can you have a loft conversion in a terraced house
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Can you Have a Loft Conversion in a Terraced House?

Yes, you can.

There are limiting factors which need to be considered when having a loft conversion in a terraced house, but some of them apply to any kind of loft conversion:

  • Budget
  • Planning constraints
  • Plan area of the roof
  • Access from the floor below


Loft conversions are not cheap when done properly; and not worth doing cheaply.

The simplest type of loft conversion using only roof lights is still likely to set you back £25k including design, permissions, structural alterations, a staircase, electrics, heating, lighting and finishes.

For an extra £5k-£10k you could have a dormer conversion which will give you significantly more usable floor space, but essentially the more space you gain the more expensive the project will become.

The value of the property will also increase for gaining an extra room and it will increase by a bigger amount for a bigger and better loft conversion, but the precise amount depends on many factors.

Planning Constraints

Loft conversions on terraced houses don’t automatically require planning permission as long as they stay within the bounds of what is known as ‘Permitted Development’.

Permitted Development covers a range of extensions, conversions and other home improvements and was created to reduce bureaucracy within the town planning system and allow small, straight-forward projects to be completed without the need for oversight.

A loft conversion in a terraced house falls within Permitted Development so long as it:

  • Is not on ‘desginated’ or protected land
  • Does not create more than 40m3 of additional roof space
  • Does not extend the roof out at the front of the house
  • Is made of similar materials to the rest of the house
  • Is not higher than the existing roof
  • Doesn’t have a veranda or balcony
  • Is set back at least 20cm from the existing eaves of the roof
  • Does not disturb any bats

In practice, this means that if you have a terraced house and you want a loft conversion with a dormer looking out over your back garden and a front facing roof light you don’t need planning permission to build it.

Plan Area of the Roof

The area of your existing roof will ultimately limit how much extra space you can have.

Adding a staircase for access will reduce that space, so if you only have a roof light loft conversion you will not have a great deal of usable space. Adding a dormer is the least expensive way to maximize the usable space of your loft.

The last piece of the puzzle is where the stair access will go.

Access from the Floor Below

A proper loft conversion should have a proper staircase.

Your new staircase needs somewhere to start where it doesn’t impede the existing layout of the property and it needs at least 2m headroom at all times until it terminates in the loft.

In some cases the new staircase can mimic the original stairs and continue upwards without needing drastic remodelling of the floor it starts on, but sometimes this will put it into the eaves of the roof and mean that a dormer is required just to create the necessary headroom.

If you are unsure about the potential location of the viability of a staircase for your loft conversion, please give us a call and we will be happy to discuss it with you.


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