We are currently investigating the possibility of converting our loft and are looking for some general advice. We want to create an open plan kitchen/living space and so no internal walls would need to be created (aside from a party wall and stair enclosure). I am wondering to what extent I need to involve an architect (aside from having plans drawn up).
Also, would it be more cost effective to use a company that specialises in loft conversions from start to finish or is there any merit in employing the trades separately at each stage of the project. So far I have had rough estimates of anywhere between £20,000 - £40,000 and would welcome any advice.
As you know, lofts are always very hot in the summer, and invariable cold in the winter.
Keeping this in mind, you need to be very clear as to what you will use the loft for, and indeed what later owners will expect of it.
Where a lot of people go wrong, is that they try to keep the loft space as large as possible, while restricting the amount of space used for insulation.
Maybe older loft conversions are hot and cold in summer and winter respectively, but modern building regs require such high levels of insulation that this should not occur. You can also not make a loft conversion larger by omitting insulation as you will be in breach of building regulations.
In answer to your original question, if you employe a surveyor or architect to draw up plans for statutory approvals, they will include various details for building regulations approval, but will not necessarily include finer details for construction and finishes. They should ideally be employed to prepare full working drawings and a specification, at least this way all builders will be quoting for the same works, not their opinion of it!!!
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