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12 things to consider before a loft conversion

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July 23, 2014
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The number of homeowners choosing to move up rather than move on from their current house by having their loft converted is increasing – and a good loft conversion can add at least 10 per cent to a property’s value.

A loft conversion can be a way to add space and value to your home and can save you the hassle and expense of moving because you need extra room.

Make sure you’re equipped with all the facts before you reach for the loft hatch and start planning your personal domination of the roof space.

Here, specialist insurance broker Adrian Flux provides a list of important things to consider before you get the builders in.

What you should consider before you go ahead with a loft conversion:

  • Adding a bathroom in addition to a bedroom in your loft space will make your home more attractive to future buyers, but make sure you’re aware of any hidden costs – both in terms of expense and the space you will lose from a bedroom.
  • Will your current boiler be able to cope with the extra pressure needed to feed hot and cold water up to another floor?
  • Do you currently use your loft for storage? If so, where will you store what’s currently in the loft?
  • Is the headroom sufficient? It should be at least 2.3 metres, although the more room you have in the loft, the better. Bear in mind that you will probably have a double bed in the room and ensure that two people will be able to get in and out of bed easily before you approve any plans.
  • Will a loft extension compromise the space you have on your second floor? Unless you have a large landing, it’s likely that you may need to sacrifice a portion of a room in order to accommodate a staircase.
  • Do you live in a conservation area? Regulations which came into force in 2011 mean that most people can carry out a loft extension without having to obtain permission from the local authority, although if your plans include a dormer or you live in a conservation area, the rules are different.
  • Are you aware of building regulations? Ignore building regulations at your peril – or you might find yourself the owner of a plush storage room rather than an extra bedroom. Ceilings and doors on the floor below the conversion may need to be replaced to make them fireproof, you need a fire resistant door to the stairs, ventilation needs to be up to standard and you need to incorporate a means of escape in the event of a fire.
  • Have you had at least three building quotes? The Federation of Master Builders suggests this is the minimum you should obtain before any work starts. Aim for a builder who specialises in loft conversions, preferably one who has been recommended to you by someone you trust.
  • Will you need built-in storage in the new room? Sometimes, the dimensions of a loft conversion mean you can’t have standard furniture because of sloping walls and reduced height. Ask your architect to include built-in furniture in their plan.
  • Have you considered sound-proofing? Will the room below the loft conversion suffer from noise above or vice versa?
  • Have you got sufficient funds? Loft conversions generally cost between £25,000 and £40,000 but can add as much as 15 per cent to your property’s value, especially somewhere like London, where space is at a premium.
  • Remember to inform your mortgage lender and insurer if you go ahead with a loft conversion – an extra room could result in a higher buildings insurance premium. One of the leading specialist home insurance brokers in the UK, Adrian Flux can offer you some of the best prices on the market.

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