Are Loft Conversions Worth It?

A loft conversion is a great way of creating extra living space and benefit from a bigger property without the hassle of moving home but is it really worth the money?

By building a conservatory or extension to an existing property or by converting the loft, not only you enhance your standard of living but you also increase the value of your property and spent less money and time than buying a larger property.

So, whether it’s to create a new room, simply extend upon an existing room, an additional bedroom or a larger kitchen it can be a great way to transform your home and add value to it.

Conversions are also a popular option for potential buyers who have found a property in the perfect location but the property doesn’t quite meet their exact specification.

The benefits of making an extension or transforming your loft don’t stop here. Other benefits of an extension also include:

  • Rather than buying a new home, you get to alter and personalize your existing one, you could also benefit from the creation of additional space at the place you actually need it and truly expand it in the way you want to.
  • You get to make it your own

loft conversion add value

  • You’ll save time and money
  • Instead of giving a huge deposit on a new home and paying solicitors, agencies and movers to get your furniture there, you can put considerably less money and time towards a home extension / loft conversion. With an extension / loft conversion you will also save you money in the long run and you could have money left over to help you decorate the new space.

You’ll increase the value of your home

By extending your property or converting a loft it is both effective to the home’s overall design way and in size will absolutely raise the value of your property since the aesthetic will be updated, the square footage will increase and your home will become more functional.

Process

By choosing Pure Lofts for your building project you will benefit by having a single company, motivated to deliver a successful project by fulfilling multiple tasks, including great design, quality, budget and project management.

We can work with any property renovation or house extension, from complex double basement developments to new builds.

What to Know About Loft Conversions and the Party Wall Act

It is a common sight across any Uk city to see a scaffold outside the front of a property whilst an owner goes through a loft conversion. As house prices increase and stamp duty makes the cost of moving more difficult, a loft is certainly a good way of increasing your habitable space and increasing the value of your property in almost all cases.

So what do you need to do to extend your loft?

Firstly you will need to engage either an architectural designer or a loft conversion company who will prepare plans for your proposed works. You may need to apply for planning permission depending on your scenario, for example if you are in a conservation area permitted development rights do not apply and permission is required. Secondly you will normally need an engineer to prepare drawings and calculations for building regulation purposes and this will include the design of any steelwork that is required.

Once drawings are prepared or earlier if you wish, you can engage with a Party Wall Surveyor who will check if you are required to serve a Party Structure Notice upon your neighbours. A Party Structure Notice is required if you share a wall with your neighbour, for example if you own a mid-terrace property or if you are semi-detached. The notice will state that you are intending to cut into a Party Wall to install steels which normally sit on concrete or steel plates to spread the load of the new steel.

You may also wish to raise what is known as a parapet wall, the small part of wall which rises up above the roof line. This is permitted under the Party Wall Act and serving a notice under the Act also has the added benefit of granting you access rights for your workmen to build the wall and point or render it.

If you do not serve a Notice under the Act for your works, you are acting unlawfully and your works could be stopped, it is therefore important to engage with a Party Wall Surveyor early on so as to avoid delays.

So what do you need to do as an Adjoining Owner (neighbour) who resides next door to a loft which is to be converted?
Firstly, we always recommend that neighbours talk first with each other. Check with your neighbour that they are aware of the Party Wall Act and if not, we are always happy to have a friendly chat to make the process clearer. We would be more than happy to advise you of your rights and obligations as a neighbour.

The process is an important one and provides you with the right to undertake your work as well as deal with access onto your neighbours land which is otherwise not permitted. We have successfully dealt with hundreds of loft extensions across London and outlying areas. We have a team of expert Party Wall Surveyors on hand to provide advice and guide you through the process, feel free to call us at any time.

Which Loft Conversion Type is Best For You?

Choosing a loft conversion is never easy. In this article we will help you to choose the one that is best for your home.

Things To Consider First

If you’re thinking of having a loft conversion, I think there are three main points you need to consider. 1, your budget, 2, whether your house can accommodate a loft conversion? 3, whether council planning or building regulations will allow you to do what you have in mind?

