Loft conversions, room in the roof, study, accessible storage, hobby space, play area. It is not the name of the works that makes it controlled works, it is what work was carried out to the roof. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Or in the case of loft conversions, structural alterations to your roof construction not carried out correctly would be just as dangerous if you called it storage.
The biggest things to remember are that the roof structure is built to hold up the roof. Sounds silly when put like that. The roof construction was designed to hold the weight of the roof tiles plus a factor of safety for snow and wind loading. The ceiling joists are meant to tie the roof together to prevent roof spread and to hold up the insulation and plasterboard. They are not designed for walking on. Once sections of the roof structure are removed to open the space up then there has to be a structural compensation to ensure the roof does not collapse. The ceiling joists need to be upgraded and generally some steels are required to prevent roof spread. Insulation has to be factored in so check this before you start because the loss of headroom from the deeper floor and ceiling may make the whole project unviable.
Once you have the structure sorted out then we need to think access. Remember, it's OK to have a ladder if its storage but the loft space has to be unmistakably not habitable. No, plasterboard, carpet etc. If it's for an office, playroom, bedroom etc then it needs to be not only accessible by a staircase but also have a protected means of escape. A protected means of escape is that the loft space opens into a corridor and not out of another room, the bedroom and living room doors on first and ground floor need to be fire doors and the staircase should lead to a final exit. ie. not discharge to a living room or open plan habitable area.
It all sounds so easy but the number of properties that have illegal loft conversions is larger than you would expect. A big tell-tale is when the estate agents' details list the space as storage. This generally means they know it is not done to regulations because being able to list the property with an extra bedroom would have increased the value.
The regulations on loft conversions have changed many times over the years and you cannot apply today's regulations to an older property. Having someone experienced in the old and new regulations is important if you are considering buying a property with a loft conversion. We can help you understand what needs to be done to meet the regulations of the time it was carried out and whether or not it is possible to achieve.