Are you planning a loft conversion?

With the property market in a bit of a stalemate many people are looking at loft conversions as a way to get more space for growing families, without the costs associated with buying somewhere bigger.

Although property prices have actually reduced overall in the UK, the economic climate has made many people more wary of taking risks and moving at the moment does not always offer the best solution.

Loft conversions can be a good way of getting space but they can also add value to your current home if they have been professionally built.

The benefits of a loft conversion are mostly attached to gaining new space, often very light and with a value added to your property of up to 15% the financial benefits are evident.

So how do you work out whether your loft conversion plan is going to work?

The first thing to ask yourself, is can you actually stand-up in the loft at its highest point?  You need about 2.3metres ideally.  So assuming this is going to plan, what’s the next thing to consider?

While you may have dreams of a space, try to be realistic about what’s achievable.

If you’re looking at your loft as a potential space for an extra bedroom or bathroom, you need to remember that the way your house is laid out will impact on what’s possible.  So the position of the staircase and the plumbing will be relevant.  Additionally you will also need to consider heating and hot water – as your current boiler might not be able to heat your new space, in which case you may need to consider something new or solar panels perhaps.

Dot the I and Cross the T

There are some structural things to think about too.  You will often need new beams in the roof and floor to deal with the extra weight of the loft conversion.  And if you’re living in a terraced or semi-detached house then you will need a Party Wall Agreement with your neighbours.  This basically covers the ceilings, floors and walls that are shared with adjacent properties.

Will you need planning permission?

It is not always necessary depending on the level of conversion you’re having, but as you would expect with any work of this nature you cannot guarantee anything.  You should contact your local planning office and get some information from them before you do anything else.  There is such a thing as permitted development which could make things easier – if the house has not been extended since 1948, but it’s definitely worth finding this out well in advance of any planned work.

Get the professionals

Rather than opt for a cowboy, it’s always best to enlist the services of a professional.  They will know the ins and outs of loft conversions and will be able to advise you more accurately on Building Regulations and of course fire precautions – both of which are going to be crucial for you in the long term.

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