Tag: loft conversion

Loft Conversion

Will you need planning permission for your loft conversion in Ashford?

If you are looking to add more space to your Ashford home then a loft conversion can be a great option. However, if you are unsure if you will need planning permission then read on for further information.  

Here are a few things you should know and research before installing a loft conversion:  

  • Structural integrity  
  • Head height  
  • Building regulations  
  • Windows and natural light   
  • Fire safety   
  • Insulation  
  • Stairs  
  • Storage space   
  • If you will need planning 

Will you need planning permission in Ashford? 

Most loft conversions are considered permitted development, which means you won’t need to get planning permission as long as the building work fits a certain criterion. So, if you go for a simple conversion, you wouldn’t need to worry. Although, you will need to get planning permission if your plans exceed certain limits and conditions. For example, extending or altering the roof space beyond its current boundaries.  

However, if you live in the following you will have to apply for planning permission  

  • Flats  
  • Maisonettes  
  • Converted houses  
  • Houses created through the permitted development right to change use 
  • Non-dwelling buildings 
  • Homes in areas where there may be restrictions that limits the permitted development rights.  

You shouldn’t need planning in Ashford if you follow these conditions:  

  • Firstly, the extension doesn’t go higher than the highest part of the roof  
  • The materials are similar in appearance to the existing house 
  • The extension doesn’t reach beyond the outermost part of the existing roof slope at the front of the house 
  • Your house is not on designated land. Such as, national parks, conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty and world heritage sites.  
  • The roof enlargement doesn’t overhang the outer face of the wall of the original house.  
  • Side facing window openings are 1.7m or more above the floor  
  • Finally, your head height is above 2.2m  

If you are still unsure if you need planning permission then you can contact us here. Feel free to ask any questions and get helpful and informative advice.  

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Loft Conversion

The best 2022 guide to a Velux loft conversion

If you’re looking to gain extra space in your home, and want to add value to the property, then a loft conversion can be a great solution.  

What is a Velux loft conversion? 

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. The name Velux is after a famous brand of loft windows.   

Will you need planning permission?  

Most loft conversions are considered permitted development, which means you won’t need to get planning permission as long as the building work fits certain criteria. So, if you’re looking to get a simple conversion with roof windows, you generally don’t need to worry. However, it is best to check just to be safe.  

How long does a this loft conversion take to complete? 

Velux loft conversions are usually completed in between 4 and 6 weeks since they are one of the simplest conversion types. 

Cost of a Velux loft conversion –  

The average cost for a Velux loft conversion is around £27,500. However, there are various things that will affect the cost such as: 

  • Size of windows 
  • Number of windows required 
  • Type of windows 
  • Head height and space of your loft 
  • Where you live 
  • Style and quality of finishings  

Velux windows –  

A Velux window is easier to install than a dormer window, and still provides a good amount of light to the space. The windows are paired with a number of modern features, such as: 

  • Electric operation  
  • Solar operation 
  • Top hung hinges  
  • Hundreds of blinds and shutter options  
  • Extra-large balcony windows 

How they can transform your home? 

Compared to other loft conversions, Velux requires less construction and hence low cost. The main addition in the loft will be the Velux windows to transform the space. Many of our clients have used this extra space for: 

  • Bedroom 
  • Home Office 
  • Living Room 
  • Bathroom 
  • Entertainment Room 

You see, there are lots of possibilities to transform this unliveable place into something useful for the whole family. Furthermore, the windows in the loft will allow for more natural light and ventilation. If you are living in a warm area, then you can use glass that prevents sunlight from entering. 

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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.  

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Advice Center, Loft Conversion

Common mistakes made by people when converting their loft

When you need more space converting your loft can be a great way to go about it. Installing one can be a big investment, so it is important that you make sure nothing goes wrong during the process. Here are some of the most common mistakes made by people, so you can avoid them.  

Not checking if you have enough headroom in the loft- 

Before you even make an enquiry to build a loft conversion you should check to see if you have enough headroom. You need a minimum of 2.2 meters for a loft conversion to be possible. Unless you live in a detached property and have the money to be able to raise the roof.  

How to measure your headroom –  

 The most important measurement you need to take is from the highest point, directly under the roof, vertically down to the floor. Once you have your tape measure in place you just need to check if it’s at least 2.2m.  

Assuming that you don’t need planning permission –  

A loft conversion is typically classed as permitted development, meaning that you don’t need planning permission. However, you shouldn’t always assume because your house or the area you live in could have limitations and conditions. For example, a listed building or a conservation area, which might need a full planning application.  

Positioning the new staircase in the wrong place –  

The position of your new staircase is crucial because it impacts the layout and architecture of the whole house. The staircase should give your home balance, and not seem like it’s intruding on the bedrooms or the upstairs space.  

