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Loft conversion SW London - recommendations please!

(32 Posts)

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Kingsroadie Wed 16-Feb-11 21:12:13

As per the title - have seen comments on here re most of these:

A1 Loft Conversions
Loft Rooms
Econoloft
Scott McCabe
Charles Grosvenor
Loftscope

Has anyone around got any first hand experience of them?

Also, (yes, I know it's very "how long is a piece of string), ballpark figure for cost? We would like to do a master bedroom and ensuite. The previous owners of our house have already had the plans drawn up and PP has been approved. The loft is currently a usable room (but would obv need to be extended back and to the side into the eaves) with flooring and electricity and a velux (and all the eaves cupboards) with a proper fold down loft wooden loft ladder. I assume the floors may have already been strengthened in that bit. This would help reduce the costs a bit I imagine. The back would be a dormer extension - I think that's what it's called - am useless at this kind of thing - where they extend with a flat roof out the back...

I was thinking around £40K?

Any help much appreciated! Thank you.

GeorgieGreen Thu 17-Feb-11 10:48:45

I live in South West London and recently had a loft conversion done by Absolute Lofts.
I had a rear dormer conversion which sounds pretty much like what you want for roughly £31,000. The fitting team I had couldn't do enough for me and my husband and they did a great job! Really pleased with it!
I left all the technical stuff to my husband so I'm not too sure about all the specifics etc, but if you want to know any more I'll ask him and get back to you or I'm sure you could call them directly.
Hope this helps

Kingsroadie Thu 17-Feb-11 10:55:27

Georgie - thank you - really helpful. Did you have an ensuite too? Yes think we need a rear dormer - like you I tend to leave this sort of thing to my husband too!

GeorgieGreen Thu 17-Feb-11 12:33:31

Yeah we got an ensuite bathroom which was fitted by them. We had to buy the suite for the bathroom but everything else was carried out by Absolute. I think they paint it all for you as well if you ask them.
Glad I could help! I know how stressful it can be!

Kingsroadie Thu 17-Feb-11 16:29:40

Great - thank you so much. Just a couple of questions: assume suite price not included in £31K Ie that was an extra on top? Was decorating also extra? And was that inclusive or exclusive of VAT?

Sorry !

GeorgieGreen Fri 18-Feb-11 09:28:26

Don't be silly, I'm glad to help!
The suite wasn't included in the initial package so cost a little extra and the decoration of the entire conversion was extra too but wasn't that expensive.
The price of £31,000 was including VAT.

Elibean Fri 18-Feb-11 18:13:11

First hand experience of Scott McCabe - and about to do our second loft with them (we've moved, not got two lofts grin).

They did a great job, were pretty easy to communicate with and ran to budget and on time. It helped that we had a wonderful building team, led by a builder we know - if you do decide to use Scott McM, let me know and I'll pass on the name of the building team we had!

(or for that matter, our builder also built - minus the company - our new extension: if it weren't for the hassle of project managing it all, we'd use him again for the loft without Scott McC)

Carrera Sat 23-Feb-13 20:23:21

Hello Kingsroadie, we have a Victorian terrace property in Chiswick W4 and when we moved in it sounds like we had a similar sort of room in the loft as you. It was accessed by a loft ladder and was used essentially for a hobby room (artwork in this case) and storage. Because of the children we wanted to a have a proper double master room with an en-suite shower room which required a dormer like you suggest. We were told there was nothing we could utilise of the existing loft as none of it was designed or would be approved by the authorites for a modern day loft conversion. Interestingly enough we also had people visit and give prices from 4 of the loft conversion builders listed on this page. For something like this we wanted to find the right chemistry and trust in someone to undertake such a project to our home. With all of them it was suprising how little time they wanted to spend with us to explain just what would going on and in addition it seemed common practice that we would have to deal with the builders themselves when it came to building it, even paying them direct! (from memory, I think that Lofts Rooms only give a 2 year guarantee). After a recommendation we ended up buying the conversion from Top Flight Lofts who are based in Ealing (W13). They produced drawings reflecting our ideas and spent a lot of time explaining the whole procedure to us, they actually called on us 3 times to go through finer details (my husbands fussy so that certainly ticked some boxes for him). It's a bit of a lottery I know, however, it was all very above board and we're very happy with our choice and the standard of the work is really good. They did a couple of extra job's that we wanted but the loft conversion itself, including removing the old attic room was £38465.00 inc vat. It wasn't the cheapest price but but that wasn't our prime focus and it seemed the most comprehensive. Two of my favorite things are my new staircase and the french doors!

