HOMEOWNERS can add £62,000 to the value of their home by adding a loft conversion – and you don’t even need planning permission to do it.
Generally, anyone who want to make any drastic changes to the outside of their house will need to get permission from the council before starting work.
1 Most loft extensions don’t require planning permission
Earlier this week, the Government overhauled rules in England that forced people to submit full planning permission for a single-storey extension, saving homeowners £206.
But what are the rules when it comes to converting your attic?
Adding an extra room in the roof can create between 30 and 50 per cent extra living space to your home, according to Becke Tibbert of Econoloft, without losing any garden space like an extension.
Work on the loft falls under “permitted development rule” which means you can make certain changes to your home without permission, subject to a few limitations.
Things you can do without planning permissionHERE are a few other things you can do to your home without getting planning permission.All of them are subject to a few restrictions and building regulations. You can find the full list on the Planning Portal.
Add single storey extensions of up to 4m by 6m,
Moving windows and doors, as long as you’re not looking directly into neighbouring properties,
Move interioir walls, as long as the total footprint of the house stays the same,
Loft conversions of up to 50 cubin metres for detached and semi-detached properties, or 40 cubic metres for terrace houses,
Single-storey conservatories of up to 4m by 6m,
Outbuildings that double up as office space,
A porch of up to 3m tall,
Garden decking as long as it’s now more than 30cm above ground,
Swimming pool as long as it’s no bigger than 50 per cent of the size of the garden.
When it comes to attic conversions, you can extend the space by adding dormer windows or slightly change the shape of the roof as long as it isn’t higher or wider than the existing dimensions.
For semi-detached and detached houses, a loft conversion mustn’t add any more than 50m³ of space to the house or 40m³ for terrace houses.
It doesn’t mean that you have free reign over the conversion though.
“The chances are some elements of your build will need building regulation approval,” explains Becke. “These set out minimum standards for construction and health and safety.”
A professional builder will be able to let you know if the work meets regulations, such as fire safety and sound insulation.
How do I chose the right builder for the work?TO avoid being caughtout by rogue builders, Becke Tibbert, Director of Econoloft, recommends you follow these tips when deciding who should carry out your work:
Only use a reputable builder that is accredited by the Federation of Master Builders, FairTrades Association and Trustmark – and don’t just take their word for it. Ask to see the relevant certificates.
Ask how long the builder has been trading and ask how quickly they can start work. If they can start work right away – alarm bells should start ringing. It’s usual to have to wait for a good builder to become available.
Never pay for the project in full up front. A reputable builder will ask for payments in agreed stages.
Always consult your neighbours to let them know what’s happening and when – you want to remain friendly.
There are a few other rules too, such as if your loft conversion involves extending your roof higher than the existing peak then you’ll still need to get planning permission.
The same goes for verandas and balconies.
To stay within the permitted development rule, the materials you use must be similar in appearance to the rest of your home.
You also have to make sure that any side-facing windows are frosted or patterned to top neighbours peeping in, and the fastenings must be 1.7m or more above the floor.
You can read the full list of restrictions on the Planning Portal.
If you live on the top floor of a flat or your home is in a conservation areas, such as the National Trust, then you will still need to apply for planning permission before carrying out any work.
If you don’t get the right permissions, you may be asked to take down any concerning elements of the build.
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But Becke reckons adding the extra room could boost the value of your home by 20 per cent – that’s another £61,658 on an average property worth £308,290 (Rightmove).
You’ll also need to factor in the initial cost of converting which varies depending on the design and materials, but prices start at around £15,000 according to Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.
Becke said: “As property prices increase, families who need more space have found extending into the attic makes financial sense. Many attics are quite large and if it is only used for storing the suitcases it is quite literally a waste of space and money.”
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