Loft Conversions

A loft conversion is one of the most popular home improvement options in the UK, due to a number of reasons; as a family grows, instead of the hassle of moving away and trying to find somewhere just as nice, within a given budget, adding additional space upwards is far more convenient. Loft conversions are also one of the best ways of increasing the value of a given property, in some cases, the value added from the loft conversion can be more than the expense of carrying out the work. In turn enabling the homeowner(s) to remortgage, releasing that increased value by way of equity, in turn paying off the expense of conversion.

Loft conversions are also a great solution for properties in urban areas or where an expensive two-storey extension doesn’t quite make financial sense.

Loft Conversion Guide 

We understand a Loft Conversion at your home , can feel daunting and a substantial undertaking, however, when you have experts in the field, with vast experience, these feelings should soon be replaced with excitement! The below is an overview of the processes taken when undertaking a loft/attic conversion and the options available to you by way of design/layout, along with some items to think about, when it comes converting your loft space. We hope you find it useful in answering some of your initial questions

Most Attic / loft space transformations , will in general fall under Permitted Development (Planning Information) yet you will require arranging consent on the off chance that you live in a listed building or a designated area. You will always need to stick to the Building Regulations, something which Farrellwolst has extensive experience and knowledge of; needless to say we have this covered.

You will likewise need to consider your current rooftop structure and the requirement for another staircase, just as how you will light, warm and ventilate the new room(s).

Can all Lofts/Attics be converted?

Evaluating your space’s appropriateness for transformation includes thinking about various variables, including:

  • Available head height
  • Rooftop pitch
  • Rooftop structure
  • Impediments, for example, water tanks or chimney stacks

On the off chance that the roofspace review uncovers a head stature of under 2.2m, there are two options that are available to provide the adequate headroom.

Arrangement 1: Raise the Roof

This is basically attainable, however the serious issues are the significant expense and getting arranging consent endorsement. In the event that the entire rooftop territory needs removing, a covered scaffold structure, to shield the house from the weather during the works, would likewise be required.

Arrangement 2: Lower the Ceiling in the Room Below

This will require all the existing roofs of the floor below the loft to be removed, meaning a slightly bigger project.

You will likewise need to evaluate whether the space you are picking up in the loft compensates for the space you are losing in the rooms beneath.

Adding a Staircase to a Loft Conversion

The perfect area for a staircase to land is in accordance with the roof ridge: this will best utilize the available height above the staircase.

The Pitch line minimum height requirement is 2m, although a reduction of this can take place; 1.9m if in the centre, and 1.8m to the side of a stair.

Practically speaking, the staircase position will rely on the format of the floor underneath, and where necessary the required height can be accomplished by utilizing a dormer or adding a rooflight over the staircase or, if suitable, changing over a hip roof end to a gable.

Do I Need to Replace the Ceiling Joists When Converting a Loft?

By and large, additional new joists will be required to agree to the Building Regulations as existing ceiling joists are probably not going to have the capability to take a conversion floor.

The structural engineer will determine the size and grade required.

The new joists span between load-bearing walls, and are typically raised marginally over the current ceiling plasterwork by utilizing spacers underneath the joist ends. This spacing must be adequate to avoid any new floor joist deflection from contacting the ceiling plaster beneath.

  1. The new joists run alongside the current joists. Above window and door openings, thicker timbers are utilized to bridge the opening, with the goal that weight isn’t put on the current opening lintel.
  2. Rolled steel joists (known as RSJs) are also specified to distribute the load, and in certain installations are utilized to carry the ends of the new joists. Where head height is limited, thicker joists, more closely spaced, can be specified.

During our site survey we shall assess the aforementioned, and aim to be creative in finding a solution if the task isn’t straightforward, it is great news for us both! Our experience has seen us undertake Loft Conversions in Leigh, on a variety of different properties. All to great success.

Bringing Natural Light into a Loft Conversion

You have two options with regards to guiding natural light into your conversion — rooflights or dormers.


