How to Renovate Your First Building? Guidance for New Contractors

How to Renovate Your First Building? Guidance for New Contractors
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When working on home renovation in Swansea and the South Wales area we would urge all building contractors to pay attention to the following issues.

Planning Permission Home Renovation

Never assume your client has already obtained planning permission. Always double check before getting started!

Remember, planning permission is needed for renovation that are larger than 50m3 (or 40m3 for a terrace property).

It is also needed when the roof tilt is changed or the height of the roof is raised. Additionally, it is required for dormer windows and the installation of a balcony. This is not a comprehensive list. We would urge all home builders to check out the full list of regulations in Swansea here.  

Construction companies are advised to download the simple guidance issued by the council, which clearly sets out what is permitted and what is not. Different councils may vary, so take care to check correctly.

The Roof

There are normally two kinds of roof; trussed rafter roofs and traditional roofs.

Of the two, a traditional roof will be the simplestwhen in renovation. The trussed rafter roof will definitely require the input of a structural engineer, but we would advise all builders to get their recommendations regardless of what type of roof is currently in place.

Access All Areas

Unfortunately, some homeowners seem to think they will be just fine using the same retractable loft ladder they had before undertaking their loft conversion. It falls to the home building companies to set them right about this!

To comply with building regs, a loft conversion must have permanent access, but more than this, it also needs a minimum headroom of two meters for stairs.

Stair types which you may consider include alternating tread stairs, spiral staircases, and of course, conventional staircases.

Since space is so often an issue with resconstruction job, the first two options tend to work the best for most homeowners.

However if your client really doesn’t have the budget or the space for this then a ladder is permissible, just as long as it is a fixed one.

Safety Regulation for Contractor

Naturally, as a building contractor, you will be aware of the structural stability of both the roof and floor, as well as the rest of the property.

But additionally, certain task such as loft conversion will need to be fitted with a mains wired smoke alarm to comply with each state council regulations. And it also needs to have a window which is large enough to escape in a fire.


A lot of homeowners want to maximise the potential of their loft conversions by adding a bathroom, shower or WC.

As home builders, you probably know the best place for any loft bathroom is situated directly over the top of the main bathroom in the house. This is because drainage and piping already exists, as well as access to water.

Also remember that:

  • Baths can fit nicely under the eaves.
  • Toilets and basins need full headroom wherever possible.
  • The voids in a stud wall can be used for tap mixers and hidden showers.
  • Wet rooms can work in cramped spaces.
  • If there is no soil stack for a loo, you might consider a macerator. This can process the waste so it fits into the existing pipes – however, it can be noisy and needs to be used with caution.