BUILDING experts in Hartlepool are warning residents who have loft conversions that they may be looking at potential death traps.

Hartlepool Borough Council's principal building control officer Dave McCullogh also said many households are failing to get proper approvals.

He said: "This often only comes to light when someone tries to sell their house and the records show there is no building control approval for the loft conversion.

"We come across about 100 cases a year, where householders have converted their lofts without applying for the proper approvals. This slows down the house sale process and in some instances, it has caused a sale to fall through."

Although most loft conversations do not require planning permission, they do need building regulation approval.

Mr McCullogh said: "When we carry out our inspections, we also find many of the conversions have not been carried out to the necessary standards and are a deathtrap.

"Anyone wanting to convert their loft should seek advice and contact a reputable builder."

A leaflet about conversions is available from the council's building control section at Bryan Hanson House or by contacting (01429) 523299.