Prior to starting work on a loft conversion project, it is well worth your while to research how adding a loft will affect your home’s design and to find out exactly what’s involved. If you are thinking about adding more space to your home, consider these key items to help you decide if a loft conversion is a good idea in your case.
Can the loft conversion weight be carried by your home?
Even though the amount of additional weight may be modest once the conversion is complete, keep in mind that some additional weight will be added and you must find out if your building is structurally equipped to handle it. Check the lintels, beams, foundations, and other weight bearing parts of your home.
Since each of these elements will be checked by the Building Control officer, start by exposing the foundations by digging a small hole. You may find that your budget will double overnight if your building requires underpinning to support the additional weight.
Working with a loft conversion specialist will ensure that you comply with the correct regulations and take all the necessary precautions into consideration for your project.
Will the head height be sufficient?
Request that your designer clearly illustrates the amount of available headroom that will be available after the conversion is completed. The actual head space isn’t easy to visualize from looking at the plans and many people find themselves disappointed once the job is complete. Keep in mind that a staircase leading directly into the loft area will have to be built into the plans. Don’t start the stairs from within an existing bedroom. To make the best use of the space, the old staircase should be the starting point for the new one. If you lose an entire first floor room, it doesn’t make any sense to convert the loft space into additional living area.
A sealed system may be required to replace the existing hot water and heating system once the plumbing and water tanks cannot be on the roof. Rather than a combination boiler, it is better to have an unvented hot water cylinder. However, you will need to find a location for and it will require a room that is the size of a cupboard.
Party Walls And Building Regulations
The Party Wall Act of 1996 requires that your neighbors must be notified about your proposed building plans if your home is either terraced or semi-detached. At various stages, your Building Control officer will do an inspection. However, do not settle any final accounts until you have received a completion certificate at the final inspection.
No matter if you need planning permissions, loft conversions will always require Building Regulations approval. Before you ever start looking for a builder, have detailed plans in place and adopt the full plans application approach. There are two major advantages: Your builder can give you a fixed quote instead of an estimate that is highly subject to change and most of the risk will be taken out of the job.
Find out about stairways and gaining natural light in loft conversion considerations part two