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Loft conversion: architect or conversion company?

(10 Posts)
BananaPie Thu 29-Oct-15 02:01:31

We've just about decided to get our loft converted. Any advice on how to start the process? Should we find an architect to draw up some plans then get quotes from builders? Or is it better to use a specialist loft conversion company who will presumably plan and build?

Madblondedog Thu 29-Oct-15 13:32:14

Ours is currently under way and I found a very small local company who does conversions and extensions. He came along with an architect (who he knew) and we talked through what we wanted and its now happening.

I liked the way we did it as they don't need us to be a go between, they know each other so just sort things out.

errorofjudgement Thu 29-Oct-15 13:56:03

We had quotes from 2 specialist loft conversion companies, and from a local builder using his own architect. The specialists were massively cheaper. Mainly I think because this is what they specialise in grin
We have gone with 1 who was personally recommended and it's currently half way through.

BeautifulBetty Thu 29-Oct-15 20:34:20

Can I jump in and ask what sort of £££ we are looking at these days? Had a quote many years ago but out of touch now- we'd want 2 rooms and a loo.

errorofjudgement Thu 29-Oct-15 21:48:51

We are having 2 bedrooms, family bathroom and a spare room that could be an ensuite later (we've got a huge loft)
Estimates were £45-£60k

BananaPie Fri 30-Oct-15 09:09:40

Great, thanks. Our loft is smaller. Hoping it'll be in the region of 40k.

Marmitelover55 Fri 30-Oct-15 09:14:18

We used a specialist company. However, colleagues used an architect and builder and their loft space is so much better than ours. We have subsequently used this architect and builder for an extension and I really, really wish we had used them for the loft as well.

BeautifulBetty Fri 30-Oct-15 09:33:01

Thanks too.
We would need to get 2 bedrooms - one could be small- and a loo /basin to make it worthwhile because we'd lose most of the small 4th bedroom we have now as part of the staircase.
My gut instinct is that an architect is more able to be imaginative with the use of space but I suppose it all depends on who you can find who is any good.

errorofjudgement Fri 30-Oct-15 12:55:09

Completely agree re getting someone who is good. The company we are using are a local family company, been in business for over 40 years as builders but have a speciality in loft conversions.
However. There are many horror stories around so choose wisely!

knittingwithnettles Fri 30-Oct-15 14:32:31

we used a conversion company 10 years ago, and in lots of ways it was cheap and cheerful rather than particularily well thought out. So no cornices, woodwork on bannister matches downstairs but not connected well, not a very imaginative use of space (ie: big room but no built in cupboards suggested) issues with floor level so we couldn't lay wooden floor afterwards as too uneven. However it was really good value, and the roof doesn't leak, the heating works, the plumbing works and we love it. A neighbour spend double having a fancy pants version of same house/space and putting in a mansard roof, round oriel windows, smart bathroom, higher ceiling, bespoke carpentry; I'm sure she thought it was worth it as a long term investment but I just wanted a room which was bright, spacious and I could sleep in not a work of art. Previous to this we did have a architect draw up a much grander plan, but tbh the builder couldn't build from his plan, it was too complicated, so we ended up going with the builder's architect. They made everything much easier, and dealt with all the permissions, building regs as a matter of course. It depends how much control over the project you want, and how bespoke you want it. If you like being hands on at every stage a builder rather than a conversion company might be much better. Beware of subcontractors though, sometimes they are brilliant and sometimes you will get duds, the company brand doesn't guarantee one or the other, so someone might recommend a company which has used one team on one project and another on a different one; you wouldn't know you were getting the dud lot. My conversion company was very small, and didn't advertise, just two people who had done nothing but lofts for years and used a pet architect, and were not very open to different ways of doing things, tried and tested was their game!

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