The Construction of a Single-story Rear Extension and Loft Conversion

Modified: 24th Nov 2020
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This project I have been asked to review is regarding the construction of a single-story rear extension and loft conversion at a dwelling in Croydon. After looking at a proposal I can start to plan the best way to construct the extension and conversion. The first part to look at is the best ways the loft can be accessed while completing the conversion. I have decided that scaffolding will be used around the building to support the new structure of the roof and allow safe access for contractors and myself, should I require the need to. The single story rear extension will be extending from the back of the property by 3000mm (3 meters) with a width of 3600mm (3.6 meters) and a height of 2485mm (2.485 meters) These dimensions meet the requirements of a single story extension as they do not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than eight meters and the maximum height of a single-story rear extension of four meters. These measurements mean that the single-story extension meets the requirements of permitted development. Permitted Development means that Planning Permission is not required to construct this extension. I can decide this by not only looking at the height and width of the extension but also taking into consideration how much of the total area of land that this extension will take up. If this is less than 50%, that will also aid my decision of Permitted Development.
The loft conversion I believe would also be constructed under Permitted Development, however I would look to obtain a Lawful Development Certificate to aid in this decision. This is proof that any type of extension or conversion has been carried out in a lawful way and that the conversion can be constructed under Permitted Development. If a decision is made that planning permission is not required, then I/applicants would be issued a Lawful Development Certificate.  There are many regulations that a loft conversion is required to adhere to, to allow Permitted Development. The height of loft conversion is 2300mm (2.3 meters), this means that the loft conversion will not extend higher than the highest part of the existing roof. The address of the property is 23 South Park Hill Road, South Croydon, CR2 7DZ, this location is not near certain designated areas such as National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty which again enables this conversion to be constructed under Permitted Development. In both cases the materials used on the exterior of the property will be similar in appearance to the existing house.


An explanation of the relevant planning and building control legal frameworks

Building Control - Approved Documents

With any extension or conversion, it must be decided which legal planning document is required. Planning of any conversion or extension ensures that the right development happens and that there is no negative effect on communities or the economy. For larger developments it plays a critical role in identifying what development is needed and where. – Plain English Guide to the Planning System – Department for Communities and Local Government
Most the planning system will be administered by District Councils which includes the Planning Application process and Town Council.

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As briefly mentioned Permitted Development is also another part of the Planning System. There are certain Permitted Development rights for householders. Within this proposal at 23 Park Hill Road I believe both are covered under two classes of the structure of rules surrounding Permitted Development. The Loft Conversion is covered under Class B and the single-story rear extension under Class A. Class A covers the following -
the enlargement, improvement or alterations to a house such as rear or side extensions as well as general alterations such as new windows and doors.
To ensure a rear extension is covered by Permitted Development there are certain requirements that must be met. For example, the height of the part of the dwelling enlarged should not exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of the existing dwelling and the height of the eaves of the part of the dwelling enlarged should not exceed the height of the eaves of the existing dwelling.

Permitted Development Rights for Householders – Class A – Page 12

Additions or alternations to roofs which enlarge the house such as loft conversions involving dormer windows

To ensure a loft conversion is also covered by Permitted Development there are certain requirements that must be met. Some are very similar to requirements under Structural Rule Class A. These include any part of the dwelling should not exceed the height of the highest part of the existing roof, any part of the dwelling should not extend beyond the plane of any existing roof slope which forms the principal elevation of the dwelling. Furthermore, any side facing windows on Permitted Development Loft Conversion must be obscure glazed and non-opening unless the parts which can be opened are more than 1.7 meters above the floor of the room.


With both a loft conversion and a single-story rear extension it is paramount Building Control is followed. Building Control provide approved documents which ensure that the extensions/conversions adhere to certain regulations. The Approved Documents are as follows –

  • Approved Document A – Structure
  • Approved Document B – Fire Safety
  • Approved Document C – Site Preparation
  • Approved Document D – Toxic Substances
  • Approved Document E – Resistance to the passage of sound
  • Approved Document F – Ventilation
  • Approved Document G -Sanitation
  • Approved Document H – Drainage and Waste Disposal
  • Approved Document J – Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems
  • Approved Document K – Protection from falling, collision and impact
  • Approved Document L1a – Conservation of fuel and power
  • Approved Document M – Access to and use of Buildings
  • Approved Document P – Electrical Safety
  • Approved Document Q – Security, Dwellings
  • Approved Document R – Physical Infrastructure for High speed electronic communications networks
  • Approved Document 7 – Materials and Workmanship

