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Is Your Loft Suitable for a Conversion?

  • Posted by: Sebastian Grayson
Victoria Road Bromley Loft Rear - Is your loft suitable for a conversion

Most homes have lofts that can be converted into an additional room. However, if you live in a small house, such as a small terrace, there may not be a huge amount of loft space. While you may still be able to have a loft conversion, it is important to be realistic about what to expect. Before deciding if your loft is suitable for a conversion, consider if your loft is big enough to be converted into the room that you want and if it is going to meet regulations for fire safety and loft stairs.

Is Your Loft Big Enough to Be Converted?

You will need to check that your loft is large enough to be converted before starting. You can do this by measuring the gross internal floor area of the existing top floor rooms underneath your loft. Most lofts have around 20 square metres of gross floor area. However, it is important to bear in mind that not all of the space is going to be usable as the roof pitch will determine a lot. You can calculate the usable floor area by deducting any space that is lost around the edges near the eaves. 

Can You Convert a Loft With Less Headroom?

Headroom is another important thing to consider when converting your loft. To see if your loft has enough headroom to be converted, stand under the highest point – this is usually in the centre. There should be around 2.8m of clear space above your head to qualify. Bear in mind that once the loft has been converted with a new floor structure and insulation lining the rafters, the available space will decrease. 

Where Should You Put Your Loft Stairs?

Another factor to consider when determining if your loft is suitable for conversion is whether loft stairs can be made to fit within your home. In some cases, you might find that you need to sacrifice all or some of an existing bedroom to accommodate a new staircase to the loft. In this case, going ahead with the loft conversion might not be worth it, especially if the loft room that you create isn’t going to be much bigger. 

Are Fire Regulations in Place?

A challenging aspect of planning for a loft conversion involves making sure that the project complies with fire regulations, which can be even trickier if your house already has more than two existing floors. If you have more than two floors at home, adding an extra room in the loft can mean that you need to take several measures to ensure fire safety such as installing a complex sprinkler system or external escape stairs. On the other hand, a regular two-story house will usually meet fire regulations as long as there is an escape corridor in place that leads down to the main entrance door. However, if your property has an open-plan ground floor, a fire-resistant entrance and hallway may need to be created for the loft conversion to be compliant. 

Will I Need Planning Permission?

Most loft conversions can be carried out under Permitted Development without the need for formal planning permission. Usually, you will not need planning permission if your property does not look different from the street. However, with more prominent extensions such as dormers added to the front or side, or hip-to-gable loft conversions, you will usually need to apply for planning permission. 

Is It Worth the Expense? 

It might not always be worth the expense of getting a loft conversion if you are going to lose a lot of existing room for stairs or need to spend a lot on fire safety for a small additional room. Get in touch today with any questions that you have regarding the size of your loft and the steps involved in the process.

If you’re ready to sit back and enjoy a Simply Easy Refurb on your home, contact us today.

Author: Sebastian Grayson