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  • Writer's pictureCliff L'Aimable _Chartered Surveyor & Building Engineer

Loft conversions an effective use of space

We have supervised, and checked architectural designs and engineering calculations on many hundreds of projects involving loft conversions. So we certainly have the valuable skillsets and experience to help our clients obtain a building regulation Final Certificate with ease. So let's get started by delving into our many archives of the hundreds of loft projects we have been involved with.

Loft conversions
Loft conversion inspected by building control surveyors building inspectors

Making the most of unused space, loft conversions are a smart and fashionable way to expand your home—without having to move! In fact, your attic loft usually takes up the most space in your house and compared to basement conversions, it's simpler to turn into a useful space solution.

According to David of Concepts Designs, "the joy of having a loft conversion is making the most of being at the top of the property, it's an amazing place to develop especially if you can take advantage of some spectacular views" as this really maximises the outlook to the sky.

If your existing loft space is structurally sound, you might only need to add windows, reinforce the flooring, and insulate the walls.

Loft conversions
Loft conversions supervised by building control surveyors ltd

Additionally, loft conversions will increase the value of your home, meaning that should you decide to sell, you'll literally have more money in the attic. The average cost of a basic loft conversion varies depending on the type of attic loft conversion that is best for your home, but it is still significantly less than buying a new home.

But it can be difficult to know where to start when undertaking a project of this magnitude. The following are some crucial factors to think about and do's and don'ts when planning a chic loft conversion.

The following are some crucial factors to think about and do's and don'ts when planning a chic loft conversion.

Check to see if your loft is suitable for a conversion.

Does your loft have enough room? Make sure you have a suitable space to convert before you even begin to plan. Check the type of roof for this. Does it have rafters or roof trusses, which are structural supports that pass through the roof's cross-section? Get a professional architect involved.

According to Mike of Economy Lofts, "The most crucial guideline is to ensure that the loft area has enough head room height, so we work closely with our building control technical advisor at Building Control Surveyors Approved Inspectors to iron out any issues to make sure we achieve compliance "

To create a cosy attic bedroom or living room, the loft space must be at least half this height of 2.3m over its complete floor plate.

DO make a decision regarding how you will use your loft.

Do you desire a chic bedroom with an attached bathroom? Or maybe you want a chic living room, a home office, or even a gym. Your loft conversion's design and layout will be determined by your preference.

Consider how much space you need for sleeping, storage, and an ensuite shower if you are converting the loft to make a new master bedroom, Mike advises. A walk-in closet or dressing room with a door that conceals items is a great way to maximise space, and positioning the ensuite outside the room is crucial when considering practical issues like plumbing and the need to run pipes.

DO determine whether you'll require planning permission.

Loft conversions typically fall under "permitted development," which means you don't need a permit. There are some exceptions, though, where you might have to. For instance, residents of conservation areas or of listed homes would require Listed Building Consent. Some loft conversions can be completed in accordance with permitted development guidelines, which shortens and simplifies the procedure, according to Samantha our own building inspector based at Warlies Park House. You will need planning permission if you live in a flat, maisonette, or a conservation area.

Regardless of the type of conversion, you would still require Building Regulations approval - we can certainly help you with that also! and a Party Wall Agreement with your neighbours -we can help you with that also !! if your building has shared walls or even shared floors.

DO review your building regulations.

Any loft conversion project must first comply with all applicable building regulations before you can begin.

The use of a permanent staircase is one of them, particularly if the space is being converted into a bedroom, bathroom, or office. A fixed ladder or spiral staircase, however, may be an option if you are space-constrained. Additionally, you'll need high-quality insulation to keep the space cool in the summer and warm during the colder months.

More importantly, building materials must adhere to current fire regulations by having smoke detectors inside the house as well as fire escape windows or exits at lower levels.

Building Inspectors
Private building inspectors at Building Control Surveyors Ltd

DON'T rely solely on the first estimate you receive.

Before you begin, it is advised that you obtain at least three quotes from specialised loft conversion or building companies. Always make sure that your contractor is insured and registered with the appropriate authority. I would advise you also check to see if the building company you want to do the work is listed on the Companies House -Webcheck, so you can confirm their registered address. The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and the Federation of Master Builders are two examples of official bodies (FMB) that can help you to find credible contractors.

Don't forget to prepare a backup budget.

Loft conversions in London now cost an average of £48,000. Nevertheless, it's helpful to have a reserve fund. This is for design-build projects, so it also includes the construction as well as architectural and structural drawings, advises Samantha. Never forget to budget for fixtures and fittings like bathrooms and any furniture you would like in the new loft. Always have a contingency in the budget of about 10% to 15% for any unforeseen extras.

Never forget to budget for fixtures and fittings like bathrooms and any furniture you would like in the new loft. Always have a contingency in the budget of about 10% to 15% for any unforeseen extras.

DO take into account the proper lighting to meet your needs.

Always think about the best position for your roof windows whether you choose a skylight or double windows. A loft space can be opened up and made bright and airy by using natural light. You must choose what would be appropriate for your lifestyle because it also establishes the feel and mood of the room. Juliet balconies are great for smaller loft conversions because they give the impression that the space extends beyond the size of the room, according to Mike. Skylights over beds are a lovely way to enjoy the night sky and, in the warmer months, they produce a nice cross breeze.

What are the common loft conversion types and what are the typical costs?

Well we have checked our own database records at our building control offices at Warlies Park House, which contains many hundreds of loft conversions we have supervised and here is our big reveal !!!

• Simple rooflight conversion (Velux)

Even with a small attic, it is still possible to build a room in the roof. Typically, these conversions include a skylight, reinforced floors, stairs, insulation, lighting, and heating. Cost on average: £37,000 to £42,000 (fully fitted out).

Cost on average: £37,000 to £42,000 (fully fitted out).

• Loft conversions with dormers

These can provide more room or head height thanks to their high pitch angle roofs and spacious floors. Similar to basic rooflights, they have the same specifications with the addition of a dormer window.

Cost on average: £45,000 to £51,000.

• Loft conversion with hip-to-gable

This design involves turning the hipped, slanted roof section into a vertical wall (gable). Given a typical, pitched roof, this will result in more internal space, and the vertical wall's ability to accommodate windows. Costs typically range from £28,000 to £38,000 or more.

• Conversion of a mansard loft

This is a significant undertaking because it entails raising your home by a new storey. To create a flat roof, the sloping roof structure would need to be transformed into a nearly vertical wall at a 70-degree angle. Costs range from £49,000 to £90,000 on average.

Whatever your project design, however complex our surveyors at Building Control Surveyors Approved Inspectors, a leading private building inspection and certification service provider licensed by government via the Construction Industry Council, we certainly have the expertise to advise and supervise your work from start to finish.

Contact tel 01992 710 763 or email to get a fee quote for our services.


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