Condensation

We are near completion off our loft convertions and we have descoverd quite a condensation problem behind the insulation on the roofing felt.

I just wonderd if there any easy methods to stop this or is it just a case of ventilation?

If so what woud you recomend..eg ridge tiles sofit vents or vented roof tiles?

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Specification Height

I am looking at buying a house which the loft conversion ceiling height is round about 2m, this conversion has been complete for about 6 years.

Could you tell me is this legal?

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Vapour Barrier

Hi

I'm converting our loft into a playroom,I am fully insulating between the rafters with 50mm recticel euro sarking board leaving a 75mm air gap between the back of the board and the roof felt which is vp400 breathable.

I would like to line from the ridge down to the eaves cupboards 1.6m, do I need to use a vapour barrier under this or can I just tape the joints and over the rafters?

I've looked on diffrent sites and not had a lot of luck do you need the vapour barrier with these modern roofing felts?

Many Thanks

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Low Ridge Height

by Vijay
(London)

I live in a mid terrace mid 1930 property, I am considering a loft conversion.

My concern is that the height from the ceiling joist to the underside of the ridge is only 2.050m.

Obivously, by the time the steels go in the proposed floor to ceiling height would reduce.

What other people have done in the area is 'cheekly'raised the ridge height, the only way you can tell is from side view and as most are terrace houses you can not tell immediately.

I am concerned that even under PD when the plans are submitted to planning they would rejected for raising the ridge height.

The 2008 planning laws state the the alteration can not be higher than the highest part of the original house. Can I class the chimmeny as the highest part of the house?

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Getting Freeholder Permission For A Loft Conversion

Hi Jeremy,

I own the leashold on the top flat (of 2 flats) which has the only access to the loft space. The loft is not mentioned anywhere on the leashold documents though so I think (and the freeholder thinks) that they own the loft space.

I've asked them if I can convert it and they say they want to see full architecural drawings and for me to make them an offer to buy the loft space.

Does this sound like the correct procedure? And how much should I offer (flat value is about £210k, loft is fairly large, in Tooting, London)?

Thanks,

Tom

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Internal Loft Height

by John
(Hayes)

Hi,

I want a loft conversion but not sure I have enough height in the loft.

Is there a minimum height requirement for loft conversions?

I have been told by a builder that I need a minimum of 2.4 metres but I only have 2.0 metres.

Can you tell me where to find the relevant regulation which states the internal height.

Many thanks

John

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Converting The Loft To Ensuite Bedroom

What is the most cost effective way to go? there are just so many things and stages to consider.

I mean, is there a idiots-guide to this type of conversion or have you got a list of things I need to do from start to end of whole project?

I have spoken to an architect who has quoted his cost. But I'm so nervous and worried, dont know where to start.

I've been told I need to get architects drawings first but from this site, I read that loft conversion specialists can be just as effective.

I've never owned a house before and so never had opportunity to convert a loft. its not so much the project that worries me but the complications with neighbours as I dont know all the regulations.

Thanks

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Ventilation

by Michael
(Manchester)

I'm considering a loft conversion in my terrace house and was thinking of having the roof sprayed with insulating foam (which would stick directly to the slates).

However, I've heard arguments both for and against: that this will result in no ventilation and should be avoided and contrary, that the foam creates a 'thermal envelope' in which ventilation isn't needed. I've had trouble with condensation before and had to have two vents fitted to the master bedroom so would much rather 'air' on the side of caution! Any help would be appreciated!

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Regarding Building Regulations

Do you have to have a radiator in the loft conversion or will any heating do as I am having a new combi boiler done. So I need to know if I have got to have one

Thank you

Lorraine

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Loft Conversion Info For Bedroom

Can I convert my loft into a bedroom.

We have lath & plaster walls in the upstairs rooms.

Could you tell me how we make a strong floor for the loft please?

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Roof Problems

by Andy
(Rotherham)

I have full planning permission and building regs for a 2 storey extension with an attic conversion with ensuite and a dormer window.

Im a bricklayer by trade(house basher)the extension was no problem but when the truss manufacturer came out to measure up for a full new roof they computerised it and told me that its unfesable because there's only 1.8m between finished floor and ridge height.

I've been up in the attic and from ceiling height to bottom of ridge board measures 2385mm surely, thats almost 600mm difference between these two measurements,thats high enough for roof trusses to fit into this space.

