Loft conversions are widely considered convenient and cost-effective home improvement projects. They do not only allow you to get more space that can have its own dedicated function, but also increase the overall value of your home. You may be able to accommodate an additional double bedroom with an en-suite, a home office space or playroom for the little ones.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of all loft conversion aspects you need to know before you decide with proceed with your project – from design considerations to applying for permitted development or planning permission.
Find out how exactly you can benefit from your loft conversion investment, and what crucial aspects of the build will allow you to complete a best-value lost conversion.
Let’s start with the basics…
What is a loft conversion?
When already an owner of vacant space that’s not being used to the fullest extent, it’s always easier to adapt it into a habitable room or bedroom, rather than move home. No doubt, this solution will create the additional space that’s in demand, while saving you the hassle of relocating.
The initial design considerations that we will be able to talk you through include: ceiling height, access (staircase alterations), lighting installation, plumbing works, utilities connections, flooring, fire escapes and alike.
However, what you should be aware of from the square one is that not all lofts can be converted. A brief survey will be required to determine if your house loft is suitable for a conversion. The initial site survey should look at 2 crucial element that can qualify your house for a conversion:
- roof structure – post mid-60s many roof structures are modern trussed roofs (compared to previously popular traditional-cut and purlin roof styles)
- ceiling height – the minimum height requirements are 2.2-2.4 m for a traditional roof, and usually 2.4-2.6 metres for modern roofs (post mid-60s)
Contact here at Craymanor Limited to help you carry out a brief assessment and advise you on which type of loft conversion will work best in your case. Which type of loft conversion will allow you to make the best use of the empty space at hand, will be determined by the following:
- What type of roof structure does your house have?
- What do you want to use the loft for after it’s been converted?
- And last – but not the least – what’s your budget?
No matter what your questions are, there are three kinds of loft conversion projects we look at: internal and dormer loft conversions (least complex and invasive), and loft conversions requiring a removal of the roof and a new build.
Dormer loft conversions are considered the best choice in most cases as they provide a good space ratio. The latter, on the other hand, require complex building works and can be quite pricey and time-consuming, although they do provide more flexibility. Pre-fabricated units can be incorporated to assure the roof is watertight within a few days.
Internal loft conversions – they are a cost-effective solution that involves little or no changes to the existing roof structure. Side windows can be added to the roof slope, floors straightened and walls insulated.
Dormer loft conversions – either single, full-width, side dormer, hip-to-gable or L-shape dormer. Single dormer conversions can be added in pairs to assure symmetry.
Are loft conversions good investments?
Whether you own the property, or are still in the process of paying off a mortgage, you can consider a loft conversion to substantially contribute to the value of your home. Most cases involve an increase of 20%. Your house will be valued more by estate agents depending on the location and the quality of work carried out to the loft, so choose wisely. It can be said that completing a loft conversion usually guarantees a return on investment.
Do loft conversions require planning permission?
Usually, undertaking a loft conversion does not require a planning permission, unless your project involves altering or extending the roof space exceeding certain limits and conditions. The terms of permitted development can be found on legislation.gov.uk website (2015): http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/596/schedule/2/part/1/crossheading/class-b-additions-etc-to-the-roof-of-a-dwellinghouse/made
Permitted development means that you are free to undertake your loft conversion without applying for a planning permission. However, for a project not to require a planning permission, the following limits must be met:
* There can be no verandas or balconies
* In case of terraced houses: maximum space extension of 40 m3 (under Permitted Development Rights)
* For semi-detached and detached houses: max. of 50 m3 of additional roof space
* No new extension can exceed the highest point of the existing roof
* Materials used must appear similar to the structure of the existing construction
* Any side opening must be at least 1.7m above the floor, without frosted glass
* Roof extensions are not permitted on certain areas such as: World Heritage sites, conservation areas, national parks and other similar areas.
If your property does not meet any of the requirements listed, the project may require a full planning permission. We will in any event always obtain a Lawful Development Certificate for any of the loft works.
How long do loft conversions take?
There are certain reasons that may will increase the timeframe of the conversion project, such as:
- Type of the existing roof structure
- Type of the loft conversion you’ve decided on
- What materials are going to be used
- Type of staircase to be installed
- Are plumbing and utilities required in the loft?
- Number of rooms and windows to be added
These numerous variables make it difficult to accurately estimate how long your loft conversion project will take. Setting the dates of milestones and giving you an estimates time frame for your conversion is only possible after our initial site visit. Industry’s guidelines suggest that loft conversion project usually last between 6 and 8 weeks before the build is completed. 8-12 week project would apply to more complex conversion works.
Craymanor Ltd are a trusted loft conversion company based in Sidcup, delivering home improvement solutions to South East London and across Kent. Find out more about our loft conversion services or contact our team to request a personalised quotation on your project.