Checklist: Is your attic ready for a conversion?
1.Can I convert my attic?
First step is to measure the dimensions of the current space. Take note of the pitch of the roof and floor area. Floor area dimensions can be calculated by measuring the attic length by its width, but the roof pitch will determine the scope of the conversion. For a habitable space, you’ll want a clearance of 2.4m for 50% of the floor area. Finished conversions can vary from about 70% of the pre-conversion area – so you’ll quickly know if the space will support a conversion and offer the value you are seeking.
If the space allows you to convert your loft into ‘habitable space’ you’ll need to comply with fire and building regulations. Check if there is sufficient space for stairwell on the landing of the floor beneath the conversion. Your stairs cannot exceed a 42-degree pitch and must be 800mm wide. Along with a permanent stairwell, you’ll also need a window or roof light as well as fire resistant floor beams, insulation and ventilation.
Beware that when you decide to sell, the value of your property may come into dispute if you cannot provide a certificate of compliance with required planning permission for any modifications you make to your home. Check with your local planning authority if you have any queries in relation to planning requirements.
Converting your attic will require qualified professionals to get the job done right.
- A structural engineer will be essential to structural planning including altering truss roofs or adding a raised-roof extension. A structural engineer will deem the conversion structurally safe and will be required to certify for regulation purposes.
- An architect will assist with design and provide building plans. Architects can also help with planning permission and liaise with builders and other trades during the project.
- A professional carpenter will be needed for 1st fix including floor joists, portioning stairs and door liners and 2nd fix carpentry like skirting, architraves doors and wardrobes
- A qualified electrician will be essential to installing electrical and lighting requirements as improperly designed / installed fittings and inadequate wiring can be a serious fire hazard.
- A plumber will be required if your water storage tank is currently in your attic and you need to move it elsewhere in your conversion. You’ll also require a plumber if you decide to install and fit a bathroom
- Painters and/or Decorators for plastering and skimming your new walls, painting finishes and any other decorating requirements.
There are a number of quality attic conversion specialist companies in operation that offer a one-stop-shop. You can locate all of these resources at www.onlinetradesmen.com.
4. How much will an attic conversion cost?
Based on feedback from our rated and qualified tradesmen, a non-habitable conversion can start from €15K. For a fully finished ‘habitable’ conversion (without raising the roof line) 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom expect to spend anything from €30K– €45+. A lot will depend on the finish and design, and ensure that all work is certified before project completion.
In terms of the duration of the project a lot will depend on your design requirements, but once building starts a project can be carried out in as little as 2 - 3 weeks, if you hire the right contractor.
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