Here at Capital Loft Conversions we understand that a loft conversion or house extension is a large financial outlay and we appreciate that you will have a lot of questions. We have converted hundreds of lofts so we have listed the most common questions and answers below.
WHO WE ARE
Who is Capital Loft Conversions?
Capital Loft Construction Ltd is a construction company registered in England and Wales with company number: 13569116. Company is specialising in designing and installation of high-quality loft conversions and house extensions across London. We based is in central London at 411 Oxford Street, London W1C 2PE United Kingdom.
What services do you provide?
Design Service – We do all the consultation work to get your loft conversion or house extension approved and legal, ready for the construction stage including surveying, architectural design, planning, building regulation approvals and party wall agreements.
Construction Service – we do the construction – we build your loft conversion or house extension, you supply completed design, planning approvals, party wall agreement and approved building regulations.
Renovation Service – our property renovation and complete refurbishment service include interiors design and build of flats, apartments or houses. We can renovate your property internally or externally including carpentry, new bathrooms and kitchens, flooring, walls, painting and decorating, plumbing and electricals all internal finishings.
Are you able to carry out any additional refurbishment works whilst you are on site?
Yes, we have teams of decorators who are able to cover all aspects of domestic building work, whether this is fitting new kitchens and bathrooms or entire refurbishments. Costs will always be confirmed once the specification is agreed.
Do you build basement conversions?
How quickly can you start building on my property?
We can begin building your loft conversion in as little as 2-4 weeks. Please note that this timescale is estimated under the assumption that you have all of your plans, structural designs and party wall notices already in place. If you don’t have these in place, then work on 2 -3 months to get the plans drawn up, your party wall etc.
Will the work be supervised?
Throughout the course of the conversion process, dedicated project manager will visit the site at least once or twice a week to manage the whole process, oversee all builders and to ensure the finish is of the highest quality. This will ensure all work is progressing appropriately and will give you a chance to discuss any and all queries you may have.
Can you build during the winter months?
Yes, we are able to build loft conversions throughout the entire year.
Will we need a ‘tin-hat’ on the scaffold for the loft conversion?
Construction of a ‘tin-hat’ scaffold ensures continuity of work through periods of inclement weather. The client is given the choice whether they want a ‘tin-hat’ or not. The costs for construction will be charged as an extra on site.
How much does a loft conversion cost?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this as loft conversions are varied. The cost of a loft conversion is completely dependent on the type and size of the project. It also depends on how you want to have your new loft space fitted out, and on the specific plan and works required. Most loft conversions will cost within the budget of £30K- £50K.
Is the price fixed?
Yes, the price is fixed. Once the scope of work is agreed, we do accurate calculations and provide you with a fixed quote so you know exactly what the final cost is. The only thing that might affect the cost is if we uncover an unexpected problem while the job is underway, for example, if we need to change the boiler, lift floors to move pipework or upgrade the fuse board. If this happens, we will re-quote in advance of doing any extra works. If you decide you would like more than what was originally quoted, this would come at an extra cost.
How long quotation is valid for?
Our quotations are valid for 3 months.
Do you have deposit or sign fee?
Our Design service sign fee is £400 plus VAT, this fee is paid before the start of the architecture services.Our Construction service sign fee is £1200 plus VAT, this fee is paid before the start of the construction services.
We will ask for 5% deposit of the total amount quoted in the contract for our Design and Build and Renovation services.
Within the 14 days of signing for our services you are eligible for full refund minus any of the work that has been carried out in the meantime by the company or any of its partners. After 14 working days sign fee or deposit becomes non-refundable.
Apart from loft conversion construction costs, what else do I need to budget for?
Yes, there are some other costs involved:
– If you decide to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness, then the fee is paid by the client directly to the local authority.
– If your project requires a planning permission, then the planning fee is paid by the client directly to the local authority.
– The Building Control fee is paid by the client directly to the nominated Building Control company.
– Party Wall Surveyor’s fees are usually paid by the homeowner planning the loft conversion. Hopefully, you and your neighbour will be able to agree on a single surveyor but if your neighbour wishes to appoint a separate surveyor, you will need to meet the costs of both.
BUILDING REGULATIONS AND PERMITS
What are the different types of loft conversions/ house extensions?
Different types of loft conversions include Velux, Skylight, Dormer, L-shaped conversion, Mansard, Hip-to-Gable, Garage conversions.
House extensions are: rear extension (single storey or double), wrap around extension, side return extension.
Can all lofts be converted?
Most of the lofts can be converted. There are certain head height requirements you must adhere to in order for your loft conversion to be compliant. As a rule of thumb, you need 2.2m between the top of the floor joist of the loft to the bottom of the ridge beam. If you don’t have the 2.2m height, then don’t worry there are still plenty of options such as roof lifts. But the only real way to know for sure is to invite one of our specialist surveyors to fully assess your property.
