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Compare My Local ... Loft Conversions

You need more room. You may have a growing family, or you simply need the extra space. You have thought about moving home but this can be both expensive and stressful. Costs include estate agent fees, stamp duty, solicitor’s fees and removal fees. Despite all that financial worry, along comes the stress. Looking at new or potential schools for the children, will you find a buyer for your home and at the right price, there are long chains to think about that inevitably break and you will need to secure a new mortgage…sounds terrifying right?!

A loft conversion is a great way of creating extra space at a relatively cost effective price and is a less stressful alternative to moving house. With the recent falls in property prices increasing, numbers of people are now deciding that it's better to move up rather than out! It is a perfect way to utilise the extra space within your home that you already own. It will mean that you do not lose any space around your property and a well-designed loft conversion will help to increase your property value.

Have a think about just what your loft space is currently being used for…

Storing that old TV, your Nan’s old sofa, those clothes that may come back into fashion one day? Maybe your loft is chock full of old baby clothes and toys or items you are just clinging on to. If you haven’t looked at, or used something in the last year, you’re unlikely to ever need it. So it’s time to stop hording, have a clear out and turn your dumping ground into an extra living space, a bedroom with an en-suite or maybe even that games room you’ve always wanted!

The good news is the structure of your loft is already in place, which means that planning permission may not be necessary as it is considered to be a permitted development. However, it is always best to check with your local authority before starting any work because permission is required if you extend or alter the roof space or it exceeds specified limits and conditions.
 

Building Regulations

Many people choose to convert their loft in order to create more space. An extra bedroom, perhaps with an en-suite will result in more room downstairs and will increase the value of your home. A loft conversion is fairly straight forward improvement that won’t encroach on your day to day life too much. Before you start any building works, you will need to make sure your conversion complies with building regulations for safety reasons. Building regulations make sure that new building work is safe, healthy, accessible and energy efficient.

As well as adhering to building regulations, you may need planning permission to convert your loft. This usually only applies to listed buildings but it is always best to contact your local council to make sure.

Building regulations are the minimum accepted standards when converting your loft and you need to make sure you adhere to these requirements. We have listed the main points below –

Structural stability

If you are planning on converting your loft into a liveable and habitable area you will need ceiling joists installed. Building regulations ensure that joists and load-bearing walls are used to they can support the extra weight that your new conversion will bring. Steel beams will also have to be installed to support the new joists. If you are converting your loft just for storage, these joists may not be necessary.

Fire safety

Fire regulations are extremely important and it is imperative that you have researched this thoroughly and your new loft conversion meets these requirements. Your new loft room needs to have a self-closing door fitted. All walls and any new floors must be able to resist fire for at least thirty minutes and if you are using a glazed door panel, it needs to contain fire-resistant glass. There needs to be an appropriate escape route should a fire ever occur and if you are converting multiple rooms, this will apply to all of them. An escape window needs to be accessible from the outside as well as from the inside and have the minimum dimension requirements of 450mm X 450mm. Also remember that you install fire alarms into the loft room.

Ventilation

Your new loft room needs to be well ventilated to prevent condensation. A rapid and background ventilation is required, which means you need to have a window installed that is the size of 1/20th of the total floor area.

Staircases

A suitable staircase needs to be installed - a ladder will not do. The staircase needs to be wide enough for people to easily walk up and down in case of an emergency.

Insulation

Building regulations state that your new loft conversion needs to be fully insulated. Insulation will help with your temperature control, energy consumption, amount you spend on your bills and will even help with noise control.

Building regulations are in place to help you and make sure your new building works are safe, healthy, accessible and energy efficient. We have only listed a few of the main requirements when it comes to building regulations for your loft conversions. Depending on the amount of work that is required will depend on the regulations that will need to be met. Contact your local authority about building regulations for any help or guidance, and to ensure you follow all of the requirements.