BensMammina Fri 01-Nov-13 20:12:01

Hi, we are considering using Scott McCabe - what was the building team you used please? Many thanks!

Charliee12 Sat 02-Nov-13 07:38:44

Hi, we used SkyLofts and could not recommend them enough. They have just completed our loft conversion in time for baby arriving december. Quick, efficent and so helpful.

lalalonglegs Sat 02-Nov-13 08:54:52

PigletJohn usually polices these threads but I was curious so did the job for him. Charliee12 and GeorgieGreen have never posted before and Carrera has only posted once in the past... in order to recommend Top Flight Lofts hmm hmm hmm.

Funny how often these loft conversion recommendations draw in first time posters.

AlisonThacker Mon 04-Nov-13 11:06:48

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Talldad Mon 01-Sep-14 14:04:47

Not sure if anyone is still monitoring this, but we have just finished a loft conversion with Charles Grosvenor. Off the back of this I would strongly advise NOT to use Charles Grosvener. We have concluded that Charles Grosvenor are an incompetently run company which subcontracts all their work out to anyone available (this means they don't really care too much about the quality of the work carried out and don't have to take any responsibility).

In fairness, some subcontractors were good, but others were incompetent and/or rude. Our project manager was never on site to direct the builders so this was left to me (I knew very little about building but have learned a lot over the build) and was very hard to get hold of on the phone to ask questions or talk to the builders (a common complaint by the builders themselves). The quality of finish we have been left with is pretty substandard and despite several rounds of snagging things are still unfinished. We have now drawn a line under this sorry episode.

My conclusions from reading all of the good press and references about them is that it is just pot luck on who you get as the main builder. Obviously Charles Grosvenor have hand picked all the references so they are bound to be good. (This was also re-iterated by the building inspector when he came to visit saying that on the final visit he gets a mixed bag of responses; some good, some bad).

To anyone who would still like to use Charles Grosvenor then I would suggest you read up on building regulations, planning laws, project management, and have your own joiner, electrician, plumber, plasterer and decorator on hand to fix / finish things off as necessary. You will also need to allow an additional say 10% contingency which they will invoice you for items not on the contract which you weren't expecting.

Finally, I would also strongly recommend you hire a portaloo - some subcontractors were clearly not house trained.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 17-Dec-14 15:57:31

Hello

Charles Grosvenor have asked us to post the following up on their behalf.

'The statements made within Talldad's post are untrue. We complete an average of 180 loft conversions per year, and have been in business for 40 years. Given those numbers, sadly not every client will be satisfied. However we achieve a fantastic recommendation rate, with 60% of our contracts coming via a previous client. We send a comprehensive questionnaire to every client when the conversion is complete and learn from the feedback received.'

'To date we have not received a questionnaire with anything like the negative feedback posted by Talldad. We believe that the content is untrue, and this can be proven with written documentation. It's a shame that someone would hide behind a user name with the intent of tarnishing our company's reputation. I am disappointed that due to data protection laws Mumsnet will not forward me the details of the author so that we can commence legal proceedings.'

'As 'Talldad' has appealed to anyone considering using Charles Grosvenor Ltd, we will do the same and request that you look for other reviews posted on the internet, including Mumsnet, and this will confirm the outstanding quality of service we provide. In addition to this should any person require proof that the content of the post is untrue please email russell@charlesgrosvenor.co.uk and the written proof will be forwarded to you.'

