Got A Lofty Renovation Idea?
Converting an attic is an easy way of adding extra liveable space to your home, whilst increasing its value. It’s generally much cheaper than building an extension and in most cases more viable. However, before you go transforming your attic, it pays to know the laws and tricks of the trade so that your lofty conversion plans don’t fall through.
Ask for planning permission
Before getting any work done to property, this should always be the first step. A loft conversion generally shouldn’t be a problem, but planning departments can be finicky, and it’s best to always check first rather than going ahead only to be told by the council later down the line that you have to undo all your hard work. Work that can be turned down by planning departments generally includes raising the roof or adding a dormer window or balcony.
Get in the professionals
Turning a loft into a liveable space can entail all kinds of work from rewiring to insulation to extra plumbing to removing gables. Save yourself the hassle by investing in professionals to do the job for you. There are some companies (such as this one owned by Nicolas Livsit) that can do all the various handyman jobs for you. Alternatively, you may find you can save costs by doing one job yourself and hiring other professionals for the jobs you’re not too savvy at.
Notify your insurance provider
If you have home insurance, it may be worth notifying them of the changes you’re making to ensure you still get paid in the event of a claim. Some providers will refuse to pay out if you have made changes to your property that have not been declared. This is because the risk value of your property may have gone up, and therefore you should be paying a higher premium. Notify them just to be safe – a kind insurance provider may not put up your premiums at all.
Observe fire safety
Loft conversions come with all kinds of fire safety requirements, which will be necessary if you want to declare your attic as an extra bedroom. Generally you will always need a staircase as opposed to a ladder. Adding stairs could involve stripping back part of a room below so bear this in mind. Taller properties (those more than two storeys) may require fire escapes, whereas you may be able to get away with a lot less in a bungalow.
Should you raise the roof?
All liveable rooms must meet a minimum height requirement of 2.2m. This can throw a spanner in the works of many would-be loft conversions, as this involves then accounting for the extra cost of raising the roof. You can get away with a pitched roof, so long as the central usable part of the attic reaches 2.2m. If you are unsure about what constitutes ‘useable’ it’s always best to hire a surveyor who can assess it for you.