Loft conversions can be a really cost-effective way of creating an extra bedroom, living area, study or studio. The important thing is to plan your loft conversion properly. If you have the space, there are several advantages in investing in a loft conversion for your home.
Here are some tips that could help you with your loft conversion project:
Loft conversions are a popular choice for many for three main reasons:
• they add value and space to your property
• they can be a lot less stressful than building a house extension
• they generally don’t need planning permission
Loft Conversion Planning Permission
While a loft conversion probably won’t need planning permission, it will need to meet surveys and building regulations, all of which will take around 8-12 weeks. It’s a wise move to check first with your local planning authority that planning permission is not required. On rare occasions when it is needed, you should allow at least an extra six weeks for the project. You can find out more information on this page: planning permission for loft conversions.
Whether you have a traditional roof structure or a modern truss roof, you only need around 2.3 metres floor to head space to provide a comfortable loft room.
The choice of builder for your loft conversion is all important:
Don’t be taken in by smooth sales talk or fancy adverts in the local paper. Word of mouth is usually the best recommendation, particularly if neighbours, friends or family have had a similar job done. For added peace of mind, it’s a good yardstick to gauge a builder’s professionalism and reliability if you check references from recent clients.
Getting comparison quotes from loft conversion specialists is another sound idea, particularly if you’re working to a tight budget A fixed quote will also ensure there are no nasty surprises when you come to pay the bill, with unexpected costs being added during and after the conversion.
Remember you’re the customer – so don’t feel embarrassed about asking your builder a lot of questions. If the builder is using scaffolding, for instance, it could result in a lot of disruption and mess in your house.
How much will my loft conversion cost?
Having picked your builder, it’s time to draw up a contract and discuss pay options for the loft conversion costs. Don’t agree to an initial payment for labour or to pay in full before the work has even started – although you may think it’s reasonable to pay up front for the necessary materials if you’re asked to do so. The best method of payment is probably to pay in stages, after each part of the conversion is completed.
Designing a loft conversion
The most popular choices for loft conversions are new bedrooms (often with an en suite bathroom), living rooms and office spaces. Loft conversions can make an ideal family space but you’ll need to factor in sloping ceilings when you’re planning the layout and placement of furniture.
With so many people opting to work from home these days, a loft conversion can also be the ideal solution – somewhere where you can get on with your work in peace and quiet away from the rest of the family. Remember, though, to ensure that electric sockets are in the right places for your computer, printer, photocopier and other ‘tools’ of your trade.
Whatever your reason for embarking on the project, you’ll benefit from some specialist help to turn your ‘lofty’ dreams into reality. Specialist loft conversion companies can help but the best option is to work closely with an architect – and to be involved at every stage of the project.
As with any design project, forward planning is essential. You won’t achieve your dream loft conversion through guesswork!