The plans are drawn to use attic trusses but what if i cant use them what are my next steps I don't want to use any steels because I've had party wall issues with the next door neighbour who wont agree with anything.

My original roof is a hip roof with purlins

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Dormer

by Anthony
(Milton Keynes)

I bought my house when it already had a loft conversion.

It is a large room with ensuite - however both sides are slopped meaning that the after sized person has a limited area in which to walk in before he/she has to stoop.

Our family is expanding and we urgently need the extra space a dormer sized loft conversion will give us.

Will I have to pay much more to do this - given that all the cabling and water pipes etc are already in?

Thanks

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Water Pressure

by Harry
(Surrey)

Hi.

I am about to have a loft conversion done and wanted to have a couple of points answered.

I have a old pipe (not 28mm)coming into the house at good pressure and serves a combi boiler in the bathroom.

This is an 28Kw boiler and does a decent job, but if 2 people use the water i.e shower and washing machine running, the person in the shower looses about 30-50% hot water.

Now if I have the loft conversion done with the boiler running to two showers this would cause considerable problems.

Is it worth therefore putting in a new (blue) 28mm pipe mains into the house and then branching one pipe directly into the new loft conversion to run an electric shower independantly of the existing system in place.

Or do you think that I should leave the existing system in place and branch from the mains as it is (before it reaches the boiler)into the new loft conversion to an electric shower.

Thank You.

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Soundproofing

Dear Sir/Madam,

Do you have any information regarding the soundproofing qualities of vermiculite?

I have to soundproof the floor between two flats. I can access by taking up a floor board here and there.

Would I be able to push vermiculite through the joist space and would it be soundproof.

How much is it?

Regards

Brian

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Have I Boobed ?

by Sean
(Sheffield)

Two years ago I boarded out my loft,for storage.

The loft is 20'x20',there were 3 main joists(8"x3")running in line with a ridge at 5'10"centres, with 3"x1" fastened underneath at 20" centres.

I hung independant 4"x2" between main joists at 18" centres and insulated, I only have 200mm insulation then loftboard.

Is this ok ? I only boarded middle 12', do I need to do anything else?(ventilation etc)

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Truss Roof

I want to convert my loft.

I have a truss roof but I dont want to change the existing structure.

Can this still be possible by still strenghtening up the joists and putting in dummy rafters to take the adequate insulation and air flow.

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Loft Conversion - Height

by Nick Mercer
(London)

I've measured the height in my attic and it comes in at 2.1m.

Will this immediately put a halt to any further discussions to converting the space.

Other sites say a minimum of 2.4m.

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Neighbour constructed loft conversions over part of our roof

by Jas
(Birmingham)

We have a semi-detached house. Our neighbour has used about 10 inches of our roof for the dormer window overlooking our rear garden.

In addition, gave us no notice under the Party Wall Act 1996, as to the plans for the loft conversion.

Will this structure affect the selling price of our house? And later if we decide to buid a loft conversion too, will we have less space to build on?

What can we do now?

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Will we need to move out?

by R.Bodwin
(Sussex)

We are considering converting the loft of our bungalow.

We have small children and the thought of having to move out during the work is putting us off. Is it usually necessary to move out while some or all of the work is done? If so, how long are we likely to need to move out for?

There would be stairs built up from the existing hallway and we would have two dormers built.

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party wall financial dispute

by Sam
(City)

We are planning a loft conversion.
our neighbour already has a loft conversion, to which we readily agreed.

He is refusing to sign his agreement to our building works unless we agree to pay him £1000 towards the cost of the party wall. He says that if we do not pay, he will ask for a surveyor to be appointed.

Are we legally obliged to pay him?
Is he allowed to dissent over the issue of payment?

Are we better off paying him the money or appointing surveyors?

What could happen if we went ahead with the building without his signed permission (he has already said verbally he will agree if we pay him for the party wall)

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Cutting a roof truss

I would like to extend the loft hatch i currently have ( 600 x 600 ) but the roof truses go from left to right, and the new hatch is 600 x 1100 and has a truss right in the middle of it.

I dont have room to turn the hatch around can i cut the truss?

Thanks

Richard.