'We will direct clients that are having their conversions completed to this thread to provide honest reviews in the near future.'

Holly2007 Fri 19-Dec-14 20:33:20

I have to say I am really surprised by these comments on Charles Grosvenor.
We are currently half way through our loft conversion with Grosvenor and we are very happy with the work that has been carried out so far. The builders are extremely friendly, helpful and polite and Russell our project manager is on site regularly to check on progress.
I cannot comment on the final finish as we are obviously only half way through our build, but our neighbours used exactly the same team as us and they are extremely happy with their loft.
The only issue we have had so far was a few days delay on getting started but now they are here they are seriously cracking on and seem to be getting back on track..
I can't remember the exact cost but we are paying about £40,000 for 2 beds plus a bathroom inc VAT and decorating but not the bathroom suit. Hope that helps.
P.S So far as I can tell the builders seem to be fully house trained!

davidbond Tue 13-Jan-15 11:12:17

We went with Charles Grosvenor and the quality of the work and their approach was excellent. Yes, local subcontractors are used for specific jobs, but that will be the case with most building work.

My general advice (whoever you go with):
1. Get the initial specification right;
2. Maintain good communications throughout the project; and
3. Maintain a detailed "snagging list" as the project goes on.

In ALL cases, snags were remedied by Charles Grosvenor without issue, even "ooh look - there's a bit of a chip here"! All such items were completed without fuss. Communications we polite and helpful throughout.

Talldad is right that you should be actively involved in any building project and should put some contingency aside for things that you did not think of when agreeing the original specification. You WILL change your mind and ask for extra things. If these are outside of the initial specification, you will be charged extra, whoever you go with!

Done right, a loft conversion will generally add roughly the same value to your property as you spend. If you spend a bit extra, it will be worth a bit more.

I've posted some pictures of our conversion, which we are really pleased with. The new room is called "The Nest" and is our favourite room in the house! We have a really nifty sofabed up there, the dolls house, all the musical instruments, a desk with computer/printer and loads of storage.

jaceofbase Wed 14-Jan-15 15:39:56

Our Bungalow loft conversion in Banbury Oxfordshire was completed Sept 2014, we had 2 bedrooms with an en suit to one bedroom built.

Initially we had 4 companies round, 2 local builders and 2 specialist conversion companies, the 2 local builders could only give a rough estimate and suggested we commission an architect to draw plans, the 2 conversion companies provided drawings which was great as we could finally see what was achievable upstairs. Of the two conversion companies, one sent me plans with estimated cost of a managed service while Charles Grosvenor sent me total and final cost of everything, a whole managed service together with a pack detailing the build process. Glossy brochures are often over promising but looking back Charles Grosvenor pretty much sell it the way it is.

2 years later after numerous phone calls by me and 2 visits from Charles Grosvenor we decided to use them mainly because they never made me feel like a time waster, everybody always had time to talk about my worries and doubts. Our bungalow had previously suffered from hereditary settlement, this was a worry to me. Charles Grosvenor had come across this problem of weight previously and distributed the weight of the conversion though every supporting wall. I was also impressed with their media coverage especially when they put right what a builder got wrong in Cowboy Builders and the continuity of staff after 2 years assured me I was dealing with a reputable company.

On signing the contract and paying the deposit for one bedroom with a big bathroom, we then changed our mind and decided to have 2 bedrooms with an en suit to one. This posed no problem at all with Charles Grosvenor and within a week we had revised plans together with the extra costs we would incur, the extra costs were reasonable and no shock, we also decided to add an extra 2 velux windows as the cost to have the internal structure moved was much less than anticipated.

On approval from the council for permitted development we were given a commence date for 3 weeks time, due to a friend of mine owning a scaffolding company, I chose to provide the scaffolding myself, this posed no problem and within 48 hrs Russell Innes (Director) provided me with scaffold plans together with written confirmation of credit.

