A loft conversion can add significant space and value to your property. It’s a popular solution because it can be much easier, cheaper and less disruptive than a major extension project. If you’re thinking of converting your loft, here are our top tips to ensure your project runs smoothly and stress-free.
Is your loft a useable space?
The first thing to consider is whether your loft space is suitable for conversion. The good news is that most lofts are suitable, but consider these three key things to be sure for a stress-free loft conversion:
Roof pitch – measuring the angle of your roof can help you determine whether there will be sufficient head height. A higher pitch angle indicates a higher central head height.
Internal height – To be suitable for conversion, the internal height needs to be 2,500mm. You can determine this by measuring from the top of the ceiling joist to underneath the ridgeboard in the apex.
Footprint – Internal rules should measure 5,500mm side-to-side and 7,500mm front to back as a minimum. This is inclusive of a chimney if you have one.
What type of loft conversion?
Once you have confirmed your loft is a useable space, consider what type of conversion you want. The cheapest solution is a straightforward conversion using the existing space, without building out from the roof. A more costly alternative is a loft conversion that runs the total length of the house and changes the roof, making it more vertical. A simple conversion is sufficient for the needs of most people and will make the project much easier.
What regulations do you need to meet?
Most loft conversions don’t need planning permission due to permitted development rights. Check out our article on whether you need planning permission to see if you’re covered.
You will, however, need to meet building regulations. It’s worth doing some research in to this because some homes will require alterations to more than just the loft to satisfy the regulations, such as adding fire doors to other rooms, for example.
If your loft conversion affects walls that adjoin to your neighbours, you will need to get a party wall agreement prior to undertaking any work. This confirms they are happy for you to proceed with work that affects shared walls. It’s a good idea to seek this as early as possible as it could cause delays to your project if any disagreements arise.
What professionals do you need to hire?
Unless you are a skilled tradesperson, it is sensible to hire professionals to ensure a smooth ride and a finished project that is up to scratch. It is advisable to get an architect to complete structural plans and drawings of your project. They can also submit plans to your local authority for planning and building regulations approval. Choose an architect that offers buildings regulations plans as part of their service so that you don’t need a structural engineer as well – this will help to keep costs down.
Once you have approval, it is advisable to hire reputable builders to complete the project and ensure that all regulations are met during the construction stage. Loft conversions can be complicated; whilst you may be tempted to try a DIY conversion, consider hiring professionals for the trickier aspects at least. This will help to ensure you don’t get in over your head and following the rest of the tips mentioned before will help to ensure that your loft conversion is stress-free and your project runs smoothly.