The most convenient and simple strategy is to utilize rooflights that follow the pitch line of the roof. This sort is fitted by removing the tiles and battens where the rooflight will be fitted. The rafters are cut to clear a path for the rooflight after appropriately strengthening the rest of the rafters.

The most convenient and simple strategy is to utilize rooflights that follow the pitch line of the roof. This sort is fitted by removing the tiles and battens where the rooflight will be fitted. The rafters are cut to clear a path for the rooflight after appropriately strengthening the rest of the rafters.

The rooflight frame is then fitted and flashings included before making good the surrounding tiling.

This kind of window is the most economic, and more likely to be allowed without planning permission. Velux is one of the more popular brands, due to its effective marketing strategies, vast production quantity and overall fantastic quality of product.

A variety of designs and sizes can be specified, some of the more popular types are;

Centre Pivot Roof Windows

Top-Hung Roof Windows

Electric and Solar Powered Roof windows 

The more popular sizes tend to be;

70cm H x 55cm W

98cm H X 94cm W

Dormer Windows

Dormers give natural light but also add space to a loft conversion. They are especially effective where the pitch angle is high, as the useful floor area can be increased.

The mansard sort will give give maximum conversion roof space, since it projects the maximum available head height, in turn giving a greater usable floor area. A hip to gable conversion has a similar effect.

With dormer loft conversions, dormer windows are added to increase the volume of the roof space while providing full head height. Dormers are usually added to the rear, but subject to planning permission, they can be added to the side or front of your property. 

Following a loft conversion, the additional space can be used as an additional bedroom or two, a study or home office, a separate bathroom or a nursery. Or you can consider adding an en-suite or separate dressing room attached to a master bedroom. 

Single Dormer

These are a favourite by planners in conservation areas. If permitted, two single dormers, can be used to increase space and add symmetry, usually in parallel.

Side Dormer

A side dormer is more often used to increase head height for houses with a hipped roof, where access to the loft is located under that hip. The staircase is usually directed and enters the loft in this space.


This Involves one or more of the hips being removed and replaced with a gable wall (where the roof slopes in from the side(s) as well as the front and back). The roof is then extended and taken over these such gables to add extra space with full headroom.

Full Width Dormer

This type of loft conversion provides the maximum space to a loft/attic, adding a significant amount of living space, thus achieving a completely different feel and look to any other type of loft space. 

L-Shape Dormer

These are a rare Dormer installation, usually only suitable on certain properties such as Victorian properties with an addition to the rear. Similar to a full width dormer, the L-Shape Dormer provides a significant amount of additional space.

Adding a Bathroom in a Loft Conversion

In the event that you are adding a bathroom you’ll have to consider the area of existing services. Adding hot and cold water supplies is simple, simply branch off the existing plumbing system, either at the boiler or from the floor below. Adaptable plastic plumbing is anything but difficult to string through the joists.

Existing soil pipes are probably going to be vented above roof level and it might be possible to add a connection into this, or into another soil pipe on the floor beneath. Where there is no current soil stack you might have the option to add one; in any case, a small-bore adaptable waste pipe can be utilized to connect to the drains.

Building Regulations and Implications

FarrellWolst has vast experience dealing with building control in Leigh, as such all of the liaising and managing can be taken on by us. In regards to planning applications, here are a number of competent firms operating locally;

When converting your attic/loft, you will require Building Regulations endorsement. A structure control surveyor will review your change at different stages and will be liable for giving a finish declaration upon definite assessment.

In the event that your house is a semidetached or terraced, at that point you should tell your neighbors of your arranged work on the off chance that it falls under the necessities of the Party Wall Act.

With regards to the works carried out, the main areas in regards to Building regulations to be aware of are Parts L, K, B and P of the Building Regulations.

Part L of the Building Regulations requires U-value targets for thermal efficiency to be met when you convert your space into livable space.

Part K concerns protection measures from falling, crashes and sway, and requires a minimum headroom of 2m for all getaway routes, including the stairs (the rules are a little relaxed, for staircases providing the route of entry to a loft conversion.)

