Front Mansards - What are they, and why they are so popular?

Front Mansards were first introduced by French Architect Francois Mansard (1598-1666) and emerged in Britain in the 18th century, when it was also referred to as a 'kirb' roof. In this article we examine front mansard style.

So, how do you create a front mansard?

The creation of a mansard involves opening the roof so that the profile has 3 sides rather than two. This gives the structure a flat roof, with a steeply sloping front wall (70-90 degrees) often punctuated with dormer or Velux windows.


Having a flat roof makes maximum use of the interior space of the attic and enables the greatest amount of head space and largest room volume of any type of loft conversion. In removing the low angle of the pitched roof, the awkwardness of the layout and furnishing of the loft space is also removed, allowing for much more flexibility in the use of the space. The flat roof and ceilings allows the space to be treated similarly to a standard room and the space barley feels like a loft at all. A full width front mansard loft conversion creates a stunning space at the top of a property.


All of these benefits make a mansard conversion the preferred form of loft conversion. However, due to the drastic alteration to the front of the building in forming the mansard, local councils are becoming increasingly dismissive of applications for this style of roof. Some London councils are very adverse in allowing front mansards to be built unless there is a strong precedent on the street of recent examples.

A single planning application for a front mansard is very likely to be refused. However, there is a way around the council's objections. In applying with a joint application for numerous properties in a terrace approval is much more likely to be achieved. The number of neighbouring properties that need to be included in the application is very much dependent on the properties themselves as the reason for joint applications being favoured is down to the idea that they maintain the consistency of the terrace. Therefore, if a terrace is interrupted by a different style of building the joint application only needs to include properties up to that point. An example of this is for a recent joint application we received approval for - we only needed to apply on behalf of 8 properties. These 8 properties were sandwiched between one large building and different style, taller terraced houses (shown below).


Planning applications generally have a 3 year validity time-frame, meaning that the construction of the works approved need to have begun within three years. However, not all properties involved in the joint application need to build the front mansard in this time. Just one property needs to implement the application, therefore beneficial to do the additional leg work in order to get the approval from the council.










If you have any questions relating to this article, why not ask our Architectural Design team?

Other articles in this section

Converting Unused Space in your Home Converting Unused Space in your Home They say that time is money: in our experience as architects and builders, space is money in London. You can add value to...
Working with new and existing Fireplaces Working with new and existing Fireplaces The fire has always been the focal point of any dwelling. From its most primitive beginnings it has been used to primarily warm the spaces...
Designing using full use of space Designing using full use of space Designing using full use of space Storage space is consistently mentioned as one of the priorities people ask for when extending or...
What makes a space luxurious What makes a space luxurious What makes space more luxurious? In times past what was considered luxurious was to put your most ostentatious and prized possessions on...