Archive for January, 2013

How Much Do Loft Conversions Cost

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Want To Know How Much Loft Conversions Cost?

Ask any expert how much do Loft conversions cost and they should advise you that it varies from project to project and generally depends on a number important aspects.
It’s a question I get asked time and time again, so hopefully the following tips and advice should help to explain what costs are involved and what to expect when considering having a new loft conversion.

Before you commence with any major home improvement project such as having a new loft extension it is advisable to find a company that specialises in loft conversions to discuss your needs and reasons for wanting to convert your loft.

Is it true that the cost to convert a loft has been reduced?
Unfortunately not. Although some of the planning laws for loft conversions have been amended, the cost of building materials has increased.  The easiest way to get the best advice on what it would cost to convert your loft is to find a good builder / loft conversion specialist. Determining how much loft conversions cost also depends on the type of materials that have to be used to create a new loft extension and the technical implications to do so.

Is planning permission for a loft conversion still needed?
The Department for Communities and Local Government set out in its Planning Portal that the Government should remove planning permission for certain types of loft conversions. This was implemented although it doesn’t mean that all types of loft / attic conversions do not require planning permission.  Determining how much loft conversions cost also depends on whether you need to apply for planning permission or not as this in itself is an expense.

What types of loft conversions don’t require planning permission?
Generally speaking the rule of thumb is that any loft conversion that doesn’t exceed 40 cubic metres in volume within a terraced house or 50 cubic meters in a detached / semi detached house does not require planning permission on condition that:

  1. No part of a  loft conversion is higher than the highest part of the roof i.e. the existing ridge height.
  2. The materials used are similar in appearance to the existing house
  3. There are no verandas, balconies or railed platforms involved in the loft conversion
  4. There is no extension or protrusion beyond the roof pitch / elevation that fronts onto the public high way. So in other words you cannot construct a dormer on the front of the house but you can install roof windows ( velux type windows). However a dormer can be constructed on the rear or side elevation under further restrictions).

Are there any other planning restrictions for attic conversions?
Yes, if your property is a listed property or is in a conservation area then planning permission may still be required. Also any side facing dormer windows that overlook a neighbour’s property will have to be fitted with obscured glass . If in doubt always seek advice.

What savings are made by not having to apply for planning permission?
A planning application may cost as much as £1,200 to design, prepare and submit to the local authority. It also takes about eight weeks so the changes that have now been implemented have helped to reduce the cost to convert your loft and save a lot of time.

Do loft conversions still have to comply with Building Regulations?
Yes, all loft conversions must comply with current Building Regulations. If not then you could find yourself in serious trouble when you come to sell your home or with your house insurance company.

Do I need to tell my insurance company if I want a loft conversion?
Yes, whenever you carry out any major work on your home make sure that you inform your insurance company so that you are covered for any eventualities and that the extra living space that you have created is covered in the event of a fire or other problem.

Are there any height restrictions to consider when considering a loft conversion?
The steeper the pitch / slope of your roof the better. Houses built before the 1960’s were usually constructed from what is referred to as individual rafters. From the 1960’s onwards most roofs were built using ‘trussed rafters’ which are factory built triangular type   trusses that have a lot more timbers struts incorporated to support the roof. Converting an attic space constructed after the 1960’s is very often a much more complicated and costly process.

The point of access into a loft generally has to be approx. 2.3 m high. This will then allow the existing roof trusses and floor timbers to be increased in depth to make a loft conversion possible. New and most recent changes to the regulations also mean that more insulation has to be installed at the same time.

Most existing joists in properties were designed to hold up a ceiling, rather than support a floor, so it means having to install new floor joists and steel supports which in turn raises the floor height, thus reducing the amount of head height within the attic space.

Designing a new loft conversion to establish what loft conversions cost to build should be based around the easiest and the most practical cost effective option rather than an over engineered design. This is why careful consideration should be given from the outset and to appoint a good loft conversion contractor or company to give you the best advice possible.