Parts B and P are concerned about fire and electrical wellbeing respectively. Agreeing to Building Regs’ prerequisites ablaze security can be perplexing. In at least two story homes, where an escape window would be more than 4.5m from the ground level, a ‘secured’ staircase needs to lead down to an outside entryway — which can cause a few issues if your staircase ascends from a room, as opposed to the hallway on the ground floor, or your ground floor is open plan. There are ordinarily arrangements in the two cases, yet this region needs thought with your plans.

Our 5 Step Process

Planning and Building Regs

Upon deciding that Farrell Wolst is the company for you we will arrange a start date and you will have been given a time scale for the project duration. The time has now come for us to start work. All the Surveys have been carried out, all the plans have been drawn up, all the relevant authorities have been notified and informed and necessary paperwork has been obtained.

The first stage of construction is getting our infrastructure in place, if required (dependent upon the project), for example we will assemble scaffolding first. Unlike a lot of other companies Farrell Wolst will, for example, erect scaffolding for loft conversions, so that there is no need to have access to you property while the construction work is going on. All work is carried out through your existing roof so your home is free of dust, materials and workmen during the conversion and can remain as a home as the work progresses.

Usually 1-2 days before the project is due to start the scaffolding will be erected around the property and wste disposal skips, etc. Will also be arriving. On the day of the arranged start date your team of workmen will arrive to begin work and the materials will arrive on site. Usually most materials are stored on the drive though alternative arrangements can be made where this is not possible. A safe area on site may be required for any expensive materials.

Hard work part 1

Now all infrastructure is in place such as scaffolding, Skips, large machinery, etc. Our team will start by removing all the old materials and items not required, such as old flooring, walls, kitchens, bathrooms, etc. Everything will be stripped back, to allow us to start a fresh. We will have in place organized days in which waste removal firms will arrive and take away this unwanted mess, always consulting with you and keeping you, and in turn your neighbors in the loop, in order to avoid any unwanted complications or delays to your day.

Specialist works

At this stage we have a blank canvas, and now the exciting work of bringing vision to life begins. Our specialist trades, electricians, Plumbers, gas engineers begin their first fix operations, in essence pulling in and installing the infrastructure/power to enable the completion of works. For example, the electrician will update the electrical supply in the kitchen or bathroom, complying with modern regulations, taking into consideration needs for residual current detection, etc. Pulling the relevant rated cables into the locations where, showers, lights, switches, pull cords, etc will ultimately be mounted and finished. All of this pivotal work is hidden behind the final finishes, such as plasterboard, plaster, tiling and flooring.

The plans and communication are essential to working as efficiently as possible, without errors, this is where FarrellWolst’s 50+ years of combined experience and project management experience comes into its own, and guarantees flawless uninterrupted work throughout.

Piecing the Project together

Now all of our ‘infrastructure’ is in place, cables, pipes, waste pipes, supporting beams, New Joists, etc. Our master Joiner’s and Fitter’s will now work tirelessly and with an eye for detail to build the vision you and everybody else will see. The walls will take shape, the structure of the kitchen, bathroom, extension, etc. Will all begin to piece together. The pipework, cable’s and other items now hidden behind the newly constructed structures, are ready to be used and completed, commonly referred to as the second fix.

2nd Fix and Completion

Our specialist trades team now come back for the final push, they will complete the ‘2nd fix’, this is in essence making the final connections such as mounting the shower, connecting downlights, light switches, connecting the cooker, hot and cold taps, etc. A thorough deep clean is carried out and our office manager will then make a site visit and review the work and ensure everything has been completed to the best of abilities, a list of any items which need attention is drawn up and shared with you, our valued customer, you can then review yourself and add any items we have not noticed (we don’t believe this is possible with our attention to detail, but we do like the challenge!), this is described in the trade as a snagging list. The completion of each and every item will be carried out and then a final handover is made with our site manager.

Monday to Friday: 10:00 – 17:00

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07482 332817


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