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Double apex loft extention

We're thinking of buying a house and would like to know if its possible to make a loft extension between the double apex/gable ends of this house; would you consider putting a flat roof between the two as OK or mad?

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What are pros and cons of using double glazed Wooden french doors?

by Yogesh
(London)

Hi,

I am receiving conflicting advice regarding the useage of Double glazed wooden Fench doors for my loft conversion, in my victorian terraced house.

The advice I have received is that Wooden doors will be problematical "down the line" and it will be better off to use UPVC doors.

We are choosing Wooden French doors becasue we prefer the look and feel as opoposed to UPVC.

If I decide to use Wooden doors what would you recomend I do to them to ensure longer life?

Many thanks,

Yogesh

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Chimney Stack Right In The Centre Of The Roof Space

by Katherine Parrish
(Derby)

We have just bought a house and I would like to convert the loft in to a bedroom /ensuite bathroom.

The pitch is steep but the chimney stack goes right up through the centre of the space.

We have considered removing the gas fires so there is no reason to have a chimney. or could it be possible to move it?

What do you suggest?

Many Thanks

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Simple Loft Conversion - No windows but power and good floor

by Karen
(North Yorkshire)

Dear Jeremy

I have seen adverts on ITV for loft conversions for £500.

We are having other (expensive!) work done on our home and wondered whether this kind of conversion would suit our needs.

We don't want a window - just a good floor that we can carpet and plasterboard walls that we can paint and use as a overspill room for our teenage children and their friends to sleep in when there are more than 4 sleeping over.

We wanted to partition off the area where the water tank is and have a lockable door and just use that bit for storage.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thank you

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Cracks In The Bedroom Ceilings

by Karin
(London)

I am at the moment having a loft conversion (hip to gable with a dormer) and I have noticed that new cracks have appeared in the bedroom ceilings below and the existing cracks have widen.

The house was built in 1935. What shall I do with these cracks?

Is there any danger associated with it?

Karin (retired)

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Totally Confused!

by Will Innes
(Glasgow)

Hi there - I have bought a top floor tenement flat and it comes with a huge roof space. It is on the second floor of a 130 year old building.

I would like to convert the loft however the big stumbling block is the fire regs. I have been told I need a secondary staircase leading onto the communal hall.

Is this correct and is there ANY way of getting round this issue ie having a fully opening window into the communal hallway.

Thanks, Will

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Loft Bedroom & Ensuite - Saniflo or Soil Pipe?

by Annabelle
(Hove)

Hello,

I am looking to convert my loft in a victorian terraced house into a master bedroom with ensuite, with a dormer at the back. We have seen various loft conversion specialists and all but one have said to install a saniflo as the soil pipe for our house is at the back. The company we want to use almost always install a standard soil pipe. Our concerns are that we may lose out on head height if we go with a standard soil pipe or that we may have to have boxed points for the rodding eyes in the main bedroom. Our roof height is 2.5mtr. Any advise please?

Also, we live in Brighton & Hove's plaanning area and i understand from the new regulations that we can no longer have a juliet balcony. In order to preserve as much light as possible we would like to have as much of the dormer glazed as possible. Under the new regulations is it possible to have 2 full length glazed panels which tilt from the base and do not open fully?

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Can my loft be converted?

by Simon Clarke
(Chandlers Ford, Hants, UK)

Hi, I have a 1920/1930 Semidetached house.

I have been told you have to have a minimum of 2.4Meters height to be able to convert the loft.. is this correct?

How do you make this measurement as mine is very close to that figure and if taken from the top of a joist to the bottom of the roof ridge beam then its just under 2.3 meters..

If I measure from the top of the joist to the roof lining then its 2.4 meters or just over perhaps..

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Teenagers bedroom is now in the Loft

by Lesley Bennett
(Chester)

The loft is insulated walled and floored. Opening Window but it is not a fire escape and the Loft has a pull down Ladder, he has been using it for over 2 Years ...do you think we have covered all what would be required for fire regulations/building regulations ......We have also fitted lots of smoke alarms around the house.

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Stairs

by Rob Memery
(London NW6)

Do you need stairs going up to a loft conversion where the space is to be used for a child bedroom.

Is a drop down ladder ok?

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End of Terrace (1907) Loft conversion

by A Downing
(Kent)

Hi,

I own an end of terrace 3 bed Victorian property that has had a staircase built to access a very large loft space.

