loft conversions(17 Posts)
we are thinking of getting our loft converted - in a bit of a hurry as we have the deadline of number 2 arriving mid december!! Wondered if anyone had any advice/horror storries/recommendations they wanted to share - we would be v. grateful. We are in west london
Just be very careful what builders you choose and interrogate them thoroughly about manpower and schedules. We had an extension (admittedly a bigger job than a loft conversion) done while I was pg with dd. They started in April, and were supposed to finish in July. In the end, because of staff shortages etc they finished at the start of November, 2 weeks before dd arrived (and she was 1 week late!). It all got very stressful (especially as I had a toddler to look after at the same time), and to be honest with you I would do it again but NOT pregnant.
Diary Of a Loft Conversion is a fascinating read! Although set in Birmingham, i'm sure you could get ideas and advice from the site, i'm sure Carola the author wouldn't mind an e mail or two for advice as i've already e mailed her about builders etc (we live in the same area!)
have a look at this
Ah, loft conversions, a subject close to my heart at present. With baby no 2 due in 7 weeks DH has just made start on loft conversion after promising it would be ready in time for new arrival - even I know this cannot happen now. We had plans drawn up and applied for planning permission last April but due to him being a builder of course our house comes last on the list. Last time he was up there he nearly cut his own thumb off and I am starting to think this was a delay tactic. He's taking 2 weeks off "soon" to really get "stuck in" apparently but won't be drawn on specifics such as a date!! Oh and after the loft is done he'll start on the extension - I may not be living here by then!
Posted details of our conversion on the previous loft conversion thread here
Emilys - we had a conversion done 2 years ago by a company called Eurolofts who are based in Liverpool but work all over the country. We were pleased with the work overall, though they were a bit slow in tying up loose ends - in fact we're still waiting for them to double glaze a window in the kitchen which was part of the original work we contracted them to do! But I would recommend them. I'll dig out their no. if you're interested. We're also in west London so if you were considering them you're welcome to come and see ours.
My advice is do it ASAP if you're going to - in N London, where we had one recently, the wait was 6 months for a reputable firm. Also, go for a loft specialist not a general builder, and one with dedicated teams not casual freelancers. Check precisely what the quotes include - things like the quality of materials etc. can vary widely, we found. Staying out is good but can be tiring; and try to keep your toddler's room as a sanctuary because my two found the whole thing very unsettling and really needed their own space.
Prepare for lots of dust, horrendous amounts of dust, more dust than you can imagine! (I cleaned the bathroom every night for about four weeks cos the combination of builders' boots and toddlers' bare feet across the floor just didn't work for me!) Also make sure you have all the legal paperwork covered (Party Wall Act).
Don't have the whole family down with flu the weekend they ring to say, 'We can start three weeks early, on Monday - is that OK?'
Do get a spare kettle and cheap mugs that you don't mind being broken/covered in plaster etc. Take out shares in chocolate digestives. Try to smile when they arrive in your kitchen five minutes before the school run saying, 'All right if we make tea now, love?' (No, don't, just say no!) Don't walk in on them when they're in your bathroom and you don't even know they're in the house because they have their own key. Make friends with them because it makes it all much easier. I knew all about one guy's wife's miscarriage and another's cycling. Burn lots of lavender oil.
BUT it will be worth it. Ours looked lovely. (We then moved - but that's another thread.)
thans everyone for the advice - esp. Inkpen - made me laugh lots - well, we're still seeing different companies and gettign quotes in but fingers crossed!
Sorry to gloat but what dust? Ours didn't knock through the hole until the last minute and when they did four of them held a plastic sheet to catch everything that dropped. Every night one of them cleaned for half an hour before they went. They were finished in under 5 weeks (admittedly no plumbing but two large rooms and a staircase). I thought they were Gods but I'm convinced now.
Be careful with the price we were quoted between 23 and 42 thousand and went for the cheapest. But we did have to wait 13 months for our slot in the queue but it was definitely worth it.
It's worth getting an architect to draw up plans and a specification so that you can get builders to each quote for exactly the same work so you get a good comparison.
If you need full plans approval (if you're having dormers) and building regulations this can take 6 or 8 weeks on it's own so I definitely wouldn't set my heart on Christmas as any good builder will have work waiting for him. HTH. R
Rhiannon, dust from the hole for a couple of days is one thing, it's the dust from their boots and clothes that lingers! Before the ceiling is bashed in, they use the scaffolding ladders but after that, every time they tramp up and down those newly-put-in stairs, to the loo, to the kitchen, etc., it sheds itself gently off as they pass by. Plus which all the sheets in the world don't get it out of the air and it then settles quietly when you're not looking ... Then the plumber comes through. Then the plasterer. Then the electrician. Tramp, tramp, dust, dust ...
But what on earth were you feeding them (Brandy? truffles?) to make them clean for half an hour every night? I have never in my life heard of a builder doing that! They might clean the worst off but the rest is usually up to you, the happy householder. You have some little treasures there, that's for sure.
Just to reinforce Rhiannon's suggestion to get someone reputable to draw up plans and a specification so you know exactly what you're paying for and that each builder is quoting on a like for like basis. An Architect or Technologist can even inspect the works to make sure you're not being ripped off.
Contact Royal Institute of British Architects for a reference and interview 2or3, there's a lot of sole practitioners for whom this is their daily bread. They can apply for all the permissions you'll need (not just Planning, but also Building Regulation Approval) and they shouldn't force you into anything too fancy.
Make sure that they're qualified & registered and that they have Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Not a loft conversion, but our builders also cleaned up after themselves every day. They also didn't use the tea/ biscuits we left for them, or apparently the loo! This wasn't a quick job, either, we were having a roof re-built and it took six weeks full time!!
Inkpen, they didn't use the stairs, they still kept going in up the ladder from the outside. They covered up the stair hole with plastic. The stair guy put in the stairs and then said no one was allowed to walk on them.
what treasures they are! R
just confirmed the company to do our loft conversion - so thank you everyone for the pointers. Now just have to keep stressed out dh under control as he tries to wade through and sort out all the junk up there (sadly my 22wk bump means he has to do it alone!!). Builders have a strict deadline of xmas (due on 20th Dec) but i guess i have to be fairly relaxed about it - after all, my mum does KEEP rminding me how when we were all kids sometimes she had no electricity or water, 3 kids, dh away working ..... blah blah blah i tell her it was acceptable then!! Anyway waffling - but thanks everyone!
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