Five questions you need to ask before converting your loft

General, Loft conversion

Do you need a new bedroom, playroom or study? Converting your loft is a great way to extend your living space, as it’s less stressful than moving and could boost the value of your home by 25%. But before you start searching for design inspiration, there are five basic questions you need to ask.Five questions you need to ask before converting your loft

Is your loft suitable?

Five questions you need to ask before converting your loftAs long as you have 2.3 metres of headroom and a reasonably sized floor area, there shouldn’t be a problem with converting your loft. If the headroom is below 2.3 metres, you could create extra room by removing a section of your roof or even the entire roof. However, this will be costly and it will also require planning permission.

Who will carry out the work?

Five questions you need to ask before converting your loftThere are two main options here. If you appoint an architect or an architectural technologist they will prepare your drawings and designs, arrange the relevant approvals, help you to find a builder and manage the project. However, you’ll also need to hire a structural engineer.

Alternatively, you could opt for a specialist loft conversion company. For an all-inclusive price, the company’s design department will take care of drawings and approvals, while their construction department carries out the work. Whichever option you choose, it’s worth asking neighbours and friends for recommendations and you should always aim to get three quotes.

What will it cost?

Five questions you need to ask before converting your loftA basic loft conversion package costing around £15,000 will include floor reinforcements, skylights, extra insulation, staircases, electricity, lighting, heating and fire safety. Installing dormer windows will add a minimum of £5,000 and if you alter your home’s roof structure, you’ll need at least £40,000 plus planning permission.

Do building regulations apply?

Five questions you need to ask before converting your loftBecause a loft conversion is a “material change of use” building regulations do apply. These cover floor strength, fire escapes, thermal efficiency, electrics, glazing, plumbing, heating, and minimum headroom above the staircase. If you’re keen to know more, why not check out our handy video guide?

What about planning permission?

Five questions you need to ask before converting your loftMost loft conversions are viewed as permitted developments, as long as they don’t exceed 50 cubic metres (40 for terraced houses). You also need to make sure that your extension is lower than the highest part of the roof and that it is set back as far as possible. The materials used must be similar in appearance to the existing house and any side facing windows must be obscure glazed and non-opening. For more details, check out Planning Portal’s excellent mini guide.

Keen to know more about converting your loft? Then we recommend paying a visit to our information-packed website, where you’ll also find contact details for your local authority building control team.

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