LOFT CONVERSION DESIGN IN FLATS MADE SIMPLE

Homeowners that own Flats are still entitled to have Loft conversions added to their properties, but need to follow the guidlines set out by the Planning Department. The rules for Loft Conversions for Flat varie from borough to Bourough so it is so important to be uptodate with the guidlines set out. There are 52 Borought councils in London and each Borough will have there own set of rules set. It can be difficult to understand the requierments as the rules are in some cases not explained or displayed fo public view. Below is an article for you to understand the process taken of one example of a Flat located in Wanstead which falls within Redbridge Borough council. 

WHY DO FLATS HAVE DIFFERENT RULES TO HOUSES WHEN IT COMES TO LOFT CONVERSIONS?

When designing Loft Conversions for homeowners Discount Plans Ltd usually design the Loft Conversion following the Permitted Development guidlines set out by the GPDO as the property in question is usually a house. The design we consider is based on volomes, Semi detached and Detached Properies are entitiled to 50sqm3 additional allowance added to the exsiting roof space. Terreced properties however are entilited to 40sqm3 of additional roof space added to the exisiting roof. We ask the homeowner the following list of questions set out below to establish if the Permitted Developemnt rules apply to their property to understand which design is suitable?

QUESTIONS TO ESTABLISH THE CORRECT LOFT CONVERSION DESIGN 

  • Is the property a House?

  • Is the Property a LISTED Building?

  • Has the property PREVIOUSLY been extended?

  • Have the PD rights been REMOVED previously on the property?

  • Is the Property located in a CONSERVATION Area or Natioanl Park?

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If the answer is "YES it's a HOUSE" and "NO" to all the other questions then the PD rules apply

If the answer is "NO its a FLAT" or "YES" to all the other questions then the SPD rules apply

FLAT LOFT CONVERSION DESIGN

The rules and policies for Loft Conversion designs are similar across the board from all the councils. The council require the proposed dormer to be Suborbinate to the existing roof slope (side or rear), this may vary from borough to borough. No dormers are allowed on the front roof slope and No Hip to Gables are allowed on Semi's and end of terrace properties as this will cause an imbalance to the other (end) property.

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HIP TO GABLE DESIGN REFUSED.JPG

LOFT CONVERSION DESIGN REQUIREMENTS WITHIN REDBRIDGE COUNCIL
which will be very similar to other borough rules

It is important that any roof alterations are subordinate in size to the roof of the house and do not appear as a dominant feature. To convert a hipped roof to a gable-end roof will generally be refused permission where this would be out of character with the prevailing pattern of development in the area, or harm the symmetry of a pair of semi-detached properties.

The erection of rear dormer windows and insertion of roof lights into the roof slope are in principle acceptable approaches for extending the roof of your house. Dormer windows or roof extensions must remain subordinate within the roof slope. Rear dormers should be symmetrically located and be at least 500 mm below the ridge of the roof, 1000 mm above the eaves and set in 1000 mm from shared boundary and from the edge of the roof (500 mm from the edge for hipped roofs).


The set-in measurements mentioned above should be increased on larger detached houses with larger roof face areas to ensure it remains subordinate. Where terraced houses have parapet walls on either side of the roof they should not be built up and any dormer extensions should be set in. Front and side dormers are generally not considered to be appropriate, unless they are an original or common feature of properties in that street.

Roof lights would be generally acceptable at the front of the property, reflecting the position of the windows at the first-floor level on the front elevation.

PREPARING YOUR DESIGN CASE TO GET MORE SPACE

The best approach in getting results from the planners for getting the maximum out of the size of the proposed dormer is to get the council team involved in the beginning. Preparing an Access and Design Statement carries weight as the information added helps the case officer understand the design put forward with all design considerations addressed. The Statement will have detailed information on other developments and what is understood by the designing meeting the setout policy etc.

Below is a detailed Access and Design Statement written up as a supporting document to get the case officer to comment on. The council provide a Pre-Application meeting with Applicants to review the proposal and discuss the design submitted.

DESIGN AND ACCESS STATEMENT

For a loft conversion consisting of a dormer to the rear roof slope and three Velux roof lights to the front roof slope at

First Floor Flat ** Mansfield Road, London E11

ACCESS AND DESIGN STATEMENT MAP.JPG

SITE LOCATION

Grid Reference: TQ 40776 88198 X (easting) 540776 – Y (northing) 188198

Latitude - 51º34'30"N – Longitude - 000º01'48"E

Mansfield Road in Redbridge is in the London region of England. The postcode is within the Wanstead Park ward/electoral division, which is in the constituency of Leyton and Wanstead.

