House prices are rising at an alarming rate in the UK, making it more difficult for people to buy a new house and move. As a result, many are choosing to stay put and make improvements to their current homes.
Consider this, a loft conversion averages anywhere from £30,000 to £40,000; however, adding a loft room can increase your home’s value by about £60,000. In some areas, such as London, adding another room can increase your home’s value even more.
One of the most popular home improvements, a loft conversion is often used to add a new room. The new room in a loft may be used for another bedroom, a den, an office, or even a playroom for the kids.
Watch Out for Loft Conversion Problems
Loft conversions are considered to be an easy and less costly type of home improvement. While this can be true, if not done correctly, a loft conversion can end up as a complete disaster. It could even lower your home’s value.
You may now be asking, “How do you avoid problems with a loft conversion?” Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a list of the most common types of loft conversions and how to avoid them.
Most Common Loft Conversions that Go Wrong
You can avoid a loft conversion disaster by watching out for these common mistakes:
1). Not Checking to Make Sure Property is Suitable for a Loft Conversion
It’s crucial to make sure that you check to see if your property is suitable for a loft conversion. The minimum requirements for a standard loft conversion is 2.3 m of head height.
There are times when you may be able to go higher, but most standard loft conversions need to meet this basic requirement.
2). Avoid a DIY Loft Conversion
As the most likely home improvement to go wrong, it pays to hire a loft conversion expert for your project. That is, unless you’re an expert yourself. The reason is that specialist knowledge is required for these types of projects. This is the type of knowledge an everyday building typically doesn’t. Although we specialise in providing loft conversion kits that get you up and running quickly, we still recommend that you work with a specialist to implement this.
You can check out the contractor’s website to see if they are truly specialists or not. Some other websites to find a loft conversion specialist include MyBuilder, Trustpilot and even Facebook.
Once you’ve compiled a list of builders, be sure to ask them for their references, examples of projects they’ve recently completed and see if there are any online reviews of their work.
All the effort will be worth find the right professional loft conversion expert. They can save you from having major problems with the loft conversion.
3). Don’t Always Go with the Most Expensive Quote
When you’re obtaining quotes from the builders you’ve found, it’s best not to assume that the more expensive quote is the best. The contractor may not do quality work, he may have poor reviews, etc. This is why it’s essential to do the research into referrals, recently completed projects and reading through online reviews.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to those names on the builder’s referral list. Speaking with previous clients can provide you with a lot of great information on whether or not the builder’s good.
It can also be helpful to get recommendations from family and friends, or work colleagues who have used a builder for a loft conversion. Not only will you hear directly from a trusted source about the quality of the contractor’s work, but you’ll also be able to inspect the end result and make sure the builder does quality work.
4). Choosing the Wrong Roof for Your Design
While a loft conversion may seem easy and straightforward, there’s more to consider than whether or not you may need a planning permit. There are also practical issues to consider, including the type of roof you decide to install on the converted loft.
Many people don’t realize the roof determines the design of the conversion. Some types of roofing offer more flexibility than others. The type of roof also determines the type of windows you can install and more.
From there, you’ll also need to consider the layout of the loft space for the type of room you’re creating. What type of furniture will you have and where will it be placed? What about the stairs? Incorrectly mounted stairs can cause major issues in the space below the loft. You’ll also want to think about how many electric sockets will be needed, and where they should be placed. And are you also adding a bathroom to the loft? Then you’ll need to consider placement of utilities and wiring. There’s quite a bit to consider when designing the loft area.
Here, again, it pays to hire the right builder who has specialized knowledge to help you with the design issues. It may also be a good idea to hire an architect to review the plans, looking for mistakes that could cause major problems down the line.
5). Don’t Assume Planning Permission Is Not Needed
Most loft conversions don’t require planning permission, as they’re considered permitted development. There are usually specified limits and conditions to be aware of, but most loft projects won’t need permission.
However, never assume. Some home properties do not have planning permitted development rights. In this case, you will definitely have to submit a full planning application.
If you’re not sure about whether or not your property requires planning permission, head over to the local council and ask them if you need to apply for planning permission or not. If you live in a maisonette, conservation area, in a period property or in a flat, you may need to apply.
With this in mind, also pay attention to and follow the permitted development rules in your area. If you go against them, you’ll eventually run into problems. For one, a neighbor may complain to the council about your project, or a problem could arise when you want to sell your home at some point.
6). Forgetting the Neighbours
If you live in a semi-detached or terraced property, then you share a party wall (the wall between your property and the neighbour’s). In this case, you’ll need to notify your neighbors about the loft conversion, and you’ll have to get a valid Party Wall Agreement before you can even start work on the loft.
Keep in mind that your neighbour has the right to dispute the extension. Keep communications open and clear, and make sure to get the Party Wall Agreement done quickly, or you could have issues and delays later.
Don’t let these common mistakes keep you from having a lovely converted loft. While there’s a lot to consider for a loft conversion, if done correctly the added space will be worth the effort. And remember that a loft conversion done right will also increase your property’s value. Converting the loft is a great idea—go for it!