A loft conversion can be a great way to add extra space and value to your home. Tucked under the eaves, this type of vertical extension is perfect for adding valuable living space without encroaching on your precious garden. So, whether it’s a new master suite, teenage den or peaceful home office, a room in the roof could be the solution.

Design possibilities

Ideally your loft should be 2.2m at the highest point with a roof pitch of more 30 degrees to be a suitable candidate. Loft conversions range from simple rooflight extensions to gable-fronted dormers and shed-like additions with a flat top. It’s important to pick a style that suits your property. One way to achieve this is to specify materials that blend with the existing building, or you could opt for something that offers a complete contrast to distinguish old from new.

Dormer loft conversions, that project box-like from the roofline, are popular.  The vertical walls and windows are a great way to bring extra head height and light into a loft conversion. Gable-fronted dormers that feature a pitch roof with two sloping sides can add architectural interest and kerb appeal. Meanwhile a skylight conversion with windows positioned within the slope of an existing roof is a wallet-friendly option.

 

Project routes

Converting a loft can be trickier than anticipated. So, it’s worth bringing in the experts to get the design right. One common pitfall is adding a dormer that is the wrong size for your house. Too big and it can overpower the existing building; too small - and you could have problems with the internal layout. The amount of natural light and positioning of stairs can also make or break an attic conversion.

Hiring an architect or architectural technologist before getting a builder on board is one way to come up with a great design. Even small projects can benefit from an architectural designer’s input. Choose one with experience of similar projects. Your design professional will listen to what you’re looking to achieve and advise how to maximise space and natural light. So, you get a beautiful, bespoke loft conversion that realises the potential of your home rather than an ugly box plonked on top that could devalue it.

Rules and Regs

If you are installing a rear dormer, it’s likely your loft conversion falls under Permitted Development (PD) rules. If so, you won’t need to apply for planning permission. Remember that any loft conversion that extends beyond the existing roof plane at the front of your house will require formal consent. There are rules about size too. To qualify for PD, the extra volume created in the loft should not exceed 40m2 for a terraced house or 50m2 for a semi or detached dwelling. Any bigger and you will need planning permission. Check with your local planning authority if you are unsure. PD rights do not apply if your home is listed, in a conservation area or national park.

All loft conversions require building regulations approval. These rules cover all aspects of construction, including structural strength and stability of new floors and roof, insulation, ventilation and means of escape in case of fire. Your building professionals and trades should make sure everything complies. Building control or your local appointed inspector will carry out routine inspections.

Your guide to extending your home | My Home Extension

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