Loft Conversion Insulation

If you are planning to extend your home and have decided a loft conversion is the best way to do this, you must make sure it is insulated to the standard required by the latest edition of the statutory Building Regulations. These regulations must be met whether you are converting an existing roof, or building new bedrooms. In general, requirements for insulating a loft conversion are slightly less strict than some other building regulations.

However, these regulations have been put in place for your benefit. They help to make sure that new building work is safe, healthy, accessible and energy efficient. Complying with these requirements will provide you with a room that is not only comfortable in terms of temperature, but also more energy efficient than it was before you insulated it.

It makes financial sense to insulate your loft conversion properly. A large portion of a home's heat is lost through its roof. If you are planning a loft conversion, insulating should be a primary concern. Insulation will also help to reduce noise.

If you are converting your loft simply to create more storage space then a conventional cold roof is all that is required. This is usually done with mineral wool, which is placed in the ceiling joists above the top floor. If you are building a space that is to be habitable and lived in then the insulation needs to be placed at rafter level to create a warm roof.

We thoroughly recommend you employ a professional and qualified insulator when building your loft conversion. They will be able to provide helpful ideas and hints for ensuring that your insulating project is not only efficient, but also cost effective.

Proper insulation should not be overlooked, it can mean the difference between sweating in the summer and freezing in the winter. It can help you to drown out noises or play your music without the neighbours coming round, and most importantly will create a more energy efficient home. You want your new room to be enjoyed and not avoided!

Frequently Asked Questions about Loft Conversions

Whether you are undertaking a loft conversion, or simply trying to gain access to your loft, things can often become confusing. Below we have listed the most frequently asked questions.

The majority of lofts can be converted, however there are always exceptions to every rule. Whether or not your loft can be converted will depend on how your house has been constructed and the available headroom. Houses built before the 1960's are easier to convert because roofs were usually constructed from individual rafters, which are ideal for a loft conversion. Since the 1960's roofs have been constructed slightly differently resulting in a lower ceiling. Although it is still quite possible to convert a loft built after 1960, it may be a more complicated process and require the timbers to be rearranged or the roof needing to be raised. You must also have a minimum height of 2.2m from the existing ceiling joist to the underside of the ridge in order to convert your loft.

A loft conversion will not only provide extra living space but will add value to your home. Most estate agents agree that a loft conversion will add 20% to the overall value of your property, making it a great investment.

It is unlikely that you will need planning permission for a loft conversion. It is considered to be a permitted development and building works are already permitted. However, depending on the work that is carried out you may need to apply for planning permission. There are a number of factors you need to consider such as the size of the area you are converting, whether you are changing the structural support or wishing to include a balcony. It is best to contact your local authority to make sure your conversion is a permitted development, otherwise planning permission will need to acquired.

Yes. Building Regulations are in place to benefit you. They set the standard for the design, construction and health and safety aspects for all building projects. These regulations help to make sure that all new building work is safe and energy efficient. There are a number of requirements that need to be met when converting your loft such as fire safety, insulation and structural stability. For a more comprehensive list, contact your local council.

This will entirely depend on the building work that you are planning. For example, if you are only converting your loft space for storage the cost will be minimal. However, if you are thinking about completely renovating the space into a habitable area and are thinking of installing all the latest mod cons then it will be more expensive. To convert an average three bedroom property you can estimate between £12,000 - £17,000. This may sound expensive, but remember the value your conversion will add to your home.

Again, this depends on the work you are having done, but you should usually expect between 4 – 5 weeks.

It is quite possible to carry out the work yourself but you should consider how long this will take. A 4 - 5 week time frame is very unrealistic. Although you may save some money if you take on the work yourself, you need to think about whether the savings you will make outweigh the disruption this will have on your home.

A loft conversion is a large renovation project and professional contractors may be a god send. If you are planning to do the work yourself you will also need to make sure that all building regulations are met and planning permission has been obtained if you should require it. We recommend that you use a qualified professional who is experienced in loft conversions.

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