FAQs


If you need more space at home a garage or loft conversion could offer the perfect solution, whether you’re looking to make room for a growing family, need space to work from home or simply need more storage:

Create extra space

Is there wasted space in your attic that could be made into a valuable extra room, or do you have a garage that you don’t use? Whether you need a playroom, an additional bedroom, a home office or a studio, a loft conversion could be the answer – adding value to your home and meaning you won’t need to move house.

Do not want to move – A cost effective solution

In an uncertain property market many people are choosing to ‘improve not move’ and, in many cases, a loft conversion is a great way of creating the extra space you need with none of the hassle and expense of moving home. Unlike many conventional extensions, you probably won’t need planning permission for a garage or loft conversion and, as you are making the most of an existing space within your home, it can be less expensive and time consuming.

If you’re unsure whether your loft is suitable for conversion, the following two checks should help you find out whether it is:

Roof construction

Most homes built before 1960 will have the traditional ‘rafter and purlin’ constructed roof. These are often suitable for conversion as they tend to have a steep pitch to provide the required height. The more modern method of trussed roof construction has been common since the 1960s – these are also generally good for conversions, so long as they have sufficient height.

Roof height

To make a loft conversion worthwhile, you really need a minimum roof height of 2.3m.

You may be surprised to know that planning permission is not normally required for loft conversions.

Planning Permission

Under new regulations that came into effect from October 2008 loft conversions are viewed as permitted development and, subject to certain limits and conditions, you won’t require planning permission.

Building Regulations

All garage and loft conversions must meet the standards set by Building Regulations, which is why it is important that you commission a professional company with a proven track record to undertake your conversion.

Let us take the strain

In the unlikely event that planning permission is required we will take care of everything on your behalf, from making the application to liaising with the authorities.

While it’s unlikely you’ll need planning permission for your garage or loft conversion, it will need to meet building regulations, which are put in place to help ensure the safety of any building work undertaken and that it meets energy efficiency guidelines. The key areas of building regulations that will need to be taken into account before a loft or garage can be converted are:

Structure

Fundamentally, your roof needs to be made strong enough to support a conversion. The existing timbers won’t have been built to support a room so they’ll need to be strengthened with new timber framework and generally some steelwork.

Fire resistance

The floors, walls, doors and staircase to the loft conversion must be able to resist fire for at least 30 minutes. Where an open staircase leads to the conversion, a self-closing door will have to be fitted at the entrance to the loft conversion. Any glazed doors must be fitted with fire resistant glass.

Escape route

When planning your conversion, we will need to account for getting out of the new room in the event of a fire. Each new room in the loft will need to have an escape window that is at least 450mm x 450mm, and that can be accessed from outside by a ladder. You’ll also need to install a mains-operated smoke alarm that must be linked to other smoke alarms in the house.

There are four basic types of loft conversion; which will work for you depending on the structure of your property’s roof, planning or building control regulations for your area and what you plan to use the conversion for. You can find introductions to the different kinds of loft conversion below:

Velux™ loft conversions

Also known as roof light conversions, Velux conversions are named after the famous window company that specialises in producing the roof light windows that typify this conversion style. Cost-effective, rarely requiring planning permission and providing fantastic, light-flooded spaces, Velux conversions are very popular.

The windows in Velux loft conversions fit flush to the roof profile so they do not drastically alter the external appearance of the property. Lofts best suited to Velux conversions are those with plenty of existing height – lofts with limited height may be better suited to a dormer loft conversion or a mansard loft conversion.

Dormer loft conversions

Dormer loft conversions are a good choice for lofts with limited height, as it physically extends the existing roof, adding both floor space and headroom. Internally, dormer conversions provide a more conventional room shape, with a horizontal ceiling and vertical walls, rather than the sloping wall/ceilings often associated with Velux conversions.

There are various styles of dormer window, all offering a different external appearance:

  • Flat roof dormer loft conversions add the most internal space but alter the roofline, which means they are not always as aesthetically pleasing as other loft conversion styles.
  • Hipped roof dormer loft conversions feature dormer windows with their own ‘hipped’ roof.
  • Gable fronted dormer loft conversions are those with windows that look like miniature gables.
  • Shed dormer loft conversions have windows that feature a single planed roof set at a slightly shallower angle than the main roof.
  • Pitched dormer loft conversions are

Mansard loft conversions

Mansard style loft conversions are commonly seen older properties and in built-up areas such as London. They feature two slopes, one close to the vertical leading up to a ceiling section that is almost horizontal. They may require planning permission, as they generally require the party/gable walls on either side of the property to be raised and a new timber frame created – we will be able to ascertain this during our site survey and, if required, make all the necessary arrangements.

Hip to Gable loft conversions

Hip to Gable loft conversions replace an existing roof hip with a gable end wall and give fantastic results, adding a lot of space. During our survey we will run checks to ensure the roof space is suitable, with sufficient headroom and beams that are strong enough to cope with the weight of the conversion. If planning permission is required we will make and manage the application on your behalf.

Call us now on Freephone 0800 136152 to arrange a free survey and quotation »