Going up and out successfully.
In Summer 2019 we were commissioned to design loft conversions and single storey extensions for six very similar semi-detached properties. In each case the need was for more space, but each property provided different answers to the owners' tastes and desires.
We were also working with six different planning authorities, including in three conservation areas, so what worked in one area could not just be copied and pasted to another. However, just because there are planning constraints, doesn't mean you can't end up with happy clients while meeting the planners' requirements!
No Planners in Sussex or Surrey will pass an application for this
Most authorities specify this approach for large dormers
"The reason most authorities have turned against flat dormers is that they create an overbearing mass that is not in keeping with the original architecture"
"Andy Rowland Senior Planner, Wealden DC"
Loft conversions offer an effective way of adding additional space a reasonable cost. However the complications of making them fit with the original building, added to the need to boost the structural capabilities of turning a roof into habitable space, mean they are often not cheap.
Clever design allows for effective use of the space, often by using the rear dormers for bathroom space or to allow access to the loft area from the floor below. This means you can still get maximum use of the space, while still matching the councils' design guidelines.
"Loft conversions can provide a great deal of useful extra space. We've done some with two bedrooms and a bathroom, others to provide luxury master suites. We've even had one with a balcony looking over the distant sea. Each one is different despite the similarities."
To get the right result calls for careful consideration of a range of factors, not least what you the client are trying to achieve. That's where we come in!
This approach to a loft conversion gave the client a spacious and luxurious master suite
This approach in a similar space gives two extra double bedrooms plus shower room.
One of the more surprising aspects about loft conversions is the cost of doing them. As built, roof structures were not designed to be strong enough to carry the load of people walking around, plus furniture, bath fittings and so on. As a result, there is almost always going to be a need for significant structural work as part of the conversion
We work closely with a very reputable firm of Structural Engineers who have done the structural designs for hundreds of loft conversions, so we know how the structural changes will affect the usability of the space. Don't be surprised if the cost of converting a roof into living space works out around the £50k mark. However, when you look at the cost per square metre compared to a new build, it still works out as excellent value for money.