Loft conversions – design to completion

Loft conversions - design to completion

Are you thinking about having a loft conversion? This article could be your decision-maker.

Here it is in a nutshell…

The following is the process you would go through for a basic loft conversion from design to completion.

  • The idea!
  • Check the loft for suitability – the roof should be inspected for suitability by an architect/surveyor or loft conversion company
  • Create plans – decide exactly what you want!
  • Choose a company to do the conversion
  • Sort our the legal processes (the loft conversion company can do that for you)
  • Clear the loft
  • Decide on the access to the loft conversion
  • Restructure and build including reinforcing the floor
  • Add partitioning
  • Add windows, doors and stairs
  • Configure the electrics and technology
  • Install insulation and heating
  • Sort plumbing and bathroom installation (if needed)
  • Decide on the lighting
  • Decorate
  • Completion!

Now let’s look at things in more detail...

Let’s have a quick look at the potential loft conversion hurdles that you could come across…

  • Suitability – is your loft area able to have a conversion?
  • Planning permission – do you need one? A loft conversion company will take that stress away from you and deal with complications
  • Do you have a wall attached to your neighbour’s property? In which case you will need a PWA (Party Wall Agreement)
  • Safety – would there be any safety issues when converting your loft especially if it’s a large space that you are going to rent out?

The benefits of a loft conversion are awesome and the potential hurdles can be dealt with by the right people in the right way. Seek advice from experts because the last thing you want to do is waste your well-earned money or your precious time.

The following information is to help you make up your mind if you are able to take on a loft conversion project. Knowledge is power and a clear explanation will help you make your decision.

It’s quite simple really…

The human mind and technology are wonderful things but so are the traditional pen and paper. Spreadsheets and design software are important but before you invest too much time into being ultra organised, jot down some notes and sketch a design for your loft conversion. Whilst doing that, answer some questions in your head such as, what is the purpose of the room, what features would be required, for example, an en-suite?
What is your budget? Do you have a preference for windows, doors or even a balcony?

It’s exciting…

Have a go at sketching an idea and don’t worry if your drawing resembles that of your four-year-old’s. The exercise is just to get an idea of what you would like, the professionals can do the proper design.

If you are struggling to visualise what you would like, there are plenty of ways that you can get ideas. Look at relevant magazines and drive around roads taking photos of loft conversions that you’ve seen and you like. Go online and look at websites such as Pinterest or Google images and watch some TV programs such as Grand Designs.

That should give you an idea about the structure on the outside, now think about the interior…

You could create a ‘design board’ and put pictures, materials and ideas on it. The final decoration is the exciting bit so you can work on those ideas whilst the experts do the conversion. You can always enrol the help of an interior designer if you struggle with those special touches. Your conversion company should be able to make a recommendation or you can ask friends and family if they know someone in the industry.

Next up, talk to the experts…

Find a reputable loft conversion company and ask for a consultation and quote. Try to choose a company that will do everything for you from start to finish, it’s so much easier that way. The conversion company will explain to you about the different aspects of the project. There are many factors that can play a part in the planning decision such as size, windows, balconies, doors, stairs, conservation area or materials.

Once you have established what is required structurally then you have other aspects to consider, such as lighting, electricity, water, waste, technology, insulation etc…
After all that, you should have a good idea of the total costs. Be very clear from the start about what you want and keep good communication with the project manager, never presume and always clarity.

Tempted to have a conversion but not quite sure still? Try this little exercise…

Grab a pen and paper and jot down the considerations that we have listed below. Write any concerns or ideas you may have for each point made. Whilst it may seem a bit daft to some, seeing things on pen and paper can help you make a decision. Something you may want to comment on and some you might not.

I will give you a few examples in the first five.

  1. The roof inspection. Note… Research loft conversion companies and ask friends and family for recommendations.
  2. Plans. Note.. do a sketch of what we would like done and look online at different images so we can give a clear idea of what we are looking for to the conversion company.
  3. Do we need planning permission? What about the neighbours? Note… Do we think the neighbours will have any issues with it – plan a coffee with Mary to discuss the potential conversion?
  4. Clearing the loft ready for the work to be done. Note… we will need to empty the loft and get rid of anything we don’t really need, put the rest in the garage and shed for now.
  5. Assess what rewiring will be needed. Note…we want the space as a guest bedroom so we want sockets either side of where the bed will be for bedside lamps. We want inset lights, dimmer switch etc…

And so on…

  1. Water, waste (if required) and electrics are agreed.
  2. Scaffolding set up (if required).
  3. Joists adjusted or changed.
  4. Floors insulated.
  5. Floorboards to be laid.
  6. Rafter reinforced.
  7. Dormers installed.
  8. Vents fitted.
  9. Windows and patio doors fitted.
  10. Balcony fitted?
  11. Any other outside work needed like drain pipes etc?
  12. Staircase fitted.
  13. Roof insulated.
  14. Lighting installed.
  15. Partitioning walls erected.
  16. Plasterboards put up.
  17. Architrave and skirting
  18. Doors.
  19. Access panels.
  20. Painting.
  21. Tiling.
  22. Heating.
  23. Decor and finishing touches.

By doing that process you will get a clear indication of what it will take from design to completion for your loft conversion. Taking on a project like this will change your life by giving you more space to live a happy and healthy life.

Still not sure? Give us a call we will be happy to explain things.

If you have any questions about our services contact us today.