There are many builders and specialist conversion companies out there who will do an excellent job of converting your loft for you.
The degree of their involvement is dependent on the householder and they can do as much or as little of the work as you wish.
Some builders and specialist companies will plan, manage and build your loft conversion from start to finish and, for most of us, this is the preferred option.
DIY enthusiasts however may do much of the work themselves and only contract out specialist jobs such as plumbing or electrical work.
But, in this article, we will take a step-by-step look at how a specialist builder will tackle your loft conversion.
Firstly, a specialist will assess your roof space to ensure it is suitable for conversion before discussing your design options with you.
This is when you will tell the builder exactly how you want your project to look. He will then let you know how practical your plans are and if any amendments need making to them.
The builder may be able to give you a rough price estimate at this stage but, the more likely option, is that he will be back in touch after a few days with a firm quotation. Ensure this quotation is a fixed price.
In other words, that no additional costs can, or will, be added on and that the quote covers everything you wish doing.
Any reputable loft conversion specialist will lay out in detail what your quotation covers and this will usually include drawing up plans, submitting them to the local authoritities building control officers and building the conversion ensuring that all standards of work and safety are maintained.
Once the quote has been approved the plans will be drawn up and submitted to your local council for approval under the building regulations and, if necessary, the planning rules.
Obtaining the correct approval could take between four and eight weeks depending on your council. Once obtained, your builder will inform the council when they plan to officially start work and arrange for any permits that are required to place skips on the road outside your home.
Using a specialist building company takes all the headache out of complying with the building regulations and you will not have to concern yourself with paperwork. But, no matter how reputable your builder is, ensure that you see the approval notice issued by the council.
The actual building of your loft conversion will probably take between six and eight weeks. The best companies will keep any disruption to a minimum and there is no reason to move out of your home whilst the work is being done.
The builders first job will be to erect scaffolding on the outside of your property before cutting an access hole in your roof. This will then be temporarily waterproofed to keep out the elements during the initial construction stage.
All reputable loft conversion specialist companies will work from scaffolding during the first half of the job. This is to keep disruption to the household to a minimum and to keep dust and debris to an absolute minimum.
Be very weary of any builder who says scaffolding is not required as they will need to take all equipment and materials through the house causing mess and inconvenience.
The new flooring joists and steel beams will then be installed followed by the windows or dormer. Roof tiles and flashing will then be added as needed before the scaffolding is removed.
At this stage, after four weeks or so, an opening for the new staircase will be cut into the first floor ceiling, the stairs installed and any plumbing and electrical work completed.
The final week or two will be spent plastering and completing the second fix electrical work.
During the build your local council building inspector will have made several visits to approve the on-going work and will ‘sign-off’ the final approval following his last site inspection which takes place after he receives confirmation from your builder that all work has been completed.
As can be seen from the above, although a loft conversion is a big job, it can be completed quickly and with the minimum of disruption if a loft conversion specialist is used.
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The old loft water tank will need to be moved if the roof space is being converted into a habitable room
Structural calculations for loft conversions are of course hugely important to ensure safety and that the proposed plans meet building regulations