DIY How To

Thinking of Converting Your Loft? Read this.

Making the unused space in your attic is a great way to gain an extra living space, bathroom or bedroom. If you're selling up, it adds significant value to your home and is an attractive prospect for buyers. This post takes a look at what some considerations when you're thinking of converting your loft space.

Involving the Experts

Consider Bringing in the Experts
It may be tempting to cut costs and go it alone with your DIY knowledge, and by all means if you have the skills and know-how and tools of the trade it's a great project to work on. Companies like Burton Roofing provide all the necessary components for installation if you're sourcing materials yourself.

However, converting loft space can come with lots of work and considerations to do with structure, safety and adhering to building regulations. For peace of mind, getting in those with expertise and experience is advised - get more than one quote to make sure you're getting the best deal.

Consider appointing a building surveyor or architect. Granted, this can be expensive, but they can help with design and sourcing reputable builders and keeping everything moving in the right direction.

Types of Conversion
You'll need to first make sure your loft is in fact suitable for conversion and what kind you're considering. You'll need to do a conversion assessment that takes into account head height, pitch angle, and type of construction you want to go for:

• Traditional (pre 1960s)
This encompasses rafters, ceiling joists and supporting timbers being cut on-site for assembly to support areas highlighted by a structural engineer. The benefit of this is that it's relatively inexpensive.

• Modern (post 1960s)
This means factory cut trusses are created in sections – making this a quick process that's reliable due to metal reinforcements such as steel beams and diagonally braced timbers.

Planning and Building Regulations
In most cases, you won't need to get planning permission for converting your loft space, unless you're extending the roof space with a dormer for instance – dormers must not exceed the highest part of the roof.

The reason planning permission is sometimes needed is to make sure the structure of your house can handle the new development and doesn't present any danger. Fire regulations are also very important to be clued up on before you take the plunge.

Check with your local planning department beforehand to make sure your plans will be approved before you make a start.

With considerations like structural integrity, fire safety, planning and insulation coming into play, it is vital that adequate research is undertaken before getting involved with a loft conversion project.

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