The previous owner had to take out an indemnity insurance policy to cover the fact permission was not sort and or possibly regs not adhered to. Im curious about a number of things and wondered if you could help?

We may in the future like to convert and I beleive we are in a good position to do so.

The thing is it has original floorboards in the main area at the front of the house and an original dormer with two sash windows overlooking the rear of the property.

So are the floor/ceiling joists already strong enough or do they need reinforcing? Are the windows good enough as an escape route? And even though the stairs are solid and clearly done by a professional, will they still need to be ripped out and re done?

There is ample head room up there but the staircase at this moment in time is enclosed. does this need to be fire proofed and am I better fitting a fire door at the top or bottom?

Regards

Adam

PS There is still quite a large area running down the back of the house which I plan to use as storage. My main aim is to convert the main area into a master en-suite.

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Bungalow Loft conversion

by Andrew
(South Gloucestershire, UK)

I am buying a bungalow and wanted to no if building regulation would apply if I wanted convert my loft to a bedroom.

I know they do apply for a 2 storey building but not sure for a bungalow

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Loft for habitable use

by Masood Ahmed

The loft in our house at present is used for storage.

I wish to convert it for habitable use.my enquiry is.

How many steel beams do I need to use for the floor?

I would be very grateful for any advice.

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Attic Conversion

by Derek
(Wicklow, Ireland)

I am converting my atic,it has one w,metal frame in centre of roof whitch suports 9x4 beams two on each side; four in all.

These beams suport rafters on w frame.ceiling joists are 6x1 and a half inches.

Can I remove w frame and beams,and replace with struts from joists to rafters,also do my joists need strentening and if so by how much?

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Old loft conversion

Our loft was converted in the 70s and does not have building regs.

We have been told by several companies it would be easier to rebuild it than make modifications to comply with regs.

This could be very costly.

It has a dormer window.

Can a builder safely make modifications without building regs.

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Planning

by Anne
(London , E11)

We are looking to purchase a 5 bed house, one of the bedrooms being a loft conversion carried out in circa 1970. It has stair access and both dormer and Velux windows. The vendors are unable to provide copies of any building consents or planning approval. Similarly enquiries with the local authority have revealed nothing.

Should we be concerned or will the need to have planning consent, assuming the worst and it was never applied for even if it was required, now be deemed to have lapsed over time?

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Loft Conversion By Tenant

by Bob the Builder
(Rugby)

My property is tenanted and the tenant wants to use the loft for additional space e.g. study. It will not be used for sleeping.

The property was built in 1997 to the appropriate building regs, the trusses are suitable and the area is already boarded.

The tenant wishes to install ladder and lighting at their own cost in order to utilise the loft space.

The question is, as landlord, what responsibility, if any, do I have re building regs/planning permission?

Obviously, the tenant could go ahead and make these changes without my knowledge assuming he reverted it back at the end of the lease.

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What To Do Now

by Yvonne Coward
(Middlesbrough)

I hope you can help me, we had a loft conversion done four years ago,by what we thought was a very good company, we looked at other work they had done, and the people were very happy with then.

We paid £28,000.we live in a bungelow, so the two bedrooms and one bathroom conversion seemed ideal.

The conversion lookes out over the back of the bungelow.

After only one year we started to have problems. down stairs above the back door started to leak when it rained,in the bedrooms cracks have appeared, under the windows and also across the wall, now we seem to have a black mark that comes in the corner of another room.

Now as if that is not enough we have a leak in the bathroom, that comes out from under the bathroom skirting board.

We contacted the company who did the work, but they have changed the name of the company, and say because of that it is not the same company, so wont do anything for us.

Court is not any good as we have taken advice, and know we dont stand a chance.

I would like to know who we should turn to, to do the job right for us, before it falls apart.

It seems every builder plumber, joiner or any type of workman that we have had to do any work for us just simply want to do a terrible job.

Where do I go to find someone who will come in and do all the work that I can trust. Hope you can help me.

Mrs Yvonne Coward

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Converting A Trussed Loft

by James Harrigan
(Middlesbrough)

Because of the design of the truss frames my loft conversion will require a structural modification.

So can you tell me if building regs will allow for me to continue the work myself when I have never taken on a task of this size before?

Infact this loft convertion will be a challenge for me.

