How to Plan a Loft Conversion from Start to Finish

planning-a-loft-conversionThe benefits of converting your roof space into a liveable loft room have long been known, from an extension of habitable areas to a number of economic advantages.

Professional loft conversion companies will be on hand to discuss your desires and specifications regarding your conversion, but there are a number of things you will have to consider and decide upon before you can make your dream a reality…

Access/Space

As a basic starting point, any roof space that measures 230cm from floor to ceiling at any part is adequate for a loft conversion, with the shape and pitch of the roof going some way to dictating the range of options available regarding use of the space.

Bear in mind that any conversion destined for a bedroom, bathroom, study or any other regularly used room that’s not storage must have a permanent staircase of some description. This could be anything from a fixed ladder to a full size staircase, although space will always be an issue. Consider a spiral staircase to provide a stylish solution to this problem, taking headroom and floor space of the room below into account.

Budget

This may sound like an obvious one, but ensuring that you have fully planned your budget before any work starts is crucial. Always over budget on things like plumbing and electrics, as this is where complications can arise due to the location of the loft and the unlikelihood that there are existing utilities up there.

Planning Permissions/Building Regulations

Although loft conversions do not generally require it on the whole, there are certain factors that may necessitate obtaining planning permission for your build. If your home has already reached its limit in terms of development allowance, or it is a listed building or in a conservation area, permission will need to be sought for any further loft extension.

The Party Wall Agreement must be adhered to also, ensuring that consent is gained from both owners of any shared walls involved in the development, and any conversion that is earmarked for anything other than storage space must conform to various building regulations relating to insulation, ventilation, fire safety and more.

Refer to government websites for further details about what is required by law.

Insulation

As mentioned above, ensuring that your loft is properly insulated is a requirement of building regulations for a habitable attic space. However, insulation is also vital for reducing heat loss and, consequently, household energy bills, limiting the amount of heat that can escape through roofs.

Consider window options wisely, too. Dormer windows are the ideal choice for pitched roofs – make sure that double glazing is used throughout so as not to compromise heat and sound insulation.

Article provided by Chris, a writer and home improvement fanatic representing LMB Lofts in London.

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