Once you have found a place that you and your family are happy in, it is natural for you to expand your living space. As your family grows, you can either move into a new property or extend your current property to fit your needs.

Moving to a new home is one of the most stressful things a person can do, and uprooting a family can come with a plethora of pains. Surveys show that people find moving home about as stressful as losing a loved one. However, a loft conversion costs, on average, around £100 per square foot. Better yet, the average three bedroom home will expand about 20 % in size after a loft conversion, which is substantial. Another key benefit is that when you convert your loft, the rest of your home has more room and floor space. This is especially true in areas of high land value, such as London.

Making the most out of a relatively small and unused space does not cost a fortune, especially if you take the time to find the type of conversion that best fits your home. Whether it is a mansard loft conversion, a hip to gable conversion or even a house extension, you gain a lot of area and potential floor space for little investment – especially if it is a toss-up between renovations and moving home.

Before you dive in and get a loft conversion, it is useful to know the different types of conversions available. What you decide to use will have a strong bearing on the aesthetics of the conversion, how much you will pay as well as the current style of your home.

Mansard

The mansard roof is an incredibly spacious conversion that maximises the amount of headspace in the room. These conversions work for any period properties (if you can get the planning permission) or properties situated in a conservation area that would require some foresight about local housing styles.

Although usually found at the front of a home, mansard loft conversions can work on all sides of the property. You can essentially create a new storey on your property with this conversion without an extension, with end results that are spacious and decadent.

The flat roof and airy ceilings creates a large area with heaps of headspace and dormer extensions drawing in light. This type of conversion can be found in all types of homes, from bungalows to chalets, and are an incredibly popular option within London. READ MORE

Dormer

Dormer conversions are a great way to expand a cramped loft space. By projecting out vertically from a sloping roof, dormers can transform a small room into a lofty space with lots of natural light from large windows. Dormer conversions usually do not require planning permission, and sizes can vary depending on the property and if a flat roof is suitable.

The flat-top design of the dormer conversions provide a great deal of headroom, but it does require a little extra work as the roof section that is being extended will have to be stripped and its structure rebuilt. As a result, prices on dormer conversions are a little more expensive, and time spent on the conversion is usually longer. The larger price tag and timeframes are worth it, though, as a dormer provides ample headspace, floor space and natural light for any type of room. READ MORE

Hip To Gable

Hip to gable conversions offer a great deal of space within the pre-existing loft space. These conversions allow for optimal staircase placements and enough room for utilities such as showers. Better still, most London properties do not need any planning permissions for this type of conversion.

These types of conversions are ideally suited to bungalows and semi-detached homes that already feature a hipped side. By removing the hipped part of the roof, a hip to gable conversion creates a new, vertical gable that works to expand the headroom available. To accentuate the new space, dormer windows can also be fitted to provide a pleasing aesthetic as well as natural light. READ MORE

Party Walls And Agreements

Party walls are a type of dividing partition that is used between two houses that are adjoined. The wall is shared by both tenants of the shared wall, and before you make any changes or do work on the party wall, an agreement has to be written. If you are intending to have your loft converted, then it is essential that you give enough notice to your adjoining neighbour.

Types Of Party Wall:

● A wall that is resident over the lands of two or more owners, and is part of a building. It can be part of the main house or a separate building.
● A wall that is on the land of two owners but not a part of any buildings. A garden wall is an example of this.
● Any wall that is found on one owners land, but is also used by multiple owners as a separation between buildings.

If, for whatever reason, your neighbour has a grievance and does not give their consent to your loft conversion, you will be glad to know that there are still ways to comply with the building requirements. You will have to deal with any formal requirements that your neighbour has highlighted, however they have no power to stop the planned conversion. This comes with a caveat, though – a disgruntled neighbour can impede on timeframes and other aspects of the build. This is worst-case scenario, though, and most neighbours are perfectly understanding.

The type of consent that your neighbour should give you is known as a Party Wall Agreement. In these agreements, all costs that are tied to the build go to the property owner that is involved in the build.

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