Loft Conversions: We Know the Answers

In order to get the most out of your loft conversion, there are numerous things to consider. Our loft conversion tutorial will teach you all you need to know.

Loft conversions are a great way to add a bedroom, master suite, home office, or even a playroom to your house. Properly completed, they can also boost your home’s worth. A loft conversion is also the most cost-effective solution when compared to other options like extending or adding a basement.

But there are a few things to think about before starting a loft conversion. Some projects require not only conversion of existing space, but also roof expansions to increase headroom and area available to users.

That’s why doing it right the first time is crucial. This comprehensive guide covers everything from building regulations to planning approval, costs to design, so you can make the most of your space.

Is my home suitable for a loft conversions Oxfordshire?

Not all roof types are acceptable for loft conversions, and some require additional structural work or a specific style of loft conversion to be done.

The following are the most critical variables to consider while assessing your home’s suitability:

obstacles in the roof pitch such as water tanks or chimney stacks

For loft conversions, classic framed roof structures are typically the best option since they allow for easy and affordable opening up of the space. Traditional roof rafters wrap around the edges of the structure, providing a lot of free space. Rafters on traditional roofs are common in pre-1960 structures. The rafters may need to be strengthened or more supports added (your structural engineer will advise on what is required).

‘W’ shaped rafters span the length of the roof and the floor construction. The “W” shaped rafters can be replaced with “A” form structures, creating a hollow region in the roof. This frequently involves installing steel beams between load-bearing walls, on which the new floor joists and rafters will be supported, as well as a steel beam at the ridge.

If there isn’t enough roof space for water tanks and pipes, the heating and hot water system may need to be changed.

Instead of replacing the boiler with a combi boiler, use unvented hot water cylinders. They are inexpensive and take up little space (the size of a cabinet).

Attic Trusses Roof

Attic trusses are utilised in new homes to help futureproof a property by making loft conversions easier.

Your loft may be ideal for conversion with our video instruction.

How much headroom is necessary for a loft conversion?

A garage conversion requires 2.2m of usable space. Take a measurement at the loft’s centre, starting at the ridge wood and proceeding up to the ceiling joist.

The steeper the roof pitch, the higher the central head height, hence dormers or a rebuilt roof can be used to increase floor area and headroom.

Having a head height of less than 2.2m does not automatically rule out the option of converting your loft. Loft conversions with difficult roof structures may necessitate a mansard roof or a total roof replacement.

It’s possible to remove some from the bedrooms below if space is restricted, but they must have at least 2.2 metres of floor to ceiling height. In this situation, a new loft floor structure will be built beneath the original ceiling joists.

A steeply pitched roof provides ample room for a loft conversion.

Loft conversions are conceivable in buildings with a steep roof pitch.

How can I get planning clearance for a loft conversion?

Loft conversions are typically protected under Permitted Development (PD) rights, therefore planning permission isn’t usually required. Here’s the lowdown.

Your design, on the other hand, must meet certain specifications, the most essential of which are:

A home’s Permitted Development rights cannot be extended if they have previously been used.

The present roof area cannot be increased by more than 40 cubic metres for terraced residences and 50 cubic metres for any other constructions.

A loft conversion must be taller than the existing roof, according to PD rights.

The building’s front roof slope cannot be raised over the existing roof slope (where it fronts onto a highway).

Terraces and balconies with raised platforms are not permissible under Permitted Development, although Juliet balconies are.

If the work does not fall under Permitted Development, you must file a planning application.

Due to their size, loft conversions aren’t permitted in some regions, such as conservation areas and AONBs. In these circumstances, you must file a formal planning application.

Some municipal planning departments may have eliminated permitted development for loft conversions, so always verify before commencing a project.

Even though the work is beyond the scope of Permitted Development, obtaining a Lawful Development Certificate is prudent and required if you want to sell your house soon.

Do I need an architect to design my loft conversion?

While it is feasible to design your own loft conversion, professional architect or designer is suggested.

Because this is expected to be a modest work, the design fees will likely account for a considerable amount of the final costs.

Choosing the best architect for the project is crucial. Usually, your chosen architect or designer has worked on similar projects in your neighbourhood.

Your architect or designer may also be able to generate Building Regulations drawings for you to bid on. You may also need a structural engineer.

Hire a skilled loft conversion design and construction team. If you want an all-inclusive service, a design and build contractor is ideal (and budget).

It is more likely that design concepts and features will be standardised, limiting your creative freedom.

Can my home’s foundations handle the added weight of a loft conversion?

Adding a loft conversion to an existing property may cause additional stress on the foundations. This will show the property’s foundations and allow your contractor to plan the loft conversion. The loft conversion will go smoothly if the foundations are sound. Your building inspector may also want to look at them.

If your foundations are too deep to support the extra weight, you will need a structural engineer. They may suggest structural improvements to distribute the weight load across beams or anchoring the foundations to avoid weight shifting. These two elements may greatly raise your project’s cost.

How Much Does a Loft Conversion Cost?
What properties are the cheapest to convert?

Bungalows are frequently the most cheapest residences to convert because to their huge lofts. The cost of building a taller structure increases with height due to more fire safety work and scaffolding lifts.

Loft conversion costs will be decreased if your loft is spacious enough to begin with.

To install broad beams and loft stairs without causing structural damage, the most important condition is a high ceiling.

Having gable end walls on your roof is also advantageous over sloping hipped roofs that slope to the sides. Traditional timber roof systems are also easier to adapt than post-1970 trussed rafters with large W-shaped webbing obstructing the roof area.

Loft conversion costs can range from £18,000 to £65,000 depending on the size of the room.

A conventional loft conversion with a double bedroom would cost between £18k and £25k, depending on the materials chosen.

Wide dormer windows and an en-suite bathroom can increase the price to roughly £40k.

The most expensive alternative is a whole rebuild with a new roof, which might cost £65,000.

If you already have a spacious loft, you may save money by installing a few rooflights flush with the roof instead of bothersome dormer windows.

However, some online estimator websites give charges per square metre (for the present loft floor space), which are generally as follows:

Prices range from £1,000 to £1,350 per m2.

1400-1900 per square metre for dormer loft renovations.

Getting quotations from professionals is usually the most accurate way to estimate the cost of your loft conversion project. Ordinarily, you’d want three or four different firms to bid on your new home.

A bathroom in a loft conversion

A loft conversion might be a cost-effective way to add a bathroom to your house, but you must consider the existing utilities.

How Long Does a Loft Conversion Take?

Loft conversions might take several months to complete depending on the design and the need for structural reinforcements. However, a loft conversion project might take anywhere from six to 10 weeks to complete.

Consider the following example of a schedule of works for a loft conversion to see how time is allocated.

Loft conversion from a dormer

Unless you live in a conservation area or own a historically significant house, a basic dormer loft conversion like this does not require a planning application.

Do loft conversions require construction permits?

Building Regulations approval is frequently required when converting a loft. Construction surveyors will visit your site at various stages and issue a completion certificate following the final inspection.

Parts L, K, B, and P of the Building Regulations are likely to be of issue when it comes to loft conversions.

Part L’s thermal efficiency requirements, which include U-value targets, must be met while converting your loft into useable space.

Part K specifies that all escape routes, including stairs, must have a minimum headroom of 2m (although the rules are relaxed a little for staircases providing access to a loft conversion).

Parts B and P deal with fire and electrical safety, respectively. It’s not always easy to meet the Building Regulations’ fire safety criteria.

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