Within the Regulation 3 Building Regulation the term “building works” are defined as the following

  1. The erection or extension of a building
  2. the provision or extension of a controlled service or fitting
  3. the material alteration of a building or controlled service or fitting

Regulation 5 defines a “material change of use” in which a building or part of a building that was previously used for one purpose will be used for another. – Approved Document M
The loft conversion in this proposal would fall under Material Change of Use as this space will now be a habitable space within the loft.

A description of the requirements and processes that will be involved in achieving planning permission and building regulation consent

Most types of extensions, whether that be the loft conversion, rear extension or side extension, will require approval from the Building Regulations. There are two main ways of obtaining Building Regulation approval for an extension. The first way is known as a Full Plan Application. This would involve the structural details of the extension being drawn up professionally and looked at by Building Control before any work can begin. The second route is to serve a Building Notice. This notice is to be served 48 hours before works begin on site and should be clearly displayed on site.

If an extension requires Planning Permission, then a planning application must be submitted to the local authority and the Planning Application process begins. This project falls under Croydon Council Authority. Below is an example of a planning application from Croydon Council. An Planning Application can be completed by the applicant themselves or someone acting on behalf of them, for example an architect or planning agent.


Public Access Register – Planning – Planning Application Documents – Croydon Council Website

Once the above Planning Application has been submitted the local authority will begin the legal process of deciding whether to grant planning permission or not. If anything, which is statutorily required is missing then the local authority will contact the applicant within 5 working days. A planning application is then registered onto the statutory register and the applicant is then contacted and provided with information such as application number, registration date and relevant contacts within the local authority planning department who will be dealing with the application. There is a legal requirement that once an application is registered a Public Consultation should take place, to allow members of the public to make any comments. A decision will not be made until the Public Consultation period has ended, this consultation period would normally last for 21 days.

A site visit will take place by the nominated case officer. These visits will enable an assessment to made on what has been proposed and any impact it could have on the surrounding area and any other properties. One main reason a site visit would not take place is if the applicant has applied to the Local Authority to confirm the extension/conversion does not require planning permission, this is also known as the Lawful Development Certificate, which I have previously mentioned. There can be examples when amendments are required, it is once these amendments have been received, consultation period has ended, and all have been considered that a decision will take place. If planning permission is granted there are steps that are required to be followed to complete construction. Many Planning Applications which have been granted will be accompanied with conditions. Furthermore once the application has been accepted development must begin within 3 years.

To summarise the Planning Application process I have provided a flow chart below. This flow chart is from the Plain English Guide to the Planning System – Department for Communities and Local Government.


Page 20 - Plain English Guide to the Planning System – Department for Communities and Local Government – January 2015

An assessment of the options available if planning and building control approvals are not forthcoming

There is a chance that for many different reasons if Planning Permission is applied for, this can be refused. If this happens there are rights to appeal and the opportunity to negotiate amendments to the application to meet any requirements which the original application may have not met. There are 2 main routes to take if a Planning Application is refused, these are –

  • Negotiating a New Application
  • Rights to Appeal

The idea of a new application should always be considered as this can be the quicker solution in comparison to an appeal. Included on an advice note on Croydon Council website it states the following –

You may be considerably prejudiced in future submissions. We have the right to refuse to even entertain a similar application that is submitted after an unsuccessful appeal, for a period of up to 2 years –Development Management Advice Note 7

When producing a new application, the applicant would be provided with the reason/s for refusal. These will advise the applicant on what was wrong with the original application so that these issues can be addressed, and a resubmittal can be produced.

