Convert your loft… for more family space!

Transform your home with a practical attic conversion. A loft extension is a great way to add extra space, whether you crave another bedroom, bathroom, office of playroom. But you need to be sure it’ll be worth the investment – not to mention the disruption.

Loft conversions are not possible for everyone, but if you’ve got the space, it’s worth converting your loft. The average UK attic contains goods worth an average of £2,000, so why not have a clear-out and see if you can boost your budget? A good loft conversion can add between 10 and 20 per cent to the value of a home, with no need to sacrifice the garden space required by ground-floor extensions. Conversions can range from £10,000 – £40,000+ (depending on your location, the materials used and the size). The good news is that you don’t need planning permission for most loft extensions. Adding up to 40 cubic metres in a terraced house, or 50 cubic metres in a detached or semi-detached house counts as permitted development. However, the extension must not protrude beyond certain points. A simple Velux loft conversion is often the cheapest solution and, as the roof slope is not altered, will maintain a property’s appearance but may also result in limited height. Alternatively, a dormer loft conversion has vertical windows and doors, which allow full head room and greater possibilities when it comes to staircases. Mansard loft conversions look less boxy than a dormer, due to the 70-degree slope of the rear wall and raised party wall brickwork, but require planning permission. First, work out your requirements and think about how you will use the space. Do you need another bedroom, bathroom or home office? Once you know, look at the floor plan to determine how best to use the room. Also, remember that most lofts will have angled ceilings, which could restrict the type of furniture you can have. The rules aren’t too complicated – you will need a Lawful Development certificate from the local authority and the build will need to be passed by their Building Control Services (or an approved inspector). They will check it meets the basic standards for structure, ventilation, insulation, fire safety and so on. They are not responsible for checking the general quality of the carpentry and finishes. When choosing a company, shop around for quotes. You may need a party-wall agreement for your loft conversion. Good insulation reduces bills and helps the environment, and it now also falls under regulations. There are a few options available, including wool, which is a greener option. Often, the building control inspector will specify what you require, as the roof can be insulated in two ways – either filling the space between the rafters or installing insulation over them which isn’t as practical.
Once all the practical work is done, you can get creative with the decorating...