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Questionnaire: Is My Loft Suitable for Conversion?

By: Mary Williams BA (hons) - Updated: 3 Mar 2016 | comments*Discuss
Loft Loft Conversion Conversion Building

Converting a loft can give you the extra space you desperately need at home and can also add value to your property, but you must do it properly. Not only is it vital to establish whether or not you need planning permission – and to follow Building Regulations – but the conversion itself must be carried out by someone who knows exactly what they are doing.

Some homeowners will wish to consult an architect before going ahead – others will have extensive meetings with building contractors. All will need to consult their local authority regarding planning issues. Before you do all this, however, if you have been considering transforming your loft you may wish to have ago at this questionnaire to give you an idea of whether in fact a conversion might be a possibility.

1. Can you stand up in your loft?
  • A – Yes, there is plenty of head height right across most of the space
  • B – I can stand upright in the middle and for a step or two either side but then I have to stoop
  • C – No. I can’t stand anywhere in the loft

2. How much space is there between the purlins (these support the rafters) in your roof?
  • A – There seems to be a lot of space
  • B – Not a huge amount but I can imagine there’s enough space for a small room
  • C – Space is very tight

3. How was your roof made?
  • A – I think it has a standard timber frame
  • B – I’m not really sure
  • C – I think it’s a trussed roof. It looks like there might be some steel up there

4. Is there a space on the landing below, where you can imagine stairs rising up from?
  • A – Yes, there’s lots of space on the landing
  • B – There are places that could potentially work but we’ll need an expert to do some calculations
  • C – At the moment I can’t imagine where any stairs might be situated

5. Is there a space in the loft where you can imagine stairs emerging
...and does it have head height when you stand up there?
  • A – Yes, I think so
  • B – It’s hard to tell
  • C – No I don’t think so

6. Do any of your neighbours have loft conversions?
  • A – Yes
  • B – Not sure
  • C – No

Total the number of times you've answered A, B or C and check out what your score means below.

Mostly As
Well from your answers it is certainly looking positive. It sounds as if you have enough space and head height, and that bringing stairs up from the lower level might not be a problem. If this is a plan you wish to pursue then it could well be worth bringing in an expert to have a look and getting a quote from two or three contractors.

Mostly Bs
You certainly have some positives here so you may well find that carrying out a loft conversion is a possibility. You may end up having to have a fairly small room up there and it may be that your architect or builder has to come up with a clever solution for your stairs – but hold on to the positives and see what a little creativity can do.

Mostly Cs
OK at this stage it’s not sounding great – but don’t give up! If you are determined to pursue this option then do still call the experts in but also prepare yourself for the worst. It may be that your loft is just too low and unsuitable for conversion. Having said that, it may also come down to just how much you are prepared to spend. Dormer windows can sometimes overcome issues of height and space, as can roof lifts. There are also solutions for stairs even when at first glance you can’t necessarily see where to situate them. But you may find the planning issues and greater costs you are facing are just too weighty to make this worth your while.

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My loft is fully boarded with pieces of laminated board as used to make furniture etc.It's good enough for storage but parts are weak when trodden on, so I mainly walk on the joists. I want to give it an 18mm T&G chipboard floor (and maybe make a room-in-the-roof one day) and I'd avoid a lot of work if I lay the new floor on top of these "cupboard-door" boards. Can anyone think of a reason why I might need to remove all the old boards before adding the new?(Except that it would give me a bonus 18mm head height!)For example should I concern myself with the additional overall weight on the joists (and perhaps even on the foundations??), or is that worrying about nothing? Much appreciated. WB
Worried Browneyes - 3-Mar-16 @ 12:25 PM
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