How long does a loft conversion take? - interactive timeline
If you're thinking of having a loft conversion, I think there are three main points you need to consider. 1, your budget, 2, whether your house can accommodate a loft conversion? 3, whether council planning or building regulations will allow you to have what you have in mind?
Loft conversions can vary in price massively, ranging from around £15,000 to £60,000+ so before you write off the idea of thinking you can't afford one; it's always worthwhile getting a loft conversion company round to give you a price. Most loft conversion companies should be able to give you a price before the costly process of applying for planning permission and building regulations. Also remember that not all conversions have to be a dormer conversion, which can add a large chunk to the cost; a velux conversion is always a cheaper option and can still create a wonderful living space.
Not every home, house or bungalow can accommodate a loft conversion. One of the most common restrictions is lack of head height, a good way to check this is to measure the current height of your loft space from the top of the ceiling joist to the bottom of the roofs ridge, this will need to be 2.3 metres or more to allow space for the new floor joists and ceiling joists. If it's less than 2.3 meters then it isn't game over just yet, there are still options available to you, such as re-pitching parts or the entire roof at a stepper pitch, thus creating a higher ridge height (planning permission maybe required to do this). There is also the quite often awkward decision of where to fit a new set of stairs, using just a loft ladder is unsafe and illegal.
If the end of your roof is a hip end then this can also restrict the type of conversion you have, one way round this is to remove the hip end and build it out to a gable end, creating a hip to gable conversion this can increase space hugely.
One other thing to consider is any water tanks your loft maybe housing. If you don't have a combi boiler then your hot water and heating system will require water tanks. Now a days water tanks can be purchased in all shapes and sizes so can easily be moved to and stored in the eaves space that's usually created when you have a loft conversion.
Generally speaking planning permission isn't required for a loft conversion, as long as it doesn't extend the current size of the property by a certain percentage, different types of properties have different regulations, such as terraced houses can have an increase of 40 cubic meters before they require planning permission and semi-detached and detached houses can have an increase of up to 50 cubic meters, these are quite big increases so most properties will be fine. The other major planning issue is the restriction of dormers to the front of the property; dormers are usually only allowed to be constructed to the rear although velux windows are allowed. Other planning permission issues include; using similar building materials to what was already there, side facing windows to use obscure glass and no roof extensions in certain areas, such as national parks and conservation areas. If you are planning an extension and a loft conversion at the same time, this still depends on how much extra cubic feet you are adding to your property on whether you require planning permission.
Unlike planning permission, all loft conversions will need building regulations. These should not be seen as an obstacle but a guide to make sure your conversion is created in a safe and proper way. Before work begins you or your builder will need to submit plans to the building control office for approval, these will be the same structural plans your loft conversion company will work from and they will have information on them such as the size and positions of the RSJ's (rolled steel joist) and flitch beams, the size and spacing of the new timber floor joists, the size and position of the new stair well and also the size and position of any dormers and velux windows. They will also show the size and positions of any escape windows.
The building control officer will want to see the creation of your loft conversion at certain points throughout the build. Generally he will visit 3 times unless there are any problems or if your loft conversion company has any concerns. He will want to see the build after all the beams and joists have been fitted, before the flooring goes down! He will then want to see the conversion when all the insulation has been fitted and finally he will want to see the conversion after the stairs have been completed, this is to make sure they are the correct width, pitch and to check the height of handrails etc. He will also be looking out for the quality of the workmanship and to make sure there is the correct head height from floor to ceiling.
There are two main types of dormer, the flat roof dormer and the pitched roof dormer. The majority of people prefer the appearance of the pitched roof dormer because they look less "boxy" from the outside but when it comes down to practicality and maximizing the space you can't beat the flat roof dormer. In some cases you won't have a choice of what type of dormer you have, if you have a low roof then you will probably be restricted to having a flat roof dormer but if you have a high roof then you will probably be able to have a pitched roof dormer. Because of the construction of the flat roof dormer and the fact they don't need as much height they can be made a lot bigger than a pitched roof dormer which means a bigger loft room on the inside.
Cooper Lewis Ltd operate out of Worthing, servicing the surrounding towns and counties such as Lancing, Angmering, Shoreham, Portslade, Brighton, Littlehampton, Rustington, Chichester, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent. With experience in all types of loft conversions on all types of properties and roofs. With our main skill and working background in carpentry which makes up 85% of the work that goes into converting a loft, it makes sense to give us a call if you have a project in mind. We use tried and tested tradesmen to complete the project on time and on budget to a high standard.