Everything You did not Know About Loft Conversions

Will Loft Conversion add Value

Reading Time: 10 mins

Have you noticed that recently almost everyone has done or is planning to do a loft conversion? At least it seems nowadays like a very hot topic. And honestly speaking I am not surprised.

Attic is usually unused space that can be quite easily adapted as another bedroom, office or chillout zone. What’s even more important it can be done at reasonable costs.

Every five out of ten houses across many boroughs in London do have their lofts converted already. The real estate prices have gone up so much and are growing at such ridiculous pace that it seems like the only rational choice.

At some point we just need more space and if you hate moving as much as I do you have found yourself in the right place, my friend.

You will find here everything you need to know before you will decide whether it makes sense for you or not. There are many reasons why you should do it and I believe loft conversion is a fantastic solution.

But, as pretty much with everything, your decision should be based on reliable information.

Everything You did not Know About Loft Conversions

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Loft Conversion?

One of the first things you need to take under the account is all building regulations and potential planning permission. The former is inevitable, you always have to apply building regulations whether you like it or not.

It’s all done on purpose and their task is to make sure you and your household are not endangered.

Permissions

The latter so planning permission is not always necessary. The general rule of thumb is that if the total area of the additional space will not exceed 50 cubic metres for detached or semi-detached houses or 40 cubic metres for terraced houses you shouldn’t need a planning permission.

If in doubt you can always check with your local building control.

Anything else you need to know from legal perspective? Yes, there are two other instances when you will have to obtain a permission. The first one is in case you share a wall with your neighbour.

It is called Party Wall Agreement and its aim is to make sure all works are done in appropriate manner and will not put at risk your neighbours property.

You will have to provide a summary of proposed changes and everything that involves it. What is worth to mention is the fact that they may request an independent wall surveyor at your cost.

Another case is when your house is also a home for any protected species.

For example birds or bats. To move them elsewhere you have to order a survey first, apply for mitigation license and then hire a service to move them. This will be an extra cost of few hundreds quid minimum.

Building Regulations

Now, when it comes to building regulations you can always check with architect, your builder or already mentioned local building control. However, as of April 2019 below you can find the list of required Building Regulation approvals and checkpoints.

Since it’s a significant home alteration the approvals are must-haves to ensure safety.

  • Thermal efficiency – you need to minimise heat losses through walls, floors and of course roof. This is all required under the Part L regulation and is easily met with modern insulation.
  • Soundproofing – this is not part of any regulation, but it just makes sense. You don’t want to hear everything that happens outside and vice versa. This can also be achieved with a help of insulation, e.g. Rockwool.
  • Enough headroom – this might sound like a common sense and it will be touched in more details later in this article, but most importantly it is a part of another regulation – Part K. It demands at least 2m of headroom and 1.8m at the edges of stairway.
  • Fire safety – due to the fact it’s much more difficult from higher storey floor, stairs and doors must have 30 minutes fire resistance. Also there must be a window with opening of at least 0.33 square metre to escape. That’s Part B regulation.
  • Electric works – everything you need to know about this topic and related Part P is covered in one of our previous articles you can find below.
  • Other important works – first of all you have to make sure floor and beams are strong enough to hold additional weight and support them as needed. Same applies to new walls if existing roof support has been removed. Last but not least do not forget you need to have fully-fledged staircase leading to your newly converted loft.

I Have Almost Lost my House Insurance, Here’s How to Avoid it

Can any Loft be Converted?

That’s a very important question, yet very often neglected and not answered in appropriate manner. Or the answer is not fully honest and is more of what one would wish to hear. And the answer is it depends.

Theoretically every loft can be converted, but sometimes the expenses can greatly outrun the potential gains.

Simply put the game is not always worth the candle.

While doing #loftConversion you need to remember about Thermal efficiency, #Soundproofing, Enough headroom, Fire safety, Electric works, Floor and #beams support, Fully-fledged staircase #DIY

Of course, you can always lift the roof if the headroom at your attic is not enough to meet the legal guidelines. However, the question is does it make sense? And are you going to get approval on such changes. This is very individual and you have to answer it yourself.

Headroom and pitch

Right, so you are probably wondering what are the recommendations and in what cases loft can actually be converted. The very first thing you need to do is to measure if there is enough headroom, i.e. what is the height. The bear minimum is 2m as mentioned above.

However, please be aware that it is 2m with installed floor and ceiling, so you have to add additional 20-25cm. Still, in my personal opinion it will feel a little bit claustrophobic so you should definitely aim for at least 2.4m before starting any works.