Where can I get quotes from for a loft conversion?
Recommendation is always the best way but you can always search online for a reputable loft conversion specialist. Most good builders should be fully equipped and up to date with current regulations but it is very important to carefully compare all quotes. Check what is and isn’t included in the quote… such as bathroom fittings, planning and building control applications, engineers fees, laminate or carpeted flooring, tiling and decoration etc all of which add to the cost of completing your loft conversion.

How much do loft conversions cost?
The cost generally depends on the type and size of your property. The average cost for a loft conversion in a three or four bedroom house costs between £20,000 – £40,000. This however really does depend on the design, the condition of the existing roof and the finishing touches and layout that you are seeking. The bigger the property the more a loft conversion will cost. Having roof windows as opposed to dormers is also a much cheaper option. Again, it is worth discussing all of these options with your builder at the outset.

Using a builder or a company that can design and construct your new loft conversion for you is generally cheaper than having to find your own architect, designer, engineer and then a builder and is very often a much quicker process. Derwood Loft Conversion Specialists would be pleased to help you.

How long does it take to convert a loft?
This does depend on the size and type of property. However, the main construction work should take about 4 to 5 weeks and then all of the internal finishing works a few more weeks as long as the conversion is straightforward.

Will a Loft Conversion add value to my house?
A loft extension can increase the value of a property by £25,000 to £50,000, but it does depend on the size of the house and the size of the new loft conversion. Sometimes it could add a lot more value providing it creates extra sleeping space such as a bedroom with an en-suite bathroom.

Estate agents claim that by adding another bedroom is the single most valuable asset to add to a family home. Loft conversions are generally easier to construct than building an extension. Leading mortgage lenders also claim that a loft conversion is the most cost effective way of increasing a property’s value. In fact the Nationwide building society has stated that converting 300 square feet of loft space in to an additional bedroom with an en-suite could add more than 20% to the asking price of your property when you come to sell whereas the Federation of Master Builders claim it is 15%.

Loft conversions should never look or feel like an add-on to the property because if they do it could de-value your home. One of the main features for any loft conversion is the staircase.  Stair cases can vary in design and cost that in turn can have a major impact on loft conversion costs. Loft or attic staircases should be designed and built to look as though they are part of the original staircase rather than a cheap looking ‘add on’ . If the entrance to any loft extension looks unprofessional or  poorly constructed then it will de-value your home.

How much of the loft conversion work can I do myself to save money?
Things have changed over the years for the DIY’er in particular when it comes to complying with the strict building regulations and the policies that are now in place especially when it concerns structural alterations such as installing new roof trusses, joists and a staircase. Really speaking this type of work should be left to the experts.

There are other types of work that you may wish to do yourself which could save you a lot of money if you fancy having a go, such as installing the roof windows, insulating and plaster boarding the walls and ceilings for example, but just be warned that if any work is not in compliance with building regulations not only are you at risk of having to pay someone else to redo the work properly but your house insurance may also be void.

As with any large home improvement project, carrying out the work yourself does mean that the disruption you will encounter by doing the work yourself will last much longer. If you are thinking about taking time off work to do the work yourself then you just need to weigh up the time and cost should you have to use up your holidays or lose any pay as opposed to getting a professional in to do the work for you. Then of course there is the stress and strain you might put yourself under to consider.  If you are capable and willing to do some of the work yourself then it does have an impact on how much loft conversions cost, so food for thought!

What is the cheapest form of access for a loft conversion?
There are a whole variety of loft ladders and pre-made stairs that can be purchased to use as access into your loft. However, most of these will look like add-on’s rather than part of the house. They are cheap but can certainly help to keep the construction costs down. It really does depend on what your budget is and whether you want a loft conversion that looks and feels as though it is part of the house or not.

What is the best type of loft conversion to have?
A master bedroom with an en-suite is the definitely the most popular and one that will add the most value to your home. They are more expensive to construct because of the extra costs for the plumbing and the bathroom fixtures and fittings. Studios, studies, home offices are also big favorites as well as children’s playrooms.

