Posts Tagged ‘loft conversion costs’

Convert Your Loft: DIY, Local Builder or Specialist Firm?

Loft Conversion - Decision MakingDeciding to convert your loft from a dark and empty space into a spacious living area can add an extra dimension to the home, giving you the extra real estate you need and adding significant value to the property.  When you make the decision to convert your loft – whatever the intended purpose of the extra space – you will have three options: do it yourself, have a local builder carry out the work, or call in a specialist firm. All three have benefits.

Do it Yourself

The DIY option is a very popular one and it is by far the cheapest in terms of outlay – largely because of the money saved on labour. However, while converting the loft into a home office or children’s play area can be pretty straight-forward, the job should still be carried out by someone that is a competent DIYer. If you intend to use the space to create a bathroom, the recommendation would be to hire someone more qualified. You should also be aware that a bad DIY job can cost more to put right than it would to hire a professional. Although, if are on a particularly strict budget, DIY is most likely the best choice.

Local Builder

A local builder should be able to carry out all the work required to convert a loft and they are often available at discounted rates. Hiring a builder will speed up the job considerably in comparison to the DIY option and will ensure the conversion is carried out correctly. However, you should always be aware of the “cowboy” builder. Unfortunately, there are a lot of rogue traders out there, a significant number of whom claim to specialise in loft conversions. Before hiring any builder, make sure to check their credentials. Word-of-mouth is always a good way to find a legitimate building firm. Also read previous customer reviews online.

Specialist Company

There are many companies in the UK that specialise solely in loft conversions, providing everything from the initial drafts right through to the clean-up. Specialist firms are experienced in various types of conversions and can generally provide a turn-around of 6-8 weeks. Of the three options, this one is likely to prove the most expensive and there is also the “cowboy” element to look out for, but if a complete, no-nonsense job from start to finish is what you require, a specialist loft conversion firm is the recommended choice.

Project Managing a Loft Conversion

It may not seem obvious but a loft conversion needs project managing. It should not come to you as a surprise but many loft conversion specialists, sub-contract part of the loft conversion build to specialist tradesmen i.e. plumber, plasterer, carpenter, architect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this and shows that the loft conversion company overseeing your job is taking all aspects into consideration and using master craftsmen to apply their skilled trade. However, what is key that your loft conversion is a success is that the project is managed effectively. This point is particularly true so that you as a customer are not charged for wasted days and the right job is completed at the right charge in the right amount of time with the perfect finish.

I have seen many times that customers sometimes think they can manage a loft conversion on their own and hire individuals from recommendations they have gathered over the years. This is not as easy as it sounds… firstly, the group of  individuals need to work collectively as a team, they need to have good communication, rapport and be flexible at times as each loft conversion brings its own challenges. They need to be given clear direction and have pre-agreed budgets/time lines. A loft conversion built poorly will cost more in the long run as well as in the short term as other companies are hesitant in “picking up other peoples mess”

Tools which can be used to project manage a loft conversion inc. excel spreadsheets, a white board – first of all one must note down key milestones and the resources completing the job. If you are thinking of completing  a loft conversion on your own, think carefully – this will not only take a lot of skill, know how on planning/build reg process but also a lot of your time. It is only you who can decide whether you have the knowledge, appetite and skill to take on this enormous responsibility where ultimately you are building a room to spend much valued time.