FRONT VIEW PHOTO EDWARDIAN HOUSE TERRECE.JPG

THE PROPERTY

 ** Mansfield Road consists of an Edwardian style terraced family home and the subject property forms a first floor flat. The conversion of No. ** into two separate flats was granted over 15 years ago with no history being listed on the planning portal. The properties envelope is provided with a tiled pitched roof to the front and rear, the external walls are provided with a solid brick wall envelope. The majority of properties within Mansfield road are predominantly formed within a terraced row and of the same design and early 1900s type build and have been provided with additions to the lower floors and roof slopes. (see 3.0 design showing a large portion of housing stock within Mansfield Road provided with dormers to the rear slopes)

 

The following photograph below is viewed from the front and the rear of ** Mansfield Road

FRONT AND REAR WANSTEAD TERRACE HOUSE.JPG

View of Front Elevation

View of Rear Elevation

THE SCOPE OF THE STATEMENT

Is limited to relevant sections of the local design and planning policy. We believe that this building proposal will follow the council’s guidelines, which states that any new development must be of a high standard of design and have regard for the existing architectural style, scale, proportion, position and materials. The First floor flat does not hold permitted development rights, so a carefully thought-out design has been put together.

THE PROPOSAL 

The proposal is to create a loft conversion with a plain tiled clad dormer to the rear-facing sloping roof. 3No. Velux roof lights are also proposed to the front-facing slope.

 

The materials proposed are:

Vertical plain tile Clad to the dormer walls to similar existing roof slopes.

3 Layered felt system.

Velux windows in dark grey metal exterior finish.

White PVC-u/aluminium framed double glazed windows.

 

The projection of the roof lights will be kept as close to the plane of the roof as possible and will be low profile Velux’s not exceeding 150 mm from the existing front roof plane.

The dormer size is designed to be set away from each boundary by 800mm, 1000mm from the eves and 500mm set down from the exiting roof ridgeline.

THE DESIGN 

The dormer has been designed to be lower than the existing ridgeline by 500 mm. The dormer has been set back from the eves by 1000 mm to provide an inset appearance to the existing rear roof plane. Due to the original high roof construction, the proposed dormer has been designed 500 mm lower from the existing ridgeline which coincides with Redbridge Housing Design Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) Adopted in September 2019. The proposed loft conversion has been designed to comply with Building Regulations by achieving more than 2000 mm internal headroom which is needed to pass Building Controls requirements. The internal ceiling on the 1st floor was saved so no internal works such as lowering the ceilings were necessary to achieve this proposed conversion. The dormer has been designed with materials to match existing to allow a continuation of materials to blend and appear sympathetic. The Staircase design is a sticking point where we needed an offset of the dormer external sidewall face to be 800 mm from the boundary line to fit the stairs in to comply with Building regulations. Redbridge SPD states 1000 mm is a recommendation for offsetting the side dormer from boundary’s, but we understand that this is a guide and if maintaining the existing roof to be subordinate to the exiting building proposal as well as keeping a high-quality design in place then this proposed loft conversion would be acceptable.

cad drawing of flat loft conversion.JPG

View of Front Elevation

View of Rear Elevation

A large percentage of housing stock within Mansfield road, Sydney Road and Camden Road have been provided with dormers to the main roof and outrigger roof structure. This has been done by following the “Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015” as the other properties are one household dwelling which holds Permitted development rights.

 

AMOUNT 

The proposed loft conversion does not increase the footprint area of the property. The addition of the rear roof slope will increase the useable floor area including the stairs by approximately 22 sqm2 however most of the loft conversion will remain under a sloping roof.

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Proposed First Floor Layout

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Proposed Attic Floor Layout

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LAYOUT

The main layout of the property will remain largely unaltered except for a new staircase provided to access the new floor and this would follow over the existing staircase location. This proved to be the ideal solution and would prevent any detrimental impact on the room layouts that exist. The new loft conversion will comprise of a new bedroom with an en-suite and accommodate for the new stairs from the first floor leading up to the new attic level. Currently, the flat is laid out as two-bedroom accommodation and will remain a two-bedroom accommodation as the first-floor layout will be altered to have a larger living space to include an open plan living/dining area on the first floor.

APPEARANCE

The property consists of a simple up and over the roof with a lean-to roof set over the rear portion of the property. The exiting rear elevation of the property consists of mainly brickwork elevations. The main roof has a tiled covering, and our proposal would allow plain tile coverings to the dormer walls, this would allow an even blend and prevent an intrusive appearance. It is considered that the material used to create the façade of the dormer would present a well-balanced appearance to the elevations.

 

AMENITY SPACE

The front of the building is a convenient space for access and is currently used for waste storage.

 

DAYLIGHT AND OVERSHADOWING

There is no change to both the neighbouring buildings by this new development. A basic desktop survey assessment indicates that “the proposal will not cause an adverse change in light level to the existing neighbouring habitable rooms apart from what you would expect from a proposed dormer of this type. The proposed development is of smaller scale to neighbouring houses which also do not appear to create adverse overshadowing.

