Shelling out for a shell loft conversion

You may have heard of a shell loft conversion before, you may not. Essentially it is what it sounds like; a builder/contractor will complete a shell conversion of your loft before handing over the reigns of control to the householder. It basic terms it’s a part loft conversion.

In the world of shell conversions, there’s no en suite installed, no home office designed and built, it’s the bare essentials of having a space to work with on your own terms. It takes the responsibility of the structural work out of the homeowner’s hands, keeping costs down, and leaving plenty of room for DIY opportunities.

A shell conversion will consist of a builder/contractor doing the heavy lifting and hard work such as installing new steel beams, dormers, joists, strengthening the overall structural integrity etc. These are jobs that unless you know what you’re doing and have had professional experience are not recommended to try yourself. DIY should only encompass areas that you have experience or ability in. You’re more likely to end up falling through the floor or collapsing the roof if you attempt serious structural overhaul by yourself with no prior knowledge of how to do it.

The shell is completed with the installation of windows and perhaps even the installation of a staircase, depending on what has been discussed and planned out. Once these tasks are complete it’s time to pass the torch back to the homeowner. The space is now safe, secure and easily accessible for DIY work to commence. As far the builder’s work is concerned, the job is done and the rest of the internal work is up to you.

Obviously, there may be differences in what you want from your shell conversion versus what a shell conversion essentially offers, but you may have to take on insulation and the building of internal walls yourself unless otherwise agreed and included with the shell conversion package.

The DIY really begins after the practical work is out of the way and the creative side comes more into focus. You should have drawn up plans (or gotten a professional to do so) that designate what this shell will be transformed into. Ceilings and walls may need plastering and certainly painting while plumbing and electrical work is better off left to professionals (either through your conversion specialist or another company). The last thing you need is to spring a leak or electrocute yourself fiddling around with things you aren’t qualified to be tampering with in a safe way.

Decorating is all down to personal taste and what this shell conversion is going to become. The DIY decisions are individual and are entirely down to what you feel will work best, add the most value and provide the right aesthetic.

An important point worth noting is that even in DIY conversion cases you might still need to consult the building regulations. The contractor will fulfil their end and you must ensure that you fulfil yours. Once the contractor is out of the picture and their job is done it becomes the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure compliancy and that the final completed conversion is up to scratch.

Shell loft conversions are ideal for those looking to save some money and do it themselves!

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