Archive for the ‘Loft Conversion FAQs’ Category

Loft Conversion Fire Safety

Loft Conversion Fire Safety

 

Loft conversions are not difficult projects to complete and they can add significant value to any home. A converted attic can be used for many purposes: extra bedroom, bathroom, study, play area, home office or a guest room. Whatever your intended use for the loft, safety must always be the primary concern, fire safety in particular.

Before proceeding with any loft conversion work, whether carried out by you or a professional company, it is essential that you seek advice from the local council to ensure you are adhering to building regulations. On many occasions, loft conversions can be completed without the need for planning permission, but it is always recommended that you contact your local authority. They will also be able to provide you with help and advice on loft fire safety.

Flooring

The floorboards used in a loft conversion must not only be strong enough to support loading from furniture, bathroom fittings and the like, they must also provide at least 30 minutes of fire resistance. This will give enough time for occupants to escape in the event of the fire.

Plasterboard

Plasterboard is used to cover all roof joists and any stud walls that have been erected. It is important that fire resistant plasterboard is used. These boards are generally pink in colour; Gyproc Fireline, GTEC Lafarge Fire Board and Knauf Fireshield are all recommended choices.

Windows

It is always recommended that an escape window is installed in the roof of the house; this will provide a route out of the property in the event of a fire. Velux manufacture large escape windows designed specifically for loft conversions. An escape window should always be easy to get to and be located at eaves level, this will aided in rescue from outside.

Doors

Whether you have an escape window installed in the loft or not, fire doors are essential. All doors should provide 20 minutes fire resistance and be of at least FD20 grade. FD30 doors are also available should you want extra security. Intumescent strips which are fitted to the door and on the inside of the door frame are also essential in preventing smoke from filling a room.

Smoke Detectors

Probably the most obvious piece of equipment in fire safety, smoke detectors are essential to meet building regulations. Rooms that are above ground level carry an increased risk of fire and a properly fitted smoke alarm can be the difference between life and death.

Choosing a Company to Convert Your Loft

With there being so many loft conversions out there, how do you chose between them. I thought it be worthwhile to write a post on choosing a company to convert your loft – hope you find it useful.

When it comes to building extensions, a little bit of planning know-how goes a long way. The average loft conversion costs between £20,000 and £40,000 depending on the design and the type of house, and is anything but a simple process. To maximise the potential of a loft, you are going to need planning and building skills, as well as the ability to manage a budget accordingly, this is why those considering a conversion should always think about hiring a specialist company.

Loft Conversion Dining Room

 

An experience loft conversion company bring the experience and the skills needed to ensure your loft meets your expectations.

Gathering quotes

Loft conversions are very popular at the moment so you shouldn’t any problems finding a specialist company in the local area. When choosing a company, you do not want to rush out and hire the first firm that you see; instead you should shop around for quotes.

If you’ve ever seen television shows such as Rouge Traders and Cowboy Builders, you will know that not every building company are who they say they are, so it wise to find testimonials and examples of work before phoning or emailing for a quote. The internet is a good place to find feedback on a company, as is word of mouth from friends and family.

Once you have found four of five reputable companies in the local area, you can begin to gather quotes. When doing this, bear in mind that the lowest quote is not always the best.

Getting a consultation

Many companies will provide a consultation service whereby an employee of the company can visit your home to discuss your ideas and look at the possible conversion options. This will allow them to provide you with a more realistic quote, and you to see clear examples of their work.

Most companies will offer such consultations free of charge, and any company trying to charge for the service is probably best avoided. At the same time, just because a consultation is free, doesn’t mean you should feel like you owe the company something. Also, never let yourself feel pressured by any sales patter that company employees try to deliver.

A loft conversion is a massive investment and every decision made should be one that is right for you.

Electrical Access in the Loft

electrics loft conversionRegardless of the type of room you are creating with a loft conversion, there will be a need for electrical access. This will ensure you have power points for plugs and lighting. Even if you are not converting in the loft into a habitable space, electricity always comes in useful.