Do you have any starter tips and MUST DO'S

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Is it possible to convert an attic with a low roof into a room?

We have an 1803 cottage where the max attic height is only about 1.65m.

The attic space is quite big. Is it possible to convert this space so we could stand up in it, or at least half of it?

Raising the roof will be very expensive we assume but is it possible to insert dormer windows that slope upwards so that at least half the space could be used.. or anything else you can think of.

Many thanks

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Loft conversion for a two up two down victorian house

by Maureen
(London)

Floor plan

Floor plan

We have a small victorian end of terrace house and need more space.

We would like to do a loft conversion to add a bedroom and a compact bathroom with a bath, but are having difficulty with the layout.

As you can see from the floor plan we have a central staircase with a small (2.5 feet square) landing.

We know that we will have to sacrifice some of the front bedroom to get the stairs up but are wondering ideally how we would run the stairs without losing too much space in the loft

As we have very little space to play with. Any pointers you could add would be appreciated.

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Bungalow Loft Conversion

by Rod Douglas
(Shepperton)

I have a single storey Bungalow and want to convert the loft space into a bedroom and bathroom.

As I understand the regs I will have to provide Fire Detection, can this be in the form of normal battery smoke detection placed in the loft space and the fire exit route (the stairs)As I believe a fixed alarm system is a bit overkill for a storey and a half.

Rod Douglas

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Re-instatement of an attic room

by Shaun Williams
(East Sussex, UK)

I live in a listed building that was divided into semi-detached many years ago.

Unfortunately the stairs to the attic rooms was 'next door' so stair access to my attic room from my house was lost.

I would like to fit a new staircase and effectively re-instate the attic room, is this the same as a loft conversion?

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Purlin roof

by Mr. Buckenham
(Kent)

We have 3 horizontal beams spanning the loft area between the rafters can these be removed before the top of the rafters are braced ?????

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Loft conversion in a block of flats

by Quang Nguyen
(ST7 2EZ)

Dear Sir,

I live in a three bedroom duplex flat, there is a large loft space which I would like to extend into.

I could have a large bedroom or two single rooms in this space. Maybe even room for a shower.

Provided I get an architect to draw out the plans and it obeys building regulations. Do I need planning permission for this?

The roof is not facing a highway the other side of the roof is facing a private lake.

Do I need to get permission from my neighbours?

Do I need to soundproof the loft?

Many thanks for your consideration

Quang Nguyen

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Existing Loft Conversion And A Proposed New Extension ...

by Mark
(southyorkshire)

Hello

I am writing for some advice if possible please.

I have an existing loft conversion on my house that was done by a friend of mine approximately 10 years ago.

At the time I did not go for building regs for the conversion as I was told (rightly or wrongly), that it would only be an issue if I came to sell the property.

I was told that by not having building regs that I would not be able to advertise the house as having an additonal room, and would only be able to sell the property as having additional loft space.

The conversion was done to a good standard, using 7x2 joists running along side the existing with supporting wall in between.

These were all bolted together properly with the required fixings. Interlink 240v smoke alarms were fitted to all levels, and a fixed staricase with the correct headroom was installed.

The isulation was done by using 25mm kingspan and then overboarded with plasterboard, although I am aware that this is not the correct amount.

All ceilings on the 1st floor level were overboarded and skimmed. Fire doors were not fitted to the property.

The loft is only used as a sleeping area, and there is no ensuite etc.

I am now considering having a single storey extension fitted to the property and I have submitted the plans to the building control for approval.

The propblem I now seem to have is the fact that the building inspector has noticed that there are velux windows installed in the existing roof and he is wanting to know if these are a means of fire escape for an existing loft conversion.

My main question therefore is, can the inspector make me undertake additional work to bring the existing loft conversion up to today's building regs standard, even though he is not there to inspect that part of the property.

If this is the case, and I hope that it isn't, it would mean ripping the loft to bits and basically starting again. If this is the case then I think that the extension idea may have to be dropped unless there is an alternative option.

From the information that I have provided, is it possible to give me some idea what would need to be done to bring the loft up to standard if I needed to. I know it's my own fault for not going through the building regs for the loft conversion, but at the time I took someone elses word for it. It seems that now I may have opened a can of worms !

I hope you can give me some advice on the matter.

Thanks in advance.

