Hatch a plan for your loft conversion

When planning and carrying out a loft conversion it should be noted that one of the key factors to consider is ease-of-access. After all, what’s the point in having a beautiful new loft space if you can’t get to it easily?

Generally speaking, UK properties follow certain specific designs and in the case of the traditional loft hatch, they are often located above the top floor landing of the stairs. This hatch will be changed in some way, shape or form if it is too small. If you are intending to redesign your loft space for simple storage use then the hatch will still need to be modified and enlarged in order to make it easier to access. Fitting a ladder also will require an enlargement of the hatch. Older or larger houses tend to have bigger loft hatches anyway, in which case it might not be a problem.

Loft hatches, whether installing them yourself or getting them professionally installed, need to be insulated and comply with building regulations. Sometimes it is better to get professional contractors in to do this as you may encounter DIY problems with the ladder and/or the loft hatch hinges. You can pick up loft hatch packages that can cover these problems and are practical to fit. Loft hatch packages are fully compliant with building regulations and that other important set of regulations – fire safety!

If you use your loft frequently then preferably a pull-down extension ladder would be of great benefit. Loft ladders do come in a variety of types including metal and wood based designs. An advantage of ladders over stairs is that they keep you landing free of obstructions and do not take up space.

Don’t forget to factor in maintaining loft security as it is an access point to your home. Make it lockable! Remember to have appropriate windows and skylights installed in the loft space or an electrical light fitting so the space is adequately lit for when you ascend into it.

However, all this said and (hopefully) noted, lofts that are used simply as storage space have no legal access requirements. You make it as simple and as convenient as you wish for it to be but a simple loft hatch, small or enlarged, is not enough if you are having a major loft conversion carried out on your property. In this case the requirements will stipulate the installation of stairs.

We have explored the importance of staircases (and their necessity) for loft conversions and that they provide safety and ease-of-access to the homeowners in previous posts. Staircases can be a requirement of building regulations depending on the type of loft conversion you are having implemented.

For advice on loft hatches and/or loft staircases please contact us at Modern Attics and we will do our best to help you.

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