Attic Conversions for that unused loft space.
One of the easiest and simplest ways of adding extra floor space to a home is for an
attic conversion. Most people know the basics for having an attic conversion within their home such as new stairs,
roof lights, dormer windows etc.
The technical details on Building Regulations compliance though is enormous and most attic conversions will be
fully assessed for structural stability, access, means of escape, thermal performance and fire regulations. Most
homeowners do not appreciate or fail to understand the full legal requirements of installing another floor as part
of their attic conversion.
An experienced Building Designer will be able to prepare plans and specifications for most attic conversions and
help you achieve planning permission if required and Building Regulations compliance and all homeowners are advised
to seek professional advice from such specialists before they embark on any attic conversion home extension.
However, not all attics or lofts are suitable or easy for converting to a habitable room space. Many estate type
homes built within the last 30 years have their attics made from pre-formed timber trusses. These are pre-made roof
trusses brought onto site from a factory. Most roof trusses will have a number of intermediate struts and ties to
make them self supporting over the entire length of the truss.
This means that these intermediate timbers restricting access cannot be removed with additional structural
upgrade works well beyond what would be required for a traditionally carcassed roof structure unless they were
originally designed as attic trusses ready for later conversion. Some homeowners often have to face the fact that
converting their attic will not be achievable.
As there is usually no new foundation work for attic conversions and most of the works involve carpentry and
joinery, many specialists ‘design and build’ companies have set up offering a one stop shop for the home owner to
obtain their attic or loft conversion. However, having an attic conversion built to a price with little upfront
detail on the design and specification can leave the home owner very exposed to claims of extra costs if the attic
conversion design has not first been completed before the builder has submitted their price.
Also, are you receiving like for like quotations from your attic conversion companies before they can establish
an approved design through Building Regulations? That is not to say that the specialist attic conversion company
design and build approach does not work, it is just that very homeowner needs to assess the information and detail
provided with their initial price. Does it include for your en-suite appliances and installation? Does it include
for the extra level of smoke detection system throughout the rest of the house? Does it include for replacing any
existing beams or window lintels if the extra loading from the attic conversion cannot be proven?
These are just some of the issues your own dedicated building designer will establish and accommodate within
their up front design before going to tender in the normal way.