Every applicant has the right to appeal a refused Planning Application under certain circumstances, these include – council refusing planning permission, details of a scheme not approved following the grant of outline planning permission, refusal of details submitted to comply with a condition of planning permission and planning permission is granted but is subject to one or more conditions that are not accepted by the applicant. An appeal process is broken down in 3 methods in which an appeal can be decided. The first method is the Written Representation which is an exchange of statement followed by a visit by the Planning Inspector. This can usually take about 26 weeks to decide. The second method will be an Informal Hearing. This is a public hearing chaired by the Planning Inspector, both the applicant and Council are in attendance. This will usually take around 22 weeks to the date the hearing takes place. Finally, the third method is a Public Inquiry. This is like a court of law and will usually be with a professional representation for both the applicant and the council. This can usually take about 22 weeks to the date the inquiry opens. – some information taken from Development Management Advice Note 7

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Taking into consideration the above points and assessing both options, I believe that the submittal of a new application would be the best option available if an original planning application was refused. I believe this because of mainly the timeframe of which the submittal of a new application would take compared to an appeal process. All three appeal methods take 22 weeks or more, having to wait for this amount of time can cause a significant impact on the applicant. By submitting a new application and being provided with the reasons for refusal I feel that amendments could be made and re submitted much quicker than an appeal. I also feel that by the applicant being made aware of the reasons of refusals that this could enable to applicant to possible change design layouts and improve ideas for the dwelling being developed. As previously mentioned a Planning Application to Croydon Council can take around 12 weeks, this includes the public consultation.

An evaluation of the impact of planning and building regulations on the management of the development

Once Planning Permission has been granted or a Lawful Development Certificate has been granted and all other requirements have been put in place, construction can begin. When proceeding with the construction there are some Building Controls/Regulations which can impact the management of the development taking place. I believe that the following Building Controls could have the most impact on the management.

Health & Safety at Work
Approved Document C – Site Preparation
Approved Document B – Fire Safety
Approved Document P – Electrical Safety

Health and Safety regulation such as the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 may impose requirements on employers and those in control of buildings used as workplaces in relation to certain physical characteristics of the workplace. There is also requirement in health and safety law which affect building design.
The above wording is from Approved Document C – Site Preparation. Health and Safety of everyone both working and visiting the is paramount to the management of the development. Health and Safety could have an impact for many reasons. As stated above there are requirements in the health and safety law which must be considered during the building design. Throughout the design of both a loft conversion and a rear single-story extension there will be many activities which will need to adhere to health and safety as well as things like the structure of both. For example, carrying out a loft conversion you are changing the use of the roof to a habitable living space. It is paramount to ensure that both the internal and external strength and structure of the roof are safe and not disrupted both during and on competition of construction work.
C1. (1) The ground to be covered by the building shall be reasonably free from any material that might damage the building or affect its stability, including vegetable matter, topsoil and pre-existing foundations
In relation to a single-story rear extension, the possibility of the extension being built upon land which has previously been used as garden area is very high. In accordance to Approved Document C, Site Preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture, Preparation of site and resistance to contaminants, it is required that where the extension is to be built that checks are made to ensure area is sufficient so that the stability of the dwelling extension is safe and free from any contamination which could occur. There could be instances where something has previously been built on this area of land so to check for any pre-existing foundations is extremely important, not only for the safety of the building but to also minimize any delay to construction.

With any extension to a dwelling, Fire Safety should always be followed. This may not have an impact during the management of the development at construction stage but there is a possibility of impact of management of the development at the design stage.
1.8 Where new habitable rooms are provided, a fire detection alarm system should be installed where either of the following applies.
a. The room is provided above or below the ground storey.
b. The room is provided at the ground storey, without a final exit.
A loft conversion will apply to above point a. The loft will count as a new habitable room which will also include a bathroom, so a fire detection alarm system will need to be installed. This could have an impact of the management of the development due to the schedule of works having to allow enough time for a subcontractor to install the requirement under Fire Safety. Continuing from this smoke alarms should also be provided in the circulation spaces. There will also be a requirement to ensure that both new roof sections, single-storey rear extension and loft, will need to be tested to ensure the spread of flame over the surface is kept as safe as practically possible. I believe this could potienally impact the management of the development if the required tests take more time that scheduled for, this could then cause delay to the development completion.

The final Building Regulation I would like to cover is Approved Document P, Electrical Safety. Not only will is the safety of electrical installation in the loft conversion and rear extension paramount there could be a requirement for electrical installation work to be updated to meet current standards. Under Approved Document P, Section 1, 1.6 it states that if an extension of a previous electrical installation is required, then only the new work must meet current standards.


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