Building extensions and conversions are becoming a popular option: Many people opting for this rather than relocating. There could be many reasons why that is. Perhaps the uncertainty in the property market. The Independent consulted with one of the UK’s leading estate agents Countrywide, who say their profits are down twenty million in first half of 2018, compared to the same time last year. With the market subdued, and sales slow, converting the loft is a real option for those needing more space. But how difficult and cost-effective is it really? Most people understand that planning permission and building works can take time and money. Is it a cost-effective solution? Here’s some basics that might help you decide.
Planning permission is not normally required. However, permission is required if you intend to extend or alter the roof space and exceed the specific limits and conditions that would otherwise class it as “permitted development”. These limits are only applicable to houses. Not to flats, maisonettes or property that has already been converted (change of use like a barn for example). Additionally, selected areas such as national parks, the Broads, designated areas of outstanding natural beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites do not allow roof extensions.
The limits for “permitted development” include:
A terraced house loft conversion must not exceed 40 cubic metres of additional space.
- A semi or detached house loft conversion must not exceed 50 cubic metres of additional space.
- (NB: If the previous owner has extended this must be included in the above figures)
- It must not extend beyond the highest point of the roof.
- No raised platforms, a balcony or veranda.
- The materials used must be visually like the existing façade.
- Openings must be 1.7metres above the floor.
- Side windows must be obscure (frosted) glaze.
These are some of the most self-explanatory limits and conditions that define what is currently “permitted development”. The government has produced a comprehensive guide that will help you understand the rules thoroughly and how the apply to your specific circumstances:
How long Will My Loft Conversions Take?
There are many factors that will dictate how long the conversion takes. The “average” timeframe is around six to eight weeks. More complex conversions can take up to three months. Your builder will certainly be able to give you an accurate timeframe. Normally, certain milestones will be established along with payments. Three months is a swift sale these days and if you need extra space as soon as possible selling can be a long wait. Plus, opting for an extension means you will not have to go through the whole painful process of packing and unpacking everything you own. Whatever you spend on your conversion will invariably add equal value onto your property. If you are worried about taking on the project, join the Home Improvements Guarantee scheme for some peace of mind. This will provide some work and financial guarantees at no extra cost. Do it properly and without doubt, your loft conversion will turn out to be a cost-effective alternative to moving.