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Insurance against loft conversion disaster

by worried
(UK)

Hi,

I live in a post war semi bungalow, tiled roof / brick walls.

Next door are planning a diy loft conversion.

I suspect that no proper consent or plans will be used.

If any disaster happens during or after their works that results in collapse and damage to the party wall or worse who would be liable for damage to MY property.
No actual proof they have property insurance.

Also,their intention is to lay beams from the gable end wall to their inner layer of the party wall - does this need my agreement ?

No idea if my property insurance would cover such a disaster but currently reticent to seek their advice.

thanks

Worried

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Roof and Boarding

by Rose

Hi

I'm currently insulating and boarding the floor in my loft- just going to be used for storage but I want to make sure things that I put up there stay dry and clean.

I have a slate roof that has no insultaion, what do i do about that, I wanted to have it boarded?

Also i want to have the walls boarded to make it look cleaner who do I need for that, is it a builder?

Thanks

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loft conversion

I have a 1930's built detached house. The lower walls are cavity brickwork and the upper walls are of timber framework with brick chimney stacks, with what I assume are load bearing partitions in the centre.

Rafters are supported by timber frame external walls. The first floor is supported by flitch beams bearing onto the brickwork. There is a substantial timber roof structure which is very strong. I want to convert part of the loft to accomodation, accessed by space saver stairs.

Is it possible to strengthen the existing ceiling joists over one bedroom which are not strong enough by adding a timber beam underneath, ie visible in bedroom, supported by the external brick flue to one end, and load bearing internal walls in the centre of the house which are to either side of staircase as in photos. Thanks

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Half Brick Party Wall & RSJ

Hi,

I have an 1880 2 up 2 down terrace cottage with extension to the rear.

I am planning a loft conversion for which i will need 3 steel beams.

The existing layout has 2 brick walls running from left to right where the original stairs would have been. I want to remove one of these walls to make the master bedroom much bigger. This is where i will use beam number 1

I also need to install 2 new beams under the ashlar walls (directly below the Purlings) in the loft. these will take the weight of the roof and shorten the effective span of the existing "floor" joists in the loft to 1.3m (the ceiling joists are 2x4) this means i shouldn't need to use larger floor joists and can maintain maximum head room in the loft.

Both ends of all of these beams will be supported by the party wall with appropriate pad stones.

However; I am concerned that my upstairs party walls may only be Half brick thick. The upstairs rooms are 70mm wider than the downstairs rooms.

Is this possible/likely and if it is is there any other possible solution for installing these beams? can it be done with a half brick thick wall?

Thanks

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Purchasing a building completion certificate

I have recently had a loft conversion built by a local company,I had payed for everything by the time the work was finished but I was told that the building completion certificate would cost me a further £800.in advance,is this legal?

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Dormer Windows

by Sally Stuart
(Canterbury)

Basically, its a 1960s chalet bunglaow type house. At the rear of the builing a dormer window has already been put in for the master bedroom.

This leaves quite a large void of approx 3-4ft of voided area behind the bathroom. At the opposite end of the house next to the bathroom a two storey extension was built and due to the chalet bungalow style, has a sloping roof at one end of the room.

I would like a dormer window to make the bathroom larger and also to square off the second bedroom next to the bathroom. How do i go about beginning this process? Do i need plans drawn up prior to getting a builder? Or does the builder just pop round have a good old look and quote from this?

The building to the right and left of me are of the same build and all have dormer windows across the rear of their properties.

I also have a flat roofed conservatory undearneath the area that requires the dormers, is this potentially a massive problem that could halt the process before it all begins? Also i understand the costing maybe how long is a ball of string, as you can't see the property. But does anyone have a rough ball park figure?

Sorry if these seem like silly questions, but this is my first home and I am wary of having the wool pulled. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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We are having a loft conversion and now cracks appearing in neighbours loft conversion

We are currrently in the process of having loft conversion. Our neighbours had theirs done at the end of last year.

The neighbours have today informed us that the 'builders were banging today' and hairline cracks have appreared and little bits of plaster are falling off in their loft room. The steels were all in a few weeks ago and it was the slight repositioning of the padstones that was being done today.

We have a Party Wall agreement in place etc. and had a Surveyor to do a full report on the condition of their property prior to work starting (we did not get this from them when they did their loft conversion... but we thought they would be more concerend about the party wall as our work might affect their new loft room so wanted to protect us as much as them).

