With property prices currently higher than they have ever been, it is not surprising to learn that more and more homeowners are deciding to stay in their current properties and expanding them, rather than jumping into the housing market and perhaps not having all of their needs met and budgets accepted.
Along with something like a conservatory or a kitchen extension, loft conversions are fast becoming one of the most popular building projects across the country. Whether you need extra space for your growing family, or you simply want to make the most of the property that you have in your possession, there is no arguing that converting the loft is one of the best ways to achieve it. Here is a brief beginner's guide to loft conversions, including how suitable they are, how much value they can add to your property, and what exactly they require regulations wise.
How Much Value Can A Loft Conversion Add to Your Property?
This is one of the most important questions to consider before starting a project: "is it going to be worth the expenditure in the long run?" According to sites such as propertypriceadvice.co.uk/valuation, a loft conversion that adds a double-sized bedroom and an en suite bathroom could raise the value of your home by up to 22 per cent, so nearly a quarter extra value for one extension project.
That might sound great, but what you need to think about is whether that 22 per cent figure is actually greater than the amount of money that you might have to spend on the building work in the first place. Have a larger house is always practically more appealing, but you need to consider whether you are likely to recover your expenses and still increase your property's value.
Is Your Loft Suited to a Conversion?
This, of course, needs to be ascertained as soon as possible, before any type of material expense has been made. There are a number of things that will determine whether your loft is suitable for conversion, these include:
- Roof Height
The minimum height required to make a loft conversion allowable within building regulations is 2.2 meters, but around 2.4m to 2.6 is much more ideal. If you don't have sufficient head height in your plans, then it can lead to a number of complex problems that are costly to fix. Consider the space in general. Do you think it is going to be habitable once completed? Is there sufficient room for a staircase or might you need a ladder-type installation?
- Roof Structure
Do you have a more modern trussed-style roof or traditional rafters? On the whole, traditional rafters and buildings dating to pre-1960 are more suited to loft conversion because they have a more empty space to play with. Trussed rooves require extra structural reinforcements which make a loft conversion a much more expensive project.
- Problematic Features
Consider all of the home features that might make your loft conversion a difficult or impossible job. Think about things like chimney stacks and existing water tanks and plumbing systems that might need sealed systems.
What Kind of Planning Permission Is Needed?
In many cases, a loft conversion will not need planning permission, because the chances are that it will already be classed as 'Permitted Development'. You will, however, need to stay within some guidelines:
- Terraced houses set a limit of 40 cubic meters of roof space, with 50 cubic meters for detached and semi-detached.
- Balconies, raised platforms, and verandas are not permitted.
- Windows that are side facing are required to have obscure glazing.
- The conversion is not allowed to extend beyond the highest part of the property roof.
- The enlarged roof must not overhang or extend further out than the outer facing wall of the original building construction.
What Are Building Regulations?
Building regulations are different from planning permission, and you absolutely must adhere to them regardless of the size of your project. They include things like structural integrity and fire safety, and you will have to consider elements like your stairs, a Party Wall Agreement, thermal insulation, ventilation, and whether there are any species like bats that have to be considered before going ahead with the conversion.
Ultimately, these are the core things that you need to think about when considering a loft conversion:
- The age of your home.
- Placement of en suite facilities
- Whether or not you are going to need planning permission.
Once all of those things are in place, the only thing left to do is enlist the services of a reputable, high-quality builder.