Loft conversions are becoming a common practice in areas with limited room for extra housing or for floor-level extensions. Although many lofts can be converted easily, in some cases it is necessary to make some alterations before the loft can be converted. These adjustments usually take the form of installing extra parts into the supporting timber, in order to provide additional strength to the floor. They can also include movement of roof structures in order to create more space within a small loft. Making these changes is often essential in obtaining planning permission for the conversion, or in simply using current permissions to alter the loft internally.
Joists are the most important part of any loft conversion, as they will have to support the weight of the new room. In older houses, existing joists for the ceiling below will not be large enough to support this new weight, and building regulations require that larger joists be added. Property development experts should be consulted in order to calculate the exact size and grade of the new additions, and the spacing required to ensure that the floor joists are not touching any part of the ceiling below.
Another significant alteration required for a loft conversion is the addition of a staircase. Most lofts are accessed through a pull-down ladder, via a hatch in the ceiling of the room below. In a loft conversion, a real staircase must be added. Property developers can help clients to work out exactly where to place the new stairs, being affected by the room below and its layout, and also by any planned alterations such as dormer windows or roof light installations. Other issues may revolve around building regulation requirements, for example that the maximum number of raisers in a straight line is 16. This means that most staircases must be built away from existing stairs. Discussions with property architects can help to fix this problem.