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Converting The Loft And The Exterior Design

Not as ‘sexy’ as interior design nevertheless external loft conversion designs are hugely important and the homeowner needs to carefully plan how outside of the property will look once the loft is converted.

When planning a new loft conversion it is obviously very important to make sure that any changes to the outside of the house enhance the appearance of the home. The exterior design should be sympathetic to the property and the immediate environment around the house.

Even though most styles and sizes are now OK because of the new permitted development laws a tasteful exterior that blends with the surrounding environment will not only look good but it will easily increase the value of the property.

One style that won’t be permitted, and we should all be thankful for it, is the huge, squat and ugly dormers that were flung up during the1980s. These blots on the landscape are truly awful and no way will a householder be allowed to build one today.

Permitted Development

In October 2008 new permitted development regulations were adopted by the government which allowed homeowners greater freedom in designing and building extensions including loft conversions.

These permitted development regulations classify a loft conversion as 'permitted development' and, as such, the project will not require planning permission from the local authority as long as certain qualifying factors are taken into consideration. This makes it very much easier for the homeowner when considering external loft conversion designs as most projects, even those involving the building of a new gable end, do not have to go through the planning process.

One caveat here though; although there are no planning considerations it should be remembered that the building regulations still apply to all loft conversion projects. The building regulations shouldn't be confused with planning permission; the building regulations are there to ensure a that all work is done to an acceptable standard. Read the difference between building regulations and planning permission for more details.

The Permitted Development Regulations

There is no need for the homeowner to apply for planning permission for his project if:

Terraced houses cannot be extended by more than 40 cubic meters though an extra 10 cubic meters can be added to the roof space of a semi detached or detached property.

* Dormers will not be permitted to the elevation of any roof that fronts on to a highway.

* Any extension should be no higher than the ridge line of the existing property

* Dormers should be set back from the eaves by a minimum of 20 cm.

* Verandas, balconies or raised platforms will not be permitted.

And that is just about it. As long as your project takes those five factors into account than the loft conversion will be considered a permitted development that does not require consent.

Those projects that do contravene those guidelines will not necessarily be refused planning permission but a full planning application will need to be made by the homeowner.

Exterior Loft Conversion Designs

Unlike inside the roof space the options for external design is quite narrow. If the size of the available internal roof space is already substantial than skylights fitted flush to the existing roof slopes will be the best choice.

Installing skylights is very straight forward and they won't add much to the bottom line of the budget; your design considerations will probably be limited to deciding how many skylights to have, their size and how to position them so that the new loft room benefits from the maximum amount of natural light.

If, however, the internal space is not very large than some sort of dormer on the reverse side of the roof will be the answer. AgainScience Articles, the only real considerations will be the size and how to blend the dormer into the existing building.

Once you have decided on the external loft conversion designs than the fun in actually designing the new loft rooms themselves can begin.

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For information on all aspects of loft conversions visit - Loft Conversion UK an independent resource for those looking to convert their loft

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