Planning permission is certainly not the most exciting aspect of a loft conversion, however it is a necessary and vital step which often gets overlooked by excited and eager home owners. Failure to do your proper due dilligence regarding your councils planning permission policies could end up costing you a fortune and months of hard work!
Planning permission exists to benefit the community as a whole, the environment and protected areas. For example, i’m sure that you would be a little annoyed if someone was to starting construction work from 5am till 9pm right next door to you (especially if you had say..a sleeping baby!). However it is more often than not the other party involved in disputes that bare the brunt of the criticism and lose out in the end. A lot of trouble can be avoided by not overlooking the local policies that are in your area.
Ask your tradesmen/contractor
Any good tradesmen, builder of contractor working on your home should know about the local planning policies and rules. If they do not, you should probably be asking yourself why you hired such a ill prepared contractor. Simply asking if there is anything that you need to consider BEFORE you get started on the building work could raise a few issues that you might not have even considered. Trust me, life will be a lot easier if you ask a lot earlier about these things and make sure it hasn’t just “slipped” your contractors mind. Hell, if one of my contractors didnt have the information I was looking for I would demand he go and seek it out for me not least of all because it would benefit his next customer/client.
Perhaps the worst part about converting your loft is the paperwork that needs to be approved before doing so. As you are technically extending your property/adding another room (in most cases) this will have some influence/effect on your neighbours and community (consturction noise, possibly issues with the roads around your house etc).
A lot of houses in Hertfordshire, particularly Harpenden, have an old attic that simply sits unused. If you are living in such a house with an attic, then it would be a good idea to invest in converting the same into a loft. There is no doubt that converting the attic into a usable and livable space is one of the most economical ideas to increase the net square footage of your house.
No matter what your requirement, whether it is an additional bedroom, kids’ room, home office, or even a gym, a loft can add value to your home in significant ways. No surprises that many surveys report an average home’s resale value goes up as much as 20-25 percent when it comes with a fully renovated loft (reference).
Tips to consider for loft conversions
1. Get an assessment if your loft can be converted
Not all lofts are amenable to simple conversions. There are certain building aspects of your loft that need to be checked with professionals before you can proceed with the actual conversion. Firstly, you should ensure that the internal height of the existing loft is adequate for an ideal conversion. Secondly, the pitch angle of the roof needs to be just right. Finally, the footage of the loft, measured with reference to the internal walls, needs to be of adequate dimensions.
2. Think about how the loft will be used
All of us have different motivations when going for a loft conversion. Some of us want a spare bedroom while others still may do it for an entertainment or office space. Having a good idea about the end use of the loft will provide you with right ideas at the planning stage, and a road map to follow. For example, for an extra bedroom with an en suite bathroom, you would need to design for extra headroom in the shower. Similarly, since most lofts come with angular ceilings, planning ahead based on the end usage would allow you to choose the right furniture and other fixtures for the room.
3. Select the right professionals to complete the job
Unless you have serious prior DIY experience, it would be recommended to seek the services of a professional firm to finish loft conversion. In this regard, you can approach a reputed architect’s firm in the local area to not only prepare drawings and design but also get all the approvals and permits required for completion of the job. You can also engage the services of specialist firms that have come up for loft conversions in Harpenden. Experienced builders too are a good option, and they may provide you a cheaper quote compared to specialized firms dealing with loft conversions Harpenden.
4. Make sure to obtain legal permits and approvals
While certain architectural firms do provide help with securing approvals, it would be wise to check with the planning department in your region about dos and don’ts. These regulations are essentially meant to make sure that stability and structural soundness of your house are not impaired in any way. Most cases of loft conversions do not involve the need to get approvals unless it results in extension of total roof space etc.
With proper research and inquiry, you can make sure your loft conversion gets completed in a timely and economical manner, without falling foul of local regulations.
These tips are more important than ever as Harpenden loft conversions become more and more popular. With so many companies promising to deliver quality services for a fraction of the price offer elsewhere, you need to research who ever you plan to hire extensivley before doing so!
I hope that this article can ensure that you hire the right people for your attic conversion job, and you have a pleasant and hassle free experience.
Above I have linked to a website which aims to connect the locals of Hertfordshire to contractors in their area. My friend told me about them, click here to see what they are all about. They where looking in particular at the plasterer in Borehamwood webpage and mentioned that it was quite useful. We will let you be the judge of that though, please leave your comments below and let us know how you get on with your project, any questions or to say something about some of the references provided in this article!