Why Choose Contour Architectural Designs?

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Loft Conversions

Why move if you can improve? A survey showed that 42% of Brits find extending or creating extra space in their current homes better value than moving, plus you save the costs of moving such as estate agents fees, legal fees, and stamp duty.

Where should I start?

Getting the results you want starts with an assessment of the existing structure.  Whilst it is possible to convert a loft yourself, working with an architectural designer could help identify creative ways to maximise the potential of your loft and how it integrates into your existing home.  Contour Architectural Designs Ltd ("Contour Designs") offer a free onsite initial consultation where you can discuss your loft conversion plans.

What are the four types of loft conversions?

  1. Roof Light – the cheapest and least disruptive option. The loft is made into a habitable space by simply adding skylight windows, a suitable floor and a staircase.
  2. Dormer – the most popular loft conversion type. The conversion protrudes from the slope of the roof and is suitable for most houses which have a protruding roof.
  3. Hip to gable – This type of conversion extends the sloping hip roof at the side of the property outwards to create a vertical gable wall. However this type of conversion is not always possible.
  4. New Roof – this type of extension runs along the whole length of the roof and will result in a significant amount of space. However this also tends to be the most expensive conversion type.

Is converting the loft the right home improvement for me?

Consider what you want to use the extra space for. Whilst converting the loft is probably less disruptive than other conversion types, due to head height the amount of useable space can be minimal. You will need a Party Wall Agreement to carry out a loft conversion and will need to get a structural engineer involved in your plans.

How will I use the space?

if you have established your loft space is suitable for loft conversion, think about how you would like to use it; perhaps an extra bedroom with en-suite bathroom, or maybe a den or playroom for your growing children. How about a space to relax or study? Or it could even be a multi- purpose room with a combination of uses, such as extra living space which doubles as guest accommodation.  If you are going to include a bathroom, will it be a shower room or will there be space to include a bath? Whatever you are planning will take shapre in your left, remember to leave plenty of headroom.  When looking at the design concept don’t overestimate the space you will get as very often the sloped ceilings will restrict movement and the type of furniture you can have.  Whatever you decide, there are now a whole range of window options to bring light into your newly converted loft space.

If I decide not to convert my loft how else may I be able create extra space in my home?

A loft conversion may create a great home office space or children’s den, but not necessarily great day to day living space.  In this case would a rear or side extension to your property be a better option?

Will it add value to my home?

A loft conversion can add a significant amount of money – up to 20% – to the value of your home.  Whilst a loft conversion is one of the quickest and cheapest ways of adding space to your home, if you are looking solely to add value to your property will converting your loft actually do this? And if so by how much? Why not speak to your local estate agent to give you an idea of how much additional value completing the conversion may add to your home.

How much will it cost me to have my loft converted? And how long will it take?

There are many factors involved working out the cost of an extension down to the price of the type of paint you will use. A loft conversion will cost upwards of £20,000. However the average dormer loft conversion with a double bedroom and ensuite is more likely to cost nearer £35,000-£45,000.  Typically it can take a month to complete a loft conversion.

What if I find I have bats living in my loft?

If you think you have bats living in your loft you will need to have a bat survey completed.  Bats are considered a protected species and if you do have bats living in your loft you may have to have a licence to complete any works.

What should I consider when converting a loft?

  • Head Height – The minimum loft height for a loft to be converted is 2.0 metres taken at the top of the stairs.  Although 2.2 metres would be deemed more practical.
  • Additional weight – although this may be minimal is the structure of the house able to take any additional weight? The foundations of your building will need to be checked  and appraised by a structural engineer.
  • Stairs – How much space is any staircase case going to take up. You may also lose a room in providing a new staircase.  You will need to maintain a minimum of 2 metres headroom above the existing and new stair cases.
  • Fire – is there an appropriate escape route available and does the floor and staircase meet fire regulations in relation to living space?  You will also need to put in a working fire alarm. You may need to replace all doors with fire doors.

Where can I find further inspiration for my project?

Why not take a look at our inspiration boards on our website - http://www.contour-designs.co.uk/inspiration-boards/ideas-loft-conversions.

Will I require planning permission?

Whilst many loft conversions will not require planning permission, it is important that confirmation is received from the local council.  In some cases permitted development rights for change of use may have been removed and planning permission may be required.  Even if a loft conversion does fall within the terms of permitted development it may be of benefit to obtain from your local council a Certificate of Lawfulness.  This gives confirmation that the loft conversion was undertaken legally, which may come in useful if you ever want to sell the property.  Contour Designs will be able to advise you and submit any planning permission applications to the Council on your behalf.

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted development is simply a list of works that the Government has agreed can be carried out without having to get local council approval.  Generally permitted development rights cover minor extensions, loft/garage conversions, demolition and certain changes of use.  However Contour Designs will always recommend that you apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness to ensure that you have documentary evidence that any alteration was compliant with the law at that time, othewise this can impact any sale of your property at a later date.

Will I require Building Consent?

A loft conversion is always subject to building regulations as it involves a change of use. An approved inspector from your local council will inspect the works to confirm that it meets certain standards in regards to support of additional weight, sound/ thermal insulation and fire safety, including stairs.  Contour Designs will be able to advise you and submit any building regulation applications to the Council on your behalf.

What do I need to do now?

If you want see how Contour Designs can help you take your first steps to your new loft conversion, why not take a look at our website -  www.contour-designs.co.uk to find out more.  If you want to see what other services Contour Designs offer, these are listed under our Services page.  Alternatively, you can contact us directly using our Contact Us if you have specific questions or want to arrange an initial consultation.

Our Core Services

Site / Building Surveys

Building Regulations Drawings

Planning Permission & Architectural Designs

Topographical Surveys

Structural Design

Drainage Surveys

Flood Risk Statements

Get In Touch

For more information on precisely what our architectural consultants and designers can do for your project simply pick up the phone and call our office on 01268 690974 or send a message through our contact page. Whether you’re making a general enquiry or wish to discuss a specific project, a member of our team will be only too happy to help.


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