Tag: dormer


Unlocking Space: The Magic of Dormer Conversions

Dormer conversions refers to the process of converting an existing roof space. Typically in a residential property, into a usable living space by adding a dormer window or dormer extension. Dormer windows are vertical extensions that project from a sloping roof. Creating additional headroom and floor space within the converted area. 

The purpose of a dormer conversion

The purpose of a dormer conversion is to maximise the available space within a roof area. And create functional rooms such as bedrooms, bathrooms, home offices, or playrooms. Dormer conversions are popular because they can significantly increase the usable area of a property. Without the need for major structural changes. 

The process of dormer conversions usually involves the following steps: 

  • Assessment and Planning: A professional surveyor or architect assesses the feasibility of the conversion, considering factors such as the roof structure, local building regulations, and planning permissions. They work with the homeowner to design the dormer and plan the conversion. 
  • Obtaining Permissions: Depending on the location and local regulations, planning permission and building regulations approval may be required before the conversion can proceed. These permissions are typically obtained from the local council or relevant authorities. 
  • Construction: Once all permissions are in place, the construction work begins. The existing roof is altered to accommodate the dormer extension, and additional structural supports may be added as needed. 
  • Dormer Installation: The dormer window or extension is installed, providing additional headroom and floor space to the converted area. Dormers can come in various styles, such as gable fronted, hipped, shed, or flat-roofed dormers. 
  • Insulation and Finishing: The walls, roof, and floor of the new space are insulated to meet building standards for energy efficiency. The interior is then finished to create a comfortable living area. Which may include plastering, flooring, electrical wiring, and plumbing for bathrooms if applicable. 
  • Utilities Connection: If the converted space includes bathrooms or kitchenettes, plumbing and electrical connections are extended to provide utilities to these areas. 
  • Final Inspections and Approval: After the construction is complete, building inspectors conduct final inspections to ensure that the conversion meets safety and building regulations. Once approved, the dormer conversion is officially considered part of the property. 

Will Dormer conversions save you money?

Dormer conversions can be a cost-effective way to add value to a home and create additional living space. However, it’s essential to work with experienced professionals and obtain the necessary permissions to ensure the conversion is done correctly and legally. 

Image: https://the-loftroom.com/loft-conversions-for-semi-detached-properties/
Loft Conversion

How To Create A Loft Conversion On A Budget

Really want to add more living space to your home? Here’s how you can achieve a loft conversion on a budget.  

What Is A Loft Conversion?  

A loft conversion is the process of transforming an empty attic space into a functional room. And these are usually used as a bedroom, office space, gym, or storage space. 

Will You Need Planning Permission? 

So, most conversions do not require a planning permit, this is good because it will help save money on getting the permission. However, you are required to obtain permission if you alter the roof space in any way. If the head height of the roof is above 2.2 m you should be okay. But the best way to find out if you need permission is to check with the local council or planning officer. It is also good to check because if you go ahead without permission and you end up needing it, they can fine you. And that’s not what you want when trying to stay within a budget. 

Another way you can save some money is by not using an architect and doing the majority of the stuff DIY. There is no rule saying you need to have one, but it is highly recommended that you use architectural services when it comes to your project.  

It is a lot cheaper and straightforward to do a loft conversion compared to an extension. So, it is perfect for people who do not have much time and are on a budget. A dormer conversion is the cheapest type of loft conversion.  flat and shed roof dormers have simpler styles and reduce the cost.   

What Is A Dormer? 

A dormer loft conversion is when a box-shaped structure is added onto a pitched-shaped roof. Creating walls that sit at a 90-degree angle to the floor. This expands not only the headspace but the floor space as well.  

Dormer loft conversion,
A Dormer Loft Conversion

On average it can take up to 8 weeks or as little as 4 weeks, with certain styles less complex than others.  

Not everything about the conversion has to be professionally done. The interior finish can be your project. You can paint, wallpaper, hang curtains, fit the carpets. Anything that you do yourself is cutting costs.  

If you are including an En-suite in the loft hiring a plumber is an extra cost. Try positioning the bathroom right above the plumbing below, or near it. It saves a lot of work.  

If you are on a budget smaller loft conversions can benefit from the more natural light coming in. It is also good to use natural, lighter colours when decorating because it helps give the illusion of spaciousness.  

