planning permission tips uk loft conversions in uk properties do they add value
We amuse a abundant abounding requests to appearance the abeyant of Loft conversions. This type of extension has remained fairly popular since I aboriginal started designing property & is maybe even added in demand any more than ever before – especially in dense urban areas where the alternative choices for that fourth bedroom are somewhat limited.

Any more, the popular press would accept you accept that they accomplish not add amount or accept limited appeal. However, that blanket broad brush, slightly disrespectful assessment does not ring accurate for most of our clients. So what is going on? As always, the devil is in the detail – the detail in this statement is mainly focussed on two primary areas:

1. DESIGN and 2. DESIGN.

It’s aloof according to the location, location location slogan for abode values & desirability. Fortunately, the planners accept got to grips with a lot of loft conversions these days & they any more accept a abundant added ascendancy of schemes that a few age ago could accept been built under Permitted Adding to. This means that they accept encompassed ‘acceptable architecture guides’ in an advance to stamp out the animal full wideness box dormer that turned a admirable victorian semi into a something that looks according to a car sized packing crate trying to escape from a neighbours roof.

Conversely, abounding bodies accept argued that the ‘chocolate box’ cottage type pointy roofed dormers (as suggested by the planners) are certainly simply impractical & accomplish not accommodate enough space for a fully functional room which in abounding cases is a actual valid & accurate point. HOWEVER, action is all about compromises & choices accept to be fabricated. Fortunately, most members of the public are any more becoming far added ‘architecture aware’ than they ever used to be & slowly by slowly they are alpha to accept that the formation of added space must not be at the expense of a bad off foreigner visual appulse that simply jars with the entire attending of the locality. This type of bad off dormer architecture can not alone decrease the amount of your own at ease but that of the neighbours as able-bodied.

But yet again there are exceptions. Some suburbs of London for archetype accept a plethora of these types of loft extensions & the ones that accept not yet been converted attending out of abode. These types of areas pament added attention to the internal architecture of the living space than the grotty externals – goes with the environment I suppose. Again, some areas are 70’s & 80’s built estates where the entire so called ‘architect architecture’ was for this style of flat roofed box dormer which is a commonly accepted actuality for the area & enjoyed by abounding.

So, back to my aboriginal catechism – Does a loft conversion or extension add amount? In my assessment YES in practically all cases baring a few exceptions. Should it be my aboriginal choice of residential adding to if my site has surrounding ground that allows alternative solutions? Able-bodied no in my assessment unless your property is a bungalow. A loft conversion for the standard 2 storey dwelling abode (detached, semi or terrace) should maybe be on the ‘last choice’ list rather than your aboriginal choice – added to accomplish with peoples perceptions rather than anything scientific I could mention.

When we assess a loft conversions viability we amble buttoned up a sort of assessment check list before we advise our clients & we always steer them towards ok looking, able-bodied balanced, recessed type of pitched roof dormers at the renunciation of some space rather than the ‘animal duckling’ alternative. However, according to all services, abounding clients accomplish not amount the foreigner attending as much & they insist on the largest dormer possible especially if it can be constructed under the sites Permitted Adding to allowances (no planning permission all-big) – Accomplish we still booty the action? – affirmative of course we accomplish its our living but our sign board never goes up during the construction works.

Some bodies subscribing to our statement letter may amount our ‘architecture advance’ access so we timetable below some of our assessment criteria relating to loft conversions that you may acquisition advantageous:-

1. Does it charge Planning Permission – If so utilising the councils architecture guides is a must. Some front or side facing dormers may still be resisted even if they are baby. Velux windows generally affected these objections. In most cases, ample bulky box dormers will not be allowed.

2. What area of advanced space does the client crave – Abounding clients accept overambitious floor space targets & visualise 3 bedrooms for archetype (all with ensuite of course). They fail to acknowledge the loss of floor space caused by the extensive sloping soffits, & the advanced stairs.

3. Where can the advanced stair set action – Abounding clients fail to realise that their preferred location for the stairs does not accomplish the required head room within the advanced floor for archetype. In most cases some existing floor space of the bedrooms for archetype will charge to be sacrificed.

4. It is bigger to accomplish one or two acceptable sized functional rooms to compensate for the absence of head room in some areas of the advanced rooms rather than trying to cram in the bedroom numbers for the acceptable of it where the advanced rooms can alter to annihilation added than single bed sleeping podules with actual babyish inbuilt amenity amount.

5. If flat roofed dormers can alone be achieved due to the low ridge height then split the dormers into 2 or three smaller ones with no added than 1200mm (4′) wide windows to breach up its bulk. Always, always always recess the dormer into the roof slope to lessen the dormers bulk – DO NOT BUILD THE EXTERNAL FACE OF THE DORMER WALL OFF THE EXISTING EXTERNAL WALL OF THE HOUSE.

6. If a client wants a conversion with alone Velux type roof lights then all able-bodied & acceptable (much cheaper as able-bodied). However an exercise should be completed to analyze the possibilities of a strategically located dormer or two that generally frees up an extra 30% floor area that the client may not accept realised for actual babyish extra almighty dollar.

7. Dormers are not the alone architecture solution to added ablaze & space – consideration could again be accustomed to a hip to gable conversion of the side roof for archetype that wont attending out of keeping (unless your a semi of course).

8. As a rule of thumb to the practicality of your advanced room in the roof – if you can already touch the ridge board when standing in the loft (about 2.3M or less), then its normally too baby to anatomy advantageous functioning bedrooms unless a bulky box dormer is constructed (which is what we are trying to avoid) If it is an area aloof for a play room or a study then all able-bodied & acceptable but beware, abounding bodies accept embarked on tight loft conversions alone to realise too unpunctual that that they accept no where to abode the bed or locate a wardrobe.

There are a abundant abounding other issues to accede as able-bodied when completing loft conversions such as overheating, blaze regs, weather protection during the works etc. & these are above discussion topics in themselves that I will allowance for another day. However, the points listed above are the main ones relative to the foreigner architecture & appearance of loft conversions.

About the author:
Our ‘Maximum Body Planning Adviser’ explains further the tactics involved when developing a site with a loft conversion or extension & how to accord yourself the ace chance of being granted a planning permission or planning approval.





Originall posted December 12, 2012