I'm thinking of converting the loft of my one-bedroom bungalow into
two bedrooms with a dorma roof extending right along the back of the
house. And would also like to extend the lower floor by about 2-4
metres. If possible, the dorma would also come out over this extension
slightly to get bigger bedrooms.
The best place for the stairs would be towards the center of the house
off the small hallway.
My main question is - do stairs have to be built into a supporting
The only internal supporting walls I can find in my house are in a
small rectangle around the chimney breast, which isn't close to the
hallway. These feel like solid stone. All other internal walls sound
like hollow stud walls.
My house is only about 9 metres wide and 6 metres deep. It was built
in 1970 and appears to be built of brick with a plasterboard skin.
Any advice appreciated.
A loft conversion must be built to specifications that meet planning
constraints, building regulations and structural requirements. Some loft
conversions can be started straight away using your Permitted Development
Rights, however most will require approval from your local authority. This
will typically take a minimum of 8 weeks so beware of those who try to tell
you otherwise. This can depend on the Local Authority where you live.
You'll need to consider and cater for the following points in loft
If the loft space is to store lightweight general household items, loose
boarding is generally acceptable. In such cases the access would be expected
to be made by ladder through an existing loft hatch in the ceiling of the
Floors, doors and some walls are required to be structurally able to resist
the effects of fire for a specified period.
Floor and room layouts require a safe and easy exit route in the event of
fire. An automatic smoke or fire detection system to give early warning of
fire. Provision of escape windows.
Structural adequacy of the "new floor" designed and checked to ensure it can
safely support the new loads placed upon it.
Ventilation to prevent unpleasant living conditions.
The walls and roof of the loft space conversion keep out the rain, effects
of damp and reduce heat loss.
If a bathroom or shower room is to be included, additional ventilation
measures will be required to prevent excessive condensation and any waste
water drainage will need to be properly formed.
You will need to make a Building Regulation Application if are providing
additional accommodation in a roof which will be used on a regular basis, or
if the proposed work is anything other than light storage in a roof void.
I should imagine the op is pretty certain that most of that will be
needed. It sounds like he's after ideas more than anything.
No, stairs need not be tied into a wall. They are supported by the
floors and their own "strings" the 1 1/4" sides the treads and risers
Since you are considering a 20 - 30 thousand pound refurb why not just
sell up and get what you want from the market?
That will be for the structural engineer to decide. There are all sorts of
possibilities, not all requiring structural walls. Also, the stud partition
walls might be structural themselves anyway.
If there really is a dearth of structural walls in the house, this will be
more problematic in terms of strengthening the loft floor structure than in
placing stairways. If you have spans of greater than 4m, it could get
tricky. You might even need to replace some strategic stud walls with
concrete block. Alternatively, it may be possible to install some large
steel beams. You really need a decent structural engineer to decide.
A standard flight of stairs is supported only at two locations - the bottom
(your floor) and the top (your ceiling). The load of the steps is taken by
the strings at each side of the flight.
In your situation, you would have to place a trimmer or other beam at the
top of the flight which would integrate with your new floor joists.
It should be a straight forward job.
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