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Quality Loft Conversions in North LondonMany homeowners are choosing to convert their loft space into additional livingspace and to maximise the equity in their home, but how do you know if your homeis suitable for a loft conversion, and how do you go about making the most of thespace available? Our quick guide to loft conversions gives you the vital informationyou need to make the right decisions…Is my property suitable for a loft conversion?There are a few key factors you need to consider to determine whether your propertywill be suitable for a loft conversion. Firstly, you need to measure the height of theroof space. You need around 2.3 metres (approximately 7ft 6in) to allow enoughheadroom. The steeper the ‘pitch’ of the roof the better – a steeper roof will allow formore headroom. If you don’t have enough headroom in the existing space it may bepossible to raise the roof or ceiling, although this is obviously subject to planningconsent and will increase the cost of the project. You’ll also need to considerwindows. Velux® windows fit into the existing slope of the roof whereas dormerwindows can add additional headroom by extending outwards from your roof. Theextent to which you make any changes to the exterior of the property in terms of lookand feel, extensions to the existing roof line, and the locality in which you live mayhave an impact on planning requirements. An expert in the field will be able toadvise you on this.Do I need a specialist company or architect?You will get the best results by using an architect and/or structural engineer to drawup the plans, and using a builder with experience in loft conversions. The architectwill normally draw up plans for the building and the structural engineer deals withscientific and mathematical aspects of ensuring the building is structurallysound. Architects and structural engineers often work together within the sameorganisation or may subcontract work to each other. Look for qualified andexperienced professionals, and when it comes to your builder, check that they areregistered with a professional association such as the Federation of Master Builderswhich requires strict standards of quality and best practice. Specialist companies willalso have the skills required to plan the best use of the limited space you may have,taking into account key structural features such as roof joists and load-bearing wallsalong with the best approaches to access; plus they will have the expertise to fitspecialist window types and understand the complexities of plumbing and wiring inroof spaces. We’d recommend calling in an expert very early in the process as theywill be able to clearly establish the options in terms of the feasibility of the project,use of space and access arrangements before you make any firm decisions. So,what other information do you need to know? Well, we’ve prepared a checklist ofkey questions for anyone considering a loft conversion below.
Loft conversion checklist:1. Is there enough headroom? You’ll need approximately 2.3 metres at the highestpoint.2. Do you want to add a bathroom? If so will your plumbing system cope with theextra pressure requirements for piping water up an additional level?3. Similarly, will your central heating system cope with any additional radiators?4. What kind of windows do you want or need? Which sides of the property willprovide the best light and/or views?5. Will you need planning permission? You are permitted to undertake certaindevelopments to your property without seeking planning permission under ‘PermittedDevelopment Rights’ legislation (2008), although it’s always best to check with yourlocal authority as the complex criteria apply. Remember, if your building is protectedor is located in a protected area you may be subject to additional regulations. Agood builder or architect will be able to provide advice on this.6. If you are in a terraced or semi-detached property you may need to give notice toyour neighbours of your proposed changes under the Party Wall Act (1996). Yourbuilder will be able to advise on whether this is necessary.7. Does the loft space have wiring in place or will additional electrical work beneeded?8. How will we access the space? Is there room for a staircase and if so where will itbe placed?9. Will the soundproofing, insulation and ventilation be sufficient? Again, your builderwill be able to advice on this.Useful linksUK Government Planning Permission portalPermitted development rightsParty Wall Act InformationFederation of Master Builders