Adjusting your property can be an exciting time for families. Whether you’re planning to extend your kitchen, convert an unused room into a guest bedroom or turn your loft into a conversion, there are plenty of ways to spruce up your home. With the latter of which adding as much as 20% to the overall value of your property, it’s no wonder that loft conversions are becoming popular choices for amateur home DIY-ers.
However, despite offering homeowners a range of benefits once fitted, loft conversions can be a challenging property development project to undertake, no matter how good your DIY skills are. From planning permission to budgeting, a loft conversion is a sizeable project, so newbies can find it challenging to know where to begin.
Our loft conversion guide is aimed at newbies looking to embark on a home development project for the first time, to help you organise and plan efficiently so that you can make the most out of your new loft space.
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Find Out If You’ll Need Planning Permission
Before you start drawing out any plans, it’s worthwhile finding out whether your proposed loft conversion will require planning permission or not. Planning permission can be incredibly arduous, especially for those who aren’t familiar with the process. As no two applications are the same, you may find that your circumstances may differ from others.
Generally, most loft conversions are considered permitted development, so you won’t have to obtain planning permission. Providing that your proposed development meets the desired criteria, you shouldn’t have to trouble yourself with planning permission; however, there are always exceptions. For instance, if you’re planning to use loft conversions for commercial development, you might need to carefully look into the permission part.
Rules regarding loft conversion can differ between areas and are complex, so it’s best to seek professional advice before beginning any work. If you are concerned that your planned build may be an exception to these criteria, or if you have any other worries, you should contact your local planning authority at the soonest convenience so that they can advise you further.
Don’t Forget About Unexpected Visitors
One aspect that many newbies to the home improvement world overlook when considering a loft conversion is checking their loft beforehand to ensure that you have no unexpected visitors residing in your loft. Your loft can be home to various unexpected, furry visitors – from household pests such as rats and mice, to protected species like bats. Hence, it’s worthwhile checking that it’s uninhabited before starting any work.
Failure to carry out these checks can lead to unexpected delays, and if your loft is home to bats, it could cause further difficulties as they are protected by legislation. To avoid this, it’s best to get a bat survey carried out before applying for planning permission (if you need it). Surveys such as these need to be carried out by a fully qualified and licensed professional, such as the team at batsurveys.co.uk.
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Consider How It Could Add Value To Your Home
Aside from adding more living space, one of the main reasons homeowners opt for loft conversions nowadays is that they help add value to properties. However, it can be tricky to determine precisely how much value it will add to your property as all projects are different and depend on what you plan to create.
Generally, most homeowners opt for a loft conversion that creates another sizeable bedroom plus an en-suite bathroom. Still, your design choices aren’t limited to this, and you could make something entirely different. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that more complex designs cost more money, and the last thing you want to do is create a development that costs more than the value it’ll add to your home.
Ultimately you want to make the property desirable for prospective buyers if your goal is to sell the property once the conversion is finished, but you want to do so wisely so that it doesn’t cost more than it’s worth. The best way to avoid this is by contacting a local estate agent, who will give you more informed advice and estimated prices considering the location, size etc.
Discover If Your Loft Is Suitable For Conversion
Although loft conversions are a widely popular choice for homeowners looking to improve their homes, not all loft spaces are considered fit for making the improvements. To start, you’ll need to check if your building is in a conservation area or marked as listed, as this could make it harder for permitted developments.
You’ll also have to enlist the services of an architect or building contractor so that you can accurately measure the head height of your loft. According to building regulations, your attic must have a minimum amount of head height to be suitable for conversion, with at least 2.2m of useable space between the top of the joists on the floor and the bottom of the ridge timber.
Enlisting the services of an architect or building contractor can help you identify whether your loft will be suitable for conversion or not, answer any questions you may have about the proposal and point you in the next direction.
Remember Building Regulations Consent
Before you start making plans or applying for planning permission, it’s worthwhile that you investigate obtaining building regulations consent. No matter what work you carry out and whether it requires planning permission or not, all work that you carry out will require building regulations consent. This ensures that all works carried out are done to a high standard and that your home is safe and energy efficient.
To obtain this, you’ll need to enlist the help of a qualified structural engineer, who will carry out safety checks around the proposed build to ensure it is deemed a safe environment. Such reviews will include fire escape checks, structural support, thermal insulation and much more. Afterwards, you’ll be given a building regulations certificate which you’ll need to present if you intend to sell your property in the future.
Failure to present this certificate could devalue the price of your property, as this is what determines that the loft conversion is safe and up to the standards set out by building regulations.