The builder is saying that this cracking is to be expected to a point as the wall is not a cavity wall and he did explain this to the neighbour. Builder is also offering to put it right.

The trouble we have is that this has not been an easy ride with the builder by a long strech - alot of promises, reassurances have been made on too many occasions to know now what is ture or not....and nothing is ever the builders fault.

Is it likely that, however careful/dilligent a builder is, the vibration etc. could affect the plastering of the party wall the other side....or is it more likely because they have gone about it the wrong was and caused the problem from their 'approach'.


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Loft Conversion - Advice Needed

by Ben
(Kent)

I am writing as I was hoping that one of your experts could advise us on our loft conversion project, which we are just about to undertake. Our main area of concern is in relation to building regulations, but I have listed below as much detail as I think might be relevant - sorry if it's too much, but I didn't want to miss anything that might be important.

Existing Property Details

- Terraced house, built approx 1860-1870.
- One of a block of four houses mid-terrace - the four in our block are slightly larger than those either side. We are on the end of this block, so adjoin with a house of equal size on one side, and a smaller property on the other.
- Ground floor: lounge, dining room, kitchen off the back
- First floor: bathroom and bedroom
- Second floor: bedroom with dormer window in the 'front half' of the loft. Unsure of when this was built, but it's clearly quite old (lathe and plaster ceiling, aged looking ceiling joists). Perhaps original, as all four houses in our block have the additional floor and dormer window on the front.

The Plan

The plan is to convert the 'rear half' of the loft on the second floor into a usable room - for our purposes this will be a bedroom for our new baby. In addition we will be installing a toilet in the new space, access to which will be through the existing bedroom (via the existing door that currently leads into this loft space). A new door will be created to allow access to the new room from the stairs, and the stairs adjusted slightly to allow safe access. A party wall will need to be built between us and the neighbours on one side. We will be installing either one or two velux style windows in the roof (interfering with no more than two of the existing eight joists).

Two of the other houses in our block of four have converted this area of the loft, as velux windows are can be seen in the roof on the back of the house.

The work is due to be carried out by my father in law, who is a retired builder. This offers us a significant cost saving as we are only paying for materials - otherwise we would not have the budget to consider such a project.

The Neighbours

We are on generally good terms with neighbours on both sides, particularly the ones in the second house in our block (who will be most affected due to party wall required). I believe they are considering a similar project at some point in the future. Noise should not be an issue, as they have been creating plenty recently themselves (from DIY, that is!). The neighbours on the other side should not be affected too much.

Planning Permission

My understanding is that we are within the criteria where planning permission would not be required (i.e. not altering roof line, within 40msq, etc).

Party Wall Act

Unfortunately I only recently found out about this, so we have not notified our neighbours in writing. However they are aware of our plans, and I am confident that due to our good relationship with them this should not cause an issue.

Building Regulations (the real issue!!)

We have discussed this on several occasions with my father-in-law, and I have never been quite satisfied with the response (hence am writing to you!). He has advised that to meet building regulations standards would increase the cost significantly, way beyond our budget. He has advised that if we were not to refer to the room specifically as a 'third bedroom', but as a 'storage space', we would not need to comply with these standards. We are happy not to call it a bedroom (even though it will be). However, from my own research, I don't believe we can claim this is a storage space, when it will have two windows, a radiator, and electrical sockets.

He has also suggested that nobody is likely to find out, and that we are unlikely to cause ourselves any potential issues. Given our good terms with the neighbours, and the fact the new windows will not face the highway, he might well be right. But I am concerned what happens when we come to sell the house (which probably wouldn't be for a couple of years at least).

To meet building regulations he has mentioned such things as fire doors throughout the house, raising all the electrical sockets in the house, thickening the bathroom ceiling (bathroom is under the space to be converted). Basically he has seemed to suggest that we would need to bring the whole house up to building regulations standard. However, my own research suggests that this is not the case - only the work being carried out would need to conform (with the exception of fire doors, which would be required).

I should stress that he is not compromising on safety - he just feels that some of the building regulations are unnecessary, or 'over the top'.

