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Anyone had a loft conversion done?

(32 Posts)
bunyanvillas Tue 24-Jan-06 20:58:32

Evening, all! We have a 2up 2 down victorian terrace and are wondering about converting the loft as we NEED MORE SPACE!! Would we need to employ an architect initially or can a good builder come up with a simple plan? I'd be interested to hear if anyone has any experience of this. We have a very limited budget and need to get it right! How long does it normally take to complete the project? I want it done yesterday .

Auntymandy Tue 24-Jan-06 21:04:37

There are a lot of loft specialists around, they can do the whole thing!

snufflepuss Tue 24-Jan-06 21:12:48

We are in the process of getting planning permission for a loft conversion. Architects are incredibly expensive, but they will apply for planning permission and building regs for you and if local, will know the best way to deal with your local authority - it can be quite a hassle to get these. We are actually using a surveyor who is cheaper than an architect but we are very pleased with his ideas and he is progressing the application with the Council.

I can't really comment on whether a builder would be able to come up with plans for you, but our builder (has worked for us previously) recommended a chap he knew to draw up plans and his suggestions were so boring and not at all innovative.

Finally, we got a quote last year from a loft conversion specialist and their ideas were excellent, as was the service they offered ... and the price - that was pretty phenomenal too - which is why we didn't employ them.

snufflepuss Tue 24-Jan-06 21:18:30

Sorry - meant to say also that the length of time your local authority takes to deal with an application varies from Council to Council. I think ours promises a decision within 6-8 weeks of submission. But building regs will also take time for approval so it's worth starting the process before an approval if your advisor thinks there is a good chance of getting permission.

Unfortunately, nothing is cheap these days but as you say, you need the extra space, and if the job is done well, it will add value to your house.

sobernow Tue 24-Jan-06 21:25:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sobernow Tue 24-Jan-06 21:27:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chicagomum Tue 24-Jan-06 21:29:05

VVVQV is almost finished her's , so put a shout out for her and she may be able to give you a few pearls of wisdom.

Aloha Tue 24-Jan-06 21:29:53

How much is everyone paying? We found 35K was the lowest quote.

norwood Tue 24-Jan-06 21:38:10

recently did ours and employed an architect who takes responsibility for planning applications; advice from structural engineers and ensuring you get your building control certificate at the end. Am sure a surveyor can do this too but with whomever you choose you just need to be very lucky so do your bit and get references and follow them up (we didn't and we regret it). using a loft specialist sounds great but they just sub contract to builders so you end up paying more than just employing the builder directly. we were very lucky in that we had a builder with a brain and a conscience so if he felt something was not quite right with the plans then he sorted it and now we have a terrific loft bedroom ;walk in wardrobe and ensuite bathroom and all of it looks like it's been there since the house was built (1927)

Aloha Tue 24-Jan-06 21:43:09

How much was it?

snufflepuss Wed 25-Jan-06 08:50:29

We had a quote from a loft convesion specialist last April and which came in at £68k but that did include lifting the roof up a bit - we live in a [whispher] bungalow.

Haven't had the quote from the builder yet.

One other thing - the law on insulation changes in April and apparently that is going to send build costs sky high. But if you get your planning permission before April you will not be affected by this.

spub Wed 25-Jan-06 10:45:45

We're literally just finishing ours. Has taken about 3 months building time total (though about a year all in from architect coming on board, drawings, approval and scheduling the builder) and has cost about £25-30k. But we're assured it will add more to the house's value and we now have 4 bedrooms (was 3) with an en suite in the attic.
I'd say it's deffo been worth it. Our builders are fab and that's been a huge help, though.
Do bear in mind, though that in gaining space you will lose it! We no longer have loads of eaves storage for all of our crap cos it's now our swanky new bedroom and I don't want to clutter it up with junk!

hana Wed 25-Jan-06 10:59:04

I wouldn't go with a specialist loft company - they work only to a certain plan and their own ways of doing things. For example, they will tell you that you will need to drop your ceilings in the upstairs bedrooms to get enough standing room in the loft which isn't true ( for a victorian terraced)
just my thoughts!
an architect can be much more creative with the space

bunyanvillas Wed 25-Jan-06 11:11:18

Would you say, then, that an architect is totally necessary - even if it is just for a basic loft conversion? I want to make sure we do things right an don't do (or NOT do) anything we regret. After all, it is so much money to pay out!

