Jul 132014
 

lofts-convertetionAs the main intention of any loft conversion is to add useable space to a house, the main criterion for ensuring that your loft is suitable to have such work carried out on it is its size.

As rooms in most houses are of a uniform height, before you do anything else, you will need to check whether you will have enough room in your existing roof space to create an extra room which is at least 2.3 metres (7 feet 6½ inches) high.

Converting a loft is generally reckoned to be one of the most effective ways of adding space to a house. You might simply want to find space for your model railway, in which case all you need is a pull-down ladder and perhaps an extra dormer window to provide light and ventilation.

This is fine if you don’t really want your loft space to count as an extra room, but in order for it to be counted as such, it will need a permanent staircase leading up to it, simply to ensure that it is safe for access and exit in the event of an emergency. So you have to be sure that there will be room for this additional, permanent staircase. In some instances, this could be the only aspect of the loft conversion which will require planning permission, because of its importance for providing a suitable exit in an emergency.

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The first thing you need to know is exactly how much space you have available. Another big factor which determines the suitability of a loft for conversion is the angle of the pitch of the roof – in other words, how steeply it slopes.

Homes in some areas are built to restricted heights for amenity reasons – in other words, so as not to spoil the view for other nearby householders. So you will need to know whether any such restriction applies in your area before going ahead with any loft conversion. As a means of getting around such restrictions, many people who want to add extra space do so by adding dormer windows and a flat roof extending out from the existing roofline.

You will also need to check whether your existing utility supplies, eg electricity, water and heat, will be able to cope with having to supply the extra space.

By appointing an architect to look at the plans and make suggestions, you will also be able to make such judgments as whether there will be enough room for a bed in the space and where you intend for it to go; where electrical sockets can be placed; and of course, whether the new building will share any new walls with your neighbours.

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Any decision on suitability for a loft conversion for your house might ultimately come down to its cost-effectiveness. So if you find that the price of having the work you desire carried out will not ultimately add much, or perhaps even nothing, to the house’s value, then it might be worth considering another form of extension. A local estate agent will be able to give this sort of advice.

Christina Jones is a freelance Designer, with a passion for home renovation, and loves nothing more than a loft conversion project.

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