If you have run out of space but do not really want to move and you have little outdoor space then a loft conversion may be the answer.

Can I Carry Out a Loft Conversion? – The very first thing to look at is can a loft conversion be carried out in the type of roof that you have. Some types of roofs are more suitable for loft conversions than others and hence more financially viable.
Generally there are three types of roof that we come across in a residential property:

Very Old Properties (eg. pre 1880’s) – In properties prior to this date the supply of wood was relatively good. The Victorians did not fully engineer the roof structure, therefore there is often a great deal of timber in the roof and hence structural stability. There is still a need to check to see if there is head height and a suitable place for the stairs to come up from the floor below. In addition to this you will also need to check the quality of the structure and if it requires structural upgrading, or does it have woodworm, wet rot or dry rot and requires more drastic remedial action.

Older Property (eg. pre 1960’s) – Often this type of property will have a purpose made cut timber roof. This geometry of roof comes in many forms but often is what we would term an ‘Attic’ style truss. A suitable roof is one that has a high ridge, therefore giving the head height necessary to form a room or rooms within. Other considerations are the things located within the roof, such as water tanks that will need to be moved, and of course access to the roof space, which for a proper loft conversion will be via a staircase. This can often mean the trade-off of space on the floor below, eg. a cupboard.

New-style Trussed Roof (eg., post 1960’s) – From the 1960’s onwards pre-fabricated trussed roofs, or ‘W’ style trusses, were commonly used in house construction. The main driving force behind a pre-fabricated trussed roof was economy of timber sizes. This means these roofs are often less adaptable to conversion than the older style roofs, or in some cases not suitable at all. Often the water tank or boiler has been moved into the roof space as well and of course you will need to consider the access stairway to get into the loft conversion from the floor below. Early professional advice is advisable where you have this roof truss.

What permissions do I need? – You may require Planning Permission from the Local Authority to approve the external appearance of the loft conversion, and almost certainly you will require Building Warrant approval to ensure the structure is appropriate or requires upgrading, there is are no special constraints and access is acceptable and the new rooms have been thermally upgraded, etc. With all properties if your property is Listed or in a Conservation Area the roof structure itself may be considered an integral part of the Listing, or any associated external works (velux, dormers, vents etc) may also require Local Authority approval. We would advise in all cases where you carry out a loft conversion Local Authority advice and/or approval should be sought.

What Does A Loft Conversion Involve? – The initial approval process will involve building professionals from engineers carrying out the structural design calculations to the architect to carry out the design work and making the necessary applications to the Local Authorities.

There are many ways of constructing the loft conversion, from a DIY type project where you are actively involved and working direct from consultants approved designs, through to a project where you do little more than pay the bills and it is carried out by an experienced contractor, with or without an architect’s presence on site. The choice is down to budget, complexity of project and experience of the client.

What Does A Loft Conversion Cost? – Cost depends on the quality, size and complexity of the loft conversion. In our recent experience they can typically cost anything upwards of £20,000 & Vat.