9 Important Questions That You Need to Ask Before You Consider a Loft Conversion
A loft conversion can be quite an exciting project. It gives homeowners an opportunity to be creative and increase the living space in your house. However, before you rush to start this task, there are several things that you must consider. The planning process can be quite hectic, but it will surely save you time and money over time. To help you get organized and ensure that you have a project that you will be proud of, there are questions that you should ask yourself. Here are the loft conversion questions that you should ask before starting your project.
Why do you want a loft conversion?
There are several reasons why homeowners choose to extend their living space. One reason is to make improvements in the property that they have invested in for many years. If you are planning to stay in the home permanently, then you need to invest in a quality loft conversion project. In addition, other people opt to convert their loft to add value to their homes and make more profit when they sell the property. You can always speak to a real estate agent to determine how much value the conversion will add to your home.
Some people can also convert their loft to create short-term space. This is usually done when a homeowner needs extra space but does not have the financial ability to move to a bigger home. Knowing why you want a conversion will help you to set up your budget accordingly and avoid overspending in the process. If a conversion is a short-term solution, then it may make sense to save the cash and move instead of spending it in a home that you will leave after a few years.
How much money do you want to spend in the loft conversion?
Even though this may sound obvious, many people consider a loft conversion before deciding on their budget. This usually results in a project that looks ideal but is way out of the stipulated budget. If you are planning on a loft conversion, then you should think critically and come up with a realistic figure that you wish to spend. Make sure that you communicate this to your building contractor before you get started with your design as you may get recommendations to save money on your loft conversion. This will help you to save lots of time and will ensure that you do not spend more money than you have planned to.
What design styles do you like?
After ascertaining your set budget, you need to think about the style that you want for your loft conversion. You should never assume that your architect and loft conversion building contractors know what you want. There are many loft conversion styles and designs out there and you need to research extensively to come up with the exact design that you want. Ensure that you discuss every detail that you want with the contractors. You can check out our loft conversion ideas to help you make a decision.
Is it necessary to consider building regulations when converting my loft?
When converting your loft, you must consider the local building regulations. You can get a building completion certificate from your local authority or a nationally approved building inspection company. This will ensure that your loft conversion project is built according to the set building regulation standards. Your property may be devalued if you do not have this certificate and you may have problems selling your house in the future since a building completion certificate is necessary during the selling process.
When do you want the project to be done?
Many people prefer building work to be done during the spring or summer months. These seasons have good weather and they ensure that construction work takes less time to complete. Irrespective of when you want the building work to start, you must ensure that you start planning for the loft conversion process early. Surveys, designs, applying for planning permissions,, getting building regulations approvals and hiring building contractors take lots of time. It may take several months for your conversion project to get started. This is why you need to be realistic and start the process early enough.
How long will the loft conversion project take?
On average, it will take about eight weeks for a loft conversion to be completed. However, the time will vary from one loft to another and depending the building work that is needed. You should also take into consideration the time taken to have the loft conversion plans drawn up and getting planning permission.
Will the loft conversion affect my neighbors?
Before you start your loft conversion planning process, it is important that you consider your neighbors. You will need their cooperation, especially if the construction work will affect a wall that you share. Furthermore, you may need to access their land during the building process. Ensure that you talk to your neighbors to let them know about your project in advance. You need to know whether they have any objections or problems with your upcoming project. This way, you can make minor alterations to your loft conversion plans to prevent your neighbors from raising any material planning objections that will delay your project. Furthermore, you will be able to be on good terms with all your neighbors.
Will my utilities be strained?
When you add extra living space to your home, you can be sure that your heating requirements, water, and electricity needs will also increase. Your builder should advise you whether a new fuse board is necessary to handle the additional circuits and breakers or whether the shower or bathroom in your loft will affect the water pressure in the rest of the house, necessitating installation of an unvented cylinder or pump.
Do you need work done anywhere else in your home?
Before you start your loft conversion project, you should check around your home to determine whether you need work done anywhere else in your home. By getting all the work done at the same time, you will save money and time. Furthermore, you will reduce the amount of disruption and time you have contractors in your house.
A loft conversion is a perfect way of adding space to your home. It can come in handy if you have a baby on the way, need a home office, or you have visitors coming to stay. A loft conversion project will add an extra shower room or bedroom upstairs and it will be a less costly project than moving to a bigger property. By asking these loft conversion questions, you will be able to come up with the best plans that will guarantee a successful project.
Do You Need Planning Permission for Your Loft Conversion?
Loft conversions are an easy and convenient way to increase your home’s plinth area without putting up a new structure. While this option is quite economical, many people are reluctant to undertake loft conversion projects for fear of being denied planning permission. Contrary to popular belief, it is indeed possible to convert your loft without permission. All you have to do follow a few easy steps.
In order for you to determine whether you need to apply for planning permission, you will need to procure the services of an architect, builder or civil engineer. Once you tell them what you intend to do with your attic space, they will be able to advice you on whether you need to apply for planning permission or not.
Make sure that their advice is based on your final design as changes to your design may warrant application for planning permission. Alternatively, you can enlist the services of your local building control such as city council to guide you on which conversions are allowable without planning authorization.
Whether you need planning permission or not you will still have to ensure that you get building regulations approval. These regulations are in place to certify that any conversion jobs completed are structurally sound. They also vary from project to project depending on the features covered by each regulation.
The key elements include but is not limited to fire safety with regards to materials used, insulation and alarm systems, sound insulation, walls, joists and floors, staircase accessibility in case of a fire and load bearing support.
Apart from the requirements above, you may also be faced with additional authorization requirements depending on the following factors.
