Should I Design My Own Loft Conversion?
Should I try to design my own loft conversion?
A loft conversion is arguably the most difficult type of home improvement project one can attempt because it requires modification of structural elements at height in a confined space. The design and administrative side of such a project can also be very involved and require the skills of professional architects and engineers.
Unless you have considerable experience in the building trade, it is not recommended that you attempt a loft conversion as a self-build project. At Amazing Lofts, we can take your loft conversion project from conception to completion as a fully managed service, design and build.
If you do decide to design your own loft conversion, these are the things you will need to consider:
- What kind of loft conversion will you build?
- Layout and Design
- Planning Permission
- Building Regulations
- Building Materials
What Kind of Loft Conversion Will Do You Build?
The size, shape and type of your house may set limits on what kind of conversion you can have. If you have a terrace house in a street opposite more terrace houses, you may only be able to have dormers and roof lights.
Larger, semi or detached properties may have more options open to them, but with increasing size and complexity comes increasing cost; the budget is often a major limiting factor in loft conversions because clients rarely appreciate how expensive they can be until they embark upon a project of their own.
Layout and Design
Good design is the foundation of a successful loft conversion and the more you can plan up front the better your project will be. There are so many considerations with regard to design in a loft conversion, such as:
- Where will the staircase go?
- Where will the windows go?
- How much headroom will we have?
- Can we have a balcony?
- How many plug sockets and lights will we need?
Good design will not only make the construction of the loft conversion easier, it will also make it a better place to live/work/play in once it is finished.
Some types of loft conversion don't require planning permission and can be built under what is known as 'permitted development', provided they meet certain criteria.
As an example, if you decide to have roof lights in the front elevation of your roof and a dormer at the rear, this would likely be considered permitted development, as long as the building is not listed or in a conservation area.
If you want to have dormers at the front of the house or a mansard conversion, you will need planning permission which requires a formal application. A planning application will need a lot of technical drawings to be prepared by a designer and there is every chance your proposal may be rejected by the local planning authority if it is:
- Too big
- Creates additional shade for your neighbours
- Gives you a better view of your neighbours windows or gardens
- Not in keeping with the surrounding properties/area
- Made of different materials to your current roof/house
Before you start construction you will need to submit an application to building control. This application will vary in size and complexity with your project, but it is possible that you will have to do structural calculations and drawings for the changes you are making to the property, as well as explain what materials you are using and how your design will comply with the building regulations for:
- Fire Proofing
- Structural Safety
- Insulation and energy conservation
The design of loft conversion is a complicated task, but it is something we can help you with because we have designed and built lots of them, so please give us a ring to talk about your project.