Loft Access

Loft Access


I have, at present, a fold down loft access hatch in my hall. Builder of my house has floored the loft space and lined the walls. can i install a staircase in place of the loft hatch which is restrictive for access and, in my opinion, not the safest way into the loft?

  1. Thanks for your enquiry.

    In short, to install a fixed / permanent staircase you will require Building Warrant Approval from the local authority. Firstly, stairs are subject to Building Regulations and require minimum headroom, rise / going dimensions, handrails etc. Additionally, you will no doubt require to alter ceiling joists in order to obtain sufficient headroom going up the stair. Any structural alterations require Building Warrant Approval.

    Also, the repercussions of carrying out this work need to be considered. For example, is the roof insulated at ceiling level? If so, by forming a stair well through the ceiling you are creating a large gap in the thermal envelope and this would need to be enclosed off somehow. Is the intention to use the roof space as a habitable room or anything other than attic storage? If so, this would likely constitute a conversion, and would require Warrant Approval, which brings into play a host of other Building Regulations.

    Please feel free to contact me for more information if you wish. Thank you.

    Stuart Bishop, RIBA, RIAS
    SBAD Architect

  2. cherylcheryl02-20-2016

    I have a similar query, but when the house was designed and built there was a gap left ready for stairs (temporarily covered with plaster board) do we still need permission to put stairs in? Thanks

  3. Do I Need PermissionDo I Need Permission02-22-2016


    Yes, you would need to apply for a building warrant to install the stair and change the attic to accommodation.

    Thanks for using Do I Need Permission

    • LizzyLizzy05-11-2017

      Hi, hope you can advise on similar query. There was staircase to loft already fitted when I moved in, prob fitted 40yrs ago. Do I need to do anything before I sell. Lizzy

  4. Do I Need PermissionDo I Need Permission05-11-2017

    Hi Lizzy.

    It will depend if a building warrant had originally been applied for the stair?

    If you are not sure you can get building control to do a search on your property to see what building warrants have been applied for. They may charge you a fee for this.

    Is this loft just a storage space?

    Thanks for using Do I Need Permission.

  5. AlexAlex07-19-2017

    Hello there. I am hoping i can get some advice on similar situation i am in as well.

    I just bought and moved in to a top floor leasehold flat where the loft space is part of the flat (i know this is rare. Even the freeholder admitted that their solicitor makes a mistake back when it was converted but its done)

    I am considering turning the loft into a 3rd bedroom, but after a lengthy discussion with the freeholder i know that he will never give me the consent to do so.

    So my train of thought now is that while i cant turn it into a habitable room, but its still my loft space to use, as it is the whole length of the flat, and i can easily make it into a study/work/hobby room with proper insulation, lighting and some shelving and desk.

    My understanding from the start of this thread is that a permanent staircase would require the need to comply to building Reg. But do i also need consent from freeholder to put in a permanent staircase, to replace the current loft hatch ladder? Given that of course i will try to avoid touching any of the structural beams and support to comply with “not altering any structure of the premise…”

    Been looking around the web but nothing quite describe my situation so i thought i might give this a go.

    Many thanks

  6. Do I Need PermissionDo I Need Permission07-25-2017

    Hello Alex.

    Is this project in England? House ownership is slightly different in Scotland and England and very few properties are lease hold in Scotland so I have never came across this before.

    Sorry our Ask An Expert pages only cover Scottish Building Regulations at the moment.

    Thanks for using Do I Need Permission.

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