Loft Conversions – Why, How and Where?

Sometimes you don’t want to move to a new house, it is costly, and you may be happy with your location, but you need some extra space, perhaps for a growing family. An extension can be very messy and expensive, but a loft conversion is often one of the most cost-effective ways to not only gain more living space but add value to your home.

Cheaper and faster than a full extension you could use another room or rooms in your loft as an additional bedroom with or without an en-suite, or as a playroom, study, gym… the choice is extensive.

According to a recent study by Nationwide Building Society, it is thought that on average a loft conversion will add 21% to the value of your home, more if you live in London. But what are the options and how much is it going to cost?

The main types of loft conversion are as follows:

  • Room in roof loft conversion – the simplest conversion, this requires no structural changes, but an added staircase, skylight(s), added insulation, connections to provide electrics, heating and lighting and changes to ensure fire safety regulations are met.
  • Hip to gable loft extension – the hip is the sloped part of the roof and hip to gable means converting this area into a flat edge to provide extra space. The price will vary according to how much you have done inside, but will include the basics as detailed above in a room in roof conversion.
  • Dormer loft extension – this is a very popular option and often what a lot of people think of when they hear the words loft conversion. It involves the addition of a box shape extension to the side or back of a roof to provide additional space. You can have double or single dormers, and will also need the above changes as detailed in room in roof conversions.
  • Changing the roof structure – the costliest option and it also requires planning permission. It requires the removal and rebuilding of the whole roof and this may be due to the current shape being unsuitable for what you want or becasue the structure cannot withstand the changes that a loft conversion requires.

 When thinking about which option is best and the costs involved you need to consider the existing space you have in your loft, the alterations required for a staircase to be built and the interior design you would like.

Do I need planning permission?

Not all loft conversions need planning permission. Most loft conversions can be done under permitted development rights and do not need planning permission. These rights allow the improvement and extension of homes, under certain restrictions.

The main factor, assuming you don’t live in a protected area, is that the total area of extra space does not exceed 40 cubic metres for a terraced house and 50 cubic metres for all other properties, and it isn’t going to be built higher than the current roof height at its apex. There are a few other conditions which you can check here:

But if you do happen to need planning permission then one way to reduce problems is to apply early, once you have finalised plans drawn up, as changes will require a resubmission and then you will have to pay twice. Having a building firm that understands the planning procedure and how to draw up architectural plans can save a few headaches in this area.

At KT5 we are well experienced in loft conversions and can walk you through the process, helping you choose which is the best option for you and your property, whilst also offering free planning application help (when required) and fully trained staff to draw up plans for your conversion.

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