Loft ex­ten­sions

Whether you want a new master suite, home of­fice or space for guests, ex­tend­ing your home up­wards can add value and space to your prop­erty

Real Homes - - Contents -

All you need to know if you’re think­ing of ex­tend­ing up­wards

When your fam­ily out­grows your home, your thoughts might turn to ex­tend­ing out­wards or mov­ing house. How­ever, con­vert­ing your loft can be a less costly and more ef­fi­cient way to op­ti­mise your home’s lay­out and in­crease space. A well-in­su­lated loft can save you money on energy bills by keep­ing your house warm, and most loft ex­ten­sions can in­crease the value of your prop­erty by up to 20 per cent, ac­cord­ing to Ar­chi­tect Your Home.

First steps

A loft con­ver­sion can take on any num­ber of shapes and sizes. How do you want your space to be used? You might be dream­ing of a master suite to es­cape the kids, a guest bed­room to host friends that have come to visit, a home of­fice for your busi­ness, or a stu­dio space for hob­bies. You can be as cre­ative as you like with your am­bi­tions: whether you want a snug or a cin­ema room, a re­pur­posed loft can ac­com­mo­date it all.

Loft con­ver­sions cost around £40,000 for a dormer con­ver­sion, but the over­all price de­pends on el­e­ments like win­dow choices and ma­te­ri­als. It is also in­flu­enced by how you go about your con­ver­sion. Op­tions like mod­u­lar con­ver­sions, where the room is built off-site be­fore be­ing de­liv­ered, usu­ally in­clude in­stal­la­tion, fix­tures and fit­tings in their prices – but while it saves the stress of find­ing trades­peo­ple to do th­ese jobs, it can be more ex­pen­sive. ➤

Is your home suitable?

Be­fore you can be­gin plan­ning your de­sign, you need to make sure your roof space is suitable for a con­ver­sion. ‘Bear in mind that the min­i­mum height for a tra­di­tional roof is 2.2 to 2.4 me­tres,’ says Jude Tug­man, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Ar­chi­tect

Your Home. ‘If your space doesn’t meet this re­quire­ment, you might want to re­think your plans.’

Once this is done, there are other prac­ti­cal­i­ties to con­sider.

‘Make sure you check whether or not the space is weath­er­proof and if you have a chim­ney that needs to be moved,’ says Jude. ‘If your roof has felt un­der the tiles, this is nor­mally an in­di­ca­tor that the room will be prop­erly in­su­lated. If there is a chim­ney or other ob­sta­cles present, such as a wa­ter tank, then dou­ble check that they won’t con­flict with the build­ing works – if they might, ob­tain some ad­vice from your ar­chi­tect on the eas­i­est ways to move them else­where.’

What kind of ex­ten­sion is best for you?

There are five main types of loft con­ver­sion to choose from:

› Rooflight, also know as Velux, con­ver­sions, are the sim­plest type of loft con­ver­sion you can opt for.

They in­volve set­ting one or more win­dows in the slope of the roof, strength­en­ing the floor, and adding in­su­la­tion and plas­ter­ing.

› Dormer con­ver­sions in­volve ex­tend­ing the space out slightly in a flat-roofed, box-like ex­ten­sion, which adds more light to the new room as well as ex­tra roof space with more head­room.

› Hip-to-gable con­ver­sions in­volve changing the slop­ing side roof of a semi-de­tached or end-of-ter­race house into a ver­ti­cal gable, adding ex­tra space and head­room to the loft.

› Mansard con­ver­sions, like hipto-gable con­ver­sions, in­volve more struc­tural work. One or both roof slopes are re­placed with steep slop­ing sides and a flat roof over the top to in­crease space.

› For lofts that are un­suit­able for con­ver­sion, a mod­u­lar ex­ten­sion is a good op­tion: the ex­ist­ing roof is re­moved and a ready-made room in­stalled in its place.

‘The type of loft con­ver­sion you opt for is usu­ally dic­tated by price and prop­erty type,’ says Becke Livesey, di­rec­tor at Econoloft. ‘A Velux loft

con­ver­sion is one of the most pop­u­lar designs and is suitable for most homes – and as such, it is the most cost-ef­fec­tive. Dorm­ers are also much liked and pro­vide lots of space. If you de­cide to have a mansard or hip-to-gable con­ver­sion, then this of­ten means mak­ing changes to the over­all roof shape.’

Do you need plan­ning per­mis­sion?

With per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment, you can add up to 40 cu­bic me­tres to a ter­raced house and 50 cu­bic me­tres to a de­tached or semi-de­tached prop­erty, which in­cludes any ear­lier ad­di­tions made by you or a pre­vi­ous owner. The struc­ture shouldn’t ex­tend be­yond the high­est part of the ex­ist­ing roof and you should avoid bal­conies, ve­ran­das and raised plat­forms.

While most loft con­ver­sions don’t re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion, your pro­ject will need build­ings reg­u­la­tions ap­proval. A sur­veyor will as­sess sev­eral key as­pects of your scheme, in­clud­ing fire es­capes, plumb­ing and electrics, to make sure that it’s safe.

Ad­di­tion­ally, if you live in a semi-de­tached or ter­raced house – where you share at least one wall with a neigh­bour – you will need a Party Wall Agree­ment to make sure your neigh­bour is aware of the pro­posal.

For more in­for­ma­tion about what comes un­der per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment, visit plan­ning­por­

Choos­ing your team

There are two main op­tions when it comes to get­ting your loft con­ver­sion de­signed and built. The first is to hire an ar­chi­tect or de­signer to pro­duce draw­ings, and then ask builders to ten­der for the job. In some cases, ar­chi­tects may have a com­pany they have worked with in the past, and are there­fore happy to rec­om­mend them to you. You’ll also have to em­ploy a ➤

De­draft ar­chi­tects cre­ated this stun­ning Corten steel-clad ex­ten­sion to a top-floor flat in Waltham­stow, east Lon­don. It cost £63,500

Right the own­ers of this house cre­ated a master bed­room and en suite in their new loft con­ver­sion, as well as a handy dress­ing room. the ex­ten­sion was com­pleted by a1 Lofts & ex­ten­sions and cost just over £50,000

Above Dou­glas fir cladding helps this ex­ten­sion by fra­her ar­chi­tects blend in with its Vic­to­rian ter­race sur­round­ings. the pro­ject was short­listed in the Don’t Move, Im­prove 2018 awards, and a sim­i­lar de­sign would cost around £3,000 per m2

Right Land­mark Lofts trans­formed this two-bed­room maisonette by adding an open-plan loft con­ver­sion. the en suite is sep­a­rated from the master bed­room by a sub­tle wall par­ti­tion. the pro­ject cost around £45,000

Left Build team con­verted this loft space into a bed­room as part of a wider pro­ject ren­o­vat­ing a Vic­to­rian house in south Lon­don. the con­ver­sion cost £38,000 plus Vat

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