DIY Loft Conversions – When good intentions go badly wrong

As we explored in a previous blog, entering into a loft conversion is a big commitment. The cost can be a big deterrent for people considering a conversion; a big part of the cost of a conversion can come from labour.
People can also be put off by the thought of the disruption that contractors can bring with them. This can drive people to attempt a DIY loft conversion to save themselves headaches. But DIY conversions can lead to even more headaches and far greater costs without the support and guidance of professionals with years of experience.

Planning ahead

Planning permission would usually depend on what the converted loft will be used for. If your conversion is for storing personal items, books, nick-nacks, then you may not need planning permission; it’s always good to check with your local council in either case to verify 100 per cent that you are legally allowed to go ahead with the work.
If you are converting your loft to create a living space, bedroom or office space, it’s vital that you contact the local council to get proper guidance on loft conversion regulations for before starting to convert your loft.

Failure to get planning permission can get you into a heap of trouble that could be difficult to undo. Without relevant permissions, you could be voiding your home insurance policy for any subsequent fire or structural problems that arise from doing the work yourself.

The dangers of doing it yourself

Doing it yourself may be the cheaper option, but it can end up costing you a fortune if anything goes wrong.

Your new floor MUST be strong enough to tolerate the extra weight of the conversion. If you don’t reinforce the new floor, this can lead to severe and dangerous problems later on. Any new floor must be properly supported. The pictures below are of a property that had recently undergone a loft conversion, but the floor hadn’t been reinforced. The ceiling of the rooms below then began to bow and crack under the extra weight.

DIY Loft Conversion Gone Wrong

The conversion of a loft has to meet fire safety regulations and these are very stringent. Earlier this year, a Nottingham family was issued a prohibition notice from their local council when they failed to apply for proper permissions. When the house caught fire, the firemen couldn’t access the loft because the hatch entrance was far too narrow and therefore inaccessible.

Why it pays to use professionals

A conversion can add huge value to your house. The Nationwide index estimates that a double bedroom – a converted loft space – can add up to 12 per cent to the total value of your home. It pays to use tried and tested professionals with years of experience, rather than the cheapest possible option.

Modern Attics is based in East London and we cover the whole of London within the M25. We offer a personalised service for you that will be run only by a director or experienced project coordinator. For more information, contact us to discuss your loft conversion.

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