I'm thinking of replacing a pull-down loft ladder with a proper
staircase and door. The loft would still only be used for storage, but
someone thought the presence of a staircase invoked a pile of Building
Can anyone clarify whether there are any rules around this?
On Thursday, 16 March 2017 19:12:04 UTC, email@example.com wrote:
I think the staircase itself will have to comply with Building Regs, but th
ere are some relaxations for staircases only serving one room (or perhaps a
non-habitable room) eg the spacesaver alternating tread staircases.
If the loft is floored / walled / has any windows then adding a staircase w
ould I think be presumed to be using the loft as a habitable room and the f
ull requirements of loft conversion would apply. If the loft isn't floored
etc then it won't be a habitable room.
Walls and windows I can accept could make a room be deemed to be habitable,
but surely a loft is not habitable just because you've laid some chipboard
flooring to save you having to walk on the joists and to place boxes across
Those alternating tread staircases look horrific. I think I'd rather have a
ladder that had 2" treads across the whole width that one which had 6" on
one side and 3" on the other - too much risk of using the wrong foot and
treading on a part of the tread that isn't there!
Sure, no argument about where it can be used, but IMO
its too unsafe given what can happen if the shit hits the fan.
Same in the loft too, too easy to not close the flap
and end up dead if you manage to walk into the hole.
Sorry if I'm not clear.
If you want to make a room habitable then you have to conform to all the
rules to make the room habitable. It also means when you market a house,
the room can be called a 'habitable' room .
If the room fails in some way, such as a ceiling being 25mm too low, or
access via a ladder then the room, by definition, is non habitable.
If someone then sleeps there, it's not relevant whether the room is
habitable or not. It only matters to Building Control and when you
market a property if you want to call the room habitable.
 Kitchens and bathrooms excepted
I think we are talking at crossed purposes.
If you board out a loft space, leave it with a loft ladder, but install
a bed and make it a bedroom for a kid, then you are *treating* it as a
habitable room, and therefore it *should* meet the requirements for
habitable rooms. However those two facts are independent - just because
you are using it in a "habitable" way does not also mean it actually
meets the requirements.
ISTR recall for lofts there is no actual minimum ceiling height. Also
for loft conversions there are some relaxations on the stair
requirements, if there is only one habitable room. However that aside,
see my clarification above.
Indeed - if you construct a loft conversion that does not meet the
relevant building regulations you won't be able to sell it as a
"bedroom" (even if it looks like one). The best you could do is market
it as "storage", or alternatively if the non conformity was just
procedural (i.e. no building notice was submitted at the time of
conversion - but the work itself was in conformance with the rules in
effect at the time) you may be able to apply for a "regularisation"
after the event.
 Note its been a while since I did mine, so allow for changing rules etc:
That's defined by rules of your local BCO. An example set of rules
I saw is having more than 2 of things like staircase, heating, power,
lighting, flooring, walls, etc makes it count as habitable.
The other thing that applies in any case is minimum headroom over
any new stair case (something like 2m, but I don't recall the exact
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
I guess it depends on your definition of habitable. If you are continually
going there to put stuff up in the loft or bring it down then to my mind its
habitable. If you are not going to use it much then why clutter the place
with a permanent staircase all the time?
This newsgroup posting comes to you directly from...
On 16/03/2017 19:12, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
If it was for your convenience and you did only use the room for storage
I don't see why it would matter.
As you would be providing a fixed opening into the loft, best to fit
smoke detectors at both ends of stair case for safety while up there.
The only issue that will arise when you come to sell the place is that
the room would have to be declared as storage use only.
As others have said, if you wanted to "convert" the space into a
habitable room, you would have to involve building regs and comply with
a raft of requirements - mostly reasonable ones to be fair.
While generally true, there are two points to consider. The minor one,
is that if you "convert" the space but don't do it properly, then you
would not be able to sell the place as a converted property. So at best
you have added no value regardless of what you have spent, and at worst
may find it difficult to sell at a price that does not factor in the
cost of someone having to put right (or restore to original state) the
The second however is more important; and that is the building
regulations for loft conversions (especially on houses where the work
is, in effect, adding a third storey), are there for very good reasons.
Generally its very easy to inadvertently turn the house into a death
trap. Alas many people do this, then stick their children in the new
rooms that have no viable means of escape or adequate fire protection.
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