 

SUSTAINABILITY

Due to the nature of this application, it is not a general requirement to provide a pre-assessment or meet BREEAM guidance however, the sustainability of the proposal has been considered from the outset. The scheme will aim to meet Level 3 to 4 Code for Sustainable Homes as well as achieve the necessary SUDs which will be set out as a planning condition.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

A flood risk assessment of the site has not been carried out.

 

SAFETY AND SECURITY

It is not considered that the proposal will jeopardise the safety or security of the future occupants. The entrance door to the property will be secure. Adequate security systems for lighting will be incorporated at the detailed design stage if needed.

The following photographs below are examples of other houses on Mansfield Road which have larger dormers built.

redbridge terraced houses loft conversion.JPG

MANSFIELD ROAD THE VIEW OVER THE REAR GARDENS arrow indicates Number ** MANSFIELD ROAD. FURTHER EXAMPLES OF LARGER DORMERS BUILT IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

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 ** Mansfield Road 

 ** Mansfield Road 

rear addition dormer redbridge.JPG

 ** Sydney Road 

 ** Sydney Road 

A number of recent loft conversions have been erected lately which feature dormers to the main and outrigger roof slopes. Our intentions are solely for a smaller dormer to comply with an allowed flat conversion dormer style. For reference, we show a few examples of dormers found within a 100-meter radius as above.

CONCLUSION

We would like to point out that most of the housing stock within Mansfield Road form single household properties with an extremely limited amount split into flats.

 

We understand that the majority of larger dormer designs found within the area would not form a president however we do in this case consider feel our design would be in keeping to that found on the Mansfield road. With our proposal in mind, we would consider that the proposed roof extension would not seem to have any overall impact or effect on the appearance of the environment and street scene.

 

The proposed rear roof extension would not be easily viewed of perceived from public land as it would be largely concealed from public view by the existing ridgeline. As such, the proposed development would have a limited impact on the character and appearance of the area.

 

Furthermore, the proposed materials for the extension to the rear are aligned with the exiting materials which would further assist in minimising the visual impact of the proposal. 

 

** CHESTER ROAD, ** CHESTER ROAD, ** REDBRIDGE LANE, ** MANSFIELD ROAD

The design has been married up to the Redbridge SPD guidance in lowered from ridge element, from eves element by 500 mm and as close to 1000 mm set in from each side of boundaries to 800 mm from each side which still keeps the main existing roof subordinate to the proposal in mind.

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 ** Chester Road 

 ** Chester Road 

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 ** Redbridge Lane 

 ** Mansfield Road 

EXAMPLE OF A FLAT WHICH PASSED BEYOND THE SPD GUIDANCE DEMONSTRAIGHTING THAT SPD IS SET OUT AS A GUIDE AND ALTERNATIVE DESIGNS CAN BE OVERLOOKED AT AND REVIEWED ACCEPTABLE BASED ON an INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY MERIT DEPENDING ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES

FIRST FLOOR FLAT, ** MANSFIELD ROAD, WANSTEAD, LONDON E11 2JN

Reference: 2626/20, Submitted Date: 09/08/2020, Decision Date: 09/10/2020, Case Officer: Bethany MaCay

Proposal:  Full Planning Permission Loft conversion with a rear dormer incorporating a Juliet balcony. Two front roof lights. Alterations to fenestrations (Summary)

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This application was for a full-width loft conversion to the rear slope with skylights located to the front roof slope. The proposal was put in place to follow the design of number ** Mansfield Road, which is made up of a one-family dwelling where Permitted development Rights were used for full-width dormer design.

 

First Floor Flat, ** Mansfield Road, gained planning permission as an example of a design being approved under a Full Plans application, applying for a full-width dormer to achieve a better standard of living, and making use of the disused loft space to the full advantage and receiving a pass decision.

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End

THE END RESULT

Redbridge Council Approved the Loft Conversion design for the First Floor Flat as the design met all council requirements. The design was classed as a good design keeping the existing roof subarbinate to the proposal and not being out of caricter to the surrounding developments that have been passed and approved and built. Going through the route of a pre-application meeting and presenting a detailed Access and Design Statement is a must to get better results to what policys have been setout. Really the rules should be consistent where if Houses can have full width dormers so should Flats, but maybe some day the government will change the rules for flats, we just need to wait and see. 

CONTACT OUR TEAM TODAY FOR A QUOTE

I hope you understood this article and find it useful for your proposals we just want you to get the right results and not to make a mistake in doing the build the wrong way around as this could affect the sale to the next purchaser. Regards John. D.

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