Designing a loft conversion to add value to your home

Making significant changes to a homes structure is a big undertaking. This makes that the value that a home improvement project will add is an important factor! The return on investment (ROI) can also be a deciding factor between project types. For example the costs vary significantly from a loft conversion and an extension. As architects, we’re here to answer the important questions. When a client comes to us with a question like ‘ how much value does a loft conversion add?’ There are a few key considerations that we always take into account.

Should I Consider A Loft Conversion?

Every home is unique, so creating a design that is right for yours is key. A well planned loft conversion will maximise your home’s value and create beautiful new spaces. Additionally, the process of building upwards instead of outwards is often less disruptive. If you think a loft conversion may be right for you here are some important considerations before you get started:

Can I Convert My Loft?

To create a habitable space, the current loft must meet certain requirements. Often simple measurements that can be used to gauge suitability early in the process. The distance from the floor level of the loft to the underside of the roof ridge is one of these. We recommend a clearance of 2.2 for peace of mind, but don’t worry if your loft doesn’t meet this specification! While it’s easier if the base bones tick all the boxes in advance, we’re experts in finding bespoke solutions. As loft conversion specialists are experts in optimising internal space. For example structural alterations can be use to lowering the bottom-floor ceilings. This balances living spaces and maximises how much value your loft conversion adds.

Often, overlooked aspects such as how people circulate within a home can make or break a project. Something as simple as a well designed staircase can impact on how much value a loft conversion will add. Of course, few homes have a building regulation compliant staircase in place. This makes it vial to consider how you interact with your home during the planning process.

What types of loft conversion are available?

The best suited loft conversion for your home will depend on several factors. From the existing space, to the type of roof construction that you have, and your particular living requirements. Generally, the following roof conversions are available:

Rooflight Conversion

Usually the most cost effective option

Dormer Addition

By far the most popular choice

Hip-to-gable Conversion

A great option for homes with hip roofs

Mansard Conversion

The best way to maximise internal loft footprint

Do I need planning permission?

The UK’s ‘permitted development rights‘ mean that most loft don’t need planning permission. Skipping the costly (and lengthy) planning process makes loft conversions an attractive option. This is not just because of the time saved, but also the higher return on investment the project offers.

During initial consultations we assess whether planning permission is likely to be required. When we do this, we’re looking for any factors that may invalidate your permitted development rights. For example, a dormer project may run into issues if:

  • The distance between the dormer and dormer facing boundary is more than 10m
  • The dormer extends higher than the existing ridge height
  • The width of the dormer covers more than half of the overall roof width
  • The dormer is not on the front or side of your house and facing a road
  • There’s less than 300mm between the edge of the roof and the edge of the dormer
  • The house is within a conservation area

Remember, even if planning permission isn’t required, all work must still meet building regulations.

What is a realistic budget?

Working towards a realistic budget is the most important factor to consider when planning a home improvement project. The good news is that loft conversions are generally less expensive than extensions. The price of a loft conversion can vary due to the specification of materials and fittings so it’s important to get this right from day one. Last minute design alterations aren’t fun and can get expensive fast!

As a guide, a realistic budget for a rooflight conversion is £1000 per square metre. The overall price of a rooflight conversion typically varies between £15,000 to £35,000. We would suggest an allowance of £1500 per square metre for a dormer addition. The overall price of a dormer addition can cost anywhere from £30,000 to £60,000.

How much value will a loft conversion add to my house?

We’re often asked, will a loft conversion really add value to my home? In short, yes.

Loft conversions are often cited as one of the best ways to increase the value of your home and tend to offer excellent return on investment. Typically, a well-considered loft conversion could add 20-25% to your house value. In cities, where space tends to be at a premium, the percentage increases can be even higher!

In some areas, the ‘ceiling price’ of your home can be an important factor. The ceiling price is the maximum value that your home can reach, and you should keep this in the back of your mind for any home improvement project. In some areas, properties have a ceiling value no matter how much you spend on home improvements. Having said this, in some circumstances a loft conversion can still be the right decision. Often spending the extra money on your forever home is a great way to make the space work for you.

How long will the build take?

Most loft conversions take around 6-8 weeks on site. Before you can get started though, you must receive building warrant approval. This can often be the lengthiest part of a loft conversion project!

Once you are in receipt of your Building Warrant approval, a start date can be pencilled in with your chosen contractor. While the work will cause some disruption, loft conversions involve less extensive works than most projects. This means that a well planned project can minimising disruption by compartmentalising work.

If we’ve inspired you to consider renovating your loft space, please feel free to get in touch with us for a chat about your project – we’re always happy to help!