be given as to how these can be switched and controlled to ensure that they function efficiently.
Electrics: you are likely to require some electrical alterations as part of your conversion. Depending on the age and condition of your existing electrical system it is sometimes possible to extend existing circuits but sometimes new circuits and even a new distribution board will be required. It is a good idea to get advice
from a competent electrician at an early stage. When appointing an electrician please ensure that they are able to issue you with BS7671 test certificates when they have completed their installation as these will be required before your Building Regulations Completion Certificate can be issued and you will incur additional
costs if the test certificates have not been provided.
Windows and Ventilation: any new habitable rooms will need to be ventilated. Generally this is achieved by providing an opening window or roof light equivalent to 1/20th of the floor area of the room with a trickle vent at high level. All new windows must be fitted with highly efficient double glazed units. In bath or shower rooms an extract fan should be fitted and in rooms without opening windows extract fans should be fitted that are triggered by the light switch with overrun timers that allow the fan to remain on after the light is turned out.
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