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UK Loft Conversion Guide

Our UK loft conversion guide provides essential advice which is specifically for home owners in the UK.

Loft conversions are a cost effective way to create additional space within your property.  In general, they offer more money value when comparing to extensions or even moving home.

You may be surprised what kind a transformation can be done, even if your roof space appears to be small.  Velux, dormer and hip to gable of common loft conversions seen throughout the UK.  Follow our UK loft conversion guide below to get an idea of the process.

Step 1.  Look at Loft Conversion Designs

First of all, familiarise yourself with different designs, such as dormers, hip to gable and Velux conversions.  Knowing some of this information will help you talk about conversions with architects and builders.  Warton Woodworks have many images of UK loft conversions you can view, such as this hip to gable conversion.

uk loft conversion guide

Step 2.  Architect Drawings

If you are not qualified to plan or build a loft conversion, then please do not attempt it!

The first person you should contact for advice is a competent architect.  Usually they can help carry out the following stages:

Draw the blueprints for your new loft conversion.

Get structural engineers’ drawings.

Sort out the planning permission.

Arrange building control to inspect the property.

The architect would first visit your property to see if it can be converted, usually this part is free.  He will visualise how much space he can get out of your loft, whilst staying within the planning and building regulations.  For example, one of the regulations is that the new conversion height must not be higher than the highest point of the original roof.

Step 3.  Planning Permission

Your architect will sort out the planning permission stage for you.  But you will need to wait a few months for your plans to be reviewed.  Your plans will be sent to any neighbours that your loft conversion directly effects.

Planning permission is almost always required as loft conversions require the structural integrity of the building to be modified, and therefore must be approved by a qualified engineer.  If planning is rejected, then the original plans will need to be modified and re-submitted by your architect.

Step 4.  Get Quotations from Builders

Find a competent builder.  Only use recommended ones, do your research! Never select a builder for a big job without recommendations, or seeing their previous work.  Make sure you and your builder sign a contract of all the work needed to be done.  It is best to write down everything the building company is required to do, even the smallest details.  This will help your builder realise exactly what you expect to be completed.

In general, Loft conversions in the UK start around £20,000 for simple Velux type conversions, consisting of one room in the roof.  Simple loft conversions like these do not require little modification of the roof.  More complex loft transformations such as dormer and hip to gable conversions can easily be more than double that.  There are many factors which effect the price of a loft conversion, such as height, area and design.

Step 5.  Look at Different Financing Options

After you have received your loft conversion quotation, you will need to weigh up different financing options.  Below are the two most common ones:

  • Loans

This is usually an expensive option as the interest rate will likely be very high.  Repayment terms on loans are usually much shorter than re-mortgage options, making the monthly payments high too.

  • Add to your Mortgage

This is probably the best option as it will likely offer you the best interest rate other alternative financing methods.  You also have the option to take an additional mortgage out over a long term.

Step 6.  Choose your Build Date Wisely

Loft conversions can take weeks or even months to complete.  Ideally you want to time the build so it starts in the spring.  This will increase the chances of the weather being on your side.  If your project begins or ends in the winter, then severe weather could cause substantial delays.

Step 7.  Check the Finished Build

Once completed, you need to check the new construction for any defects which need to be sorted out.  Your builder may call these minor defects snags.  Snagging (or snags) is a slang expression used a lot in the construction industry.  It is a list of minor defects which need to be corrected.

If there are serious problems with your new construction, then you should alert your builder straight away.  They should correct the problem, and may use their company insurance to fund it.

Step 8.  Get it Signed Off

By this stage, building control should have visited the property before and during the build.  They also visit once the build is complete, then sign it off if the new construction meets the building regulations.  Once signed off, you will receive a certificate.

We hope you have enjoyed our UK Loft Conversion Guide.  Feel free to check out more of our DIY Guides.


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Posted on 8th March 2020 at 6:51 pm

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