What is permitted development?
If your property is not in a conservation area or is a flat, you have permitted development rights. This means you can usually develop your loft space without needing to gain planning permission. Your development will need to keep within the PD constraints i.e. terraced properties are allowed to develop an additional 40 cubic metres of extra space. Semi-detached and detached properties 50 cubic metres. If your planned loft conversion or house extension isn’t covered by permitted development, you will need to apply to the council for planning permission.
Why do you recommend a Certificate of Lawfulness?
If your property does not require planning permission, we advise that the owner applies for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) commonly known as a COL (Certificate of Law). A Certificate of Lawfulness is neither mandatory nor a legal requirement or document you must attain, however it demonstrates that any and all work being built on the property are within its lawful boundaries and do not break any building regulations. A Lawful Development Certificate is also beneficial if you should ever move on and sell your property. Solicitors representing purchasers will typically require documentary evidence that the loft extension is lawful. Therefore this evidence may assist with the sale of the property.
Can we start work before the Certificate of Lawfulness has been approved?
We would always advise that you wait for the Certificate to be issued. Once registered by the local authority they take approximately 6-8 weeks to be approved.
What is the difference between permitted development and planning permission?
With planning permission, you are asking the council if your proposed scheme of works is acceptable. It is open to rejection by them and/or your neighbours and will have to follow the local development plan. With permitted development, you are asking the council to simply confirm that your scheme fits within the permitted development criteria. The council will issue you a Lawful Development Letter if they agree. Technically, you are not required to have the Lawful Development letter in place before the work starts and, in fact, there is no law stating you have to have it. This means that clients who request it, are able start their loft conversion without waiting for the Lawful Development Letter thus saving time.
Do I require a planning permission to convert my loft?
A large percentage of lofts do not require planning permission, as they fall under what is known as “permitted development”. This umbrella allows certain types of development to be completed as long as:
– you do not live in a conservation area;
– your building is listed;
– loft conversions that exceed permitted development requirements, which are 40 cubic meters for a loft on a terraced road and 50 cubic meters on a semi-detached or detached property;
– local authorities have had their permitted development rights removed;
– a previous owner have previously extended or altered the property amongst others.
We will advise you whether you need to secure planning permission during our initial consultation.
Do I need building regulations approval for my loft conversion?
If your conversion is for habitable accommodation it needs to be planned professionally to ensure that it conforms to building regulations. All loft conversions will need building regulation approval to ensure the alterations being made meet regulatory standards, guaranteeing the health and safety of the property’s inhabitants.
How long does it take to get plans drawn up?
From signing the contract, it can then take 4-5 weeks for clients to approve a set of plans. We will do everything we can to make this process faster if a client is in a hurry; however, not only do we want to ensure that we are delivering the best possible service, but also want to be sure that the client is 100% satisfied with the proposed changes and plans for their London loft conversion, before any work is undertaken.
How long does it take for plans to be approved?
In most cases, planning can take approximately 8 weeks in order to certify all aspects of the proposed job are accurate and correct, although this can vary from borough to borough. Sometimes, revisions are required if the approver isn’t happy or wants to add/adjust anything. If this is the case, approval may take a little longer but you will definitely be updated along the way.
Can I change my mind about the loft conversion floor plan when you start work on site?
Yes, it is quite common to have a ‘re-think’ once the shell of the new loft conversion is constructed. Certain partition walls can be built to the new requirements, or bathrooms can be made slightly bigger to accommodate larger shower units, etc.
What is a party wall agreement and do I need one?
A party wall is an adjoining wall between two properties. A party wall agreement is an agreement is needed before we start work at your property, this is done between you and your neighbour(s), which protects both parties when work is being carried out on a party wall. Each neighbour will have to be informed of the proposed works using a party wall notice form at least two calendar months before the intended start of the build. The party wall agreement is there to protect you and your neighbour from issues that might arise due to work done on the party wall. It draws up an agreement between you and your neighbour on what needs to happen if there is a problem. By law your neighbour can insist you have one before the work starts. You would only require a party wall agreement if you live in a semi-detached or terraced property and share an adjoining wall with another property.
Can you help with Party Wall Agreements for loft conversion?
We will supply you with Party Wall Notice forms for you and your neighbour to complete. We have years of experience of helping homeowners across London arrange party wall agreements and maintain good neighbour relationships – to the point we are often asked by neighbours to undertake their conversion at the same time or soon after! As well as advising you on how to put a party wall agreement in place, we can put you in touch with the best Party Wall surveyors.
When should the Party Wall Notice be issued?
