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  • FIRST POST
    • Dirty_Berty
    • By Dirty_Berty 11th Mar 18, 12:37 AM
    • 10Posts
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    Dirty_Berty
    Basic loft conversion - office
    • #1
    • 11th Mar 18, 12:37 AM
    Basic loft conversion - office 11th Mar 18 at 12:37 AM
    Hi hoping to get some help and advice.

    I currently live in a very small 1 bedroom house with my girlfriend and have started a new job that involves working from home 2/3 days a week.

    I wanted to look to creating an office / man cave in the loft in order to give me somewhere to work during the day and perhaps chill out in for the odd evening.

    Having researched a lot of websites and apart from getting more confused, it seems that this might be harder and more expensive than Id thought.

    1. Do I need to reinforce or get a new floor fitted that can take the weight?

    2. Will a pull down ladder / folding staircase be okay? And does this cause issues with building regulations?

    3. What is the legal minimum I need to do in order to call it an office and use it regularly? Permanent stairs? New joists and floor? At least 1 window?

    4. My max budget is 10k but the house is small (22sm). Is this possible do you think? Im good at DIY and refurbished the house a couple of years ago when I bought it. I probably just need professionals to do the new stronger floor, window, stairs etc. All other decorating, plastering, etc I can do myself.

    Can you please help me understand my options
Page 1
    • TheCyclingProgrammer
    • By TheCyclingProgrammer 11th Mar 18, 1:11 AM
    • 3,165 Posts
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    TheCyclingProgrammer
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:11 AM
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:11 AM
    The legal minimum to create a proper habitable space that is safe and of any value is to have a correctly designed loft conversion that meets all necessary building regulations and planning rules (included permitted development rules).

    Anything else is a glorified loft storage space.
    • Davesnave
    • By Davesnave 11th Mar 18, 7:02 AM
    • 25,024 Posts
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    Davesnave
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:02 AM
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:02 AM

    Having researched a lot of websites and apart from getting more confused, it seems that this might be harder and more expensive than Id thought.

    1. Do I need to reinforce or get a new floor fitted that can take the weight? Probably. We can't see it!

    2. Will a pull down ladder / folding staircase be okay? And does this cause issues with building regulations? It won't meet BR

    3. What is the legal minimum I need to do in order to call it an office and use it regularly? Permanent stairs? New joists and floor? At least 1 window? Achieving adequate height comes before any of those. If you can't get that, nothing else matters. Can you get 2m headroom above the entrance point?

    4. My max budget is 10k but the house is small (22sm). Is this possible do you think? Anyone can create a cupboard for 10k but have you worked out what usable space you'll get?. Where are the stairs going to go and will they mess up the space you already have below?
    Originally posted by Dirty_Berty
    As above, if you want to meet building regs, there will be cost implications and the resultant space might be poor value. Anything less than BR compliant will be cheaper, but may not add much, if any, value.
    'It's a terrible thing to wait until you're ready..Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.' Hugh Lawrie.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 11th Mar 18, 11:27 AM
    • 1,170 Posts
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    sevenhills
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 18, 11:27 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 18, 11:27 AM
    I wanted to look to creating an office / man cave in the loft in order to give me somewhere to work during the day and perhaps chill out in for the odd evening.
    Originally posted by Dirty_Berty
    Being able to 'chill out in for the odd evening' does sound like the full works, requiring heating and insulation, might be expensive.
    As the others have said, reinforced floor is needed, as would be a fixed staircase.
    I had a quote for a 'habitable space' loft that was 30,000, a 'delux hobby' was 9,000

    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Mar 18, 11:36 AM
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    Doozergirl
    • #5
    • 11th Mar 18, 11:36 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Mar 18, 11:36 AM
    Being able to 'chill out in for the odd evening' does sound like the full works, requiring heating and insulation, might be expensive.
    As the others have said, reinforced floor is needed, as would be a fixed staircase.
    I had a quote for a 'habitable space' loft that was 30,000, a 'delux hobby' was 9,000
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Deluxe Hobby. I've heard that before on here, I'm sure.

    Marketing speak from an easily Google-able loft company for "not habitable".
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 11-03-2018 at 11:38 AM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 11th Mar 18, 12:48 PM
    • 1,170 Posts
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    sevenhills
    • #6
    • 11th Mar 18, 12:48 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Mar 18, 12:48 PM
    Deluxe Hobby. I've heard that before on here, I'm sure.

