Converting your loft is certainly a job for the professionals, but if you get it right you not only gain a fabulous light-filled space, you could also get a handsome return on your investment when you sell. A loft extension can add up to 15% to the value of your property.
Having a loft conversion opens up to you a variety of possibilities within the home. If you have a large family it’s a great way to add another bedroom or a playroom for children. It can be used as an arts studio or office space for people who work from home. It can also serve as a library or and extra living room. Whatever the function though, there are certain things to consider. Do you have the adequate space? How much will it cost? Do I need planning permission, etc?
Most conversions require a minimum height of 2.3 metres across approximately half of the floor. This is to provide enough room to stand up and move around in. A steep pitched roof is the easiest type of roof to convert as this will allow for the necessary headroom.
The type of conversion you have will depend on your roof and fall into four main categories:
Velux/Rooflight – A Velux or rooflight conversion is usually cost effective and does not normally need planning permission. Velux windows are installed at the angle of the roof and will provide a great deal of light. This type of conversion takes its name from a leading manufacturer of roof windows, Velux. The reputation of this manufacturer means that the name of Velux has become associated with this type of conversion.
Velux windows are installed to fit flush with the line of the roof and leave the existing roof structure untouched. As they do not require extensive alterations to the roof this option helps keep the cost of the conversion down. As the loft is not extended beyond the original roof line planning permission is not normally required (you should still check with your local planning department before proceeding with any works)
Dormer – A dormer is an extension to the existing roof, allowing for additional floor space and headroom within the loft conversion. Dormers protrude from the roof slope, normally at the rear of the property and can be built in a variety of styles. Internally, a dormer will have a horizontal ceiling and vertical walls compared to the normal diagonal sides of a conversion. In lofts that have limited space or headroom a dormer will provide additional space that can make a conversion feasible.
Mansard – A mansard roof has two slopes, the lower slope is close to vertical at 72 degrees and the top section of the roof is almost horizontal. A Mansard roof gives a great deal of space in your loft.
Hip to Gable – A hip to gable conversion involves making fairly major changes to the roof. The gable wall is built up to the ridge line and a new section of roof is built to fill in the gap. As a general rule, houses with hip roofs tend to not have enough internal volume for a conversion to be practical so a hip to gable conversion is the best solution.
Planning Permission and Building Regulations
Before having your loft converted you will need to have an inspection carried out by the Building Control Surveyor from your local council to ensure building regulations are adhered to.
Building regulations ensure that any alterations to your loft meets the set standards for the design and construction of buildings. This will generally cover factors such as health and safety, energy efficiency and access to the loft.
In terms of planning permission, you can make small alterations to your home such as loft conversions without obtaining consent. However, if you are making changes to the external appearance of your house, then you may need to obtain planning permission.
Our extensions and conversions always meet all the planning, building and safety regulations and after we’ve finished, you will see a significant increase in the value of your home.