With the cost of moving house running into thousands of pounds, it is only to be expected that many people are planning to move up instead of moving on, claims the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Extension building costs are one of the many considerations when planning a new extension or small construction project.
Converting your loft is unquestionably a job for the pros, however if you get it right you not only obtain a impressive light-filled space, you could also receive a handsome increase on your initial investment once you come to sell. According to the FMB a loft extension can add up to 15% to the value of your property.
Is it possible to stand up straight?
Is your attic suitable for the conversion process? The best way to check is to stand erect at its highest point, which should be no less than 2.3m. Even if you can easily stand up, a dormer window would certainly help maximise headroom through the living space. Planning requirements normally mean that this is put at the back of your property in order that it does not change the properties overall look from the road. For that reason, roof-light windows are generally used at the front to give light and help ventilation.
Many people convert their loft to provide an extra bedroom and bathroom to their home. The actual structure will generally be dictated by the position of the stairs and plumbing related arrangements for the bathroom. It is almost impossible to position the bathroom at the front of your house as you need to run a soil pipe to the back of the building where the current bathroom and toilets tend to be based. You will also need to think about the hot water and heating system. The current boiler might not be capable of heating the extra space or producing enough hot water for the extra bathroom.
Make sure your plans are correct.
Additionally, there are structural considerations to be taken into account. Completely new supports are going to be needed in the roof and the floor to take the extra load and bolster the roof once the existing rafters are taken away. In the event you live in a terraced or semi-detached house this kind of work will likely require a Party Wall agreement with the neighbours. This refers to walls, ceilings or floors which are shared with additional buildings.
The good news is that planning permission might not always be essential, nevertheless as with any extension work, it is best to speak to your local planning office and ask if the work can be accomplished within what is called, permitted development. If the property has not been extended since 1948 this may very well be the case, nevertheless, you must find out beforehand. Even if your home has not been extended since 1948, you might be next door to a listed building. In certain locations this suggests you will require permission for any modifications which affect the appearance of neighbouring listed properties. If planning permission is required and you do not make an application, the authorities can make you remove the extension and return your building to its original state.
All loft conversions need to satisfy Building Regulations. Your architect and structural engineer need to be up to date with these, however it is always best to submit full plans to the local authority building control department for them to advise on any changes required prior to work commencing. One of the key areas when adding an additional story to a property are the fire precautions needed. Improving the fire resistance of current ceilings and doors is invariably necessary. Recent changes to Building Regulations demand increased amounts of insulation, which will keep your extension warm in wintertime and stop the room overheating during the summer months.
Designing your perfect loft conversion.
A attic conversion is actually a huge task and you have got to get architectural plans drawn up. Be sure you understand exactly what you want to enable you to brief your architect. Will you be thinking about more than one room? Are you wanting to incorporate a bathroom and if so are you quite happy with a shower or are you wanting enough room for a bathtub? What are the spaces to be used for? Have you thought about storage space?
At this stage it is also worthwhile spending time making plans for lighting as well as other electrical needs – for example; if perhaps you intend to use the actual attic as a study you are likely to want more power sockets.
Deciding on the ideal building company.
Be sure that they are experienced in attic conversion work. Even if you need to compromise on the layout due to structural or expense criteria, many limitations can be worked round if you want an individually tailored design. If you are employing a building company specialising in this type of work they might supply drawings as part of their cost, but you may well prefer to use an architect to prepare them for you. Always ask about three building firms to quote for the job which will provide you with a much better idea as to which firm offers the best value for money. But remember always consider value as well as just the price. Check out the builders, look at previous jobs and speak with past clients to find out if they were satisfied with the quality of their work and the way the conversions were completed.
Principality specialise in loft conversions in Cardiff [http://www.principalityloftconversions.co.uk], Newport and South Wales. We offer free, no obligation consultations and roof assessments to anybody thinking about converting their attic. If you would like to find out more about a loft conversions in Newport [http://www.principalityloftconversions.co.uk] or anywhere else in Wales, contact us today.
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