The wires

Installing electricity into a loft should be done in the early stages of a loft conversion; the good thing about the wires is that they are thin and extremely flexible; this means that they can be easily manipulated and placed into position. This makes the job much easier than plumbing which often involves the use of hard plastic and copper pipes. Feeding wires into the loft from floors below should not pose too many problems, other than the possibility of drilling through floorboards, which is often more messy than it is difficult. The biggest task will be hiding the multitude of differently coloured wires needed for different purposes – this can be done during a first fix.

Hiding the wires

The only signs of electricity in a completed loft conversion will be the sockets, light switch and light fitting, all of the wires will be well hidden behind the plasterboard and insulation on the walls and ceiling. Hiding the wires is done during the first fix.

First fixing is carried out prior to any insulating and plasterboarding being carried out. Wires will need to be well protected, this will involve tacking them along the inside of wall and roof joists and as tightly as possible to brick walls.

It will be important for the builders carrying out the plasterboard work to know that wires need to be brought through the plasterboard, and where they need to be pulled through. This will be very important for ensuring light fittings and sockets are in the correct place.

Once the plasterboard and plastering is complete, all wires will be hidden will be away from view. After this a second fix can be carried out, fixing the light fittings, switches and plug sockets in the correct places.

Using an electrician

When compared with the building work and plumbing that goes into a loft conversion, fitting an electricity supply is a fairly easy job. That being said, it should not be attempted by anyone that is inexperienced in the field. It is recommended that you use a professional electrician for any electrical work that needs doing. This will ensure that a job is done efficiently and correctly.

Loft Conversion: Practical Considerations

Loft Conversion Advice

Realising the potential of your loft

If you are looking for some extra space in the home, why not consider a loft conversion? It is much more cost effective and less stressful than moving home, is cheaper and better for space than building a ground extension and, best of all, it can add significant value to your home – up to 25% on the original value. When planning a loft, there are some practical considerations that you should take into account.

Space

The space that you have available will go a long way to determining the type of loft conversion you can have. If you loft has vast amounts of space, then you may be able to choose a Velux conversion, this will involve no changes to the roof and is by far the cheapest of any loft job. If however there is a lack of space, you are going to need to create some. This will probably mean a dormer conversion is needed. This will give you the required space but will be a much more expensive job to complete.

A general rule of thumb with lofts is that if the space from floor to the tallest part of the ceiling measures 230cm, you will have the required height needed for a conversion.

Access

Access will also be important. If the loft is being turned into a “habitable room”, for example, a bedroom, bathroom or playroom, it must have a permanent staircase. You will need to think about the space you are going to be losing below when installing a staircase; therefore it can be wise to use stairs that are less wide than those on lower floors. A staircase must also provide 210cm of headroom.

Safety

Safety is of paramount importance for obvious reasons. Fire regulations should be at the top of the list in any plans; this will mean purchasing materials that comply with building regulations in terms of fire resistance. Smoke alarms, escape access and sprinkler systems will also be required. Existing doors in a two storey home will also need to be replaced for fire resistant alternatives.

Choosing the Right Loft Insulation for Your Conversion

Loft Insulation

The importance of effective loft insulation

If you’re looking to make the most of the roof space in your home by carrying out a loft conversion, you will need to make sure you adhere to the latest edition of the statuary Building Regulations. This will mean insulating your roof in the proper way (choosing the right loft insulation material). There are many different types of insulation that can be used, some more expensive than others but all with great properties. The following is an overview of the types of insulation that can be used in your conversion.

Polyurethanes

There is a number of gas-based, plastic foam, polyurethane material insulation types. The best known and most popular are Kingspan and Celotax. They are fairly expensive but are much better at insulating than air-based mineral wool insulation types. This type of insulation is excellent where space is at a premium.