To avoid the party wall notice coming as a surprise, it is a good idea to have a friendly chat with your neighbour beforehand. Talking through your plans keeps them in the loop and encourages their co-operation. The notice should be given to your neighbour at least two months before your loft conversion start date. Your neighbour has 14 days to respond during which they can either send written consent agreeing or dissenting the work. You can either serve the Party Wall Notice yourself or you can instruct a Party Wall Surveyor to handle this on your behalf.
What if I don’t hear from my neighbour during the 14 days?
If you don’t receive a response from your neighbour, or they are unreachable for any reason, this is considered a dissent and a Party Wall Surveyor will need to be appointed to resolve any issues. The surveyor will draw up a ‘Party Wall Award’ – a document that represents both your and your neighbour’s interests setting out rules for how and when the work will be carried out.
What if my neighbour dissents the Party Wall Notice?
They cannot stop you from undertaking the work, but they are within their rights to appoint an ‘agreed surveyor’ (someone you both approve of) to draw up a ‘Party Wall Award’. Alternatively, you can each appoint your own surveyor to work together to draw up the award. This ensures your and your neighbour’s rights and interests are fairly represented when drawing up the award. If on the rare occasion both surveyors cannot agree a way forward, then a third surveyor is appointed to draw up an award that satisfies both parties. If they choose to appoint a Surveyor then you will be liable for the Surveyors fees and you will have to appoint a Surveyor for your side of the wall too.
Do we have to provide parking permits for your builders?
Yes, if there are parking restrictions in the vicinity then we would expect you to provide permits for 2 or more vehicles per day, for up to 8 weeks.
What about any other permits that may be required?
We will arrange all required permits from skips to scaffolding if and when applicable.
DURATION AND DISRUPTION
How long does it take to build loft conversion?
The duration of a loft conversion depends upon the type and size of your conversion and the interior works you choose to have done. However, we endeavour to complete building work within 8-10 weeks. Each loft conversion project is different due to the individual specifications and requirements of the client, therefore we can give clearer guidance on timescales once we more details about your project.
How much disruption should I expect with a loft conversion?
We do everything we can to convert your loft without disturbing you. We will fit a false ceiling in your existing hallway, erect scaffolding and gain access to your loft from the outside. Disruption is kept to a minimum as the work is confined to the loft space and most of the heavy work can often be carried out from scaffolding outside your property. All the dirty work is done above the false ceiling, so you get neither dust nor mess in your house. The only time we break through the false ceiling, is when we are ready to put in the new staircase, which normally happens around halfway through the construction period, and takes between 1-2 days.
Can I continue to live in the property during the loft conversion?
Yes. Our team minimises noise, debris and disturbance as far as possible, enabling you to continue living in the house. Most of the time, access to the loft happens via scaffolding that’s erected outside the property. Initially, builders can gain access via a small incision through the front roof slope. This will act as their main route in and out until the installation of the staircase, leaving you to carry on with your normal day to day activities. After the staircase installation has taken place this will become the main route through. You would only need to move out if the ceilings on the first floor need to be lowered to get the necessary headroom.
Is my loft conversion or home extension neighbour friendly?
At an early stage it pays to consider what effect your proposed building work is likely to have on your neighbours. The inevitable noise, mess and deliveries of building materials at all hours of the day surely will be a disturbing. By keeping your neighbours well informed about your plans not only helps prepare them for inconveniences to come but will help sweeten things up a little as co-operation may be needed in the future.
GUARANTEES & INSURANCES
Do you have the relevant insurances?
We are fully covered. We carry Public Liability Cover of £5m and Professional Indemnity Cover of £2m, both significantly greater than the levels of cover required by construction industry trade organisations. Copies of our certificates of insurance can be provided for you, should you wish to inspect these.
What is the Warranty period for your works?
Your loft conversion or house extension will be covered with a 10-year insurance backed independent warranty through IWA. For your peace of mind we provide you with a warranty to cover you and your home, your deposits, work in progress and completed work from any defect we could possibly cause. All our projects come fully regulated and independently inspected with a certificate of compliance.
Your Warranty Certificate, Insurances as well completion certificates are all provided to you on completion of the build as part of your owner’s reference pack. As part of this pack you will also receive the original manufacturers’ guarantees for other items purchased that carry a warranties and guarantees.
Are your architects RIBA qualified?
We ensure that all of our architects are the best and are able to provide an excellent standard of work as well as are associated with and members of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Do all your builders work directly for you?
Yes, all our building teams have worked with us for many years and work directly for us. We don’t subcontract the project to another builder.
Still can’t find what you are looking for or interested to proceed? Simply contact us via the form below or give us a call on 0800 861 1012 (Free phone) and a member of the team will be able to assist you further.