Choosing a loft conversion and establishing how much a loft conversion costs, really does depend on what you need, whether your family is growing, whether you need to work from home or whether you simply want to create and add something extra living space to your home.
Plan well and seek as much advice as possible before you start any project and the end result should be exactly what you were hoping for.

If you would like to find out more on how much loft conversions cost then feel free to contact South Wales Leading Loft Conversion Company Derwood Homes

Kind Regards


Top Tips To Consider When Having A loft Conversion

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Having A loft Conversion

Having a loft conversion does require careful planning well in advance. Appointing a reputable loft conversion builder or specialist is usually a safe way of ensuring that you comply with all of the new building and fire regulations whilst doing so. Planning a loft conversion

Below are some tips to consider when having your loft or attic converted

1.  Is Your Loft Suitable To Be Converted Into Extra Living Space

Before getting too excited over the thought of having a loft conversion there are some basic things you can check to see if converting your attic doesn’t require raising the height of your existing roof, because this will save you a considerable amount of money, as well as the fact that some planning authorities will not permit it. For example, if the height between the existing floor joists / timbers in your loft and the underside of the roof ridge is approximately 2.4m then it is a good possibility that your loft can be converted without the need to raise the height of your existing roof.

Loft conversion experts such as Derwood Homes and Developments would carry out these checks for you but another major consideration is whether your house was built before 1960. The reason is simply because older roof structures tend to require more structural work to convert them rather the newer type attic trussed roof structure use more commonly today.   Good reputable loft conversion companies will carry out the basic checks for free.

2.  Call in the Professionals Converting an old loft or attic

Most loft conversions require substantial structural work to be carried out. This type of work is not really suitable for the average DIY householder to carry out. Attic conversions generally need steel beams to be installed, the existing floor and roof timbers to be upgraded and adequate fire and insulation materials to be installed. Building regulations must be adhered too at all times. The stair case and internal doors generally need to be upgraded or replaced as well as the central heating boiler if any existing tanks have to be removed from the existing attic space. Health and safety in the home is now more important than ever before and should it be ignored resulting in an accident or even death then the household can be held liable. So Don’t Take Risks !

3. Complying With Building Regulations

If you don’t comply with current building regulations then your house insurance will be void and should you later decide to sell your home then you may be faced with a situation where you can’t.  So you see, it is a wise to call in an expect.

Not all loft conversions require planning permission, but they all definitely have to comply with building regulations. As the works get under way each stage will have to be inspconverting a loft using steel beamsected and at the end certified by a fully qualified person.  A certificate is then issued stating that the work was carried out in compliance with current regulations which is also registered with your local authority building control department. It is this department that solicitors now have to liaise with when to check that any work carried out on a property has been correctly inspected and registered when buying or selling a property. So there is no escaping the importance of complying with current building regulations.

4.  Appointing An Architect

An architect, Engineer or surveyor will be required in order to determine the extra loads that having a loft conversion and creating extra living space will place on your home and of course to make sure that your property is still structurally sounds to sustain such a property improvement.  My advice is to appoint a builder, loft conversion specialist or an engineer who can provide a complete service so that you don’t have to appoint different people to carry out different aspects of the work. Keeping it all under the responsibility of one company avoids communication issues and who is responsible for what and when. This in itself is a major factor why so many people in South Wales, Cardiff, Bridgend and the surrounding area appoint Derwood Homes and Developments to convert their lofts as they offer a complete no fuss package.

5.  How Much Will A Loft, Attic Conversion Cost

There is no point of dreaming of a loft conversion if you haven’t even considered or established how much it is likely to cost.  Loft and attic conversions will add value to your property, but they can sometimes cost more to construct than the extra value they will add so this is something you may wish to consider if you are likely to sell your property within a few years after your loft has been converted into extra living space.  When budgeting for your loft conversion don’t forget the costs for items such as the planning or building regulation fees and inspections, architect fees, carpets, light fittings, bathroom suites, tiling ( if you are also adding an ensuite ) etc. All these items can add up to thousands!

