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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > Nov-16 > Getting loft conversions right

Getting loft conversions right

Need more space, but can’t face the upheaval and cost of moving? Improving what you’ve got by transforming the attic could be the way forward, says Chris Bates
This scheme by Landmark Lofts shows how rooflights can provide a huge amount of natural brightness – making them an ideal daylighting solution if there’s no need to add extra height

Converting your roof space can be one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of adding space and value to your home – all without having to gobble up any garden amenity. It offers great flexibility, too. “The new zone could be used for an array of purposes,” says James Gold, managing director at Landmark Lofts. “It might be a master suite with a walk-in wardrobe, teenager’s bedroom, writing room or even a space to rent out to lodgers.” Other common uses include music rooms, games areas and cinema suites.

Exactly what uplift in value you get will depend on your property’s location, but generally the gains are biggest in urban areas. “A well-designed scheme can give more valuefor-money per m2 than any other type of extension,” says Becke Livesey, director at Econoloft. What’s more, in many cases the work can be done in as little as six to eight weeks.

Small wonder, then, that transforming an attic space is such a popular investment – but it’s still a major building operation, and there’s plenty to think about before you embark on a project. Here’s our guide to getting it right:

Do I need planning consent?

Many loft conversions fall under permitted development (PD) rights. This means you can cut out a lot of red tape, as you won’t normally need to apply for planning permission for a straightforward project, even if it involves a modest increase to the size of the roof space. The key constraints to bear in mind are as follows:

• Any additional volume created must not exceed 50m 3 (or 40m3 for a terraced house). So extra space added by dormers, hip-to-gable alterations etc cannot exceed this size if the project is to fall under PD rights.

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About Build It

Build It magazine’s November issue is packed with detailed practical advice & inspiring projects to help you create your dream home. Here’s a taster of what’s inside: • Stunning eco renovation (page 54) • How to get loft conversions right (page 64) • What you need to know about insulating your home (page 70) • 10 design tips for wetrooms (page 85) • Save money by getting your project budget right (page 100) • How to get planning permission in the countryside (page 106) … and more!