Is my property suitable for a loft conversion?

loft conversion in London

Are you excited about the idea of a loft conversion but not sure whether your home is suitable? We let you know what factors you need to take into account to know whether a loft conversion is worth pursuing.

Will a loft conversion be allowed?

Loft conversions are usually included in an allowance for permitted development, so planning permission wouldn’t be needed, but there are exceptions. If you live in a conservation area, a national park, an Area of Outstanding Beauty or a World Heritage site any area that is “designated land” you will still need to get planning permission.

Getting planning permission if you are in a Conservation Area or similar will require that your house after conversion maintains the overall style and character of the surrounding environment. Velux or mansard loft conversions may be allowed if the property isn’t a listed building, as the work required won’t affect the outward design or obstruct views in any way.

Planning permission in these areas is less likely to be granted if you are considerably extending or altering the roofline, for instance as with a dormer conversion, though not completely impossible. It is however very important to get planning permission to avoid the risk of being fined or having to return the house to its original state at your own cost.

If you are considering a dormer conversion, you may be able to get an idea of whether or not your loft conversion will be allowed by looking at whether any similar conversions have been done on other nearby homes. If so, you could also check with them whether they had to apply for planning permission or not and whether there were any specific restrictions imposed. If this type of work has been allowed on the same street then there’s a good chance you will be able to do the same.

Is the loft roof high enough?

Cox Format working on siteYou will need at least 2.2 metres of head height for a loft conversion. If the measurement from the floor to the ceiling at the tallest part of the loft is at least this high then it should be suitable for conversion.

What type of roof do you have?

It is generally easier to convert a loft roof with rafters rather than trusses, which tend to be more difficult and costly. This is largely dependent on when your house was built, and is usually easily determined by looking through your loft hatch. Rafters run along the edge of the roof leaving most of the space below empty. Trusses on the other hand are supports that run through the cross-section of the loft so extra structural support will be required to replace them.

Is there space for a staircase?

You also need to consider where the staircase to the loft room will go and how much room will be required. Staircases can take up quite a bit of room so you need to make sure you’re satisfied with losing that amount of space from the floor below.

Next steps

Once you’ve considered all of these factors and have decided that your home probably is suitable for a loft conversion, it is then worth getting a specialist in to take a look and let you know what will be involved.

Cox Format is a professional building company specialising in loft conversions. We can talk you through the different options available to you and come up with ideas on how to make the most of your space. Give our experience team a call today to discuss your requirements.

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