If you’re thinking of carrying out a loft conversion, it does require careful planning well in advance. Appointing an Architectural consultant and reputable contractor is usually a safe way of ensuring that you comply with all of the new building and fire regulations whilst doing undertaking your conversion project.
Below are some tips to consider when having your loft or attic converted
Is Your Loft Suitable To Be Converted Into Extra Living Space?
Before you get overly excited about the thought of having a loft conversion, there are some basic things you can check, in order to see if converting your attic doesn’t require raising the height of your existing roof, because this will save you a considerable amount of money, as well as the fact that many planning authorities will not allow it. For example, if the height between the existing floor joists / timbers in your loft and the underside of the roof ridge is around 2.3 metres (7 and a half feet) or more, then there’s a good possibility that your loft can be converted, without the need to raise the height of your existing roof.
Seek professional help
Many loft conversions require substantial structural work to be carried out. Attic conversions often need steel beams to be installed, the existing floor and roof timbers to be upgraded and adequate fire and insulation materials to be installed. Building regulations must also be adhered to. The staircase, headroom, any potential new dormers and layout all need to be very carefully planned, and this is where Architectural, interior design and structural engineering input will prove invaluable.
Complying With Building Regulations
Not all loft conversions require planning permission, but each and every one will need to comply with building regulations. As the works get under way, each stage will have to be inspected, and at the end, certified by a fully qualified person – most usually a building inspector from building control. A certificate is then issued, stating that the work was carried out in compliance with current regulations and any drawings provided, and which is registered with your local authority building control department.
An architect, architectural technician, structural engineer or surveyor will be required in order to determine that the works are structurally and practically viable. At Mash Architecture we have successfully carried out many loft conversions over the years, which we find is a useful aspect of our experience for clients, as our expertise helps to ensure that the number of consultants involved is kept to a minimum. Usually, the only other professional input which our loft conversion projects require, is that of a structural engineer.
How much does a loft conversion cost?
A loft conversion will certainly add value to your property, but if there is major structural work to carry out, or you find yourself with restrictive constraints such as shallow headroom, or you are in a listed building, then it may not be financially practical to carry out. Our initial consultation meeting, which we offer free-of-charge, will help you determine whether your project will be viable. Following the initial consultation meeting, we write to our potential clients with a very detailed, no-obligation fee proposal, highlighting our involvement and the fees for each stage.
As well as a detailed schedule of Architectural, Engineering and statutory fees, it is also essential to obtain a fully itemised breakdown of what work is included from your chosen loft conversion company or building contractor. Not only can Mash Architecture recommend reputable building contractors to carry out your works, as we have good working relationships with numerous reputable contractors, but the level of detail which we go into in our drawing packages, ensures that contractors are able to price any projects on a like-for-like basis, such is the depth of information we typicall provide.
Benefits of carrying out a loft conversion
There are other benefits as well as the obvious ones of adding value and living space to your home. Most of the heat in your home will escape through the loft or roof. Having your loft converted will eliminate this, and in turn, you should find that the rest of your home will become noticeably warmer, due to the savings made from preventing heat from going through the roof. Attic and loft conversions tend to create extremely comfortable rooms, as the heat loss is so minimal, due to the level of insulation which is now required to comply with current Building Regulations. Recent studies have shown that fuel bills have been dramatically reduced once a loft has been converted into additional living space.
Establish How long the work will take and what’s involved.
A small loft conversion will typically take anything from 4 or 5 weeks upwards to convert. Loft conversions on larger houses will probably take several months. At Mash Architecture, we are very careful to design and specify your loft conversion in such a manner that disruption is kept to a minimum as, even with the best builder you can find, having building work carried out in an occupied home is a disruptive and potentially stressful operation. Often, much of the work can take place before breaking through or opening up into the existing house, and this is something we always take into consideration. Most builders will be happy to provide a programme and schedule of works for you to approve before works commence.
If you have a loft space that you are considering converting, and you would like some Architectural and design input, then please get in touch with us via our contact page, and we would be happy to arrange a consultation meeting with you.