Room at the Top | Part 4 :: And now for the Red Tape!

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 ...

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Room At The Top | Part 3 :: Let There Be Light!

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...
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Room At The Top | Part 2 :: Stairway to Heaven

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,...
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Room At The Top | Part 1 :: Check Out That Roof!

Loft for conversion courtesy of Velux.co.uk
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 ...
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Room At The Top :: Our Guide

Roof conversion inspiration from Velux
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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