1) Does my loft have enough headroom to be converted?
Most lofts can be converted but what is crucial is that there is enough achievable headroom. Ideally you need a minimum of 2.3m (7 feet 6 inches) to start with from the existing ceiling joists to the apex of the loft. Therefore, once the new loft floor (about 200mm or 8 inches) and ceiling (about 100mm or 4 inches) is in place in the loft conversion you will be left with a ceiling height of about 2m (6 feet 6 inches). Take look at the closest door to you – the opening (if standard) is likely to be 1.981mm in height which is just a touch under 2m. With this in mind we hope you agree with that if cannot achieve at least 2m then converting your loft simply isn’t worth it!
2) Will a loft conversion really add value to our property?
Read what the Guardian say about loft conversions: home improvements article.
Once converted, depending on where you live in the country, it is likely that the cost of a loft conversion could increase the property value by over 20%/30% on top of your original outlay. This means that if you spent £50,000 to build and finish your loft, your property would likely increase in value by £75,000, gaining you £25,000 in equity, plus your original money back when you do decide to sell your property.
3) Is a planning permission required for a loft conversion?
The extension does not reach further than the outermost part of the existing roof slope at the front of the house The extension does not go any higher than the highest part of the roof called the ridge point The materials used for your loft conversion are in similar appearance to the rest of the existing house
You do not plan to have any verandas, balconies or raised platforms that extend from the roof line Any side-facing windows are frosted or patterned to stop people seeing in and that the side-facing window openings are fixed up to 1.7m or more above the new loft floor The house is not on designated land, such as a national park, area of outstanding beauty, the broads, conservation areas and world heritage sites The roof extension, other than hip-to-gables, are set back as far as practical and at least 20cm from original eaves
The roof enlargement does not overhang the outer face of the wall of the original house If planning permission is required, it will take around eight weeks for your local authority to determine your application as this is the government endorsed target for all local authorities to try and remain within. Although larger and more complex loft conversions may take a little longer for a decision.
4) Do I need to consider fire doors when converting my loft?
As your loft requires you to go up an additional story, your home will have to comply with the latest building regulations. Generally, a loft conversion turns a property into a three storey building which means that all the doors around the staircase will have to be upgraded to FD30 doors (fire rated). This ensures that should a fire break out in any of the rooms, your hall way stairs and landing will withstand 30 minute’s worth of heat and fire as a protected corridor, enabling you to evacuate from any of the rooms within the property.
5) What is a dormer window?
A dormer window is the exterior part of the conversion that is built at the rear of the roof to provide floor and living space and is generally a square section construction to maximise the overall living area.