Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need planning permission for my loft conversion?
If you are planning an extension, which will no doubt affect the appearance of your property, you will most likely require planning permission. Generally you will find more restrictions actually apply to flats and maisonettes than to a house.
If you live in a conservation area or your building is listed planning permission may be required for work which would normally not require it - so, we will always consult with your local authority to ensure everything is legal.
What is permitted development?
This may allow for alterations on a house [as opposed to a flat or maisonette] without the need for planning permission. This is termed "permitted development" and it applies to an "original house" i.e. a house as it was first built. If an "original house" has not been extended [including loft conversions] you may be able to develop your property under these rights. As permitted development is subject to limits on height and volume, and has many permutations, again, our surveyor will always consult your local authority for a decision.
How do I go about getting planning permission?
We work alongside our surveyor and contact the local authority on your behalf. We will provide you with the relevant forms and guidance and make the application on your behalf.
How long can this permission take?
Depending on the local authority, this can take up to eight weeks.
What if my neighbours object?
The local authority will notify all neighbours and other interested parties for their consideration. Your application will be available for inspection by the public at the local authority offices and will be considered by the council officers on the basis of planning reason. The local authority must always give reasons if it refuses your application or subjects it to certain conditions. You can appeal, if necessary.
What is a party wall agreement and will I need one?
A party wall is an existing wall or structure shared with an adjoining property e.g. the common wall between two terraced houses. Most loft conversions may affect the structure of a party wall you will need to notify all the adjoining owners of that party wall. Such work might typically include:
- Cutting into a wall to insert a beam for a loft conversion.
- Demolishing and rebuilding a party wall [often to support an extension].
Our surveyor will provide you with the necessary legal agreement that requires your neighbour's signature to gain consent to the work that will be carried out.
How long will it all take?
This all depends on whether you need planning permission and how quickly your local authority takes to grant it. Typically, after planning permission is confirmed, completion is within 6-8 weeks.
Who supervises the work?
There is always a member of our management team on site at all times.
How much disruption is involved?
This is kept to an absolute minimum as we use external scaffolding, with materials taken in through the roof, rather than through your property. Each day your home is left both clean and tidy. We make extensive use of dust-sheets and the sealing-off of build areas.
What does a typical conversion cost?
There is no one fixed price as every conversion is unique and once we have both discussed your requirements as well as drawn up initial plans we will be able to provide detailed costs. What you will be given is a competitive fixed price quotation outlining in detail what is included as well as time-scale. At this stage there is no commitment.
When is payment due?
There is an initial deposit of 10% of projected cost. Our payment terms ensure that, until you are satisfied with the work undertaken, the remaining balance is staged to coincide with each completed section of work. The final payment will only be made once the council have conducted a site visit and approved all work and issued a building certificate.
Do you offer a guarantee?
Yes, a fully comprehensive ten-year guarantee is included on all our work.
Have you any examples of your conversion and renovation work in my area and can I speak to other clients?
We have a number of client testimonials and the most recent ones can be found on our clients' page on this website. We can also arrange for visits to recent projects where you can meet previous clients and share ideas.