We are due to start work in just over a weeks time, which leaves little time to query with the council. Also I do not want to ask the council directly at this point, as then we will definitely have to conform! I have done some research on their website, and it is possible to apply for building regulations approval after the work has been carried out, for a similar fee.

Given all of the above, I would be very grateful if your experts were able to provide any perspective on the queries below:

1 - Given our plans, should we technically be conforming to building regulations standards? Or can we get away with calling it a 'storage area'?

2 - Should the answer to number 1 be 'yes', what exactly would we need to consider to conform? My research suggests at least the following:
- strengthen floor
- soundproofing
- smoke alarms
- fire resistance
- specifically qualified people to do plumbing / electrics

3 - Other than fire doors, do we need to concern ourselves with the rest of the house, or is the focus entirely on the new area?

3 - Could we comply in certain areas (those that would be a pain to rectify later, for example the floor), but add things such as fire doors and smoke alarms at a later date (when we have more money available), before seeking retrospective approval?

4 - Should it be beyond our budget to comply fully, but we decide to go ahead anyway, what is the likelihood of being discovered and getting into trouble? What could this trouble potentially consist of? What are the risks when it comes to selling the house?

I would really appreciate any advice you can give us. Currently I feel very nervous about the whole project, but we do really need this space with a baby on the way. As we are due to start work next weekend, a quick response would be much appreciated.

If you need any additional information then please just let me know.

Many thanks.

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Loft conversion

by Jean Mair
(Scotland)

Over 20 years ago we put in a stair and added a bedroom and a showerroom upstairs without permission.

As it was done so long ago do we still need planning permission?

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Noises from roofspace in loft conversion

by Steve Culliford
(Berkhamsted, Herts, UK)

Hello. I don't know if I've come to the right place for advice but maybe you will know who can help if it's not you.

I had a loft conversion done about 6 years ago in a typical Victorian terraceed house (Berkhamsted, Herts). It is quite modest with one small dormer window but otherwise just the existing roof.

Above the loft ceiling the roofspace (just afew inches is insulated with hard foam like material, there are several downlighters which provide small openings to the roofspace when the lamps are removed) and on the roof itelf (concerte tile) there are a number of ventilation tiles.

Now my problem is in the past few weeks/months a constant low level hissing/crackling/rustling type noise has developed in the roof space which was never present previously and it seems to be there at any time of day or night and be fairly constant. It sounds a little like the crackle of fire.

I have wondered whether something (insect like )is eating away at the foam maybe or possibly it is just thermal in some way but I just don't know. I wonder if you have any experience of this sort of thing or know who I might approach to investigate it further. Thanks very much.

Steve Culliford

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Loft ventilation for hipped roof

by Steve H
(Lancs )

I am currently part way through a hipped loft conversion. I am aware that a 50 mm air gap is required between the insulation and the existing felt to create a path for ventilation and that I would need some vented soffit boards and then vented ridge tiles to complete this path.

My building Inspector came out yesterday and stated that there was no way of venting my loftspace because it does not have ridge tiles because it is hipped construction and the only way this could be done would be to remove all the slates and replace the felt with a breathable felt. This is out of the question as the cost would be considerable.

I have looked online and found that there are a number of products for ventilated hip ridge tiles.

Would I be right in thinking that this would solve the issue ? Would I need to get all 4 hipped ridges vented continyually along its entire length.

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Loft conversion in a 1940s bungalow

by Paul
(Leicester)

Hi are steel beams essential when carying out a conversion if the floor supports are icreased to 200mm depth and lifted away from the existing ceiling joists by approx 25mm on the supporting walls.

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Enclosing a loft

by Debbie Price
(Dana Point, CA)

I am a renter who wants to enclose my loft for mainly noise reduction for my teenager.

I cannot damage the ceiling or wall of the loft and don't want to spend alot of money since I will have to take this down when I move.

Please help!

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Confused by plans

by Brian
(London )

We have had plans drawn up by an architect and they have been approved by the council.

Currently we are getting quotes from different builders and loft conversion companies. But all of them have had an issue with our plans.

We have had comments like they cannot work with these plans and want to draw up their own plans to the steels will have to be specially made and will add £4000 to the quote.

What would your advice be for moving forward?

Should we stick with our architects drawings or do we have to bite the bullet and pay for new plans to be drawn up?

If new plans are needed will we have to resubmit to the council ?

Many thanks for any help or advice

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