Ignoring the neighbours –  

If you live in a terraced or semi-detached property, the wall you share with your neighbours is called a party wall. You must tell your neighbours that you’re planning to do a loft conversion and get a party wall agreement in place before work starts.  

Your neighbours have the right to disagree with the conversion, so communication is key and a party wall agreement is necessary to avoid issues.  

Poor loft design layout –  

Lofts often have limited space so the layout of your loft conversion is so important. You should make sure that the space can get lots of natural light. You should also make sure that the roof and wall space is being utilised to maximum effect.  

How Can I Make My Loft Conversion Feel Bigger? | Houzz UK

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Advice Center

The best 6 insulation types for a loft conversion

Firstly, a loft conversion is a great way to add extra space to your home. As well as, adding an extra room to the house, a well-insulated conversion may also provide savings by reducing the energy bills. It is important to know about and choose the best type of insulation for your home.

Here are the 6 main insulation types:  

Rigid foam (PIR/ PUR)-  

Both PIR and PUR boards are made by mixing chemicals with a blowing agent. However, this forms large rigid blocks which are low density, closed-cell insulation sheets. The gas which is trapped in the closed-cell of the insulation has a very low thermal conductivity.  

Extruded polystyrene –  

So, extruded polystyrene is rigid insulation that has also formed with polystyrene polymer, but manufactured using an extrusion process. . This means that there will be no further movement of the foam. Ensuring that it will retain its final structure and thermal values.  

Mineral wool (glass/ stone) – 

Mineral wool is available in rolls or slabs. It is man-made from a range of materials including, recycled glass and fibers. In addition, mineral wool is a porous material that traps the air, making it one of the best insulating materials. It is also good because it doesn’t fuel fire or propagates flames.  

Multi-foil insulation –  

Multi-foil is thin reflective layers of insulation. The layers are separated by wadding and foam. This insulation is perfect for preventing radiant heat loss.  

Expanded polystyrene –  

Also, expanded polystyrene often known as Styrofoam is produced by the expansion of beads. These beads contain pentane as a blowing agent. In addition, This closed-cell structure provides minimal water absorption and low vapor permanence.  

Phenolic foams –  

Finally, phenolic insulation is made by a process in which plastic foam forms. It creates an insulating core between two flexible layers.  

This insulation is perfect for preventing radiant heat loss.  


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Mineral wool is available in rolls or slabs. It is man-made from a range of materials including, recycled glass and fibers. In addition, mineral wool is a porous material that traps the air, making it one of the best insulating materials.

Architecture & Building, Loft Conversion

The ultimate guide to loft conversion stairs

Loft conversion stairs are tricky to get right, and they can make or break your project. Here’s what you need to know about ensuring that the stairs comply with regulations.  

Where should the stairs be located?  

The most ideal situation would be that you place the new stairs above the existing stairs for the most space-efficient solution. By doing that, it helps the new stairs feel like they were part of the original home.  

Make sure you have enough head height for your stairs –  

Making sure that there is enough head height is probably the most important thing because it may be impossible to get permission to build. This is why it is important to get a good architect and make sure that problems on the drawings are spotted early. If you don’t realise this mistake it can lead to major problems and an angry homeowner.  

To follow building regulation rules, you must have a minimum 2m head height to get permission for this type of project. This is to follow the health and safety rules of the building regs. You need to make sure that there is no room for risk of falling and injury.  

What to do if you don’t have enough head height?  

Finding a new place to put a staircase can be very tricky. It may be necessary to locate the stairs to a more central location under the roof’s highest point. However, you may have issues with this because there might be a bedroom or a landing in the way.  

Experienced architects will know some type of solution to not having enough headroom. You can create extra headroom by:  

  • Extending the roof with a dormer window  
  • Installing a roof window that adds extra head room 
  • You can also change the roof shape although it is a process 

Regulations for a loft conversion staircase –  

To be able to create a loft conversion you must comply with building regulations. The regulations for a loft staircase are:  

  • The staircase must be in place to provide safe access to and from the loft.  
  • The minimum head room height is 1.9m  
  • Hand rails must be provided  
  • Must have a maximum steepness pitch of 42 degrees 
  • All risers must be equal  

How much will it cost to put stairs in the loft?  

The total average price for a loft staircase is around £2,000 – £9000. However, if you would like custom-built stairs, you’ll be looking at around £5,000 – £10,000.  

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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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Advice Center, Loft Conversion

Everything To Know About Fire Safety For A Loft Conversion

When converting existing roof space into a room the provision for escape needs to be considered throughout the full extent of the escape route. The protection of life in the event of a fire is extremely important and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  

Fire detection and alarm systems –  

Where new rooms are provided above the ground floor level, fire alarm systems should be installed as they can significantly increase the level of safety, by giving an early warning of fire. 