6.  Work Out All Of The Costs Before You Start

Make sure that you obtain a written and itemised breakdown of what work is included from your chosen loft conversion company. There have been many instances whereby we as a company have how to convert a lofttaken over projects because a previous loft conversion company has won a contract on price alone only for the customer to find that the price they were given didn’t include insulation, fire doors, a stair case etc. hence the relationship they had with the company broke down. Ask questions to ensure you get it right !

7.  Loft conversion benefits

Most heat in our homes is lost through the existing loft and roof. Having your loft convert will eliminate this. In fact you should find that the rest of your home will become warmer once your loft has been converted due to the savings made from preventing heat from going through the roof. Attic and loft conversions tend to create extremely comfortable rooms. The heat loss is very small indeed due to new building regulations coming into force that in turn increased the amount of insulation that now has to be installed. Statistics have shown have fuel bills are reduced after a loft has been property converted into extra living space.

8.  Know what to expect throughout the work

Any type of building work that you have done within your home can be disruptive and for some people a little stressful no matter how good your builders are. There is bound to be some noise and of course dust but one good tip is to try and establish how the work will be carried out and how long it will take. A fair proportion of the work can be done from the outside in thus eliminating the need for your builders to enter your home from the start. A good loft conversion builder will try his or her utmost to carry out as much work with minimum disruption to you. Nine times out of ten we ourselves enter the property from the scaffolding we erect into the loft rather than through the house to carry out most of the necessary structural work that is required. Only when we have to cut into the ceiling to install the new stair case do we then have to start entering the property to complete the project. However, it is worth remembering that no two projects are the same.

9.  Establish How long the work will take

To enable you to plan ahead try to establish from your chosen loft conversion specialist how long the work will take once it has started.  Generally it takes anything from six weeks onwards depending on the size and technical aspect of the project. It is always a good idea to let your neighbours know that you are having work done so they to can be prepared for the extra vehicles, skips and deliveries that will be in the street. A good builder will always do his best to keep his customer happy and put in a good days works each and every day.  Don’t put up with a builder turning up as and when he feels like,

types of loft conversions10.  And Finally

There are times when unforeseen circumstances can arise. These may be linked to bad weather conditions, existing poor workmanship that the builder may come across as he is carrying out his work that in turn may need to be repaired or even sickness. A good builder will always do his best to keep his customer happy. Having a loft conversion can certainally add value to your home and create a nice little getaway or snug for your and your family to enjoy.

Everyone deserves a first class service and  professional workmanship.

For Free Advice or A Free Quote Contact Derwood Homes and Developments  HERE TODAY




Loft Conversions And The Extra Living Space They Create

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

I just love loft conversions

2013 is well and truly upon us and people are already calling us about converting their loft into some extra living space. With the cost of moving house being so expensive loft conversions offer a great alternative towards creating that much needed living space you and your family if room in the garden is limited to enable you build a new house extension.

Loft conversions are one of my favorite rooms because they are often the most unusual and most exciting room of any house if done properly.

Our home is what we make of it, the way it feels, its function and the amount of space it has depends on how it is designed and laid out.  Think about it… most rooms in our homes are generally boxed like, whereas when you enter into a loft conversion it can have some exciting and unusual roof angles and slopes all of which create character.

A loft conversion can have as many roof lights or dormer windows as you like with views overlooking the surrounding roof tops and spectacular scenery all the reason why it makes them so unique.

I don’t know about you, but being up there in sky being able to look out at the sun and stars feels special, like a little hideaway or refuge away from the rest of the house or the screaming kids.

Loft conversions are a great way to add more space, bring more light into your house and if you can afford to do so give you a new roof that will last for many years to come.

If you are thinking about creating some extra living space in 2013 for your home, don’t rule the idea of having a loft conversion as you may well be pleasantly surprised at what can be created in the dark old, creeping looking attic space.

There are quite a few regulations that need to be complied with but don’t worry about those because a good builder will be able to take care of them for you. You can find some of the important do’s and don’t for loft conversions here.