Our builders were Karl and Chris, I was amazed at how quickly everything came together, because Charles Grosvenor do this day in day out, everything was pre arranged, materials delivered before they need them leaving Karl and Chris to get on with the work, just over 2 weeks had passed and the floor was down and the dormer constructed (yes wow).
A further 4 weeks past and we were ready for plasterers, apart from one accident listed below the build was pretty much stress free. We purchased the en suit ourselves and this was swiftly fitted by Ed the plumber.

Please note, this was a pretty major build with a 24 foot dormer fitted.

Bob Innes (director) visited every week to inspect progress of work, always had a cuppa and was very personable.

Karl and Chris were always very polite even after I lost my temper with them after Chris accidently fell through a downstairs bedroom ceiling!!! Looking back I laugh about it now but at the time I was very angry. Karl and Chris cleaned everything up, even to the point of hovering the mattress!! The repairs were covered by Charles Grosvenor, this is another great plus point for them, if they damage something they will fix it, no problem.

Our main contact in the office was Hayley, she was fantastic always responded quickly and really knows her stuff. All office staff had quick access to our build details, in the event of someone not being there I always got a call back.

We are really happy with the work Charles Grosvenor done for us, everything is guaranteed for 5 years and I would recommend them with pleasure.

For those of you doing this for the first time please find some tips below,
Have as many Velux windows as you can, as big as you can, it really makes a difference..... Use velux black out blinds they are fantastic and also act as an extra insulator....... Don’t arrange your own skip, its not cheaper...... If you need a party wall agreement show your neighbours who Charles Grosvenor are i.e website, sales pack, this will put their minds at ease as they will see that you are not using an outfit that has never done this before........ Ask for built in wardrobes / cupboards to be incorporated into the build, this is at least half the price of bespoke wardrobe companies and just as good (see picture of our walk in wardrobe)

I was in good hands with Charles Grosvenor :-)

davidbond Wed 14-Jan-15 16:49:48

Yeah - same with us - 3 large Veluxes plus blackout blinds.

A hovering mattress.. that I WOULD like to see ;-) A builder coming through the ceiling I would not!

Like Bob with you, Russell was on site most weeks during the build.

When putting in the steels into the neighbouring wall, our neighbour did look concerned at one point when the inevitable hole was made, but was happy once it was complete.

It's hard to remember what it looked like before the build now!

jaceofbase Wed 14-Jan-15 21:32:59

I would love a hovering bed :-) We took pictures right the way through, our view is amazing, the guy posing for picture is Karl one of the fitters.

Maybe we should start a loft conversion appreciation club. We could take turns sitting in each other's lofts comparing the finish and share different ways to open and close a velux window without creating a sonic boom, a bit like a book club?

hilary22 Wed 30-Sep-15 18:30:52

Just also to say that I also had a loft conversion done by Charles Grosvenor and they were fantastic! I've had a fair amount of building work done in the past and so know a little about the processes - though it took longer than we'd hoped I'm really happy with the result.

FruSirkaOla Wed 30-Sep-15 18:41:53

So ....... Charles Grosvenor are asking their ahem 'clients' to revive a Zombie thread to say how wonderful they are??????? hmm

hilary22 Wed 30-Sep-15 22:54:25

They've not asked me! I rarely post on threads and don't even know what a Zombie thread is! From zombie or Sans Vie - without life - I guess it should be dead, but occasionally in life people just say what they think - no motive.

DrMikeT Sat 21-Nov-15 09:08:42

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

elkynes Tue 31-May-16 13:08:24

As everyone seems to post his experience with Charles Grosvenor on this post, I will join adding this very detailed review !

We had our loft conversion done by Charles Grosvenor recently. A simple loft conversion with one dormer, approx 18 sqm. Here is our review of those works.

Good points :

+ General quality

Overall the quality of the main work is fine, no major problem occurred and it looks good. The dormer was properly built and insulated, looks good from outside and is exactly as planned by the architect. Plasterer, electrician and plumber were very efficient and friendly.

