Loft conversions are the easiest way to increase your home's existing livable space and it's market value. It is also a less stressful process and more cost-effective when compared to a kitchen or basement extension.
Stage 1 - Planning and appointing professional Appointing an Architect, Interior Designer and Builder
You will need to find out if the loft extensions can be completed under permitted development rights, or should the planning application be required, and apply accordingly in order to make your project happen.
Appointed professionals such as an architect and interior designer, they will prepare the necessary plans, elevation, and design proposal to obtain the necessary approval and help to manage your project during the entire process.
You might also need to appoint a structural engineer, who will determine the strength and durability of the structure and provide specifications and calculations for the loft design, as well as suggesting the required building materials.
Whatever your situation, you will still need Building Regulations approval and possibly a Party Wall Agreement with your neighbors. If you are a leaseholder you should also check that you actually own the loft space. In addition, you will also require permission from the freeholder or the landlord, or in some cases the management company. If you do not own the loft, which is surprisingly common in England, you will need to purchase it first and this will add time and cost to your budget.
Stage 2 - Budgeting and appointing Building company
The reason we particularly like loft conversions is they don't require too many structural changes, and usually has the added benefit of taking less time. Depending on the complexity of the design and any additional work that might be required, Costs can vary between £25,000 to £60,000+, depending on how you wish to plan the space, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you can add, or if any structural changes need to be carried out to the existing roof or walls.
Once you have developed your budget we advise our clients to build in at least an additional 10% for unexpected costs, this can cover replacing your old plumbing system if need be, an air-conditioning system (as lofts do tend to retain heat in summer), or a new boiler, as the old one might not be able to cope with the new demands. Below, we have set out some tips when thinking about developing your loft space.
You can either hire a builder with previous experience in building lofts or a specialist loft conversion company, these usually have all the essential specialists under one roof, that will translate your design into reality.
We advise contacting at least 3 companies or builders to obtain quotes based on accurate measurements. This will allow you to compare the costs and what they are offering to make the right choice.
Stage 3 - Build and inspections
A typical loft conversion will take anywhere between 4-6 months, depending on the complexity of the design and any additional work that might be required. During the build, the scaffolding is erected to provide independent access to the loft, structural beams are installed into party walls to form independent timber floor support and front roof elevation, a dormer structure is created, windows are installed as well as complete roof tiling to both new dormer and front roof elevation providing waterproofed structure.
Internally, new partitions are built, as well as doorways and staircase between loft conversion and the floor below installed. The whole structure requires sufficient insulation in the floor and walls. Electrical and plumbing works will start just after.
Install smoke alarms in your new loft.
Fit-out of flooring, decorating the wall as well any bespoke fitted furniture will be at the last stage of the build.
During the build, your appointed building control officer will inspect the site to ensure that any building work conforms to building regulations, this includes the use of approved materials, design and construction methods.
We advise our clients to consider additional insurance during the building process. Some insurance companies offer packages covering existing elements of the property as well as renovation works during the building process. if any damages happen during the work such as part collapse, the renovation insurance will cover it. Don’t forget that renovation insurance needs to be in place from the moment you plan to start works on the property and should continue to the point the project is completed.