How Do I Convert My Loft?
Loft Conversion Problems,
Illegal Loft Conversions
We carry out structural surveys, specific defects reports, boundary surveys, building surveys, residential property reports, defects reports, engineers reports, including things such as movement, cracks, dampness, condensation, etc.
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Is my loft conversion legal?
We as surveyors are coming across more and more poorly or worse still illegally converted loft spaces, which when the owner comes to move on are being sold as the real thing which they are not.
Why have a loft conversion?
The first question is why have a loft conversion at all? as often the amount spent on them doesn't equal the amount extra you can gain when selling the property. As most properties have a maximum road value you can often exceed this by having a loft conversion. We would say at the very best you get £ for £ back, at the worst you lose money.
Loft conversion is the only way to extend the house
We of course understand if you have got a growing family and need more space and have limited space to the property or possibly a rear extension already it limits what you can do in this area. We do understand why people have loft conversions particularly in city centre areas where loft conversions are so popular such as London, Manchester and Birmingham . We have come across specialist companies that do nothing else but loft conversions, particularly we come across loft conversion companies in the London area. These specialist companies understand the requirement for planning and building regulations and local authority approval and usually party wall or wall agreements with the neighbours. It is perhaps the builder that can't resist carrying out a loft conversion for someone or the very enthusiastic DIYer where problems occur.
Problems with Loft Conversions
As with any building work you can have problems with the quality of design of the loft conversion, the quality of the build of the loft conversion and the building process itself can be a problem with a loft conversion. When we are normally called in to deal with a loft conversion, either it is due to a dispute with the builder, perhaps the builder has walked off site halfway through the construction of the loft or it is where someone is proposing buying a new property and there has been a loft conversion carried out, which of course comes as part of the sale of the property.
Suspect problems with a loft conversion
We normally give advice to the home buyer when they feel there is a problem with the loft conversion. This may have been highlighted by the deflection in the floor or something unusual with the construction or it may be that the solicitors have advised them that there is no planning permission or building regulations. To the experienced surveyor looking at a loft conversion those that have been converted properly and those that haven't the difference is considerable.
Things that we look for, for example:-
Appropriateness of the loft conversion
Insulation levels of the loft conversions
Fire resistance of the lot conversion
Whether the floors are strong enough
If chimneys have been removed or not and if so have they been removed at the bottom only (this is usually the case to get a staircase in or the head room or extra room for a bed)
The list goes on...
What can we do if the loft conversion is of a DIY standard?
There are lots of actions you can carry out if the loft conversion is of a poor quality standard. This depends on course where you are standing! This can range from anything from not buying the property, negotiating considerable reductions after all the property is sold as three bedrooms when one of those bedrooms is a loft conversion ,which has been carried out illegally and not to Local Authority standards or indeed in many cases not to any standards, the property is in actual fact a large boarded out loft.
Problems we have found in loft conversions
This really would be a long list if we included all the problems we have found. Probably the most common one is that Building Regulations have not been applied for the loft conversion and when we have looked into this further, this is because Building Regulations standards have not been met. Some of these standards really are basic for example they have utilised the ceiling joists to become the new floor joists. Whilst ceiling joists do take the weight they usually take it as part of a triangular frame that forms the roof. This is quite different where there is downward force. This is why particularly in new properties you will find very thin joists. Floor joists are much thicker. We could go on but we think probably your best bet is for you to make a phone call and have a friendly chat with one of our assistants but please don't buy the property before you have had a chat with us 0800 298 5424
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a building surveyor with regard to valuations, mortgages, mortgage companies, surveys, building surveys, structural reports/engineers reports, specific defects report, structural surveys, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.
If you have a commercial property, whether it is freehold or leasehold then sooner or later you may get involved with dilapidation claims. You may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have included is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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