Frequently asked questions for Loft Conversions
What is a velux conversion?
A velux conversion is one that uses roof light windows installed into the pitch of the roof to give light. There is no visible extension of the loft beyond the existing roof line therefore planning permission is not required.
What is a dormer window?
A dormer window is the exterior part of the conversion that is built at the rear of the roof to provide floor and living space and is generally a square section construction to maximise the overall living area.
What is meant by hip to gable?
This is when we extend the ridge line of a hip-end roof to make it into a gable-end roof. This gives you a much larger loft area. A hip to gable extends the ridge line from the existing hips to overall the flank wall of the house. It will effectively add on the required space to enable the staircase and the shower-room to be built and also increase the standing space available in the loft.
Where will the staircase go?
The staircases in almost all conversions are positioned above the existing staircase of the house. They start at the side of the bedroom door and climb upwards along the flank wall of the house and land at the top level with the new loft floor. This means that no extra space is needed or taken away from the first floor living area to accommodate the stairs into the loft.
Will the loft require planning permission?
All houses have a permitted development (P.D) allowance allocated by the local authority. If the house has no extensions, typically on the ground floor (kitchen,lounge etc) then the loft conversion will not need planning permission as no P.D has been used. However if a property has been extended (even if the current owners purchased it that way) then the volume of the extension would have to be calculated and then subtracted from the P.D allowance to decide if there is enough P.D left to build the loft. If there is insufficient allowance left then planning permission would be required from the local authority.
Do we require a Party Wall Agreement?
The answer is always yes when converting the loft as there are R.S.Gs or steel beams inserted into the loft and they are positioned to rest on and inside the party wall. Even though the beams only rest on your half and not the neighbours, a Party Wall Agreement has to be entered into to avoid any disputes arising once the work has commenced.
How long will the conversion take to complete?
Typically, a rear dormer loft conversion on a terraced property will take four and a half weeks to complete and a Gable end and rear dormer on a semi-detached property will take five and a half weeks to complete. These timings are an accurate guideline as we have four full time tradesmen that convert the loft and they have been with us for more than 10 years. We do not use sub-contract labour and therefore do not get let down by outside trades not showing to complete their part of the conversion. This means, barring exceptional weather conditions, we are confident of our agreed timescale with the customer.
Are Loft Conversions built during the winter as well as the summer months?
Yes, we work twelve months of the year. It’s a nice position to be in as our order books are always very good due to our high volume of customer recommendations. Especially in the winter months, Joseph James Loft Conversions build your loft to a system that makes sure that you the customer are never exposed to the weather at any time during the construction period. The summer months are no different.
Does Joseph James Loft Conversions obtain planning permission and building regulations or do we do this?
Yes, we can apply and gain all relevant planning and building regulations on behalf of their customers. We use our own architect to produce the plans and he submits them and the applications for planning and building permission to the local authority for their approval. This is all included in the fixed price contract that we present to you.
After they give permission for the loft conversion are the Local Authority involved? If so how?
The Local Authority is involved from the start to the finish of the conversion. They first receive the plans submitted by the architect and check all the structural calculations through the Borough Engineer’s department. Once these have been confirmed along with all the relevant building regulations for loft conversions, an approved set of plans are returned and the work can then commence. During the various stages of the work, a building’s inspector from the local authority arrives to make sure all the structural work and building regulations are being implemented in the construction of your loft conversion. After the completion of the work a final inspection is carried out. Once this has been confirmed as meeting all the requirements, a completion certificate is sent to the homeowner confirming that the loft conversion they have had built on their home complies with the building regulations covering England and Wales.
Can any loft be converted?
Nearly all lofts or attics can be converted as long as they are not breaching planning or conservation guidelines. However, it depends also on the height of the ridge. If you were to stand in the centre of the roof and measure from the top of the existing ceiling joists to the top of the ridge board at the apex of the roof and you have a minimum of 2.2 metres, then the loft can be converted. If the measurement is less than 2.2 metres even though the regulation on height has been relaxed in loft conversions, it is unlikely to have enough useable headroom clearance.
What insurances do you have and do you guarantee the work you do?
We have Employer’s Liability Insurance of £10,000,000 and individual Public Liability Insurance of £1,000,000. Both are available on request. We also offer a 10 year structural guarantee against our loft conversions and a 1 year free maintenance guarantee.
|Fact 1||NOT all loft conversions require planning.|
|Fact 2||All loft conversions DO require Building Control approval.|
|Fact 3||Loft conversions ADD to the value of the property.|
|Fact 4||You DON'T need to move out of your property whilst having your loft converted.|