To be able to access the loft you would need a staircase to enter. A straight staircase is the most common style and affordable to build. The highest part of the loft, in line with the roof ridge, is an ideal location for the stairs.  

Pricing Of A Loft Conversion –  

There are many types of loft conversions which means the prices can differ. For a deluxe conversion expect to pay anywhere between £20,000 and £27,000. Whereas, the cost of a basic conversion could be somewhere between £9,800 and £12,500.   

For a DIY conversion the prices are a bit different:  

  • Price range – £9,400 – £48,000 
  • Average price – £29,100 
  • Cheap price – £9,400 

Although you might have done this project on a budget, a loft conversion can increase the house’s value by as much as 20%.  

Loft conversions
Loft Conversion

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Loft Conversion

Different types of bungalow loft conversions 

Bungalows offer great loft conversion potential. They maximise the roof space and create plenty of possibilities. There are four main types of loft conversion that can be appropriate for bungalows. For example: a dormer, hip to gable, Velux, and mansard conversion. Here is a guide to figure out which one if best for your home.  

Types of loft conversions –  

Hip to gable –  

Firstly, a hip to gable loft conversion is where the sloping side of the roof is converted to a vertical gable wall to create more headspace. Bungalows which are semi-detached will often have a hipped roof that slopes at the side. This can be turned into a gable and you are left with a spacious loft and a great amount of head height.  

Benefits of a hip to gable conversion –  

The biggest benefit is the space that you will gain. All this additional room should increase the value of your home, especially if you are adding a bedroom or a bathroom. Also, the staircase from the lower level should be a continuation into the loft. So, this makes the entrance easier to access and uses less living space from the floor below.  

Price – 

Furthermore, the average cost of a hip to gable loft conversion is £40,000 – £50,000.  

Dormer –  

Secondly, dormers create a box shaped structure which is added onto a pitched roof, creating walls that sit at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Also, you can have a dormer in various positions on your roof and you can add more if you want a bigger room inside.  

Price –

So, the average cost of a dormer loft conversion is around – £35,000 – £55,000.  

Velux –  

Velux loft conversions are where the existing roof space is converted into living space without extending the roof structure. There are best for bungalows that already have enough head height. In addition, a roof light or Velux window would be added into the roof to make the new room bright.  

Price –  

Velux is usually the cheapest option because, it requires the least amount of work. Prices can start from £24,000.  

Mansard –  

Finally, a mansard can add a huge amount of space to your loft. A Mansard conversion has a flat roof with a slight fall to allow water to run into the gutter and the face of the Mansard slopes back 72 degrees to create the distinctive design. 

Image credit: Jeremy Phillips

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Loft Conversion

A guide to the different types of dormers  

What is a dormer roof? 

Firstly, a dormer roof is a built-in structure which adds space and height in a loft, they often always contain windows. Dormers are a popular investment because they can open up a dark and stuffy room.  

Here are some of the different types of dormers:  

Gable fronted dormer –  

A gable dormer is the most common type. It has a simple pitched roof with two sloped planes, supported by a vertical frame that rises so that a triangle section forms. It’s also known as a dog house dormer because they have a similar shape.  

They aren’t the fanciest architectural designs, but they became popular due to the light, space, and symmetry it adds to the home. Also, they help water flow down the sides and away from the windows. This helps prevent flooding, leaks and structural damage to the home.  

Image: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/283586107756021214/

Hip roof dormer –  

A hipped dormer is a roof composed of three sloped planes that rise from each side of the frame and come together at the ridge. Hip roofs aren’t as common as gable roofs because they are more difficult to construct, due to the complex system of rafters and trusses.  

Flat roof dormer –  

The roof of this dormer is a single flat plane, which is horizontal. Although, they are slightly inclined to allow water to run off. Many people opt for a flat roof because they are cheaper to build, and they allow for bigger windows.   


Eyebrow/ eyelid dormer –  

This type of dormer is a low wide dormer with a curved roof and no sides. They emerged in Britain when homeowners began to build small arched windows in their cottages centuries ago.  

Wall dormer –  

Rather than setting the dormer partway up the roof’s slope, a wall dormer appears to be a continuation of the wall above eaves level. They aren’t that common dormer types since they don’t add a lot of aesthetic value to the house. 

