Love your home but need more space? Could your dusty, unused loft become a bespoke master suite, home office or rooms for your growing family? While it is generally common knowledge that extending or converting is cheaper than moving, you may not be sure if your loft space is suitable for conversion. Here we offer a simple guide to determining if you can get ahead in the space race.
Initial 5-point check.
1. Is there actually enough space to create a room? Just what it says on the tin, is your loft big enough to create a room or would conversion just leave you with an unusable area?
2. What type of roof do you have? Have a peek into your loft to see if you have rafters or roof trusses. Rafters run along the edge of the roof whilst trusses run through the cross-section. You can convert both however trusses will need extra structural support put in which will incur extra cost.
3. Is there enough headspace? For traditional houses, you will need at least 2.2m of headspace. If it is a more modern trussed roof you will need at least 2.4m.
4. Will the roof protect against all weather conditions? No leaky roof in the winter? Not too hot in the summer? No holes where animals could get into nest during spring.
5. No chimney breasts or service lifts running through? If so, these may need to be removed.
If you are concerned about any of these 5 points, do not worry. It doesn’t mean you can’t have the loft space you’ve always dreamed of, just that some extra planning may be required.
Consider the types of loft conversions
· Internal loft conversions- This involves limited structural work which will reduce the overall cost and make use of the existing space.
· Dormer loft conversions- this involves removing part of the roof and expanding the space giving you extra headroom. This, however, will raise costs. You will need to apply for planning permission for this. There are several types of dormers that you can look into. This is more expensive than the internal loft conversion but offers more space.
· Roof off loft conversions (this involves removal and rebuild of the loft)- there are two types of roof off conversions Mansard Conversions and Pre-Fabricated. As these involve removing the roof and rebuilding it does make it the more costly option but offers you the option to completely design and create exactly the way you want.
Various types of insulation are available which will help to reduce your energy cost. You also have the option to add soundproofing to your loft space to create the perfect quiet sanctuary or allow you to play music without the fear of upsetting your neighbours.
If you are in a terraced or semi-detached house, you are required to let your neighbours know you are intending to do a loft conversion. This falls under the Party Wall Act 1996.
One of the gnawing questions is whether you will need planning permission and/or building regulations approval. Loft conversions fall under permitted development and you generally won’t need planning permission if it in 40 cubic metres or under if it’s a terraced house or 50 cubic metres and under for detached and semi-detached houses.
You will always need building regulations approval even if you don’t need planning permission. It is worthwhile getting detailed plans drawn up before finding a builder as this will allow them to give you a fixed quote and not just a rough estimate.
The great thing about us here at Arkiplan is that we offer detailed planning permission and building regulation drawings with no need for a site visit. Even better, once you are happy with your drawings, if planning permission is required, we will submit your council application for you and guide you through the whole process.
Take the hassle and stress out of the process and enjoy the adventure of expanding your home.