If you would like to learn more about loft conversions and how they could add value and extra living space to your home you might find this article helpful.

Learn more about loft conversions here

Kind Regards


How To Plan A New Home Extension 2013

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Tips to consider when you plan a new home extension

Decide what you want and really need when you start planning a new home extension

Deciding to build an extension or carry out some house renovations is a big decision. In the first instance you should decide what you actually want and really need to make your home a better place to live.

Secondly, think about whether there is a cheaper or alternative way to create the extra living space that you are seeking.

Building a new home extension can transform and add value to your home as long as it is done correctly. Over the last 18 months or so the planning and building regulations have changed so it is vital that you find a reputable builder who can give you all of the best advice necessary to help you get started.

When you plan a new home extension it is a good idea to find out how much it will cost before applying for planning permission and incurring any costs. The best way to do so is to ask a fully qualified and experienced builder who should be able to help you free of charge. 

The Key questions to ask yourself when planning a home extension

Do you want a single or double storey extension?

Single-storey extensions: These extensions are usually quicker and more straightforward to gain planning permission for. However, what we are finding is that more and more of our customers  want to build more modern home extensions with some unique features rather than a typical square or rectangular type of extension. But don’t forget it all ends up costing more to build hence the reason why keeping within your budget is a must ! Whenever we are asked to plan a new home extension for our clients we always ask them what they budgets are so that we can desgin something that is achievable for the budget they have set.

Building a single storey extension does make it is easier to create the access from your existing home whether by a door way or by taking down the outside wall of your home to create an open plan effect.  It also means that there is little or no disruption to the upstairs of your existing property.

Double-storey extensions: They do offer a lot more room and don’t necessarily mean that they are double the price to build. In fact there is less work involved creating a second level than there is constructing the ground floor. A single storey extension has to have foundations and a roof built in the same way as a double storey extension so that part of the cost is already accounted should you decide to build a double storey rather than a single storey extension. 

Either way, if you are undecided whether to build an extension or move home, it might still be worth obtaining the planning Alternatively, think about creating a single-storey extension with the option to add an extra storey at a later date. If you sell with permission to build a second storey you may get a better price.

Where do you want your extension to be positioned?

It’s important that the property remains balanced upstairs and down, particularly if  you intend to sell. For example, if your extension means that you have only two bedrooms, but three reception rooms downstairs, it could be harder to sell.

What should your extension look like when built?

When you start to look for ideas and plan your new home extension make sure that the extension blends in with your existing house – in other words that it looks like the extension has always there. For instance, a pitched roof might be more in keeping with the style of your home than a flat one in the same way as using the same bricks as on your existing house may be more inkeeping than using a render finish.

It’s always a good idea to make sure that the brick you use are the same ones rather than them simply looking the same otherwise when the new extension is built it may look odd. A good builder will ensure that he finds a match either by using a local brick merchant or specialist such as Hanson , Brickability or Brick Find.

Planning and building regulations for extensions

In September 2012 the government announced plans that for a three-year period homeowners in England could build bigger extensions without the need for planning permission. This would allow extensions up to six metres long to be built without permission, up from three metres.

However, it is always advisable to contact your local council about planning permission for a new home extension. Regardless of what renovation, refurbishment or new extension you decide to build, the works carried out must always comply with the most up to date building regulations, something your local building control department within the council offices can advise you about.

The local council are always keen to keep the landscaped areas around properties the same, so what might seem a small issue to you i.e. taking down garden trees or hedges could be a major issue for your local planning department.  So, if you are looking at extending your home, try to minimise removing trees and hedges within your garden, particularly any near the boundary that faces onto the public highway.

Some councils have recently carried out a thorough survey on all trees within their county and placed ‘tree preservation orders’ on them making it an offence to cut them down.

Planning a new home extension doesn’t have to be complicated. The best way to do so is to decide what it is you want to achieve and to then seek the advice from a reputable builder who can do the rest for you .

Kind Regards