(Image credit: Chris Snook )
Loft Conversion

What is The Best Loft Conversion For You

Here is a guide to loft conversions to help pick the best one for you and your home. When choosing a project you must take into account the styles, budget, your existing roof structure and any planning restrictions you may face.  

Types of Loft Conversions  

There are four main types of conversions which are: 

  • Dormer 
  • Roof light 
  • Hip-to-gable  
  • Mansard  

Dormer Conversion  

Dormer conversions are one of the best and more popular loft conversion, they provide lots of extra space. A Dormer is an extension that is built on the slop of your roof. There are different types of Domer conversions you should know about such as: 

  • Single dormer 
  • Double dormer 
  • Flat-roofed dormer 
  • Gabled dormer  

Pros and cons of getting a Dormer 


  • Suitable for most homes  
  • Less expensive than other conversions  
  • Adds a good amount of extra space 
  • Planning permission isn’t needed in most cases 
  • An option for most that houses that have sloping roofs 


  • Not a quick process  
  • More structural changes than most conversions  

Roof Light Loft Conversion 

A roof light conversion is simply your existing loft is retained but rooflights are added. However, after that all you need to do is lay down flooring and add some stairs. Don’t forget about plumbing along with insulation. This is perfect for smaller spaces. 

Pros and cons of a Roof light conversion 


  • The cheapest loft conversion  
  • Suitable if you live in a conservation area 
  • Not a lot of structural changes  
  • Least disruptive to the home 


  • Less space provided than other conversions 

Hip-To-Gable Loft Conversion 

Hip-to-gable conversions work by extending the sloping roof at the side or your house outwards to create a vertical wall, creating more space. 

Pros and cons of a Hip-to-gable conversion 


  • Natural looking  
  • Less expensive than extending outwards 


  • More expensive than a dormer  
  • Can only be done on semi-detached or detached houses 
  • Only suits house’s with a sloping side roof 

Mansard Loft Conversion 

A Mansard conversion involves replacing the sloping roof structure with a wall that is almost vertical. The final roof is flat. This project can add a whole additional storey for say. 

Pros and cons of a Mansard conversion 


  • A large amount of additional space 
  • Suitable for different types of properties 


  • Expensive  
  • Does not look natural  
  • Complex project meaning it could take longer  

Planning Permission & Permitted Development 

Usually when wanting to convert your loft you will not need to do a full planning application as this will come under permitted development rights. In some cases, you will need to apply for planning permission. If you: 

  • Live in a flat or maisonette 
  • Exceed permitted development  
  • Live in a conservation area  

You will need to apply for permission. For your project to be considered as permitted development it must follow these set rules. Here are a few: 

  • Not to build higher than the highest part of the roof. 
  • Not have any dormers or extensions on the roof plane of the principal elevation facing the road. 
  • Be constructed with materials similar in appearance to the existing house. 

There are more rules you will have to follow under permitted development. 

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Loft Conversion

Adding a dormer to an existing loft conversion

There are two reasons why people may want to do this: 

  • People buy a house with an existing roofline conversion and decide they want to upgrade the loft accommodation. They might do this to make the space larger, brighter and, perhaps change the interior usage.  
  • Secondly, the loft conversion is planned in two stages to spread the cost. Or because the demand for accommodation at that time is satisfied with a simpler roofline conversion. 

What is a dormer loft conversion? 

A dormer is a box-like structure with vertical walls which come out from the roof slope. They can vary in size and style. In addition, dormers are commonly used to increase the usable space in a loft and to create window openings in the roof.  

Do you need planning permission to add dormers to an existing loft conversion? 

The same planning deliberations will apply to the upgrade just like if you were to start from scratch. If your loft conversion was built under permitted development, you shouldn’t assume that the dormer you’re adding will be as well. So, some points that may make you need planning permission are: 

  • How far the dormer windows project from the roof 
  • Whether the property is listed or in a conservation area.  
  • How much structural change is made to the appearance and height of the existing roof.  
  • The overall size of the loft conversion, the upgrade could make the conversion larger than the original design.  
  • Your neighbours are affected by your dormer. Either by being over shadowed or over looked.  
  • The dormer exceeds 40 square meters on a terraced house or 50 square meters on a semi-detached or detached house.  

Although, not all dormer conversions require planning permission. Your builder or architect will be able to advise you on whether your plans fall within permitted development rights.  

