A review of a property with a
loft conversion without
Building Regulation consent

Is the building structurally sound?

When buying a property many factors need to be considered. A major factor is whether the building is structurally sound and if it is not, will resolving the problems within the property be expensive?

As Independent Building Surveyors we are not linked to Building Societies, Banks or Mortgage Companies and so can give you honest, unbiased advice. We carry out structural surveys, home buyers reports, independent valuations, property surveys, engineers reports, structural reports, defects report so please call us on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat.

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A survey for a repeat client

We recently carried out a survey for one of our repeat clients who wanted us to inspect the loft conversion of a property he was buying. The property had been valued by a regulated Valuer on behalf of the clients mortgage company. The Valuer had suspected that the roof conversion may be unauthorised and we were called into carry out a structural report.

When we arrived at the property the owner showed us around the roof conversion. Unfortunately we had a limited view of the area as the owner had packed up the house contents and was ready to move out meaning there were boxed, stored items blocking our view.

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Loft converted and extended to
give extra head height

From what we could see there did not appear to have been any structural alterations to the roof and it appeared to be the original design. This immediately concerned us as we would have expected to see additional support added in the form of RSJ's (rolled steel joists) or I beams. We also could only see ceiling joists acting as floor joists which are not thick enough or designed to take human weight.

Current Building Regulations would require floor joists to be added as well as safety measures such as a hardwired fire alarm systems and door closers.


I beams added to support the
roof structure

Please see our website articles for information on Building Regulations.

What's in the Building Regulations and when do Building Control Surveyors visit?

We were concerned when we looked at the building drawings

We were shown drawings for the loft conversion and also for a rear extension. Again we became concerned because only the rear extension drawing had Building Regulations stamps on it. The appearance of the drawings were also different with typed writing on one drawing whilst the other was hand written indicating that Building Regulations had not been applied for jointly.

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This property had been extended
to the rear and into the roof

During the course of the Building Survey we decided to wander around the immediate area to see if we could see other roof conversions. We were surprised not to see any and we even returned after dark to see if we could spot roof windows that perhaps had not shown up during the day but would have been visible once the lights were turned on in the property. Again we did not spot any roof windows. It seemed unusual for there to be only one loft conversion in the immediate area as usually once one property has a conversion other house owners follow suit.

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Often if one house in a street has
a loft conversion others
follow suit

Unfortunately in this instance we did not have time to carry out an in depth investigation as we would usually do because our client was in a hurry for the report. However, even if we had been given more time we were almost certain this loft conversion would not be classed as legally habitable and as such this would reduce the value of the property. We therefore advised our client that he should seek a discount based on the cost of making this a habitable room rather than a loft or storage space, as this is likely to cost him many thousands of pounds.

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Roof window added to a loft conversion

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Loft conversion as a habitable room
rather than just a storage area.

Contact us for help and advice on all property matters

If we can be of any help to you when purchasing a property or if you need advice with regards to alterations and amendments in a property please call us on 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat, we will be happy to help you.