Converting your loft can be a fun, exciting (and much needed) project. They are extremely popular and add value to your property, but the truth is, not all homes are eligible for loft conversions, and it will cost you tens of thousands of pounds. Your property may not be right for a loft conversion, because of building regulations, preservation restrictions and so many other factors.
Although it’s disappointing if you won’t be able to convert your loft to use it as you had perhaps hoped, there are still ways to make the most out of the space. Let’s take a look at it all closer:
How To Find Out If You Can Have A Loft Conversion
Not every property can support a full loft conversion. Most houses will come with an allowance for a permitted development which means you can go ahead without any planning permission. Although, if you live in a conservation area or your roof height isn’t tall enough, it may be harder to achieve the conversion you are looking for.
An easy way to get an idea of if your loft is suitable for a conversion is to see if any other houses down your road have them. If they do, it’s more likely that you can have one too, it’s also worth asking to take a look in their lofts too, so you can get an idea of what the space could look like.
The Party Wall (which is a shared wall) requirements will come into the picture if you are affecting any walls that join your house to your neighbours, so it’s important to mention your plans so they are aware too.
The minimum height for a loft conversion is 2.2m, and you can measure this yourself. Run a tape measure from the floor to the highest point on the inside of the loft, if it’s more than 2.2m, the loft should be tall enough for a conversion. However, most Victorian-style houses tend to be lower than those built from about 1930 onwards – so the head height may not be ideal. If you plan on changing the roof structure to change the ceiling height, then you will need planning permission.
Depending on when your home was built, it will have roof trusses or rafters. By looking through your loft hatch, you should be able to recognise which roof type you have. Rafters run along the edge of the roof, and this will leave most of the space below hollow. Whereas trusses are supports that run through the cross-section of the loft. Converting a loft with trusses is possible but having extra structural support is necessary to replace them. Of course, this will cost more.
Another thing to consider when you’re thinking about converting your loft and its eligibility, is where to put the staircase. A lot of upstairs hallways, particularly in British houses, do not have space to accommodate another staircase without making more structural changes, for example moving walls. This is an additional cost, but can all be factored in but you may need to think about the space you need to sacrifice in order to convert your loft. Are you losing any? Is that space more useful than a converted loft? If the answer is yes, loft conversions may not be the best solution for you and your lifestyle anyway.
Launch An Appeal
If you need planning permission and your application is refused but you feel that the decision is unfair, then you can launch an appeal. You must do this within three months (the deadline is for homeowners, developers with major projects have up to six months).
You can do this by writing down all the reasons why you think your planning permission should be approved. There will be forms sent to you by the council, and it may help to get a planning consultant with knowledge of your local planning department to help with your appeal.
The council has six weeks to respond, then a remaining three weeks for you to comment on its response and other evidence you have. Your neighbours get the opportunity to comment too and an inspector will visit your home where the final decision rests with them after another two-six weeks.
Overall it can take up to five months from the first appeal to the final decision and it’s worth doing if you are adamant that your project abides by all planning rules.
So, You’re Not Eligible For A Loft Conversion – What Can You Do?
If it still turns out that you’re still not eligible for a loft conversion – don’t worry. There are still so many options that will mean you can access more space and storage in your loft.
Loft boarding is designed to install extra flooring into your loft to allow more room for storage in your home. You can fit this yourself or have it installed for you. It does not require any planning permission, it’s a simple task, and it’s affordable. Don’t be afraid to install loft boarding yourself with specialised loft boarding installation kits, just make sure you have a safe space to work in.
Standard loft boarding is a method that boards directly onto loft joists using the timber, but it does not raise the level of the floor to accommodate the insulation. This is a quicker and easier way to install loft boarding, however it adds a lot of weight to the existing flooring and does not allow the insulation to breathe, risking damp and condensation.
Another option is to install raised loft boarding. This means that the floor is above the insulation – this prevents it from being squashed or not getting enough airflow through the loft. A specialised product for this is our LoftZone StoreFloor which is the only product with the necessary BBA certifications and will not affect new-build house warranties. Airflow has never been more important, due to the variety of household technology that is partly responsible for creating humid environments. It also holds up to 500kg per square metre, which is the strongest loft boarding system available! – though your loft may be weaker than StoreFloor, so we recommend no more than 25kg per square metre unless you know your loft is strong enough.
Contact The LoftZone Team Today!
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Our team of loft experts are always happy to answer any questions or help you to make the most out of your loft space. Give us a call on 01483 600 304 or drop us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. View our YouTube channel to see LoftZone StoreFloor in action!