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Converting Your Loft Posted: 1st October 2020
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Since the Coronovirus pandemic, homeowners’ priorities have changed. We have seen a property mini boom with not only pent up demand built up from March to July, but also those looking for more inside space for home working and better access to outside space.

Compared to extending your home, a loft conversion can be a much cheaper option as the structure is already in place and expensive foundations and groundworks aren’t required.

Converting your loft into a habitable space has become a hugely popular way to add space in your room to your home. Here’s a brief guide on what to consider.

Staircase

The key to a successful loft conversion is the design and location of your staircase. The stairs affect both the new floor and the floor below. It’s very popular to place the staircase above the stairs below, but this is not necessarily the best position and often can’t be made to work.

Discuss with your builder where the stairs will arrive on the upper floor, the most convenient position on the floor below for the foot of the new staircase and how these will join together within regulations. A good building company will have an idea of the best positioning.

A simple conversion

This is a simple way to convert the non-habitable space into an area you can live or work in. Typically you will add structure to the roof and floor, add height if required, install insulation and a window. You will need a staircase for access.

Convert and extend

This involves enlarging the space with a dormer window – so instead of a sloping roof this external construction will form a vertical wall. They don’t enlarge the floor area but it will create more space and height so you can comfortably stand up.

There are several dormer styles to choose from – some of which can add a cottage look to your home.

Create more space

Instead of installing a pitched-roof dormer, you could instead have a flat-roofed dormer for additional headroom and volume. Flat roofed dormers are often cheaper to construct and, as such, are more frequently used than pitched-roof ones.

Additional width

A ‘box dormer’ is when a flat-roofed dormer is enlarged so that it forms the full width of the house. This can maximise the internal space and results in great additional space. You can have full height glazing to maximise the space and light you can achieve.

Regulations

If you are going to have a loft extension, you will need planning permission, but many homes have automatic permission for a loft extension within certain limits referred to as ‘Permitted Development’. This allows roof extensions without the need for a planning application as long as it is not on the front pitch of your roof, do not exceed the highest point of your roof, and stay within certain volume limits. The rules are complex so you will need to get advice on the law with regards to your home. Don’t confuse planning permission with building regulations – they are separate requirements that need to be satisfied. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to not have provision for a fire escape.


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