    Marketing speak from an easily Google-able loft company for "not habitable".
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    3. What is the legal minimum I need to do in order to call it an office and use it regularly? Permanent stairs? New joists and floor? At least 1 window?
    http://eco-lofts.co.uk/

    The OP seems to be doing his research, it does not matter what its called. Its either habitable or non-habitable.
    I guess the main thing is to follow building regulation.

    http://theloftcentre.co.uk/index.php

    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Mar 18, 1:07 PM
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    Doozergirl
    • #7
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:07 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:07 PM
    http://eco-lofts.co.uk/

    The OP seems to be doing his research, it does not matter what its called. Its either habitable or non-habitable.
    I guess the main thing is to follow building regulation.

    http://theloftcentre.co.uk/index.php
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Oh, thank you so much for sharing the companies that deliberately peddle unclear terms in order to confuse people. It's impossible to do correct research using those companies because they deliberately mislead.

    You are correct, it is either habitable or it is not. If you go up there to use it as a room for more than a few minutes, whether that be an office, a cinema, a gym, a den, a hobby room, or indeed a bedroom, it *needs to be habitable because habitable means safe*. What you name it does not make a difference as to how safe it should be.

    They treat the steels as if it it's something optional. It isn't. If you go up there you:
    a) want to make sure you don't come crashing through the ceiling. That means assessment from a structural engineer and appropriate measures taken.
    b) want to be able to get out quickly in the event of a fire, or have some level of protection until the fire brigade can rescue you from the loft. That means a window, it means fire doors protecting your escape route to outside and it means a half decent staircase to get you down there.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 11-03-2018 at 1:15 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • Pdbaggett
    • By Pdbaggett 11th Mar 18, 1:59 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    Pdbaggett
    • #8
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:59 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Mar 18, 1:59 PM
    My parents had their loft converted as "storage" essentially it was just boarded,insulated, plastered a couple of windows and electrics. This was about 20 years ago we used it as a play room/hobby room. Still fine to this day cost a few thousand.

    Certainly not what someone would describe as habitable ect worked fine for what it was uses for though.

    I honestly don't see the issue with having a storage/office room without spending 50k for the privilege but that seems an unpopular opinion.

    I do a lot of work/hobbying in my garage should I be spending time in their as its not technically habitable? Not being sarcastic by the way genuine question.
    • Furts
    • By Furts 11th Mar 18, 2:18 PM
    • 4,220 Posts
    • 2,737 Thanks
    Furts
    • #9
    • 11th Mar 18, 2:18 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Mar 18, 2:18 PM
    My parents had their loft converted as "storage" essentially it was just boarded,insulated, plastered a couple of windows and electrics. This was about 20 years ago we used it as a play room/hobby room. Still fine to this day cost a few thousand.

    Certainly not what someone would describe as habitable ect worked fine for what it was uses for though.

    I honestly don't see the issue with having a storage/office room without spending 50k for the privilege but that seems an unpopular opinion.

    I do a lot of work/hobbying in my garage should I be spending time in their as its not technically habitable? Not being sarcastic by the way genuine question.
    Originally posted by Pdbaggett

    You are comparing apples and pears. If a fire occurred in your garage you could easily get out via the up and over doors, the back door or the personnel floor. With a dodgy loft you could be trapped floors up. But your access route will also be easy unlike escaping a fire down a fold up loft ladder that may be burning.


    Your garage will be fire proof - block walls do not burn but loft timbers and floors do.


    Your garage slab will be concrete so will not be falling through this, unlike a dodgy loft conversion where the floor has not been strengthened.


    Even when thinking of mobility, your garage is far more accessible than a loft conversion.


    Just a few pointers, so enough said!
    • Pdbaggett
    • By Pdbaggett 11th Mar 18, 2:29 PM
    • 89 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    Pdbaggett
    Fair points. I still don't see a great difference in being stuck in the bedroom on the second floor or being stuck in the loft space if a fire is below me, I don't have an easy escape route in either situation. My parents house was a large Victorian built terrace so not a great deal of it would probally be up to code in general.

