So, you’ve decided to convert your loft, what’s next? Having any building work is a big step for a lot of homeowners and loft conversions can be particularly daunting, it’s exactly cheap or quick. But by taking a few simple steps to prepare for the work, you can ensure it runs as smoothly as possible. Here we’ve laid out some tips and advice on how best to prepare for your conversion to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.
First things first, most loft conversions don’t require planning permission, this is called Permitted Development. However, if you live in a conservation area, a listed property or have a low roof, you may require planning permission so first thing is to check if permission is required, and if so, obtain this.
Whether you need permission and have gained it, or don’t require permission here are our tips on preparing for your conversion.
Find a builder, in fact find ten. You can never have too many quotes. One way of finding a tradesman is asking your family and friends if they know any good ones. If you’re okay with knocking on a stranger’s door, you can ask a neighbour who’s had their loft recently converted. Alternatively you can use tradesmen comparison websites such as www.checkatrade.com or www.fmb.org.uk or www.ratedpeople.com when it comes to finding a builder it’s always a good idea to ask to see some of their previous work.
Although builders aren’t required to be registered with any bodies or have specific qualifications for building work, the same can’t be said for some of the trades involved in conversions and extensions. If for example you’re having an en-suite or a bathroom, check the builder is okay installing them, if not you’ll have to get a plumber. If the loft is going to have heating, then you’ll need a Gas Safe registered gas engineer to install any central heating and radiators. Most lofts don’t have electricity or lighting installed, so you’ll need a registered electrician for that too.
Do I need to clear my loft before the work begins? This is a question a lot of homeowners ask; the answer is always yes. Whether you’ve got just a box or two up there, or it’s full of storage, completely clearing your loft is important. If you don’t completely empty it, it won’t be a safe working environment for the builders and tradesmen. The same goes for access to the loft. Clear the landing and stairs to the loft. Also ensure the access from the front door to the loft is as uncluttered as possible. This will make the route to the loft easier for the tradesmen and save time during the build.
With any building work you’re likely going to need a skip. This isn’t something the builders will automatically include in their work for you. So, this is something you’re going to have to confirm with the builder – who is responsible for hiring the skip. If you’re going to hire the skip, then shop around. When it comes to hiring a skip, remember you will need to erect scaffolding outside your house and will need clear access between the skip and the scaffolding.
In summary there are things you can do to make your life easier when it comes to loft conversions. Simple steps such as clearing out in advance, shopping around and checking that your tradesmen are registered will go a long way to making things run smoother. By preparing beforehand you’re in a better position to get the dream loft you want without the headache.