+ Good afterworks service

After completion, we had a couple of problems to solve and every time it occurred it was solved quickly. Workers came into our house to fix the problem in the next ten days after it was reported. Those extra works were done by very careful people who did a very good job.

+ Price and survey

The cost of those works was correct compared to other companies I've seen. The survey was done properly. We had quite a difficult layout of rooms regarding fire regulation and Charles Grosvenor is the only company that managed to think of a realistic solution. Very good point.

+ Friendly and patient staff in the office

Each time I had to deal with someone in the office, the person tried to help even if she wasn't in charge of my case.

Bad points:

-Getting the works to begin.

Getting the works to begin took too long : the beginning of the works was postponed 6 times, from mid may to early October which is not acceptable. Small delays are normal as unexpected events can occur or the previous customer may have asked for extra works to be done, which creates delays. But this was clearly excessive.

-Getting the works to end.

We were told that the works would last between 6 to 8 weeks. Works began on the 16th of September when the scaffolding was installed, and ended at the end of December. The first steps, (building of the dormer and the floor) were done very quickly but then the fitter became less and less reliable. We were told crazy excuses, and every morning we were wondering if he was going to come or not. That was very annoying and stressful. The last bits took ages and we had to complain seriously to get them to finish the works. Very unprofessional.

- Messy fitter.

Realistically, we were not expecting the loft conversion to be done without a single damage to the decoration. But clearly, some could have been prevented. One of the rooms was used as a workshop by the fitters but was never protected from damage. As a result, the laminate floor is damaged beyond reparability . Some rain came in from the roof, destroying paint in our bedroom. A lot of nails were forgotten everywhere, sometimes by whole lots. After completion I collected more than 300 nails left in various places. Coffee, that I provided, was spilled everywhere and I had to clean the coffee stains almost every day.

- Peace of mind and communication

The full management of the works was supposed to be included in the price. It was clearly not done properly. Different persons involved didn't pass information to each other and I ended up explaining myself to the fitter what the electrician had said the day before, or stopping works in emergency because the instruction from the building inspectors hadn't been transmitted to the workers (incorrect fire doors delivered). I never really had peace of mind from the beginning to the end as mistakes would have occurred otherwise. There is some improvement to be done on communication, clearly.

- Scaffolding

Part of the scaffolding was erected in my neighbour's garden... without her permission. It was a major issue and damaged seriously our relationship with that neighbour. The manager did his best to deal with her afterwards but the damage was done. After the installation, parts of the scaffolding were missing and it was not safe for the fitter, so the scaffolders had to come back twice to add the missing parts. Not very professional from them. The scaffolding wasn't protected by a net so small items (nails, tiles...) were constantly falling into my garden and into my neighbour's one.

- Staircase

The staircase wasn't manufactured properly and the fitter had to add pieces of wood so that the parts fit together. I would have like to be informed about the style and colour of the handrail fitted in the new staircase (it is hideous and has been badly glued making it hard to varnish or paint). This part has been fitted in a rush when we complained about the delays and a huge amount of work has been finished in a day without meeting the expected quality of work (door handle not put straight in loft door...). The velux frame was also damaged when the staircase was brought in.

- Waste management:

A skip was in front of our house during the first 8 weeks of the works which was very convenient, and it was properly replaced when full. The problem is, when the works began to take a lot of extra time, the skip was removed and never replaced. So all the rubbish was piled up in front of the house which wasn't appropriate. Some areas inside were also used to hide some of the waste without me noticing it, such as the eaves or under the new staircase. It took me a lot of time to take all this rubbish left inside the house to the recycling centre. It was very unprofessional to leave all that waste hidden into those places.

sarahsarah76 Thu 29-Sep-16 10:07:53

I know it's not on the list but we went with Central london lofts and they were absolutely fantastic. its great seeing everyones experiences on here though

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