Can my property even accommodate a loft conversion?

Not every home, house or bungalow can accommodate a loft conversion. One of the most common restrictions is lack of head height, a good way to check this is to measure the current height of your loft space from the top of the ceiling joist to the bottom of the roofs ridge, this will need to be 2.3 metres or more to allow space for the new floor joists and ceiling joists. If it’s less than 2.3 meters then it isn’t over just yet, there are still options available to you, such as re-pitching parts or the entire roof at a stepper pitch, thus creating a higher ridge height (planning permission maybe required to do this). There is also the quite often awkward decision of where to fit a new set of stairs, using just a loft ladder is unsafe and illegal.

If the end of your roof is a hip end then this can also restrict the type of conversion you have, one way round this is to remove the hip end and build it out to a gable end, creating a hip to gable conversion this can increase space by a large amount.

One other thing to consider is any water tanks your loft maybe housing. If you don’t have a combi boiler then your hot water and heating system will require water tanks. Now a days water tanks can be purchased in all shapes and sizes so can easily be moved to and stored in the eaves space that’s usually created when you have a loft conversion.

What’s the Cost?

Loft conversions can vary in price by a lot, ranging from around £15,000 to £60,000+ depending on what you’re looking for and if you have a complex bespoke design. Most loft conversion companies should be able to give you a price before the costly run through of applying for planning permission and building regulations. A recommended company for bespoke design is Dorset Loft Conversions.

Also remember that not all conversions have to be a dormer conversion, which can add a large chunk to the cost; a velux conversion is always a cheaper option and can still create a wonderful living space.

What about Planning permission and building regulations?

Planning Permission

Generally speaking planning permission isn’t required for a loft conversion, as long as it doesn’t extend the current size of the property by a certain percentage, different types of properties have different regulations, such as terraced houses can have an increase of 40 cubic meters before they require planning permission and semi-detached and detached houses can have an increase of up to 50 cubic meters, these are quite big increases so most properties will be fine. The other major planning issue is the restriction of dormers to the front of the property; dormers are usually only allowed to be constructed to the rear although velux windows are allowed.

Other planning permission issues include; using similar building materials to what was already there, side facing windows to use obscure glass and no roof extensions in certain areas, such as national parks and conservation areas. If you are planning an extension and a loft conversion at the same time, this still depends on how much extra cubic feet you are adding to your property on whether you require planning permission.

Building Regulations

Unlike planning permission, all loft conversions will need building regulations. These should not be seen as an obstacle but a guide to make sure your conversion is created in a safe and proper way. Before work begins you or your builder will need to submit plans to the building control office for approval, these will be the same structural plans your loft conversion company will work from and they will have information on them such as the size and positions of the RSJ’s (rolled steel joist) and flitch beams, the size and spacing of the new timber floor joists, the size and position of the new stair well and also the size and position of any dormers and velux windows. They will also show the size and positions of any escape windows.

The building control officer will want to see the creation of your loft conversion at certain points throughout the build. Generally he will visit 3 times unless there are any problems or if your loft conversion company has any concerns. He will want to see the build after all the beams and joists have been fitted, before the flooring goes down!

He will then want to see the conversion when all the insulation has been fitted and finally he will want to see the conversion after the stairs have been completed, this is to make sure they are the correct width, pitch and to check the height of handrails etc. He will also be looking out for the quality of the workmanship and to make sure there is the correct head height from floor to ceiling.

Types of dormers

There are two main types of dormer, the flat roof dormer and the pitched roof dormer. The majority of people prefer the appearance of the pitched roof dormer because they look less “boxy” from the outside but when it comes down to practicality and maximizing the space you can’t beat the flat roof dormer. In some cases you won’t have a choice of what type of dormer you have, if you have a low roof then you will probably be restricted to having a flat roof dormer but if you have a high roof then you will probably be able to have a pitched roof dormer.

Because of the construction of the flat roof dormer and the fact they don’t need as much height they can be made a lot bigger than a pitched roof dormer which means a bigger loft room on the inside.