Let's face it; lofts are not the first place you think of when you want to wind up with a book and a hot cuppa. These often neglected spaces double up as storage areas that need more love! Lofts and attics have potential and are great rooms to renovate or convert. Roll up your sleeves, clear the clutter, and transform your dusty loft into a multi-use, beautiful space.
A loft conversion or attic extension is a great way to add extra space, whether you are looking for extension ideas for bungalows or crave another bedroom, bathroom, office, or playroom.
It is vital to keep the do's and don'ts in mind when it comes to loft conversion planning to ensure a successful outcome. Loft conversions are a great way to increase the value of your home while also adding living or storage space - but they must be done correctly. Here are some dos and don'ts to consider before you start planning.
1. Ensure If Space is Suitable For Conversion
Confirm that the loft space is suitable for conversion. Before beginning any loft-related work, it is important to determine the loft's size, height, and shape to ensure that it can be converted.
It would be best if you started by checking the roofs for this. Are there any roof trusses or rafters? The most important rule to follow here is to ensure enough head height in the loft space. As a thumb rule, you need 2.2 metres between the floor joist and the ridge height. This height requirement should be met by at least half of the loft space to create a comfortable attic bedroom or living room.
2. Decide On The Purpose of The Space
Determine how you would put the loft to use. This is a crucial step before beginning the conversion of the loft space, as this will influence the design and construction process. It is a common mistake to start designing the space without planning all aspects of the new space. It could prove to be a disaster, especially when adding ensuite bathrooms. Plan the area in its entirety before you begin the project. Converted lofts are commonly used as a home gym, office, study, walk- in- wardrobe, or a cosy guest room. Read more about how you can gain space and increase property value by converting a loft.
3. Check If You Need Permission
One crucial box to tick off before converting your loft is to check whether you require any permissions. You may need to apply for planning permission depending on the type of conversion. Most loft and attic conversions are permitted development, so they do not require planning permission. However, some exceptions, like listed buildings or those in conservation areas, would require listed building consent. Depending on the type of conversion, you will also need building regulations approval and a party wall agreement with your neighbours.
4. Don't Ignore Building Regulations
All loft conversions must adhere to the applicable building codes. This includes using a permanent staircase, especially if the space is being converted into a bedroom or office. You could use a spiral staircase if you are tight on the area. You will also require good-quality insulation to retain heat during colder temperatures and keep the loft cool during the summer. Most importantly, building materials must meet fire regulations by including fire escape windows, exits, and smoke detectors in the home. To ensure that the conversion meets safety standards, hire a qualified builder familiar with building codes.
Before beginning a loft conversion project, it is essential to consider all the dos and don'ts. Check that the space is suitable, have a clear plan, and get the necessary permissions before you begin work. It is also a good practice to shop around before you decide on the contractor and quote. It is also worthwhile to read reviews of firms that handle similar projects and ask around for references.
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