Loft conversion in Edinburgh: How much will it cost? Do I need planning permission?

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Loft conversion living area with couch and music equipment

It looks like a loft, but is it a living space, too? 

Loft conversions allow you to build up rather than out for a renovation that maximises space. The search for extra square footage in your home never stops. 

Whether you’re looking to add another bedroom or create extra living space, there’s a major value in adding a new room. If you have a loft or attic, you might find that the extra space you’re looking for is already in your home’s floorplan.

How much does a loft conversion cost in Edinburgh? Do you need planning permission for a loft conversion in Edinburgh? Let’s take a look…

The benefits of a loft conversion

Some people are put off by the idea of a loft conversion due to budgets and the size of the project. However, they can be worthwhile and bring many benefits to your home. These include:

  • Home value: A loft conversion can add value to your home because you’re increasing the square footage of room space.
  • More space: You don’t need to ‘upsize’ to a larger property. It might be cheaper to increase the size of your current home.
  • Adding a natural light source: Velux windows and dormers let in much more light than the other windows in your home. They are much less likely to be blocked by other houses or trees on the street outside.

Where do I start?


Loft conversion staircase with glass panel

Taking on a project like a loft conversion can feel a little daunting at the start. It’s a good idea to chat with a professional builder or architect. Our team at Orocco can recommend our trusted partners and architects. Reach out here.

A feasibility study can be carried out on your loft to make sure it’s suitable for conversion.

This initial consultation might save you time and money in the long-term, so it’s worth a chat.


Do I need planning permission?


Loft conversion window with street views

There are two answers to this question.

One: No. You don’t need planning permission if your conversion is a basic one (no style or shape changes to the roof), then generally speaking no planning permission is required.

Two: Maybe. If your property is in a conservation area or is part of a listed building, you might require planning permission. Likewise, if you want to change the style/shape of the roof, you’ll likely need to get planning permission.


Assumptions can be expensive. The important thing to do is make sure you have something in writing that states whether or not you need planning permission.

If you don’t think you need planning permission you can request a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’ through Edinburgh Council. 

Many people choose not to apply for the certificate, but it could save you from questions further down the road. At the very least, try to get an email from your local council stating that they have an opinion that no planning permission is required.

Top tip: Save yourself from legalities by getting a Certificate of Lawfulness.


Do I need any other kind of approval?


Loft conversion glass panel

The short answer is yes.

Building Warrant

There’s a document in Scotland called a Building Warrant. It gives you permission to begin building work or conversion in your property.

A lot of people don’t realise, but a Building Warrant is required for most construction projects. To obtain it, there are required areas of compliance with current Building Standards. At the moment, these include:

  • Structure: Your loft must be able to withstand weighted loads placed upon it.
  • Fire: Your loft must have fire resistance and separation implemented.
  • Environment: Proper drainage, heating, and ventilation must be implemented.
  • Safety: Sturdy stairs and safe electricals must be installed and maintained.
  • Noise: The conversion must take into consideration noise separation.
  • Energy: Your conversion should include insulation, heating, and lighting.

It sounds like a lot. But doing it properly makes sure you adhere to building regulations and gives you comfortable living space.

Is my loft suitable for conversion?


Not all lofts are suitable for conversions. The good news is that most are. Some are easier than others with regard to cost and structural work.

The first step is to reach out to a dedicated service provider that can help you with planning and development. Contact Orocco to talk about designing your loft conversion.

As with most home projects, many things can influence the cost, such as location, specification, and finish.

Factors that play a role in the suitability of your loft for conversion include:

  • Available head height
  • The pitch of the roof
  • The structure of the roof
  • Obstacles (water tanks, chimney stacks, etc.) 

Loft conversion staircase


It goes without saying that a staircase will be required for access to your new room. This is something you’ll need to be mindful of. The stairs will ultimately take up space in a room below the loft conversion.

The ideal location for your staircase is to land in line with the roof ridge. This will help to utilise the height above the stairs.

In practice, the actual position of the stairs will depend on the layout of the floor or room below.

Here are some factors to consider when designing your staircase:

  • Steps: The maximum number of steps in a straight line is 16. Typically a loft conversion needs 13 steps, but if you have high ceilings you might need to take this into consideration.
  • Size: The maximum step rise is 220mm.
  • Spindles: Any spindles must have a separation distance of 100mm that a sphere cannot pass through.

How much does a loft conversion in Edinburgh cost?


A loft conversion is an investment. The initial costs can save you time and money in the long-term. For example, a loft conversion might save you the costs of moving home and increase your home sale price if you do decide to move further down the line. 

In 2020 the typical cost for a loft conversion ranges from £45,000 to £150,000. Cost factors include:

  • Planning and development
  • Structural assessments
  • Architect fees
  • Construction costs
  • Joinery, plumbing, and electricals
  • Design and interiors 

Final notes


Loft conversions are perfect for homeowners that want additional living space without the hassle of moving. 

We would love to help you plan and create your conversion. Take a look at our customer testimonials, our projects, and contact us with any questions.

We hope to work with you soon.

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