Thinking of building a usuable new loft space? Your dreams of finally having a cool new room have finally come true. But before you go showing off that space to your friends, be aware that converting a loft is definitely no easy feat. It requires careful planning and a well thought out timeline. Conversion does not happen overnight and it certainly has to be carried out in phases. Here is a breakdown of the average loft conversion timeline.
Before anything can be done, you’ll first need to assemble a project team. The team will be in charge of identifying any access points and design considerations to make your design work. Usually, the team would involve an architect. Since it is a property, you’ll need to factor in building requirements such as fire access, alarms, etc. If you’re keen on drafting out a design on your own, consider software that can help you out with this. We recommend Sweet Home 3D, which helps you draw the plan of your loft and visit the results in 3D. Once the final design has been drafted, you’ll have to check in with your local planning and building control department to get official consent.
The planning stage will vary based on the timescales of the particular type of application. Typically it takes 8 weeks but you should always check with your local planning office for how long they might take to get back to you. Alternatively, set a clear date that you’d like to hear from them so you can get things up and running. To reduce the time taken for multiple rounds of approval, you can first make sure that the proposal submitted is compliant with all building regulations. This saves you the time of having to send your proposal back and forth multiple times. Once approval is given, you can start scheduling when the conversion can take place.
The erection of your loft needs to be completed in several steps that have to be clearly marked out. While how fast things can be put up is highly dependent on how much work you’d like to be done to the loft, your choice of loft conversion type can also entail different time frames and scheduling. Here, we’ve put up a list of the appropriate time frames for different sorts of loft conversions:
- Velux – 8 weeks
- Dormer – 9-11 weeks
- Hip to Gable – 10-12 weeks
- Mansard -10-12 weeks
Having a Timeline
A rough plan of phases would be good so that you know what to expect while setting mini-goals for completion. For most conversions, consider following these timelines:
Weeks 1 & 2
The first couple of weeks often hovers around the preparation stage, with most work done on designing and making sure all materials are ready for conversion to start. While it might not seem like much work is done to the interior of your loft, there is a lot of work that goes into planning how to start. By the end of week 1, you can expect some changes to be done to the exterior of the loft, taking into consideration the basics such as roof access and other necessities. Depending on the type of conversion, scaffoldings might also need to be set up for easy access to higher areas of the building. By the end of week 2, the basic structure of the place would have been built.
Weeks 3 & 4
Moving into week 3 & 4, you can expect construction to gradually shift towards the interior of the loft. These changes will include laying the flooring, services, creating window openings or other significant parts of the loft design. Depending on the shape or types of roofing that you are planning to install, each type has different levels of difficulty. For simple conversions, adding a window can be done within 1-2 days. The more challenging conversions such as ‘hip to gable’ or ‘Mansard’ conversions will have to expect extra work for the next couple of days. Throughout these couple of weeks, there should be little or no disturbance to the rest of the house.
Weeks 5, 6 & 7
Ah, we’re finally moving into the final phase of the house. At this phase, you can expect disturbances to the rest of the house as this means the staircase to the loft is finally being installed. At this stage, telling your family members or the tenant of the main house would be good so that everyone is prepared for the minor disturbance. This stage will see further installations of plumbing pipes and also electrical cables, just to make sure everything runs smoothly before getting the necessary furniture in. Finally, finish the loft with decorating your newly completed loft.
Weeks 8 – 12
At this stage you can expect to be the most involved in the project, particularly if it has been agreed with your contractor that you will be supplying them with the finishing materials for the loft. Tiling, 2nd fix carpentry and decoration and flooring all happen at this final stage of the project. This can sometimes be the most stressful period but it is also the most exciting one to see all your hard work coming together!
Loft conversions are no doubt time consuming and require a fair amount of work from planning to actually finishing it. Simpler loft conversions can take up to approximately two months while more complex conversions may take up to three months. Of course, this will also depend on how efficient your team works and how much you push them.
Disruptions to the main house are something many loft converters get jittery about. “Will I affect the tenants downstairs?”, “How long will the disturbances last?” are questions that we often get. Fret not, because, for the most part, the main bulk of loft conversions will have almost no disturbance to the main house. The only time the main house would be disturbed is when the staircase has to be installed, and that would take a maximum of 3 days.
We encourage talking to the project team or contractors on how to reduce noise levels or keep disturbance to a minimum. It is important to pick contractors that take pride in their work and offer you quality work to reduce post-construction follow-ups should the need arise. Talk to the tenants in the main house and coordinate their timings with your project. With everyone’s support in this project, your loft conversion will be a breeze.