After completion it should leave you with around 2.2m, which is fairly comfortable.

What else? It’s very important to check what is your roof’s pitch and estimate if you can move around with ease. Sometimes the only really useable space is right in the middle and it’s absolutely not enough.

You will not be able to use that room as you would wish to… so if lifting a roof or changing the roof’s pitch is a no go, then it’s better to drop this idea entirely.

How does it look like?

Another thing you want to check is the overall condition. Try to judge how much work and money it can take to bring it to the shape that would satisfy your expectations. Of course, you don’t have to do it on your own.

You can always get a quote, also from us, or from an architect.

This way you will get a professional opinion on what is necessary and how much it will take time and money wise. It might also appear that some parts of roof construction have to be repaired or replaced.

Can any Loft be Converted?

Sometimes there are also some obstacles on your way, like water tanks, parts of central heating setup or old chimney. Usually it can be all rearranged with a help of a professional, we wouldn’t advice to do it on your own.

And old chimney can be really cool design element, so I personally wouldn’t touch it.

Just don’t forget about proper stairs to your converted loft. It cannot be a pull-up or some temporary ladder. It must be integral part of the house.

  • 1.9m+ of headroom at the centre and 1.8m+ on the sides
  • 60cm+ wide to keep it practical
  • At most 42 degrees pitch

How to Insulate Loft Conversion

Before you undertake the final steps to finish your brand new piece of art you have to do one, but extremely important thing. You have to insulate it. I have already mentioned that in section with regulations.

The most importantly it will reduce your heating expenses. The heat losses can be outrageous and it’s basically like burning money if your roof and walls on the top floor will not properly insulated.

Besides, if you will use right product it will also help to soundproof the room.

Another advantage is that your new room will not be that extremely hot during summer. And in case you are wondering why you can’t use your loft in the hottest months, that’s most likely a reason – your roof is not properly insulated.

If your newly converted #loft is unbearable during hot days check if your #insulation has been done properly and has it been done at all! #loftConversion

There is quite a range of options and if you would like to go through all of them you can find it nicely listed in this article right here. I don’t want to extend this article to more than what’s really needed and would like to keep it reasonably short, but as informative as it can be.

Just to mention quickly that roof’s U-value according to regulations must be less or equal to 0.18W/square metre. This can be achieved with 12.5cm spray foam, 17.5cm of rigid board or 27cm of either wool or fibre.

Pro-tip: ideally you want to insulate between and over the rafters. This will help you to save a bit of space and is a bit warmer. Unfortunately, in most cases it can be done only while re-roofing.

Will Loft Conversion add Value

And we have finally arrived to the most important question: will loft conversion add value to my house? Recent studies show that such improvement adds around twenty per cent to overall house value.

Remember that it doesn’t mean just any work will be able to add that to your property.

The cheapest and most straight forward conversion will cost you around £15 thousands and more. A dormer option is at least £20 thousands pounds. More complex en suite versions costs anything between £35 thousands and £45 thousands, but it can be more.

Cheapest #loftConversion option will cost you around 15k quid, more expensive dormer 20k and en suite between 35k-45k, but if done right it's worth every penny and will add 20% on average to your #property

As you can see you still have deduct few quid. However, if done right these will be well invested money. And of course the more expensive solutions will add respectively more value to your property, so the ROI is still pretty high.

On the flip side you have to consider your council tax.

Usually people do not take it under account, but in some cases you can actually move to higher band range with this alteration. Let’s assume your house is worth £300 thousands, if you add another 20% in form loft conversion your new valuation is £360 thousands which is the last band.

Valuation Office Agency will inform you and your local authority will send you updated tax bill. The good news is that in most cases the value doesn’t get updated until the property is sold.

Can You do Loft Conversion Yourself

Long story short – absolutely! But only if you have any previous do-it-yourself experience. If that is going to be your very first project we would like to dissuade you.

Pick something easier, do few smaller projects on your own and then you can give a shot with something bigger, like building stud walls. We have covered this topic in our previous blog post available below.

Once you’ve got a little bit more experience you can try, it should be pretty fun. We have provided you in this article with everything you have to think of. Unlike other our articles you won’t find too many technical details, but such post is in our near plans. Stay tuned!

Below you can find a really cool video step-by-step guide, enjoy 🙂

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Dream Home Awaits...

Call us at 01223 491 480 or email office@poldabuilders.com and book a date with us.