Advantages of adding a dormer –  

Dormer loft conversions are one of the most popular options when it comes to loft conversions. So, here are some advantages of adding them:  

  • They are suitable for almost every type and style of house. 
  • Dormers increase the head height and usable floor space.  
  • You can use any type of window to match the property. You aren’t confined to Velux windows or roof lights.  
  • Could add a small Juliet balcony 

How much would it cost?  

Finally, if you already have an existing loft conversion and you want to add a dormer, you should expect to pay upwards of £5000. However, this all depends on the size, style, and other factors when it comes to a dormer.  

Image: Nuprojects.co – Eige arbeid

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Loft Conversion

Dormer Loft Conversions Made Easy

Types of Dormers

  • Flat roof – This is a dormer with aa flat roof that’s sitz horizontally. 

  • Shed – A flat roof that slopes down. 

  • Dog house – A dormer with a roof that has two pitched sides like your classic dog house. 

  • L shaped – Touched on above, this dormer has two parts that form an L shape. 

  • Hipped roof – Similar to a dog house dormer, but with three sides instead of two. 

Pros And Cons Of Dormer 


  • Brings more natural light into the room. 
  • Better ventilation 
  • Adds head room and floorspace. 
  • Versatile – has many different options to choose from. 


  • More structural work needed. 
  • More labour intensive  
  • You may need planning permission if It doesn’t fall under permitted development. 
  • Extra costs  

Building Regulations and the Party Wall Act For A Dormer 

While planning permission for a dormer may not be required, building regulations are mandatory. Regulations are there to ensure the safety of the structure you’re building. For example, ensuring that the structural strength of the new floor that would be installed is sufficient. Also making sure the roof is stable or even to make sure the new stairs up to your new loft is safe. The party wall act is there to prevent any disputes with neighbours due to building your structure. 

What is the party wall act? 

The party wall act prevents building works by one neighbour that can undermine the structural integrity of shared walls or neighbouring properties. 

Do Dormers Need Planning Permission? 

Yes and No. One benefit of dormers is that it can be constructed under permitted development. However, depending on your home’s circumstances you will need planning permission. Here are two examples: 

  • You live in a listed building or conservation area. 
  • Your neighbours are affected by the structure through overlooking or overshadowing.

And there’s more reasons to why you’ll need planning permission. 

Is my home suitable for a dormer loft conversion? 

Any room with a pitched roof and loft space can have a dormer. 

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Architecture & Building, Loft Conversion

What Type Of Loft Conversion Is Best For Your Home

Hip to gable dormer –  

Firstly, hip to gable loft conversions is mostly found on semi-detached properties with an existing hipped roof. It is where the side of the roof is removed off of the sidewall, to maximise the internal head height. Hip to gables is slightly more expensive than a standard dormer conversion, they normally cost 20% more. However, they are the most popular way to convert your loft.  

Cost of project: £40,000 – £65,000 

hip-to-gable-loft-conversion-loft-extension - APT Renovation - Property  Design & Build - Building contractors - Balham SW12 London

Mansard – 

Mansard loft conversions are typically built at the rear of the house, allowing you to gain additional space in the loft area. However, these conversions usually require roof alterations, which means you would need planning permission.  

Cost of project: £45,000 – £70,000 

Side dormer loft conversion –  

A side dormer is when the hipped roof on the side of the property is built off the sidewall to incorporate additional head height. The side dormer can be built with a flat or pitched roof. If the property is detached, you sometimes can maximise space by constructing a side dormer on both sides of the roof.  

Cost of project: £30,000 – £45,000 

Dormer Loft Conversions | Abbey Partnership

Piggyback loft conversion –  

A piggyback loft conversion is formed by raising the existing perimeter walls in brickwork and pitching a new roof, which is stepped back from the front elevation of the property. By raising the bricks and pitching a new roof a large amount of head height is gained, as well as more living space.  

Piggyback Loft Conversion | Learn More About a Piggyback Conversion

Velux –  

A Velux loft conversion is when the shape of the existing roof is retained and Velux windows are installed into the rafters. The rafters will have to be cut depending on the size of the new windows. The inside of the roof space is fitted out to a carefully thought-out design. You will generally not require planning permission to install a Velux window in a loft conversion.   

Cost of project: £20,000 – £30,000 

Velux Conversion - Loft Conversions North West

Pitched dormers –  

A dormer is a roofed structure, often containing a window, that projects vertically beyond the plane of a pitched roof. In addition, they are commonly used to increase the useable space in a loft and to create window openings.  

