Before beginning a loft conversion project, it is important to figure out what is involved and what the impact will be on your home.
Below is a list of scenarios and situations that need to be taken into account when deciding if a loft conversion is appropriate for your property and circumstances.
Roof Structure Alterations
The majority of roofs have internal support struts in the loft. These have to be taken out to make way for the new conversion, and will need to be replaced with supports that don’t interfere with available space. The builder will also fit new floor joists alongside the ceiling joists to form the floor structure.
The home’s ability to shoulder the added weight
Adding a loft room and the structural alterations that go with it can also add more weight to the property, so the foundations need to be checked, along with any lintels or beams that will be required to carry more weight. If the house needs underpinning for added support, your budget could potentially double.
Building Regulations and Partitions
Loft conversions always require Building Regulations approval, so get your scheme approved before engaging a builder. If you live in a semi-detached or terraced house, advise your neighbours of your intention to build, as the Party Wall Act 1996 will likely apply.
If your loft conversion will turn two storeys into three, there are fire safety measures that will need to be taken. The new floor will require at least 30 minutes of fire protection, a fire door at the top or bottom of the new stairs will have to separate the loft room, and one escape-sized window needs to be in each room.
You may need a purpose-built staircase, as it could prove difficult to get furniture up a narrow winding flight. They are an expensive solution, being about ten times the price of off-the-shelf designs, and the design may have to be approved by Building Control beforehand.