If you live in a protected historic building, you may face some roadblocks depending on the historic classification grade. Some historic buildings are not eligible for conversions that are bound to alter their original design significantly. So if you live in a historic building, ensure that the changes you wish to make are acceptable by the Heritage Protection Guide. You can find the guidelines on The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings or the Historic England website.
Endangered species habitat
If for some reason, your attic has been inhabited by any protected species such as bats, various bird species, dormice, wart-biter crickets and V-moths, then you will have to shelf your loft conversion plans. You can get the entire list of protected species on www.phlorum.com.
While there are ways to work around it, you will need to hire an ecologist to survey the site and advice on whether you can still convert the loft or not. Even so, your planning permission might still get rejected should they decide to carry out a survey of their own and come to a different conclusion. On the positive side you may still be able to carry on with your conversion if you are successful in getting a mitigation license stating that your project will not endanger the protected species residing in your loft.
Party Wall Agreement
If you live in a detached or semidetached house, you will need to inform you neighbour of your proposed loft conversion especially if the job will affect the shared wall. In this case you will need a Party wall agreement between you and your neighbour stating that the conversion will not affect their property.
You can find templates online that you can then customize to your specifications with regards to you and your neighbours’ situation. If they are reluctant to sign off, you can have an independent surveyor come in and approve your conversion.
In conclusion, you will not need planning permission for your proposed loft conversion if your project stays within the guidelines stated below.
Also do not forget to reinforce the floor below as your current existing floor may not have been built for heavy usage. Ensure you discuss this with your architect, builder or civil engineer.
Loft Conversion Ideas
A loft conversion is a great way of adding space and value to your house cost-effectively. If you have an attic that is still untouched, then you are lucky and should make better use of this part of your home. Loft conversions will help you get the much needed extra functional space that your home needs. You can convert this space to an additional living room, bathroom, bedroom, or even office space. When perfectly done, loft conversions can offer financial rewards if you ever sell your property because they will boost the value of your home. Here are some loft conversion ideas that will help to transform your attic from a cluttered space into a practical, chick room that you will love.
Get Your Loft Conversion Design Right
Before you start working on your loft, it is important to consider the complete layout of your loft conversion. This means that you should make a decision on where the furniture pieces will be positioned, any built-in storage, and the bathroom if you are constructing one. If you plan to build an en suite, then you should take into account the ceiling height in your attic space. This will ensure that your design is practical before you start construction.
Expose the brickwork
You can leave one wall of your new space unpainted and expose your brickwork to create a stylish feature that looks great, particularly in an attic that has slanting ceilings. If your brickwork is not in good condition, then you can opt to use wallpapers that will help you achieve the same look. With wallpapers, you do not have to remove the plaster as they can be fitted onto your wall.
Check the Attic Height
Before you make a decision on what function you want the extra space to serve, you should scrutinize your space carefully. If you discover that you have a double-height room then you can consider creating a mezzanine level of the attic. This will give you a desirable look that has plenty of appeals. With a double-height space, you can create a sleeping area that is above a living room or an extra bedroom with a bathroom on the mezzanine floor.
Manage without a staircase
If you are converting the loft to add extra storage space, you can opt to add a strong and durable ladder for easy access the loft above. This is an excellent way of maximizing your unused space without the need to construct expensive staircases. It can also be an amazing feature for a perfect hideout whenever you need some personal time.
Plan Your Storage
You should consider creating a customized wardrobe if you are converting your attic space into an extra bedroom. This will help you to get maximum utilisation for your space. With the low-level sloped ceiling, you do not have adequate space to accommodate the standard, ready-made furniture. This is why you need to think outside the box and make use of an awkward space. You can construct handy recesses into the attic to make a great addition to your new contemporary bathroom, particularly when it is designed to complement the existing décor.
Create a Feature Wall to Spark Interest
Many people opt for white when they want to create an illusion of a lighter and larger space. However, not every homeowner prefers a one-shade scheme. You can opt for patterned wallpaper, especially one that features a subtle repeat print. It should also have a light hue to help add more interest in your space. You can create an illusion of more wall length by positioning your feature wall at the end of the room.
Maximize on Natural Light
You should think about the position and size of your windows in the loft conversion design. The position of windows will be determined by the shape of the roof, for example, deeper, narrow rooms will look better with one large window, while shallow rooms need windows that are evenly spaced along its length. Every attic space will vary in size and shape, and you should carefully consider the type of window that will perfectly suit your new room.
Highlight Slanted Ceiling
When it comes to loft conversions, you should never be put off by tiny spaces and awkwardly shaped ceilings. You can use patterned wallpaper on a small panel or the entire room to create a unique look. Wallpaper is perfect for adding instant personality to your space and you should choose a design that you love. If you are converting your loft into a bedroom, make sure that you go for muted colours for a restful feel.
Showcase your Creativity
A restricted footprint of most attic spaces should not affect your creative flair. You can add significant value to your loft conversion with a stylish bathroom. With the sloped ceilings, you will have a dramatic frame for your stylish bathtub underneath. For the small spaces in your loft conversion design, go for bold wallpaper design as they will help to give an illusion of a bigger space. Furthermore, a big-patterned feature wall will add personality in a small compact room and will give your new functional space a focal point.
A practical attic conversion can transform the look, feel, and functionality of your home. Keep in mind that loft conversions are not possible for everyone; however, if you have attic space, then it is worth to convert your loft into a functional room. A professional loft conversion will add about 10 to 20% to the value of your property without the need of sacrificing extra garden space that is needed by ground floor extensions. For the best loft conversion, find a company that has the expertise and experience handling attic conversions.