Is your attic space suitable for a loft conversion?

bedroom loft conversion

Loft conversions offer numerous benefits for your property, from providing you with an extra room to be used as a bedroom, study or additional lounge space, to increasing the property value if you choose to sell in the future.

But as with any large renovation project, there are considerations to bear in mind – the most important is to identify whether your attic is actually suitable for a loft conversion. We’ve compiled some of the most important questions to ask before you invest in a loft conversion.

What type of loft does your property have?

The first consideration to make if you’re thinking about converting your loft space is to determine what the existing structure is and the type of roof your property has. There are two main types of roofs – traditional and modern trussed. The former is found on properties which were built before 1965 and the rafters in a traditional roof form an ‘M’ shape which meets in the middle of the loft. Traditional roofing usually measures 2.2 metres at the highest point.

A modern trussed roof is found in homes built after 1965 and are constructed with rafters forming a ‘W’ shape, measuring 2.4 metres at the highest point. This style of roof can be harder to convert since the ‘W’ frame takes up the majority of the loft, so the whole frame has to be replaced. It’s not an impossibility but it can make a conversion more expensive and time-consuming.

Is there sufficient space?

The second factor in whether a loft conversion is possible for your home is to determine how much space you have. This involves measuring floor area and the angle of the roof. The internal walls of your loft should measure 7.5 metres across, front to back, and 5.5 metres from side to side for the ideal size conversion, although smaller spaces are still possible to convert.

The pitch of the roof should be at a higher angle, so any angle higher than 30 degrees will work well. For your conversion to pass building regulations, it will need to measure 2.2 metres from the floor to the highest point of the pitch to allow for plenty of room at head height. You will also need to think about access to the loft, as you may need to install a staircase as well.

Do you have planning permission?

You may require planning permission for your conversion, depending on where you live and the type of home you own. For example, property owners in London will find that the planning permission requirements vary depending on the borough they live in. Similarly, if you own a listed building, you won’t have the same permissions as a modern build.

There are specifications your conversion needs to adhere to in order for the project to fall within your permitted development rights as a homeowner – projects outside of these specifications will have to be approved by the local planning authority. Likewise, there are party wall agreements which need to be consented to in order for your conversion to be permissible – if you have people living next to you in a terraced or semi-detached house, they need to give their consent to the conversion in order to avoid any costly legal disputes in the future.

What can make a property unsuitable for a loft conversion?

While most lofts can be converted, there are naturally circumstances that can make a property less suitable for a conversion. If your roof is too low and it’s not possible to raise it, which is one of the more common reasons for a loft conversion not being advisable, then you may need to consider alternatives.

Similarly, if you live in a flat and don’t own the freehold to the property, then you won’t gain planning permission to alter the loft. This can be a common issue for property owners in cities where flats are more common property types. Finally, if you live in a listed building, then it’s unlikely that local authorities will permit a loft conversion unless it’s deemed essential. There are few instances where this would be the case so it’s rare that homeowners in these situations get approval for a conversion project.

Final thoughts

A loft conversion provides many benefits to your home, increasing your floor space and providing a cost-effective alternative to moving to a bigger property. But it’s still advisable that you do your research before embarking on this renovation project to make sure the results are as you imagined and that you have permission to adapt your property.

For more information about loft conversions or if you have any further questions, contact us today.

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