Loft Conversion: Is There Room Above?

Optimising loft space is quickly becoming one of the more popular forms of home extension. When considering whether your loft space can viably be extended into a living area the key factor to take into account is the availability of head room.

Loft conversions are one of the more complex varieties of conversion. This is due to structural implications and also the current Building Regulations. These regulations impose increasingly high levels of energy efficiency on property extensions. This in turn affects the construction thickness and subsequently the amount of available headroom post construction. Additionally, loft conversions can also be complicated when it comes to the designing and implementation of a set of access stairs. Furthermore, it should be remembered that this new stair case will have an impact on the floor space available on the level beneath.

As it currently stands, there are no statutory headroom minimum standards for room height levels, with the exception that a height of at least two metres is required at the top of the stair case. However, when considering a loft conversion, it is essential to consider the amount of usable space in this new room. Loft conversions which make use of a pitched design, if carefully planned can provide excellent storage spaces. However do not be fooled by the size of the floor area on the design plan, especially if the space will be impacted by a sloping roof.

With loft conversions, the most important dimension is the height which is between the underside of the roof ridge and the top of the roof joists. This dimension is the tallest part of the loft area, due to this it is critical to the viability of your loft conversion. It should also be taken into account that this height will be affected by factors including the straightening of the new floor and also the lining of the new ceiling.

If the headroom in your proposed conversion is limited, there are a number of options which can improve this situation. These include, raising the ridge height, in most cases this option is not going to be practical, but is worth consideration. Another option to consider is lowering the floor of the loft area. Often this measure is employed as a last resort, however there are situations where the floor can be lowered to borrow space from the rooms beneath.

Most common solutions include the careful selection and implementation of dormer windows. These windows increase headroom in key areas in the loft conversion, including the area above the bed. Additionally, dormer windows provide excellent light levels to the loft conversion drastically improving the quality of the loft space.

Loft conversions require careful design and planning in order to be successful. It is important to take the time in order to consider the various options which are available to you. The optimum design should provide the maximum amount of space whilst balancing the aesthetics and financial cost.

Broadoak Basements are specialists in loft conversion projects. For further information you can contact a member of our technical team on 0161 962 1623. Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected].