09 Dec 6 ways to cut the cost of your loft conversion in North London
With a loft conversion costing tens of thousands of pounds, it’s often important to ensure that this money is being spent as efficiently as possible. No matter your budget, you’ll want to find ways to cut costs without reducing quality so you can spend those savings on things you really want for this new area of your home.
Below you’ll find our top six ways to cut costs when converting your loft. These come from our own experience, things we’ve heard from other builders we’ve worked with, and from homeowners over the years. I hope it helps, even if only a little, to make the loft conversion of your dreams more affordable for you.
1. A question of space
The decision that often comes with the most cost implications is whether you go for a standard loft conversion, raise the roofline or include a dormer. Making your loft space habitable and adding skylights and Velux windows to let in the natural light might be all you need and will certainly often be the least expensive option, making a loft conversion within reach of your finances. If the ceiling height is not to building regs you could lower the floor rather than to choose the more expensive option of raising the roof, and if you need a little more floor space you could add a small dormer for a window, which will be more cost-effective than a full dormer. There are many space decisions that could cut the cost of your build.
2. A question of planning
Changing your preferences part way through a loft conversion project can be expensive. The clearer your vision for your loft conversion and the better this is understood by your builder, the less risk there will be of budget creep due to the changes you’ll request later on. Think carefully. Visit other loft conversions to get ideas. Take pictures and sketch out plans. You should do whatever it takes to become a hundred percent sure of what you want and of the viability of your plans. Extra time spent doing this at the outset could save you a considerable amount of money later on.
3. A question of light
One of the most common things homeowners wish they had done differently when they converted their loft is to have more windows. Lofts can be dark places and builders often look to keep costs down by including the bare minimum of glazed space in their plans. However, if you go upstairs part way through the build and realise that there’s just not enough natural light coming in, adding more Velux windows at this stage could be far more costly than if it had been decided on from the outset.
4. A question of permission
Most loft conversions will not require planning permission as you have ‘permitted development rights’ which allow you to extend the living space of your home by a particular percentage of the property’s original footprint (the size of the property when it was first built). However, if your home has already been extended, if it’s a listed building or if you live in a conservation area, then you might need to apply for permission. In this case, putting your planning application in early is important because doing it at the last minute could cause delays and your builder, or their subcontractors, could then charge you for their time if they are waiting around on site with little to do.
5. A question of money
Any professional builder should give you their quote in writing. If they do not offer this, ask them to do so because: 1) not every builder out there is as honest or honourable as you would hope they would be, and 2) if all you have to go on is a verbal agreement on costs then memories can fade or fail and it’s easier for misunderstandings to happen and arguments to result. If your builder refuses to provide you with an itemised written quote then walk away, no matter how tempting their costs may seem.
6. A question of storage
Once your loft conversion has been built the most expensive thing you’ll add to the room will be the wardrobes and drawers, the storage space you’ll need for your new bedroom, studio or playroom. There are plenty of wardrobe companies out there, but the costs can be exorbitant, running into many thousands. Why waste this sort of money when you could ask your builder to recommend a good carpenter? They will be able to construct bespoke fitted units for your loft space at a fraction of the cost of a wardrobe company and these will be tailored to your individual needs.