Blown-in

On some occasions it is possible to use wool, fibres and plastics that are not dry fixed but rather blown into position with a nozzle. The most popular type of insulation in this form is Warmcel which is constructed from a combination of recycled newspaper and cellulose fibre. Blown-in is a technique widely used in timber frame houses.

Multifoils

Made up of thin layers of aluminium foil and foam padding, Multifoil has excellent insulation properties and can be put to good use in houses with sloping roofs.

Extruded polystyrene

Extruded polystyrene is much denser than its expanded counterpart and is most widely used under loft flooring. There are several different suppliers of this type of insulation but Knauf is a recommended choice.

Natural minerals

The popularity of natural materials as insulation is becoming immensely popular. Wood fibres and hemp are both available in roll and slab variations and are excellent for insulating roof spaces and any timber walls that you have in your conversion. More popular than these though is sheep wool. This is a wonderful material with excellent insulating properties and is much better to use that fibre glass and mineral wool insulation; however, it is also more expensive.

If unsure contact us today and we’ll put you in touch with a professional loft conversion speciailist

Loft Conversion Fire Safety

Loft conversions are not difficult projects to complete and they can add significant value to any home. A converted attic can be used for many purposes: extra bedroom, bathroom, study, play area, home office or a guest room. Whatever your intended use for the loft, safety must always be the primary concern, fire safety in particular.

Before proceeding with any loft conversion work, whether carried out by you or a professional company, it is essential that you seek advice from the local council to ensure you are adhering to building regulations. On many occasions, loft conversions can be completed without the need for planning permission, but it is always recommended that you contact your local authority. They will also be able to provide you with help and advice on loft fire safety.

Flooring

The floorboards used in a loft conversion must not only be strong enough to support loading from furniture, bathroom fittings and the like, they must also provide at least 30 minutes of fire resistance. This will give enough time for occupants to escape in the event of the fire.

Plasterboard

Plasterboard is used to cover all roof joists and any stud walls that have been erected. It is important that fire resistant plasterboard is used. These boards are generally pink in colour; Gyproc Fireline, GTEC Lafarge Fire Board and Knauf Fireshield are all recommended choices.

Windows

It is always recommended that an escape window is installed in the roof of the house; this will provide a route out of the property in the event of a fire. Velux manufacture large escape windows designed specifically for loft conversions. An escape window should always be easy to get to and be located at eaves level, this will aided in rescue from outside.

Doors

Whether you have an escape window installed in the loft or not, fire doors are essential. All doors should provide 20 minutes fire resistance and be of at least FD20 grade. FD30 doors are also available should you want extra security. Intumescent strips which are fitted to the door and on the inside of the door frame are also essential in preventing smoke from filling a room.

Smoke Detectors

Probably the most obvious piece of equipment in fire safety, smoke detectors are essential to meet building regulations. Rooms that are above ground level carry an increased risk of fire and a properly fitted smoke alarm can be the difference between life and death.

Do not overlook loft conversion fire safety. If unsure – contact us today for free advice to ensure the safety of all.

The weather and impact on Loft Conversion Build

A loft conversion build in the rain should not be a issue – those in the trade are use to drizzle, rain, sleet and snow given the past few seasons. Loft Conversions are versatile and so is the build process and reason why the majority of the construction work can continue in the rain.

It is only when the roof tiles come off then is it highly advisable, a loft conversion company should stand down if it is raining, sleeting or snowing otherwise you would risks damage to your roof structure . If it starts raining later in the construction process  it is not a big issue as heavy tarpaulin is used to protect your roof from the weather. The loft conversion process of removing roof tiles and protecting your roof usually takes about 5-6 hrs therefore it is advisable to always keep an eye on the forecast before your loft conversion company arrives.

Work which can be completed whilst it is not the best of weather can range from

– plumbing
– plastering
– electrics
– skirting, carpentery

It is only the “first fix” in loft conversion speak where one should be concern with the adverse weather conditions otherwise the majority of loft conversion specialists will continue to build that dream and convert your loft. Any questions, please feel free to post a comment