Habitable Attic Rooms

A bedroom falls under the “habitable attic room” category and will therefore require council approval. Staircases leading into the room need to comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and it is compulsory to install windows for ventilation and adequate natural light. The existing structure of the ceiling and roof are not adequate to carry the load of a new room and its live loads. A structural floor frame and additional structural work to the roof and walls is standard practice in creating a habitable attic. To comply with  the conditions for heights and size of habitable attics, 60% of the attic room must measure a minimum of 2.2m from floor to ceiling.

Dormer windows are particularly well suited to the attic space, helping achieve more area above 2.2m to comply with council rules. They also create a new view, invite natural light, provide better cross ventilation and add character to your home from the street view.


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    Construction works valued at $50,000 or more often require a Basix report which sets out the industry’s standards for energy efficiency ratings and most habitable attics fall into this category. Some councils in Sydney also place conditions on Acoustic properties. Whether you live near train lines, major roads, airline flight paths or general city noise, creating a new habitable room can be your chance to create a quiet peaceful place.

    Careful consideration should be taken when deciding how and where to gain access to your attic. It is important that the staircase fits into the attic room in a convenient location, without taking up prime living space, whilst still meeting Australian standards. Design is also a major factor if your staircase will be running from the lounge or living area. A stylish staircase with open treads and glass balustrades would keep a open feel to the room. On the other hand, taking space from one of the bedrooms to access the attic or creating an enclosed staircase within a wardrobe or storage solution may be the best option.

    In most master bedrooms it has become mandatory to have an en-suite. In many cases this is also achievable in a habitable attic conversion, although size and shape may be subject to layout and roof lines.

    Design and finishes are an important part of attic conversions and it is important that you take the time to plan this side of things. Lighting, floor finishes, storage solutions and feature walls can all be made to suit your needs and style. Make sure your requests are all included in the building contract so your project stays within budget and runs smoothly from start to finish.

    Contact us to create a better home. We look forward to working together with you!

    Attic staircase with white banister and railing - view up to habitable attic room
    habitable Attic Ensuite