Many homes were originally built with a pitched roof that gives a large open space in the loft area. This traditionally gets used for storage as people gather possessions over years and need somewhere to store it. Out if sight out of mind is a phrase that comes to mind. This leads to many people thinking they can skinny down the number of possessions that live above their heads and make better use of the large space.
This can be a cost effective way of getting more space in your home and increasing the value at the same time. You may have had a change in your living arrangements and need more space. Perhaps you now have children or need a home office or perhaps its time to build a home gym to reduce some of the other baggage you have built up over the years!
There are some considerations before going ahead with a loft conversion project which you have with any building project, but the loft conversion presents its own set of regulations and design elements.
There are three ways to go about getting your loft converted.
1) Do it yourself (DIY)
Seriously, people do this all the time but obviously it requires a high level of DIY skill in order to even consider this route. You might consider this route if you have a low budget and are trying to save money.
You will need to do your research, both in terms of avoiding catastrophic issues arising such as the roof falling down and also in terms of adhering to building regulations. You can hire a designer or architect to help with this and visit the local authority to get some more info on going down the self-build route.
2) Hire a professional Building contractor.
This is the way most sane people would approach such a big project. However, the issue here comes in selecting the right contractor with the appropriate experience and skill to do the job. Make sure you carry out your due diligence on a number of contractors and don’t just take their word for it but also take the word of their customers. Asking for references will separate those cowboys from the real deal.
Work out your budget in advance and get fixed price quotes where possible to make sure the budget is adhered to.
3) Get a Builder who will let you help!
Some building firms may consider a scenario where you offer to labour for them to lower costs. Labour can often be one of the higher costs involved so eliminating that will be a good third option. This is a half way house between the higher costs of using a contractor and the low end costs of a complete DIY job. The same advice goes for picking a contractor as 2 above.
Also, you could get the contractor to do the first fix where they simply build the roof and stairs and install the services, and you do the second fix of adding walls, light fittings, bathroom suites and decorating.
In either scenario you will need to check with the local authority regarding the building and planning regulations to make sure you are not in breach of any laws pertaining to your building or location.
Tim Tavender is a writer with years of experience writing home improvement blogs. This article was written with the help of http://millsbuild.co.uk, a loft conversion specialist in London.