This loft conversion guide will give you an idea of what to consider before you jump into a project. A loft extension is great for those who are looking for additional space in their home, but who don’t want to extend the footprint of the house. This is particularly suited to properties in tight, urban settings, where space comes at a premium, or where an extension is not permitted under local planning rules.
Is Your Loft Suitable For Conversion?
This should be your first step. Assessing your lofts suitability for conversion involves considering numerous factors including available head height, roof pitch, roof structure and potential obstacles such as water tanks, boilers or chimney stacks. As a general rule, when you measure from the bottom of the ridge timber to the top of the ceiling jost you need about 2.2 meters of usable space for a loft extension to be feasible.
It is a good idea to ask your designer to clearly illustrate how much headroom there will be throughout the different parts of your loft. Some people are disappointed by how much standing space there is in the finished project, so it is important to know what to expect from the offset, before you spend all the money converting.
Do You Need Planning Permission?
In a lot of cases loft conversions tend to be considered as permitted development (PD), but your design will need to adhere to a number of parameters. If you plan on extending beyond the limits and conditions of the PD, or your home is listed or located in a conservation area, you will probably need planning permission. You may also need planning permission if you are altering the roof height or shape, which may be the case if you need to raise it for headroom.
How Much Will it Cost?
As with any building work, loft extensions vary hugely depending on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the type of loft conversion you are carrying out, your location and what you plan on using the loft for. You could plan for a starting figure of £30,000-£40,000, but you should bear in mind that final prices can be into the hundreds of thousands.
Do You Need to Hire an Architect?
It is possible to design a loft conversion yourself, but recruiting the help of an architect or designer is advisable. If you use an architect they will put together the plan, then you will have to contract out the work to builders. Another alternative is to hire a design and build company, as the title suggests, they will do the design and the building, but you may have less creative freedom with the design itself.