Loft Conversion: Important Questions to Ask Before Commencing

Loft Conversion: Important Questions to Ask Before Commencing

10th September 2019

Do you have some extra space on your top floor and would want to convert it into something useful? Well, loft conversion has potential gains that you can enjoy by increasing the square footage of your house. However, there are important factors you should consider before commencing your project. Below are some of the common and most crucial questions to ask yourself prior to beginning the process. 

Do I Need Planning Permission For My Loft Conversion?

About a decade ago, seeking planning permission for your loft conversion was inevitable and quite challenging, especially since different local authorities followed a different criteria on planning regulations. You would need a Total permitted Development (PD) for your property before going for the planning permission for your semi-detached or terraced property.

Thankfully, after 1st October 2008, only a few lofts require planning permission before conversion, as per the new simplified planning laws. Some of the restrictions worth noting with the new planning rules include:

  • You should seek planning permission in conservation areas.
  • Do not put dormer windows front-facing a highway.
  • Use similar materials in appearance to those in the existing property.
  • No raised platforms, balconies, or verandas in the loft.
  • The loft shouldn’t exceed the ridgeline of your current roof. 
  • The maximum volume limit for a semi-detached and terraced houses are 50 and 40 cubic metres, respectively. 

Can I convert Just Any Loft?

The good news is, you can convert nearly all lofts into something useful, provided they don’t breach conservation or planning guidelines. However, there are some factors that can keep you from converting your loft. One major factor is the height of your roof ridge. For your loft to qualify for conversion, you need a minimum of 2.2 metres at the centre of your loft from the top of the ridge board at the roof’s apex, to the top of the current ceiling joists inside the loft. Heights lower than 2.2 could mean insufficient usable headroom clearance when accessing your loft. This is a DIY survey, but you can as well employ a professional to do the survey and advise you accordingly. You’ll need to have access to your new space if you don’t already have stairs. You can arrange for safety ladders to be installed for safe and convenient access. 

Will l Loft Conversion Add Value to My Home?

Yes. Loft conversions have proven to be one of the best ways homeowners can add value to their homes. According to research conducted by the Nationwide Building Society, converting your loft into something useful could add up to 20% to your home value. This can be a very thoughtful strategy, especially if you have plans of reselling your home in the future.

How Long Will it Take to Complete the Loft?

Though it’s almost impossible to say exactly how long it will take to complete your loft, there are typical timescales that work for most loft conversions. It will take you about five weeks to complete a loft conversion on a semi-detached house and an average of four and a half weeks to complete the conversion on a terraced house. It may take you a little longer than usual to complete conversion of lofts that require planning permission.