A loft conversion shouldn’t be undertaken without serious planning and financial consideration beforehand. Approaching the task in a gung-ho fashion can render the new loft space uncomfortable at best or unusable at worst. Planning and financing for your loft conversion is a very important aspect, which you should not ignore.
There are plenty of aspects to consider, such as the ventilation, insulation and accessibility of the room, as well as the cost factor. Planning permission is not required for the majority of domestic loft conversions, although you’ll still need to satisfy certain building regulations.
Before any work begins, it’s advised to seek the advice of a professional builder or conversion specialists to guarantee you stay on the right side of the law and minimise safety risks.
Before the technicalities of the loft conversion begin, building regulations must be satisfied to ensure the new room is fire proof, structurally sound, sufficiently insulated and provides an effective escape route in the event of fire.
For a terraced or semi-detached property, you will need to obtain a Party Wall Agreement, because the steel beams required for support will rest on the wall shared with your neighbour. More information on Party Walls notices can be found on the government website here, providing the framework for preventing and resolving possible disputes.
A bit of simple common sense should also be applied at the pre-planning stage.
- Will the loft be used enough to justify the conversion expense?
- Is there enough ‘liveable’ space inside for an occupant to be comfortable?
- Do you require a bathroom or toilet? How will this affect the house plumbing?
- Are there any accessibility issues getting up and down into the new room?
To find out the internal height, measure from the top of the current floor covering to the inside highest point of the ceiling – anything above 2.3 metres is generally considered to be manageable, although this can depend on the intended occupant. Also take into consideration sloped roofs and how they will affect living space. In general, a 30% or higher gradient will be okay.
Manageable access into the room is a necessity for a loft conversion. Regulations state that a permanent staircase has to be erected when converting the loft into a bedroom, bathroom, playroom or office.
Remember to take advantage of the loft position in the home to bring in natural light. Skylights or dormer windows can be fitted depending on the type of loft conversion undertaken. Windows are required for ventilation purposes – there’s no other source of clean air into the room – and this will also prevent condensation and mould from forming.
Consider how the conversion will increase the value of your home. Data suggests that the figure could be as much as 25% (depending on the area you live in)– a fantastic boost to property owners, especially as the operation itself won’t cost as much.
Because a loft conversion is a safe investment and generally low-cost, obtaining finance is typically straightforward remortgaging the property and releasing equity; essentially lenders recognise that the venture will increase the overall worth.
For low-income or elderly households, you may be entitled to government-backed home insulation grant schemes. Contact your local authority for any assistance regarding this.
Loft Conversion Benefits
The benefits of a loft conversion are plentiful. Not only are you creating additional living space but adding value to the property as well. Furthermore, the loft is often the easiest and least disruptive room to convert.
However, without the proper care during the planning phase, the investment can backfire and leave you with an impractical room not fit for purpose. Take your time over the process and seek qualified conversion specialists before undertaking such an operation.
If you’d like to speak to someone about converting your loft, get in touch for a chat.
Not convinced about converting your loft space? Did you know that London’s housing crisis could be solved if all the city’s lofts were converted?