Paul Russell of Russell Associates provides some tips on how to make the most of your loft space
Do you need more space, but don’t want to move? A loft conversion could be ideal, adding value to your house, as well as space, if done properly.
The first step is to identify whether your loft is suitable. The way to do this is to measure the height from the top of the existing ceiling to the ridge board at the centre of the roof. You will need to have a ceiling height of 2.4m over half of the usable space, with a minimum height of around 1.5m at the sides.
If your loft space is suitable, one of the key points to consider is light. A flush rooflight or two may be enough, but for more light, dormer windows are often preferred, or sometimes a large mansard-style extension.
You may not require planning consent for a dormer window if it is not located in a Conservation area and is within the main roof height.
However, building regulations for a loft conversion are a must. Consent is always required. This is because the floor will need strengthening and the roof structure will have to be changed. You will also have to comply with the Means of Escape regulations, which can include upgrading your staircase enclosure, and providing fire doors or another means of emergency exit. Improvements to thermal insulation will be needed too.
It is not always straightforward to build a loft conversion, but the extra space gained can be well worth the effort.
And remember, for best results, take professional, specialist advice and obtain more than one quotation, before choosing who to work with.
Further information about Russell Associates is available at www.russellassociates.co.uk