Attic conversion – planning permission or not? The Rules

Transforming an attic can be a cost-effective and practical way to generate extra living space in a house. Often, no external approvals like planning permission are needed, especially if the alterations are primarily internal and do not affect the property’s outward appearance, except for adding Velux-style roof lights on the rear roof slope, which is considered exempted development and does not require planning permission.
Nonetheless, if you plan to increase the height of the roof with a dormer-style extension, this will significantly modify the house’s look and necessitate planning permission for your attic conversion. Though acquiring planning permission may take a minimum of three months and result in additional expenses, it is still worth considering since it can give you a better and more functional room with more space.

Does not require planning permission:

  • Velux windows to the rear roof slope,
  • Solar panels, front or back.

Requires planning permission:

  • Velux windows to the front or side,
  • Dormer windows to the rear side or front roof area,
  • Changing a hipped roof to a raised gable of any size,
  • Gable windows, obscure or clear glass.

Can your new attic conversion be classed as an extra bedroom or not?

Classifying your newly converted attic as an extra bedroom depends on several factors and regulations. To meet the minimum requirements for a room regarded as a bedroom, it must have a floor area of at least 7 square meters, be a minimum of 2100mm wide, have a ceiling height of at least 2400mm with 50% of the ceiling at that height, and have at least one window for natural light and ventilation that can also act as a fire escape, with an opening no lower than 800mm and no higher than 1100mm from the attic floor. Additionally, means of escape in the event of a fire must be protected by fire doors with approved closers leading to the ground floor exit, which can be costly.

If planning permission is granted for storage, the above will not apply. Therefore applying for planning permission for storage may be a more flexible option.

Where planning permission is granted for a bedroom, the following applies:

It is important to comply with building regulations and safety standards when building or renovating a property. In this case, planning permission was granted for a bedroom with a required ceiling height of 2400mm, and fire doors were installed. Fire doors are a crucial safety feature that helps to prevent the spread of fire and smoke, and they should not be disabled or wedged open. Doing so could put lives and property at risk.
If there is a fire, the fire brigade will respond and conduct an investigation. They may produce a fire officer’s report, which could include information about the cause of the fire and any safety features that were or were not in place. If it is found that fire doors were disabled or wedged open, this could be noted in the report.

Visit our products page to get your architectural drawings – plans, site layouts, elevations, and planning permission: Attic Conversions

Visit the Irish government’s website to read more on regulations:

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