If you have ever considered expanding your home’s living capacity and function out of the little space you might have, then a loft conversion is a popular way to go. Not only will the loft give you that desired extra bedroom, media room, playroom, or even home office space, but it will be ideal in tight urban areas where it is impossible to extend your house footprint. Furthermore, making plans of extending the whole storey will not make any financial sense, and in most cases, local planning rules will not allow it.
For most people joining this popular trend here in the UK, you may be wondering- is my house suitable for a loft conversion? The answer is yes, it is. A majority of house spaces can indeed be ideal for a loft conversion.
When planning a loft conversion, we advise you always to speak to a loft conversion specialist
So, here is a guide on how to go about that:
Will space be enough for the loft?
Before you start working on the loft designs, you need to figure out whether the space available for conversion is enough.
If your house has a permitted development, then you may go ahead with the conversion without the need for seeking planning permission. But, you may find yourself having complications if your house is located in a conservation area or the roof pitch isn’t tall enough.
So, ask a surveyor, builder or architect to check the suitability of the loft space for you, although you may also perform this yourself.
Is there enough space for a loft on your roof?
To answer this question, it is essential to note that you have to consider four main factors; the roof type, roof pitch, internal height, floor space, or footprint.
For a loft to work, you need to know the types of roofs found here in the UK. First, there is the modern trussed roof seen in most homes that were built since 1965. These types of roofs have a ‘W’ shape at the centre of the loft. If you have such a roof, then the minimum measurement from the highest point should be 2.4m.
The second type of roof is the cut rafter and purlin that is mainly found in houses built before 1965. In the middle, their rafters form an ‘M’ shape. You will require a minimum of 2.4m at the roof’s highest point for a good conversion.
A loft conversion requires a minimum head height of 2.2m, and you can quickly determine this size yourself. Just find a measuring tape and promptly run it from your tallest part of your ceiling joist to the area just below the ridge board.
If your measurement is 2.2m and above, then you are good to go! Your roof is suitable for a loft conversion. However, if you have a Victorian house built before 1930, then the size may be a little bit lower than their successor.
Roof pitch and floor space
Moreover, for the roof pitch, you will need to determine the angle of the roof. An ideal roof pitch should be more than 30 degrees. Note that the pitch angle in a house determines the central head height. So, the higher it is, the higher the central head will be. A low pitch angle isn’t a deal-breaker and doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t have the loft you desire. That is just a limitation that can be overcome by loft conversion specialists.
As a minimum rule of thumb, your floor space from side to side, including the chimney, should have a measurement of about 5.5m. From the front to the back, a measure of 7.5m should suffice. If space does not meet the requirements, several design workarounds may be used to work out for your loft.
Another vital factor to consider for your loft is the staircases. These are not only for accessibility purposes but also so that you may abide by regulations. The stairs’ headroom must be more than 1.9m and a maximum pitch angle of 42 degrees.
Building regulations and permission
Loft conversion planning permission are minimal. Furthermore, some lofts have permitted development rights and don’t need planning permission. In most cases, if you are exceeding specified limits, you have to extend the roof space beyond the highest point of the roof, or you are living within an area that is considered conservation, then planning permission may be required. In these cases, it is advisable to check with the local planning department.
Building regulations are always required when converting a loft. Your conversion will be inspected at various stages by a building control surveyor. On completion, you will be issued a completion certificate.
If you have a semi-detached house or it is terraced, you must notify the neighbours about the conversion as required by the Party Wall Act 1996. If you are a leaseholder, you may be required to ask for permission from the management company landlord or the freeholder.
A loft conversion is the best way for you to add that much-needed space to your house. Even if you have some stuff on the way, such as a chimney, there are always ways a loft specialist can work around it or even incorporate it. So, don’t let anything stop you, but that extra loft space into use.