Questions you might have about your loft conversion design...

 
 
 
Adams Attics - Loft Conversion Design
 
 
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Frequently Asked Questions

Julian Adams


Do I have enough height in my loft?

My loft is a modern trussed roof - can it be converted?

What' the next step?

How should I choose a building contractor?

What is a dormer?

Isn't there an easier way?

Building Regs or Planning Permission?

Do I need Building Regs approval?

Do I need Planning Permission?

What if I'm in a Conversation Area?

Help - Planning seems so complicated!

 

Adams Attics - Loft Conversion DesignConverting your loft can be a confusing business but it doesn't need to be. Here's some of the questions we get asked most frequently...

Do I have enough height in my loft?

The critical factor is the ridge height, measured from top of ceiling joists to bottom of ridge (i.e. clear internal height at apex). The bare minimum for a flat-roof dormer conversion is about 2.2m (7'2"), and for a roof-window conversion (i.e. within the existing roofspace) is about 2.5m (8'). (In a few cases where people have had less height than this, the roof has been raised or the ceilings lowered to achieve more height in the loft).

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Trussed LoftMy loft is a modern trussed roof - can it be converted?

Yes definitely, we do lots of these and there is no problem in converting a loft with a trussed roof.

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What’s the next step?

Assuming your loft is high enough to convert the first step is to get a scheme designed, as it's absolutely vital to optimise on the loft design and staircase position. This needs to be done in conjunction with any Planning constraints there may be, as some loft conversions require planning permission and some don't. Then full working drawings, structural calculations, and Building Regulations (which is all part of the service we provide).

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How should I choose a building contractor?

It’s really important to get the right building company. Avoid the jobbing builder who says he’s done everything in the past – he may seem cheaper initially but may start adding on the extras when he gets into deep water! Best to use a loft specialist company. Some loft conversion outfits will provide a complete package which includes the plans etc. (we draw plans for several of the loft specialists anyway), and going this route can be fine as long as you're happy with the design, price and company reputation. Alternatively, coming to an outfit like Adamsattics first will enable you to keep your options open in respect of design scheme, price, and choice of contractor.

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Dormer - Loft conversionWhat is a dormer?

Some people aren’t sure, so it’s always worth asking. The answer is an extension built onto the roof, usually to increase the internal space and/or provide headroom for the new staircase.

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Isn't there an easier way?

Can I just board over my existing ceiling joists, fit some insulation & a loft ladder? Yes, if all you want is a storage space. If it's for "habitable" use (i.e people) then you must comply with Building Regulations which will involve a new independent floor, fixed staircase (of varying designs), at least 2 roof windows (and/or dormer if appropriate), plus some other bits & pieces. Your loft conversion will then be fully legal and will add value to your property, while even a fantastic loft without Building Regulations approval will not.

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Building Regs or Planning Permission?

Adams Attics - Loft Conversion DesignWhat's the difference between Building Regulations and Planning Permission? Sometimes people use the term Planning Permission when they actually mean Building Regulations. The two are totally separate. Planning is mainly concerned with the external appearance of the proposal, and the overall extent of the development of the property. In contrast, Building Regulations are concerned with the 'nuts and bolts' of the conversion, e.g. structure, staircase details, fire regulations, insulation, ventilation, plumbing and so on.

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Do I need Building Regs approval?

Yes, every loft conversion must have Building Regulations approval, which can take up to eight weeks from submission. Unlike Planning Permission, Building Regulations will always be granted as long as the correct information is supplied.

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Do I need Planning Permission?

Not necessarily; only about a quarter of the loft conversions we've drawn have needed Planning permission. Usually there is quite a lot that can be done with a roof which is outside of Planning control (such work is known as "permitted development"). Most houses will benefit from the normal permitted development rights, under which certain developments can be carried out without the need for Planning permission. Such examples are a dormer in the back of a terraced or semi-detached house or bungalow, or with some types of roof a dormer on the side. In October 2008 the planning rulebook (GPDO) was heavily revised and made it easier to have a loft conversion without needing planning permission.

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What if I’m in a Conservation Area?

If you are in a Conservation Area (or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) then any form of dormer will require Planning permission, but if it’s designed properly with regard to the character of the building, then Planning permission will usually be granted.

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Help - Planning seems so complicated!

Here’s a really simplified version of the Planning rules. You will not need Planning permission to enlarge the roof of your house, provided:

- It does not exceed the existing roof height
- It does not project out of the front roof slope (i.e. a front dormer)
- The external volume (of the part added on) does not exceed 50 cubic metres for a detached or semi-detached property, and 40 cubic metres for a terraced property.

Have a look at the Previous Projects to see if your house type is shown, together with some examples of what can be done to create fabulous rooms in the loft.

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