It is essential that the fire alarms are properly designed, installed, and maintained.  

Important notes –  

  • Smoke alarms should be positioned in the circulation spaces within 7.5 m of every room.  
  • No bedroom door should be further than 3 m from the nearest smoke alarm.  
  • There should be at least one smoke alarm on every storey of the property. 
  • Smoke alarms should not be fixed next to or directly above heaters or air conditioners.  
  • They should also not be placed over stairs or any opening between floors. 

Ways to escape if there was a fire –  

The main escape route from your loft conversion would normally be the hallway and staircase of your home. Therefore. This route needs to be protected as much as possible and offer at least 30 minutes of fire resistance. 

How this can be achieved –  

  • All the doors that lead off from the staircase will need to be upgraded to give fire resistance or be placed with fire doors.  
  • If your stairs lead to an open plan area, they will either need to be enclosed with partition walls, to keep the escape route protected. Or, you will need to install a sprinkler system in the open plan area. 
  • You may need to upgrade the fireproofing on your ceiling below the new loft conversion. 

The main fire-resistant materials that are used are timber stud partitions and metal frame partitions. With these materials, the potential fire will be delayed for around 30 minutes.  

You will also need an escape window; this window would need to be no higher than 1.1 m above the floor and 459 x 450 mm in size. This is because you need a large enough space to escape out of in case of an emergency.  

Alternative escape routes –  

Often people who want to take extra safety measures feel more comfortable if there is an alternative exit. The best way to include this is by adding an external staircase leading to the loft conversion. Although, you would need to make sure that the external door is also fire resistant and the outside stairs should be protected from weather conditions.  

Do I Need Fire Doors If I Have A Loft Conversion - OakwoodLoft

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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
Loft Conversion

Loft Conversion: The first Steps you need to know

Are you thinking of having a loft conversion, but don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’re uncertain about how much it is going to cost? Simple. Here, we can offer you a guide into loft conversions, explaining exactly how they work.

What Does a Loft Conversion Entail?

When it comes to loft conversions, there are a lot of complex tasks for you to consider. If you hire a contractor who can bring all their laborers and tradesmen together on time, everything should run smoothly. (Weather permitting!)

The first steps

The first task you will face involves scaffolding. When it comes to the materials you’ll need, they should be assembled on-site. It is important to note that during the first week, the roof will be in an open, exposed condition. If the roof structure has changed by the second week, this will be the next step of your project.

In this case, extra support will be brought in by the contractor, if necessary. If you are going for a roof light conversion, now is the time for the windows to be fitted. Also, if your project is a dormer conversion, this is when the dormers themselves should be built.

During the third week, the external work on your property will be completed. Furthermore, any construction work on the roof should be finished. This will allow the tiles to be fully replaced and finished. The fitting of roof insulation will also be arranged during this period.

Inside the conversion

When it comes to inside space, the loft will now be ready for any electrical work or plumbing. As you enter the fourth week of construction, any windows that haven’t already been fitted will be. In addition to this, the floor will be laid with any needed ventilation. The plasterboard will also be suited, and any internal walls that have yet to be built will be raised.

The fifth week will mainly involve fitting in the staircase. If you are considering featuring any bathrooms, now would be the opportunity for them to go in. Week number five should also involve the completion of any major electrical works. This will involve the hanging of doors, the skimming of plaster, and the fastening of skirting. For the sixth and final week, any unfinished tasks will be attended to. If your contractor is due to finish decorating duties, they will make sure these are completed during this time.

And that’s that! It is important to note that this is only an IDEAL schedule. This represents the minimum length of time for each stage of construction. If your project is more customised or self-driven, it is likely that the process will take longer.

How Much Will It Cost Cost?

Depending on the options open to you, you will find that loft conversion prices vary. This is due to the large-scale nature of the project. The main decider for the price tag is what type of conversion you want to have. On average, a Velux Loft Conversion will generally fall between £10,000 and £20,000. If you’re looking for a conversion with a dormer window, these will cost anywhere from £30,000 to £60,000.

One of the more expensive choices is a Mansard Loft Conversion. These are used for additional living space, whether in the form of a playroom, study, extra bedroom, office, or lounge. This type of conversion will transform the entire shape of your roof, with costs coming in between £40,000 and £70,000.

With any loft conversion, the bigger and better you get, the more costly your project will be. In order to keep your final vision in tune with the price, you must establish a budget early on. Moreover, planning each stage of the construction thoroughly before work has commenced will prove extremely beneficial.

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