Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Will we need planning permission and what about building regulations?
A. Some conversions require planning permission but all must adhere to building regulations. The quote you receive will include the preparation and submission of plans to your local authority. We serve the appropriate notices and liaise with the authorities on your behalf.
Please look at this government mini guide for more information
Q. How long will it take to convert my loft?
A. This obviously depends upon the type and size of your conversion and the interior works you choose to have done. However, we endeavour to complete building work for most standard lofts within 6 - 8 weeks.
Q. What sort of disruption should I expect?
A. We make every effort to keep any disruption to an absolute minimum. There may be occasions where small amounts of dust and noise are unavoidable, although the initial construction takes place from outside/above your sealed property.
Q. What about insulation of my new loft?
A. The current Building Regulations set down insulation standards for all new loft conversions and also minimum airflow standards to avoid problems like 'sweating'. Although your existing property may not comply with new insulation standards, any newly built rooms must. In simple terms, the walls, roof slopes and ceilings around the new rooms are required to have achieve a certain standard with regards to heat loss (known in the Building Regulations as a 'U' Value).
Your loft conversion must also be constructed to ensure avoidance of any 'cold spots'. Cold spots occur where heat escapes, and as heat will seek out the weakest points in any construction, special care needs to be taken around areas like doors, windows and joists.
The introduction of sealed rooms such as a bedroom and en-suite into a previously open loft space will restrict the flow of condensation, which in turn prevents a roof's natural ventilation. For this reason your existing eaves ventilation will often need to be increased and roof vents added to ensure adequate airflow.
Q. I live in a semi-detached property, what about the party wall?
A. Any work on walls that you have in common with your neighbours, when converting a loft in a semi-detached or terrace house, needs to conform to the regulations in the 'The Party Wall etc Act 1996'.
The Act requires 'builder owners' to inform their neighbours of any works being done on a party wall. The Party Wall Act assumes that most neighbours will agree to the works, and in fact neighbours cannot stop you carrying out the loft conversion, but can influence how and when the work is carried out.
If your neighbour disputes the work you intend to carry out, and so refuses to fill out the counterpart on a Party Structure Notice, then they will need to hire a surveyor who will ensure that any work on the wall is of a suitable standard and act as an independent arbitrator serving the best interests of both yourself and your neighbour. The surveyor will put together a schedule of conditions that need to be maintained on both sides of the wall and return when the job is complete to ensure that these have been met.
It is common for your neighbours to have no issue with the renovations you intend if you explain the proposed job to them clearly and with plenty of notice so we recommend approaching your neighbours in an informal manner as early as possible in the process.
Q. What staircase can I have and are there any rules?
A. When you are considering a loft conversion, the staircase is one of the most crucial components. The staircase to your new loft room must comply with current building regulations. The new staircase will be designed to make best use of the available space and natural characteristics of your house.
The recommended headroom at the top of the staircase to your loft is 2 metres, however the building regulations do recognise that space is at a premium with loft conversions so in certain circumstances where there is an angled roof at the top of the stairs, some headroom of between 1.8-2 metres is acceptable. There are also specific requirements your staircase must meet regarding width of tread, rise, going and pitch.