A loft ex­ten­sion in 14 days

Sara Yates ‘We dodged mess con­vert­ing our at­tic’

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Don’t Move, Improve -

IN MERTON PARK, SW20, Claire and John needed more space in their end-of-ter­race house for their grow­ing fam­ily.

They thought about up­siz­ing in the same area. How­ever, con­vert­ing their at­tic was a rather more af­ford­able op­tion.

Claire says: “There was one is­sue with the height of the up­stairs room, and one com­pany thought they’d have to lower the ceil­ing, which would have been a huge, messy and ex­pen­sive job. But Land­mark Lofts was able to do it with­out go­ing down that road.” bled and we could hear the teacher next door al­most as clearly as our own. But th­ese build­ings were only meant to be tem­po­rary. A mod­ern pre­fab­ri­cated loft is in a dif­fer­ent league.

Ac­cord­ing to Land­mark, its lofts, built with a cold rolled steel frame, are rather less likely to sag or warp than a con­ven­tional tim­ber loft.

The com­pany says a fully fin­ished loft con­ver­sion on a mid-ter­race Vic­to­rian house should cost about £45,000 to £50,000. This is in the mid­dle to up­per end of the es­ti­mates you should ex­pect for a wood-framed con­ven­tional loft on a sim­i­lar prop­erty.

So what’s the catch? The 14 days does not in­clude the pre-plan­ning process. For bar­ris­ters An­drew and Jane, for ex­am­ple, who re­cently added a twobed­room, one-bath­room mod­u­lar loft to their ter­race house in south Lon­don, get­ting plan­ning ap­proval took nearly four months. With a mod­u­lar build ev­ery­thing has to be agreed up front, you can’t just change things as you go along, so ex­pect the de­sign de­lib­er­a­tions with the lo­cal coun­cil to take some time. And you will not have the chance to stand where your roof used to be and ask the builder to tweak the lay­out: you have or­dered it and that’s that. This may not suit ev­ery­one.

YOU must also al­low time for a re­ally thor­ough sur­vey to be con­ducted at the start, as when your loft ar­rives it has to be a per­fect fit. Dur­ing the week be­fore the scaf­fold­ing ar­rives, a prep team will turn up to fit struc­tural sup­ports and deal with the util­i­ties. This means you won’t es­cape dust prob­lems en­tirely.

With An­drew and Jane, their wait­ing time was longer than ex­pected be­cause an in­cor­rectly sized steel com­po­nent de­layed de­liv­ery by a month. De­lays are an­noy­ing and can be very stress­ful, but un­for­tu­nately they hap­pen in most builds, even mod­u­lar ones. At least with a mod­u­lar ap­proach, there is a good chance the de­lay hap­pens dur­ing the pre-in­stal­la­tion, pre- dis­rup­tion phase. From my own ex­pe­ri­ence with a con­ven­tional loft con­ver­sion, deal­ing with glitches is eas­ier in the run-up pe­riod than when your roof is off.

Visit land­mark-lofts.com

Get­ting started: pre­fab­ri­cated lofts are built in a South York­shire fac­tory...

:... then rooms are plas­tered and bath­rooms plumbed be­fore de­liv­ery

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