Wondering what you need to know to protect your warranty when installing loft boarding in your new build home? Want to know if building regulations play into this? Check out our comprehensive guide about loft boarding & building regulations to avoid any issues down the road.
First of all, Scottish Building Regulations are administered by the Scottish Government’s Building Standards Agency – and they are different from England and Wales. The building regulations get published in the form of two “Technical Handbooks” – one for domestic and one for commercial applications.
Wait, why do I need to know about loft boarding & building regulations?
Surely, it is the builder’s responsibility to comply with the regulations and the habitation certificate already proves that the house does? This is true – but there is a good reason you should be aware of the regulations when it comes to boarding your loft:
“If you do any work to your house that is against regulation or missing a required warrant then it will be more difficult for you to prove which failures were caused by the builder and which have been caused by you.”
The NHBC requirements reference building regulations in several places, so for a builder to comply with NHBC requirements they must also comply with building regulations.
If you find an issue in your new build home, like dampness in your loft, and think you have a claim against the builder, there will most likely be an investigation. The builder will then have to prove that they complied with the regulations and are not liable.
And in case they blame your loft boarding to avoid having to cover the repairs, it will be up to you to demonstrate why your loft flooring is not to blame. So here are the things you need to know about loft boarding & building regulations.
1. Building warrants
Many types of work to your house require a building warrant to be obtained from your local council following inspection of the completed works. This is primarily for work which may affect the safety of yourself or others, so it is very important.
In general, any alteration which increases the floor space of a home does require a warrant, but lofts are specifically excluded from this requirement:
“Where a roof space has limited boarding inserted to allow access to services or to allow attic storage these should not be considered as increasing the floor area.”
So boarding your loft for storage does not require a warrant providing it cannot be considered a “habitable space”.
2. Habitable space
Conversion of the roof space into anything which could be considered a “habitable space” does require a warrant. According to this NHBC FAQ,
“The provision of a storage space within the loft area is acceptable. However, the provision of an additional floor level, to be potentially used as habitable accommodation should not be considered without providing adequate means of escape. The following factors should be considered when assessing a storage space:
- Have the ceiling joists or attic trusses been provided
- Have windows or veluxes been provided for light and ventilation
- The size of the loft access hatch
- The ventilation provision to the roof space
- Whether power outlets have been provided in the roof space
- Whether plasterboarding has been provided to form an enclosure
Definitive guidelines cannot be provided, but the important factor is to ensure that if the loft space can be readily and easily adapted to provide habitable accommodation, then further details and assessment will be required.”
3. Planning Permission
More good news when it comes to loft boarding & building regulations is that using your loft for storage, and even full-blown loft conversions, do not require planning permission as they fall under the category of permitted development:
When it comes to loft boarding & building regulations, you don’t need planning permission to floor your loft for storage because it is a permitted development. Also, because it doesn’t create a habitable space, you don’t need a building warrant either.
So, failure to comply with building regulations when boarding your loft is not a valid reason to void your NHBC warranty.
Find out how LoftZone’s BBA certification helps you keep your insulation and warranty intact in part 3 of this series.