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A loft conversion is the process of transforming an empty attic space into a functional room, typically used as either living accommodation or storage space. Loft conversions are one of the most popular forms of home improvement in the UK as a result of their numerous perceived benefits. The installation of a loft conversion is a complicated process, and whilst it may be possible to attempt a ‘DIY’ loft conversion, the large amount of work involved often results in many people choosing to contract a specialist loft conversion company to undertake the task.
Loft conversion feasibility
Due to the slope of the roof and the required access headroom, the feasibility of a loft conversion is dependant upon a minimum height of approximately 2.3m (7’6”) measured from the joist to the apex. Providing that this requirement is met, most properties will likely possess the potential to have the loft space converted.
Types of loft conversions
There are two main types of loft conversion that are widespread:
1. Roof window conversion
Roof windows are often an attractive option for homeowners due to their ability to fit into the line of the roof; thus not necessitating any restructuring of the roof itself. The installation of such windows will provide the loft space with substantial light. A roof window conversion will sometimes not require planning permission, although they will always require building regulation approval (UK).
2. Dormer conversion
A dormer is a window-featured extension of the roof, usually installed to provide more space and headroom within the loft, in addition to improved staircase access. Dormers are also popular due to the aesthetic enhancement to a property that they provide. In the UK, the installation of a dormer is subject to planning permission requirements from the local authorities.
Other types of loft conversion
In addition to Roof Window and Dormer conversions, there are less common ‘hip to gable’ and ‘mansard’ conversions, which can be installed when certain circumstances require their features.
Building control regulations
Building control regulations will almost always be required if you are converting your loft space into any usable form of accommodation subject to the local authority requirements. These requirements are in place to ensure that the necessary construction criteria are met and that the all health & safety laws, amongst other things, have been satisfied. A professional loft conversion specialist will usually conduct all liaisons with the relevant local authority.
Planning permission is not usually required to convert an attic into a livable space, unless the work involves extending the roof (such as with a dormer extension)
Benefits of loft conversions
Loft conversions yield numerous benefits for homeowners, which may be the reason for their increasing popularity. Often, up to 30% of a property’s potential space is located within the loft area. Converting the attic will therefore provide a significant amount of room that may be used for a wide variety of accommodation; often a bedroom, bathroom, office, or entertainment room.
It is widely perceived that a loft conversion will add a significant amount of money to the value of a property. Whilst the exact figure varies, many credible sources have determined that a professional loft conversion can increase a house’s value by approximately 20%.
Many families also choose to convert their loft area as a means of obtaining more space without having to endure the costly and stressful process of moving property. Source Wiki