A loft conversion can be an excellent investment, increasing the value of the property as well as providing valuable extra living space. Expert advice is essential in establishing any legal obligations as well as understanding from someone who has already learned from experience.
Many interior designers are offering their services, and a lot have brilliant ideas, but unless you are in the upper echelons of the salary scale, their charges don’t warrant the expense for an average conversion.
A surveyor or architect is used to drawing up plans, and have lots of good ideas, but as MOST loft extensions do not now require planning permission, this cost can be avoided for now.
The next best thing is a builder who specialises in loft conversions, and more importantly who has a good track record. It would also be preferable if the builder would be prepared to furnish you with past clients contact details so that you can obtain first-hand references.
This can sometimes be a tricky situation because a builder’s past clients may not want to be bothered answering questions or possibly showing you around their conversion, but it is worth asking when building a relationship with someone who will be working in your house for an average of 6/12 weeks.
Alternatively, many good building companies receive customer feedback and reviews on social media platforms nowadays, like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. It can be a wise move to check out your builder’s social media accounts to see what their reviews are like.
It must also be kept in mind that the builder cannot be expected to give up his time and ideas without knowing if he has the job and consequently if he is going to earn any money.
To be most cost effective it is wise to have thought through the basics first. Before talking to builders sketch out a rough drawing of how you perceive the extension, giving the builder as much information as possible as to what you want to use the area for.
A double bedroom or a single bedroom with on suite maybe too tight for the space, but an experienced builder could give you the option to extend the roof. There would obviously be more cost involved, but that decision would be down to you.
If a bathroom or facilities were required, it is important to ascertain supply and exit availabilities.
If you wanted a study, it is important to decide the layout of desks and storage facilities, etc., so that the placement of electricity points or computer connections can be allowed for. Also to save on future energy costs, the placement of windows to allow as much natural light as possible.
Any living space has regulations governing insulation, which again would be advised by the builder, but the main point is having a firm idea of what you want to use the extra space for. An experienced loft converter can then quote on the basic and make suggestions to enhance the project, such as mirrors to give depth, as well as the best use of lighting. By thinking it out, and discussing the options, you will arrive at an acceptable cost and timescale for completing the project.
Making sure you budget effectively for your loft conversion is essential as a loft conversion is one of the top projects that could go wrong if you do not plan thoroughly. Here is an interesting article from thisismoney.co.uk explaining some of the most important things you need to keep in mind at this crucial stage.