Architect Your Home brings clarity and simplicity to loft extension projects by means of an affordable, quality service that is easy to use and responsive to customer needs and below is a guide on how to get the very best out of your roof space.
Bedrooms: The most common use for a converted loft is as additional bedroom space. One of the ways to add the maximum value to a house in the UK is to add a bedroom as we so often refer to a house as ‘3-bed’ or ‘4-bed’ etc. and with bedrooms generally being on the upper floors of a house, adding a bedrooms is often the most natural thing to do with a loft.
Study/home-office: Working from home is now more popular than ever and for this to be a successful the long-term solution people need a sanctuary from family life to concentrate and keep their work life separate and a loft room can provide an ideal home-office.
Bathrooms: Sometimes, lofts can be converted to provide a new bathroom (en-suite or otherwise) to serve a larger bedroom below. The split-level suite has become very trendy and the added benefit is that as a ‘non-habitable’ room, a loft bathroom will not complicate fire-escape issues in the way that many loft bedrooms can.
At one end of the scale, there are the ‘all-in-one’ loft companies who claim to deal with the design, planning, structure and the build of your loft. The problem with this route is that you tend to have little control over just what you are going to get and how much it is going to cost. At the other extreme, there are those individuals who will try to micro-manage their own project, negotiating individually with plasterers, electricians, roofers etc. They have the problem of too much control and generally become bogged down and overcome with a myriad of small problems that would be easily mopped up by a professional. The best course is to engage one of our architects, who will develop the best design to suit you during our design consultation, and then help you engage a main contractor/builder at the right price, who can control and co-ordinate the works for you.
Creating the space: Restructuring the roof and strengthening the floor will require specialist structural input and the size of any dormer to enlarge the space will be limited by permitted development maximums or local planning guidance. However don’t think that there is really only one way of doing your loft (as many of the one-stop loft companies will imply). Think carefully about the affect of adding a loft on the whole house, both internally and externally and utilise the skills and expertise of your architect to explore all the possibilities.
Providing access: The key to every loft is the configuration and position of the staircase and the door entry point (had you thought about having the door at the bottom of the stairs rather than the top for example?). It is worth really exploring the options with your architect here – it might seem obvious, but you may be surprised how many options there are and how they affect the resulting space.
Insulating and lining the space: The requirements of the building regulations on insulation these days are very high and just meeting these standards will ensure that your loft is kept warm in winter and cool in the summer. The days of the baking/freezing loft room are long-gone. Many people will go beyond the requirements of the regulations to make their homes even more energy efficient. Think about high-performance insulation in the walls and dormer ‘cheeks’ as well as in the roof and don’t forget the vital ventilation gaps above the insulation. Lofts will generally be lined with plasterboard, skim plastered and painted to create an internal finish.
Adding windows: If your existing loft gives you the space you need, simply by converting and adding roof windows, this will be a much cheaper option than a loft extension, which will involve one or more dormer windows. Dormers cost more, but add a lot of usable space and are vital for small lofts. Generally adding roof-windows will not need planning permission, whereas dormers may do depending upon their size, orientation, shape and the categorisation of your local area.
Installing plumbing, electrics and general fit-out: People always seem to underestimate the proportion of the budget needed for the general fit-out, but the project is going to need installation of new lighting, power-points, switches, shower-rooms with all it’s associated plumbing, floor finishes, skirtings, architraves, built-in wardrobes etc. so ensure you have consider4ed all these aspects.
It is very important that approval under the building regulations is sought and it is vital to agree in advance who is going to do this – otherwise you could find all fingers pointing at you! Generally the best route is to get your architect to make a full-plans application in advance, but for very simple projects the ‘building notice’ method, where your builder agrees everything as he goes along with the local building inspector can be cost-effective. Remember that you no longer need to use the local authority as there are an increasing number of private approved inspectors who can do this instead. but these regulation are to ensure the safety of you and your family and so need to be taken seriously.