Loft conversions - the answer to space saving?
Loft conversions are a popular way of providing extended living space and increasing the value of your home. If you are planning a loft extension it is sensible to research ideas and advice, so that you end up with a well-designed, expertly thought-out extra space. Pre-build stage planning is essential, you need to consider the structural changes, room layout, utilities, ventilation, windows, stairs etc., before you put any thought into the interior.
Loft conversions come in all shapes and sizes and usage can be anything from an extra bedroom or bathroom, office, studio or gym. The decision not to move, but to convert and use existing space can be exciting and daunting. Here we can provide some tips in the planning process to help your loft conversion go as smoothly as possible.
Can my loft be converted?
Before you do anything else, you need to consider whether your loft space is suitable for a conversion. Most houses will come with an allowance for permitted development, however, if you live in a conservation area or your roof space isn't tall enough, it may start to get complicated. You can ask a builder, architect or surveyor to visit your home and check this out for you, but there are also a couple of checks that you can carry out yourself prior to this such as looking for other conversions on your street, measuring the head height, checking which type of roof you have and what room is below.
Budget and Costs
Loft conversion costs will vary depending on size, whether you'll need to alter its structure for staircase access, the type of conversion you're going for and where you live in the country, but as an
To break loft conversion costs down further, identify the type you are going for:
A basic, room in the roof conversion: the simplest of loft conversions, usually involving floor reinforcement, skylight(s), insulation, a staircase, electrics, lighting and heating plus fire safety measures can start from around £15,000
Planning & Fees
Most loft conversions are generally allowed under permitted development rights, so there’s no need to go through the lengthy process of obtaining planning permission, but it is worth obtaining a Certificate of Lawfulness from your local council for the work. Building control fees are also payable by the homeowner to the local authority or a government-approved, independent inspection company, to check that the work is as contracted and to issue building regulation certificates to prove that it has been carried out correctly.
How do I choose a builder or architect?
When hiring any tradesmen, it's best to start with a recommendation. Speak to friends and family and have a look online to see if there are any local forums offering recommendations. If you've spotted any loft conversions along your street and you feel comfortable knocking on some doors, ask your neighbours who they used and how they found them.
Insurance – get the right cover in place
It is highly recommended that the necessary insurance is put in place for your project. Site Insurance covers the structure which is being converted as well as the new conversion works and materials right up to the point the project is completed. Plant, tools and equipment or a residential caravan can also be covered if required.
10-Year Structural Warranty
A Structural Warranty is one of the best ways to protect your loft conversion against the effect that a major structural defect could have. Should you wish to sell the property at some point in the future, a Self-Build-Zone 10-Year Structural Warranty will give your purchaser peace of mind that the building was completed professionally and that it is covered by a lender approved warranty.