When considering a conversion, there are 6 main points you should consider to avoid problems and ensure you get the loft you want.
On any building site this should be the number One priority. Not only is it dangerous, failure to meet safety standards is a criminal offence.
This covers a vast amount of territory from structural integrity of the attic and scaffolding, personal safety during the build, fire regulations, security to making the space safe when finished.
at a most basic level you should always use protective equipment this includes
- Safety helmet.
- Wrist, knee, back and elbow supports for lifting.
- Dust mask.
- Shatter resistant safety goggles/glasses.
- Ear protectors.
- Steel capped boots.
On top of this you should
- Be trained and comfortable with all tools you use.
- Follow health and safety instructions on lifting.
- Make sure any electric tools or equipment are tested and safe.
- Work in a well lit area.
- Have scaffolding professionally checked and constructed.
- Use a building company regulated by the F.M.B
The best defence is a good offence! solve problems before they become problems!
Main Problems include:
- Party walls- if your house is not detached you will need the permission of your neighbour to modify the wall to insert the beams required to support your new rooms. This is because dividing walls in lofts are often joint owned by both neighbours.
- Man vs Nature- if you have protected animals such as shrews, bats or some birds in your loft it is a criminal offence to disturb or remove them without the consent of the nature conservation body for your area.
- Leases- if your property is not freehold you will need the permission of the freeholder to make structural changes.
- Covenant- check the deeds to your property because it is possible for the original developer to restrict alterations to the property, this is completely separate to planning permission but luckily such covenants are usually unenforceable because the developer is either dead, doesn’t care or has moved away. The most dangerous is ex local authority (ex council houses) as covenants are common in the right to buy rules. Luckily this rule is also not commonly enforced.
- Insurance- check that your building insurance covers the work you require, if not our builders insurance probably will, but it is still good to know.
Some people do build their own conversions, but as the Haynes manual for conversions states “unless you really know what you are doing and have good experience, especially at carpentry, you might want to get the professionals in.”
This is because in the same way you wouldn’t perform dentistry on your family unless you are a dentist, Conversions required training and experience and there is a lot that can go wrong if you don’t know what you are doing.
If you want to make the process quicker and cheaper, make sure the loft is clear of the clutter that usually builds up in them, lay down dust sheets and clear access through the house to the attic.
Value For Money?
Most of the time a conversion will add more value to your property than it will cost. But of course there are exceptions, an estate agent should be able to help or for a quicker estimate look at similar properties in the local paper.
Unlike other building firms, not only do we offer free estimates they also include the hidden costs other companies will surprise you with during construction or planning such as design alterations.
It is best not to use a credit card to finance a conversion due to the astronomical interest charges you will face. If you have the savings spare this is obviously your best bet, but a mortgage is second followed by personal loans.
Keep a 10% contingency because you might want to change your design during construction, add luxury features or have the face legal issues from neighbour or the council if you accidentally over look an issue.
Keeping the Neighbours Happy
The obvious ones are making sure you have spoken to them and got their written permission beforehand and keep them in mind when working with us to create a time plan. Make sure access for deliveries and workers will not frustrate them.
Luckily for you, we’re not your run of the mill builders. Due to the extremely high quality work we carry out, we choose our staff carefully. There won’t be any wolf whistling, swearing or loud music.
The neighbour’s approval is more important than you might think as skip permits, planning permission, party walls and more are all dependent on their co-operation.