Planning to Convert or Re-Model Your Property?

Introduction


It’s one of the most common questions that you ask yourself when it comes to your home, ‘Should I Stay or Should I go?’.


So here’s the scenario, you’ve lived in your house for a fair few years. kids are in school, neighbours are acting normal and work is 15min down the road, great!


The only issue now is, baby number 3 is expected in 6 months and you’ve come to the conclusion that your dream home is no longer going to able to serve your growing family…


Did you know that 3 of the most stressful things in life are; Moving Home, Starting a New Job, and Having A child.


So why not explore all your options first before deciding to up and leave your home?


Have you considered either converting your house or remodelling the internal layout?


It really depends on the type of property you live in as not every house will benefit from either of the above but I guess there’s no harm in taking a look?


Below are some things to take into consideration to help you decide.


Creating Additional Rooms


In most cases, creating additional rooms without extending your property comes in the form a conversion, whether it be a garage, basement or loft conversion.


However, if your property benefits form large double ‘rooms’ then you may be able to create two small/box rooms.


This would only really work if the rooms met the national space standards which is around 6.5m2 for each room but , it can be achieved. In addition to this you would need to ensure that the room has a window to allow light access, ventilation and a view.


What you have to take into consideration is that at some point your property is going to be either passed onto or more likely, sold to another occupant so whatever you are making for you and your family now, would have to appeal to another family when it comes to selling and I don’t think it will go down to well if your window for your new room faces no 69 side brick wall.


Opening up the Ground Floor


Let’s say you live in a 3 bed semi-detached house, on the ground floor you would normally have the following;


Entrance Hallway

Staircase

Living Room (To the Front)

Kitchen (To the Rear)

Dining Room (To the Rear)


Now, to make your space feel larger and without the need for a rear extension, you could knock through some of your internal walls, to make the ground floor into an open plan area.


However, you would also need to take into account supporting walls known as ‘load bearing walls’. This needs to be carried out by a structural engineer who would normally work from a set of drawings produced by your designer.


Building Control will also need to be notified and an application made with the correct fee paid to the local authority building control (LABC).


Personally, I wouldn’t use private building control on small domestic jobs…


The reason for opening up the ground floor is make the space feel and look larger than what it is, this can be achieved by using the right designer's (hello) to help you achieve a layout based on a number of factors, not just an open space!


One main issue that presents itself when it comes to open plan living is heat loss.


Each room inside your house has been calculated to ensure that the appropriate heat output is at an efficient yet comfortable temperature, so be sure to take this into account, nothing worse than having an amazing open plan, cold space.


Converting Areas


When it comes to conversion the majority of them can be carried out under permitted developments so long as you meet the criteria. Some properties may not benefit from this, for example, if you live in a conservation area, a listed building, an area of special intertest or natural beauty or, you may have had your permitted development rights removed or a condition attached to your property.


All of this would need to be investigated before any kind of fees are paid!


Garage Conversion


Detached & Attached Garages are a great shout when it comes to gaining extra bedroom space, they work just as well when gaining space in general. The good thing about a garage is that they tend to be a standard size, big enough to fit a family sized car into – 2.5m x 5.5m approximately.


The costs in converting a garage are;


- Upgrading the floor – A garage floor should be the same level as the ground outside, one reason for this is that any oil spills don’t end up leaking into your home.

- Upgrading the walls & roof – The garage walls and ceiling will need to be insulated (along with the floor) to convert that room into a habitable space.

- Water Supply & Waste Water Disposal – First things first, your builder might say these words – ‘Let’s… install… a… macerator… 😊’.


Now, some people might be all for this system and some people may even have some great experiences they would love to share with you, but for me… No, just no thanks… nightmare system I think, unless it’s installed correctly and the installer is willing to give you a workmanship warranty of a minimum 12 months and, on top of that, you can ensure that the nothing other than toilet roll is going to be flushed down there, I’d say nooooooooooo and pay the extra £2k to connect to your mains.


On top of that you have water feed to make which in most cases is pretty straight forward.


You should be able to get a double bedroom (8.5m2) with an En-Suite (2.5m2).


I’d say if you spent £8- £9k you’d get a decent little room - £9 - £14k now your talking!


I converted a garage in Newton-le-Willows during lockdown for around £11k, beautiful little space. Detached garage, with En-Suite, entrance hallway which could house a chest freezer (if you know you know) and a guest room / bedroom.


The client had the house re-valued and the agent said it had increased the property by another £25k!


Loft Conversion


Another cost effective way to gain extra space, mainly used as an additional bedroom but also as office space. When it comes to lofts they can be quite tricky as unfortunately not every loft is suitable for conversion.


The first issue is the head height, can you stand up straight in the highest point of you loft? Can you there without having to climb over or through timbers?


Most people confuse converting the loft with, putting a few boards down over the existing joists… I mean yes, that will prevent you from falling through the ceiling but wouldn’t really work if you was going to use that space full time.


To make that room habitable to you would need to install steel member into the floor and possibly the ridge, depending on what type of conversion you go for.

The next major issue is access – how will you get up to the loft?


You will need a full staircase, quite possibly a replica of the stairs leading from ground to first floor. Ideally, you want space on your landing to do this, if not, then you will need to sacrifice one of the bedrooms or at least a part one – (it’s always the kids room, like it isn’t small enough already – thanks mum).




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