We have happily had a very close working relationship with the leading Italian staircase manufacturer, Fontanot for many years and have a huge number of delighted customers with one of their stylish staircases in their home. We had not foreseen ever losing that business partnership.
However, in the Spring of 2023, the area around Rimini in Italy suffered from catastrophic floods, smashing through established flood protection barriers and cascading down through the river valley. Unfortunately, right in the way was the large, high-tech, manufacturing plant of Fontanot and in this battle of the giants, the raging torrent came out victorious, ending 50 years of a highly successful, global company.
We had hoped that Fontanot would be able to recover in some way but the catastrophic damage was beyond repair and they were forced to cease manufacturing. It was a very sad time for the company and the lovely people working there who had always been so helpful, welcoming and supportiv...
If you've been following the previous instalments of our guide to loft conversion, you've probably already built up a good picture of how your potential loft room will look and feel. But we have often mentioned the need to look at the various statutory regulations (in UK) which come into play for loft conversion projects and we'll give you a quick overview in this issue.
There are two main areas of legislation involved - Planning Permission and Building Regulations. Planning Permission focuses on the look of the project, how it fits in the neighbourhood and how it might affect neighbours, and Building Regulations deal with the safety and structural integrity of any proposed work. There is also good information freely available on the Government Planning Portal by clicking here.
Most loft conversions won't need Planning Permission as they probably fall within permitted development rights, unless you are thinking of putting in a dormer window, changing the appearance ...
Well, if you've been following this series you'll have an idea about the structure and safe access to your new loft room, but what about filling your room with daylight? there are four main types of window for lofts -
1) a dormer window, which projects outwards from the roofline,
2) a roof window, which fits in the slope of the roof,
3) a window in a gable wall or
4) a roof lantern (raised sections of the roof structure using double glazed units).
There may be planning implications relating to the look of the property, the impact on the area and on neighbouring properties and your decision should be made in consultation with your local planning officer.
If you are unsure just how many windows you need, a good guide is for the glazed area to be at least 10% of the floor area, and the lower the pitch of your roof, the longer the window needs to be for the best possible view. Windows positioned on both sides of the roof will help with the light distribution but whichever windo...
When it comes to installation, these kit stairs really come into their own. The manufacturers have invested considerable care and expertise in the design process to ensure the staircases are ready for straight forward installation with clear instructions which can be followed by any competent DIYer or tradesperson. On our website you will find the installation videos where you can see the various stages of the installation process and get a good understanding of the general approach to take. This is not the time to take short cuts – the instructions should be clear and straightforward and will be the quickest and best way to install your staircase. One person installing the spiral staircases and “spacesavers” usually takes between 1 – 1 ½ days. The modular staircase can take about 1 ½ - 2 days to complete.Plus, of course, you have the backup of our Support team available to talk you through any queries or concerns.
According to a survey featured in the Financial Times on 21st January 2021 -
"Red tape delays goods for more than half UK companies trading with EU"
The survey of Supply Chain Managers revealed that "the delays have been prompted by a combination of bureaucratic requirements now that the UK has left the EU and extra protocols to deal with Covid-19." Well, sadly for TheStaircasePeople Team - and for you - there is little that we can do to ease the current situation and get our import process back to its smooth, and speedy, pre-Brexit state.
The result of the perfect storm of new import processes and documentation combined with the additional health and safety requirements of an unprecedented global pandemic, has been to take the usual delivery timescales for our Italian staircases from an acceptable average of 10 days to a frustrating average of 4 weeks. But there is plenty of reassurance out there that things will improve as the new processes bed in, vaccinations against Co...
So far in our Room At The Top guide, we've taken you through ways to assess the feasibility of using your loft as part of the living space in your home, concentrating on the structure and the available space. Now, one of the key areas to consider is access to the new loft room. We'll look at some of the options available to you, whilst keeping within the guidelines of the Building Regulations for staircases (in the UK). To use your loft as a habitable room, you should have some form of fixed stairway - a retractable loft ladder wouldn't be acceptable. (Click here to view the UK Building Control Regulations for Staircases.) A simple, straight flight of stairs may provide the easiest access but it also takes up the most space and for most houses this would cause a problem. But, with a little imagination and using one of the innovative and attractive staircases available, you could have an inviting and stylish access to your loft room.
For a conventional style of staircase,...
To be able to make good use of your loft, you need to have a reasonable amount of available floor space and headroom. This is determined by the type of roof structure you have. If your house was built after 1965, it is quite likely that the roof was built using "trussed rafters", creating a network of timbers criss-crossing the loft. The bad news is that you can't easily alter this type of roof and a loft conversion might be out of the question without replacing or supporting the roof structure. Sorry!
If your roof is of more traditional "rafter and purlin" construction, where a large beam (or "purlin") runs horizontally along the roof about half way up to support the roof rafters, this is a better option for conversion. A steeper roof pitch will be another advantage, allowing more headroom. For comfortable use, you really need a minimum height of 2.3m (7'6") available over half the floor area for a bedroom, playroom or study. If you are short of headroom, creating a dormer ...
Have you noticed how we're being bombarded at the moment with TV programmes, glossy magazines and social media messages all showing us how to "improve" our homes with designer flair or handyman skills?
Whether you are being inspired or irritated by all this media DIY encouragement, there is little doubt that careful, attractive and useful home improvements can add value to your home. But, if what you need is not more colour but more space - for an extra bedroom, study or home office, for example - then perhaps the answer would be a loft conversion.
Do you need information about converting your loft? Just read on...
Using the loft for more living space can give you imaginative, light and airy rooms and is usually more cost-effective than building an extension - and, of course, you don't have to sacrifice any of your garden!
The size and shape of lofts vary considerably but, even if you only have 2.3m (7ft 6in) headroom when you stand in the middle of your loft and meas...
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