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 25-Jan-06 11:55:06

Thanks CM!

Im just in the process of having mine finished. Ours was started 9th dec so it has been coooooold having it done this time of year. However, this time of year is usually a quiet time for this kind of work (xmas & winter) so we managed to bargain on the price. We also bluffed a bit and played one company off another and ended up with a total bargain with 23k. (other quotes ranged from 27.5 to 37k - we are in North London)

We used a 'specialist' loft company, and DP used his work's credit check company to see if they had any ccj's, check their building certification etc etc. They came up good so we went with them.

It hasnt been plain sailing, and the mess has been horrendous. The 50 years of soot and crap from the loft as it was being pulled down, the scaffold around the house for 6 weeks just seems to make windows even more dirty but cant be washed, and the dust from the plastering - well - its like having a toddler let loose with a dozen bottles of talc! AND it forms a paste when you try and mop it up. Not fun with 2 kids under 3.

There are still odd jobs to be completed, but we are holding on to final payment (we have paid in stages as each stage completed) until the council building inspector signs it off. (You wont be able to sell your house in future if its not signed off).

With regard to architects - the company had their own architect as such, but ours was a straightforward conversion with no special considerations. We didnt need planning permission because you are permitted a certain amount of extension/conversion - i think 40 or 60 cubic metres before you need planning.

We have ended up with a good sized third bedroom now (5.5m x 3.5m) plus a 2m x 3m room which we will kit out as an ensuite in the future (the pipes and plumbing are in place and capped under floor ready). For the time being its an office.

Despite everything, its been totally worth it, cheaper than moving i believe and has undoubtedly added value to the house to at least the cost of the conversion.

HTH.

norwood Wed 25-Jan-06 13:51:51

ours cost £30k and i think the point about an architect being more creative is a very valid one plus he will look at the aesthetics of the house and make it fit in and not look like an add on.

bunyanvillas Wed 25-Jan-06 13:57:11

Did you have to employ an architect separately to the company you used for your conversion? Hubby is keen to keep our costs as low as poss, which I appreciate - however, perhaps using an architect is money well spent?

norwood Wed 25-Jan-06 14:04:59

a good architect is money well spent. ours was separate to our builder and had we done our homework we would not have engaged our architect. although we have a gorgeous conversion getting there was a nightmare. our builder constantly had to recheck the dimensions because the architect did not check his own work. he was also unreliable and kept cancelling meetings.all very frustrating but the end result is great and the architect had some great ideas like having hidden doors that made use of unusable areas (ceiling too low unless you are a hobbit)as storage - and you can never have enough storage space!

VeniVidiVickiQV Wed 25-Jan-06 14:57:06

Actually, most decent builders should be able to come up with good ideas for using "dead space" for storage etc. Ours did anyway .

Unless you have a listed or very expensive property, i wouldnt bother with engaging a separate architect if you want to save money.

Im not being argumentative, honest

hana Wed 25-Jan-06 14:58:30

i would find a good architect, they aren't over the top expensive, try to find one that will do it as a private job, not as part of a practice, that's when prices rocket.

grammaticus Sat 28-Jan-06 21:19:36

architect definitely - preferably use a local specialist. ours is fab and worth every penny - from 4 bed 1 bath to 5 bed 2 bath with matching spindles etc cost us £45k

jalopy Sat 28-Jan-06 21:44:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Rosiemw Thu 18-Mar-10 16:12:41

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petercmfjohn Thu 12-May-11 20:27:13

we done a loft conversion from www.centrallondonloft.co.uk they are providing 10 years warranty 10 % disocunts

petercmfjohn Thu 12-May-11 20:28:41

you can try econoloft they are the market leaders in loft conversion. visit www.econoloft.co.uk for more details.

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