Transforming your loft into a livable space, for example as a spare bedroom or home office, is a great way to increase both the living space within your home and its value.
In the hands of professionals, conversions can be a simple and efficient process, but there remain a few factors that must be taken into consideration when undertaking a project such as this.
It may seem obvious, but one of the primary considerations that must be made when thinking about embarking on a loft conversion is whether or not your current roof space is big enough for what you have planned. There is no point in planning a spare bedroom or a leisure area if you will be spending your time in there crouched over and uncomfortable.
If it currently isn’t high enough, significant alterations to the roofline may be necessary, and this could come with additional requirements in relation to planning permission and building regulations. General dormer conversions may be fine without, but bigger hip-to-gable extensions will generally necessitate some form of approval. Always seek advice from professionals.
Often, even though the middle part of the room may have sufficient headspace, the pitch of the roof may be so severe that it becomes impractical to use the loft as a living area without alterations. A pitch angle of under 40 degrees is generally considered too low for a living space, and often means that the central head height is less than allowed by regulation.
In loft spaces with a low head height, there are generally two options: extend/alter the roof or lower the ceiling of the room below.
While the laws surrounding planning permission for extending homes has relaxed somewhat over the years, there are still a number of stipulations in regards to turning a loft space into a habitable environment.
In relation to ceiling height, 2.2 metres across the central part of the room is preferable in bedrooms and living room conversions, while a minimum of 1.8 metres (usually 2 metres) from floor to ceiling is required by law at the top of the staircase. If your current loft space doesn’t meet these requirements and you need an extension, this will have to meet building regulations, and will often mean scaffolding being erected on your property.
While pitched (or sloped) roofs may restrict headroom in certain areas of the loft, there is no maximum height limit, and the roof is permitted to slope all the way to the floor so long as other regulations regarding height are met.
Those properties located within conservation areas may also come up against issues when existing ceiling height is not adequate, as upwards extension is prohibited. In these situations, it is common to lower the ceiling of the floor below in order to accommodate the required head height in the loft space.
LMB Group are the leading providers of loft conversion and home extension projects throughout the Croydon and wider London area. If you require any advice and assistance regarding roof height regulations or alterations, don’t hesitate to speak to a member of our expert team today to get a better idea of your options.