Converting your loft space is one of the most exciting and satisfying of all the home-improvement projects. With up to 30% of your home’s floor space tied up in your loft, the scope for home transformation is huge. Stewart Wells of Daking Designs talks through the benefits and process of undertaking a loft conversion.
Maybe create a new bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, an office with a glorious view, or a playroom hideaway for the kids? Whatever you choose to do, not only will a new loft conversion significantly increase your living space, but it will also increase the value of your home too.
Suitability: As a first step it is wise to carry out a brief survey of your loft to check whether it can be converted, and also establish if there are any obstacles that will need to be looked into further.
When carrying out your survey, you will need to check:
· That there is enough height within your loft to stand comfortably, bearing in mind that your new floor is likely to be around 200mm higher than your existing ceiling joists and the insulation to the roof may lower the height by up to 150mm.
· That the loft space is large enough to provide a useable room.
· That your roof has felt under the tiles and/or is fully weathertight.
If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes’ then your loft may well be suitable for conversion.
Planning Permission Required?
Not always. In most cases, loft conversions tend to be considered Permitted Development (PD), but your design will need to adhere to several specified parameters. If you plan on extending beyond the limits and conditions of PD, or your property is listed or located in a conservation area, then you will need to apply for planning permission. You will also need planning permission if you are altering the roof height and/or shape (which may be the case if it is required to raise it for headroom). Rooflights and dormers can be installed under PD, but they must not sit forward of the roof plane on the principal elevation, nor must they be higher than the highest part of the existing roof. If planning permission is not required, you should still submit an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness – this is proof that all work was undertaken within guidelines and is vital paperwork should you ever sell your home.
Regardless of whether your loft project needs planning permission, you will still need to meet building regulation approval on all work done. While specific regulations will depend on the exact type of loft conversion you undertake, the broad elements covering all new lofts include:
· Fire safety: Fire-resistant doors and mains-powered smoke alarms are required.
· Sound insulation: Noise between rooms must always be sufficiently insulated.
· Floors and beams: New floor joists will be required to support the weight of your new loft room.
· Stairs: New stairs are not only required to gain access to the new rooms but are a requirement (beyond retractable ladders) to provide an escape route in the event of fire.
· Walls: New walls may be required to support the roof where previous supports were removed.
A building control surveyor will inspect your conversion at various stages and will be responsible for issuing a completion certificate upon final inspection.
How Much Is a Loft Conversion?
The exact price of a conversion can depend on many things, such as the size of your home, the age of the property, and the finish of the overall installation. Most loft conversions start at around £20,000 which is a cheaper alternative to gaining extra space in the home, compared with building an extension.
A well designed loft conversion is a cost-effective way of extending your home. Not only does this add value to your property, it will also provide you with added space.
Daking Designs Ltd are based in Hadleigh, Suffolk. We specialise in residential projects providing Planning & Building Regulation drawings in all aspects of residential design, from minor alterations, to bespoke new build properties.
Contact us today, we offer a free no obligation quotation.