Your Guide To Loft Conversions

Many homeowners find that although they love the current property they live in they reach the point where they need more space, according to David Barnes who owns an oxford building firm. Selling property is expensive and time-consuming, and sometimes it is hard to find an affordable, larger property in the area required. Not to mention, moving can be a huge hassle. A loft conversion is a simple alternative to this problem and the majority of homeowners find it adds value to there home. Here is a short guide and the answers to any questions you may have if you are considering a loft conversion of your own.

Benefits Of A Loft Conversion

There are many advantages to choosing a loft conversion:

*It may add value to your property.

*It is a cheaper alternative to moving house or building a full extension.

*Loft conversions are usually completed within weeks so are relatively quick and simple compared to other major building works

*You can create a flexible space that can be used for many different purposes.

Cost Of A Loft Conversion

The cost of a loft conversion can vary greatly according to what design is required and where in the country you are based. The average cost within the UK is quoted as £26,000 outside of London, however within the capital it is closer to £40,000

The considerations you may want to make when designing and pricing your conversion are:

* Location

* Size and condition of the loft

* What kind of windows and decoration are required

* The kind of electrical, heating and plumbing work needed.

Types Of Conversion

You will want to carefully consider what kind of conversion you wish to create, your choice will greatly influence price, the amount of work involved and the main basis of your design:

* Dormer; Dormer conversions involve placing large windows on the side of the roof, to create a box like structure extending out from the house.

*Hip-to-Gable; With a Hip-to-Gable conversion a straight edge is formed in place of the roofs slant to create more space.

* Mansard; A larger and more expensive project, the Mansard Loft Conversion involves altering the slope of the roof to create maximum space.

Doing The work Yourself

Doing conversion work for yourself can save a high proportion of your budget, however only carry out work that you are able to do properly. Any electrical work should always be done by a fully qualified electrician.

Planning Regulations

Generally loft conversions don’t require planning permission, it may be a good idea to make sure your property isn’t exempt from this, particularly if you live in a listed building or on some form of protected land. You can contact your local council or loft conversion firm for more information regarding the legalities of your project if you have any concerns. Loft conversions built without planning permission must adhere to certain rules:

* Roof must not be extended by more than the legal limit for the type of property.

*Roof extensions must be set back 20cms from the eaves

* Side windows must not open and have obscured glazing.

* If facing a road the extension must not exceed the plane of the roof.

* Materials used must be in keeping with the style of the property.

* The whole extension must be lower than the roofs height.

* No balconies or other outside platforms can be erected.

Legal Considerations

The Party Wall Act states that your are legally obliged in inform your immediate neighbours of your plans before any work begins. This is to offer them a chance to raise any objections they may have.

You also need to make sure that your work complies with building regulations. The following parts are relevant to loft conversions:

*Part A – The building needs to be structurally safe and there needs to be sufficient height to stand.

*Part B – Make sure there is a fitted smoke alarm and an accessible escape route in case of fire.

*Part E – Fit appropriate soundproofing.

*Part F – Fit correct air vents and windows to sufficiently ventilate your conversion.

*Part L – Insulate the loft to ensure energy conservation.

*Part P – All electrics must be installed by a qualified electrician.

*Part G- Plumbing must be safely and correctly installed