Cost of project: £30,000 – £45,000 

Pitched Dormer Loft Conversions | What is a Pitched Dormer Conversion?

L shape dormer –  

Finally, an L-shaped dormer conversion is where two dormer builds are constructed in a way that they join together. Usually, one dormer will be built on the rear outrigger roof and the other on the main roof, which gives it the L shape.  

Cost of project: £50,000 – £60,000 

How to plan your loft conversion | Top tips and expert advice | Ideal Home
Advice Center

A guide to words and terms used in architecture

From architecture to construction terms, it is easy to feel left in the dark especially if you’re not an architect or a construction worker. To help you avoid confusion here is a list of some important words to familiarise yourself with before you meet with an architect or have any work starts.  

BIM –  

Firstly, BIM stands for ‘building information modeling. It’s a 3D model-based process that architects use to reduce errors and help the client envision a project. It digitally helps them plan, design, and construct buildings.  

Cladding –  

building cladding is the application of one material over another to add an extra skin or layer to the building. It could be any material wood, metal, stone. It needs to be waterproof because it is used to protect the building against leaking.  

Scale –  

Scale terms can refer to a few things. Firstly, it’s a triangular, ruler-like device used to determine dimensions. But more often, you’ll hear architects use the term in a statement like, “The scale is all wrong.” In that case, scale refers to how the sizes of different architectural elements relate to one another. 

Truss –  

A truss is a supporting structure or framework that’s composed of beams, girders, or rods, usually made of steel or wood. It usually looks like a triangle, as it’s the frame that supports the building’s roof.  

Carbuncle –  

A building that is extremely unpleasant to look at.  

Prefabricated –  

A prefabricated building is built in sections that can be moved and put together quickly.  

Cornice –  

Derive from the Italian word meaning ledge, a cornice refers to any horizontal, decorative molding that crowns a building.  

Spatiality –  

A general term that refers to anything relating to, involving, or having the nature of space.  


The general shape, or shapes of a building, as well as its form and size. You could compare it to the overall composition of a painting but in case it’s three-dimensional.  

Derelict –  

Something such as a building or piece of land that is derelict is empty, not used, and in a bad condition.  

Cantilever –  

These terms refer to any type of beam that’s only anchored at one point. Architects often refer to cantilever when discussing overhanging planes, like a cantilevered roof or deck.  

Dormer –  

A structural element of a building that protrudes from the plane of a sloping roof surface. Dormers are used to create usable space on the roof of a building by adding headroom and windows.  

Fascia –  

Finally, a horizontal board is attached to the lower end of rafters at the eaves. 

House Extension

The informative basics to a Chalet/ dormer Bungalow

What is a Chalet bungalow?  

A chalet bungalow is a type of bungalow house that has a small living space on the second floor or loft. A bungalow is generally considered a one-storey structure that is detached from other structures. The chalet bungalow is still essentially a bungalow because it matches the criteria that comprise a bungalow-style home.   

However, people may say that they are really one and a half storeys and not bungalows. They are referred to in British a “chalet bungalows” or “dormer bungalows” 

History of the bungalow –  

The term ‘bungalow’ originated in the Bengali region of India, meaning ‘house in the Bengal style’. These houses were traditionally small, of one storey and detached, and had a wide veranda. The bungalows were built in India for English sailors of the East Indian company. The bungalow became known in Britain, and then America, where it had high status. 

Later in the 1960s, the form evolved into a chalet bungalow with bedrooms in the roof space, with dormers.  

Things you need to bear in mind before you convert –  

Before you start converting your bungalow there are a few things you should consider. Firstly, you need to make sure that you have enough room to install a staircase to access the floor above.   

Another thing to consider is that when converting a property into a chalet, it’s essential that there is plumbing on the new floor. This is so you will be able to have heating and water if you are creating a bathroom.  

How much does it cost to build a chalet/ dormer bungalow in the UK?  

As dormer conversions are relatively straightforward to add to a home, they are the cheaper type of conversion. They would typically cost around £31,000 – £58,000 depending on the size of the conversion and other factors. 

How long do they take to build?  

Most dormer/ chalet extensions can be completed within as little as 6 – 8 weeks. Although, you should keep in mind that the design and planning process can take longer than the build itself.  

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