Loft conversion information, please!

I'm considering a loft conversion (two bedroom 1940s brick built house with 'normal' loft/roof/etc) If possible, I'll try to DIY myself but it may be beyond my scope.
Any comments/recommendations/disrecommendations? Any guesstimates on possible/probable costs both for the DIY option and the getting-someone-in-to-do-it option welcome.
Steve
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Steve,
There are a number of considerations to take into account when undertaking a job like this:
1. It will need building reg approval 2. If you are considering a dormer window it may well need planning permission 3. you will need to get a professional to draw what you want complete with any load bearing calculations 4. You will need to have some good, multi-trade skills if you are doing this yourself.
After seeing a number of "botched" conversions and one or two of these with ceilings on the point of collapse, I would advise at the very least to hire the services of a good professional to advise you on the design and load bearing parts of the project as floor joists need to be inserted, ceiling traps and stairways installed, possible re-siting of water tanks, electrical wiring and, often overlooked - the safety of any chimneys or gas flues that will project into the converted area.
And lastly they will be able to steer you through and building control applications/problems - as a SAFE loft conversion is not the simplest of projects for the average DIY'er to undertake
There may well be some disagreement with me on that point :-)
As regards to costs - certainly four figures and possibly five figures dependant on the work required.
Hope this helps
Brian
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You'll also need to consider fire regulations (perhaps this comes under building regs). I think you need fire doors on sprung closers if you're adding an extra habitable floor. Someone may well correct me, that's fine. Just concerned you don't miss this.
I know I thought about this at our previous house and quickly went off the idea due to all the factors already mentioned in this thread - definitely not a trivial operation!
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Hip roof to gable roof conversion seems to cost around 5k, as we have been investigating this ourselves. Velux window site has good instructions on how to fit them and all the bits you need. One of the things is to seal the space between the roof and the new ceiling to keep it moisture free - esp if u are putting any bathroom stuff up there. My best source of information so far has been a brochure on loft conversions free from Velux, ordered on the website. In general it all looks quite difficult - putting in a fixed staircase looks a nightmare - it needs to be accurate too. Maybe you could get tradesmen for the difficult bits and do the rest yourself. The money on a good architect would be the best thing. He'll tell you all the regulations etc and will also be able to advise on what you could tackle yourself, and will do calculations like staircases for u.
Dormer windows give a lot of extra space
Regulations that I have heard of so far: You need a fire escape window on a 3rd floor (Velux do them) there needs to be a 2m clearance from the top stair to the ceiling above. Doors on the 3rd floor need to fire proof. (Special doors available with wired glass or at least a coat of fireproof paint on a bog standard one) If u are putting more than one habitable room (bedr or study etc, not bath) , there needs to be a fire escape on the outside. You'll probably need a separate ringmain and will need a qualified electrician for that.
Cost wise you could do a lot for 10k and a lot more for 25k, which seems to be price range for most conversions.
http://www.loftconversionwarehouse.com http://www.loftconversions.co.uk /
Good luck

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"SC" wrote | In general it all looks quite difficult - putting in a fixed staircase | looks a nightmare - it needs to be accurate too. Maybe you could get | tradesmen for the difficult bits and do the rest yourself. The money | on a good architect would be the best thing. He'll tell you all the | regulations etc and will also be able to advise on what you could | tackle yourself, and will do calculations like staircases for u.
The bulk of work on a loft conversion is structural, and a structural engineer is better for that work than an architect, if one can be found who does loft conversions.
| Dormer windows give a lot of extra space | Regulations that I have heard of so far: | You need a fire escape window on a 3rd floor (Velux do them) | there needs to be a 2m clearance from the top stair to the ceiling above. | Doors on the 3rd floor need to fire proof. (Special doors available with | wired glass or at least a coat of fireproof paint on a bog standard one)
AIUI all doors onto the staircase need to be fire resistant.
| If u are putting more than one habitable room (bedr or study etc, not bath) | , there needs to be a fire escape on the outside.
External fire escapes are generally unacceptable
| You'll probably need a separate ringmain and will need a qualified | electrician for that.
A separate ring circuit, if it is required, is one of the easiest parts of the job and will not need a qualified electrician (in Scotland, the BCO may require to see a certificate as part of the Building Warrant application).
Owain
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"Steve Kimberley" wrote | I'm considering a loft conversion (two bedroom 1940s brick built house | with 'normal' loft/roof/etc) | If possible, I'll try to DIY myself but it may be beyond my scope. | Any comments/recommendations/disrecommendations?
Get yourself a copy of
Home Conversions: The Complete Handbook Paul Hymers
Paperback 176 pages (1 May, 2003) Publisher: New Holland Publishers (UK); ISBN: 1843303523
It will answer lots of questions you haven't even thought about asking :-)
Owain
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