A loft extension in 14 days
Sara Yates ‘We dodged mess converting our attic’
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.
Getting started: prefabricated lofts are built in a South Yorkshire factory...
:... then rooms are plastered and bathrooms plumbed before delivery