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Lofts to talk about; Converting the loft can make a big difference to your home, but make sure you do it right. JULIA GRAY has some more tips to top off your home in style.


1 LOTS of companies specialise only in doing loft conversions (and sometimes extensions too).

These companies usually work to a formula, so you get a certain number of sockets, spotlights and windows, and if you deviate from that or want a different spec, you often end up paying more, or sourcing items yourself - it can feel like almost everything's extra.

This tends not to be the case with general builders, who don't work to such a strict formula.

Some loft-conversion companies quote for their usual spec, while others will tailor their quotation to your requirements, making it hard to compare prices.

Most leave you with not much more than a shell - they usually don't do the tiling, flooring and decorating, but will hold your hand through the process by arranging the architect and buildingregulations certificate, and so on.

2 |Some loftcompanies if you deviate WHILE planning permission can be required for loft conversions, it's often not necessary, providing your home has permitted development (PD) rights and you stick to the PD rules governing width, height, materials, etc.

You can't, for example, have more than 40 cubic metres of converted roof space in a terraced house, or 50 cubic metres in a detached or semi-detached house - see for a full loft conversion guide.

If the conversion can be done under your home's PD rights, it's a good idea to apply to your local council for a lawful development certificate, which is for building work that doesn't need planning permission.

When you come to sell your home, this certificate proves to the buyer and their solicitor that the work is lawful.

3 ON 'DESIGNATED land', which includes conservation areas and 'Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty', loft conversions are not permitted development, so you have to apply for special planning permission.

The same applies if you live in a flat or maisonette, as they don't have PD rights either.

With listed buildings, you need listed building consent from your local council to do building work, including a loft conversion.

4 IF YOUR home's leasehold, there could be other complications.

conversion. charge extra from spec The loft may belong to the freeholder, not you, and even if you do own it, you may need the freeholder's permission to convert it, depending on the terms of the lease.

5 UNLESS your house is detached, converting the loft will affect a shared wall or walls with a neighbour or neighbours, which means the work falls under the Party Wall Act.

To comply with the act, you'll need to give your neighbours two months' notice of the work and if they don't agree to it, party wall surveyors will have to be appointed to draw up an agreement governing the work and any damage caused by it.


Some loftconversion. |companies will charge extra if you deviate from spec

Unless your house is detatched, work will fall under the Party Wall Act

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 23, 2015
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