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Loft Conversion Guide and Guidance - the general process

The best guide any homeowner can have for a loft conversion is to ensure they employ their own experienced house extension designer or architect right from the start. Going off half cocked with your own builder working on a Council Building Notice with just bare bones sketch plans will be a recipe for disaster.

Most homeowners need advice and guidance to be helped through the maze of Council legislation and Approvals even before the effort of approaching builders for pricing. Employing your own professional house extension designer and adviser will be your best guide to ensuring that you have the loft conversion of your dreams rather than the nightmare.

Here is our quick check list guide that your house extension designer will probably be going through:-

1 - Take site measured survey and prepare existing house plans and elevations.

2 - Take clients brief again and prepare an initial scheme design drawing and any options and issue to client for approval. The designs will be affected by whether or not the loft conversion requires formal Planning permission. If it falls under the house permitted development rights then your designer will have greater flexibility.

3 - Have a meeting to discuss the scheme, incorporate any alterations and get the scheme ready for submitting to the planning dept to either obtain planning approval (if planning is actually required) or for a certificate of lawful development if the scheme is to be permitted development. This is a very important step and should not be avoided.

4 - Prepare drawings and other supporting documents ready for the planning application or for the Certificate of Lawful Development. Client to approval final copy of all application documents. Design Agent to submit scheme as Agent on behalf of the applicant.

5 - Agent and applicant to monitor progress of application through the planning system using public access via councils web site. Respond to any queries or questions raised by case planning officer.

6 - When Planning approval or C of LD received send onto applicant with covering letter bring attention to any Conditions. Design Agent will then place your scheme into their work schedule for upgrading and enhancing scheme into full construction scheme ready for Building regulations application and submission for tender prices from local builders.

7 - Homeowner will be sent draft construction scheme from their design agent for their checking and approval.

8 - have meeting with design Agent to incorporate any alterations and to raise any queries and questions. Design Agent will incorporate any alterations and submit the scheme to the Building inspector for approval. In most cases for a loft conversion or an external structural engineer will be required usually working from your house extension designers drawings to provide proving calculations for any beams or localised roof loads etc.

9 - Your Design Agent should be acting as key controller and administrator for you in attending to any queries from the checking Building Inspector, completing any amendments and revision as required by them or the structural engineer.

10 - Once Building Regulations has been approved, your design agent will be sending you a complete package of approved drawings, specifications, engineers calculations plus the approval document itself. They should be making you aware of any changes to the scheme required for gaining approval. This is normal.

11 - In many cases this is where the house extension designers services stop and the client / homeowner then seeks their own builder tender prices for the loft conversion. Sometimes the client purchases additional services from their house extension designer or architect and they will obtain the tender prices. Make sure that all tender prices are delivered to you or your design agent within sealed envelopes and that they are opened in front of you.

12 - Some clients are very capable of engaging their own builder and handing any contract issues themselves. Sometimes a homeowners purchases additional services from their house extension designer or architect to provide full Contract Administration duties. All the client has to do is ensure monies are available at the right times and pay the instalments during the build when instructed.

13 - Some design Agents offer a lesser service of ‘Client advisor’ during the build to be on call to attend to any specific issues, queries or clarifications from the client or the builder which is paid for on an ‘as and when required‘ basis.






























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