    I guess I have a different perspective on this type of thing my new built 3 bed semi with garage cost me 107k last year in total so spending 50k+ on an attack conversion seems very alien to me but I am in the north perhaps I would feel different if I lives in an area of higher property values .
    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Mar 18, 2:35 PM
    • 25,001 Posts
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    Doozergirl
    A conversion doesn't cost 50k but it probably would be cheaper to buy a bigger house in the north.

    The rule of building regulations is not to make anything worse. People should consider their own safety and make sensible upgrades to their homes. What they shouldn't do is start sitting on chairs where the joists are only made to hold the ceiling boards below and the floor below is also vulnerable in the event of fire.

    Somehow I've managed to run a building company from my house without a separate office. Our loft was boarded by the previous occupier and has a half decent ladder but I can't imagine wanting to sit up in my loft for three minutes, let alone a full working day.

    If I want a different view on an admin day I go to a coffee shop.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 11-03-2018 at 2:39 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • TheCyclingProgrammer
    • By TheCyclingProgrammer 11th Mar 18, 3:13 PM
    • 3,165 Posts
    • 1,846 Thanks
    TheCyclingProgrammer
    Do you have room in the garden for a garden office? You could get something basic within your budget but for not much more you could get fully insulated, lined and plastered building with modern glazing and insurance grade doors etc.

    I have a 3x3m garden office from Green Retreats. Mine cost me just over 14k delivered and installed although I paid for the plastering pack upgrade and red cedar classing to two elevations. Go with the basic spec and I think it was around 12k. You may eat a slightly smaller one for even closer to your budget.

    A few pics (this is actually my building):
    https://www.facebook.com/greenretreats/posts/1787313571301021
    Last edited by TheCyclingProgrammer; 11-03-2018 at 3:17 PM.
    • Dirty_Berty
    • By Dirty_Berty 11th Mar 18, 3:18 PM
    • 10 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Dirty_Berty
    Thanks for all the info everyone. Really helpful stuff.

    So I think essentially I want to go along with building regs as it!!!8217;s a lot of money to invest without seeing the house value go up at all. Plus the safety aspect.

    I guess I just need to know the legal minimum I can do to keep the costs down.

    Floor - The joists up there are 7cm wide - guessing this probably means the floor isn!!!8217;t suitable?

    Height - Height isn!!!8217;t an issue as the centre up there is about 2.5m from the floor.

    Windows - Is 1 Velux window enough legally does anyone know?

    Lights + electric - will that be enough? I have central heating but a portable blow heater will probably be fine for the winter.

    Stairs - I should have room for permanent ones but might be a little steep. Should be fine though.

    I guess my last question is what do you think my best plan of action is? Start by getting a surveyor in to assess and plan? Then get all the requirements done separately by professionals, leaving the easier bits like plaster boarding, painting, etc.

    Or just get quotes for the lot and get a company to do it all?

    Cost is my main concern with only 10k ish. Do you think 10k will be enough for mini stairs, reinforced floor, window, readjusting the beams and all of the building regs paperwork?
    • Aylesbury Duck
    • By Aylesbury Duck 11th Mar 18, 5:37 PM
    • 1,849 Posts
    • 2,491 Thanks
    Aylesbury Duck
    Thanks for all the info everyone. Really helpful stuff.

    So I think essentially I want to go along with building regs as it!!!8217;s a lot of money to invest without seeing the house value go up at all. Plus the safety aspect.

    I guess I just need to know the legal minimum I can do to keep the costs down.

    Floor - The joists up there are 7cm wide - guessing this probably means the floor isn!!!8217;t suitable?

    Height - Height isn!!!8217;t an issue as the centre up there is about 2.5m from the floor.

    Windows - Is 1 Velux window enough legally does anyone know?

    Lights + electric - will that be enough? I have central heating but a portable blow heater will probably be fine for the winter.

    Stairs - I should have room for permanent ones but might be a little steep. Should be fine though.

    I guess my last question is what do you think my best plan of action is? Start by getting a surveyor in to assess and plan? Then get all the requirements done separately by professionals, leaving the easier bits like plaster boarding, painting, etc.

    Or just get quotes for the lot and get a company to do it all?

    Cost is my main concern with only 10k ish. Do you think 10k will be enough for mini stairs, reinforced floor, window, readjusting the beams and all of the building regs paperwork?
    Originally posted by Dirty_Berty
    No. Not by a long way.
    Please forgive the deliberate omission of apostrophes on some posts whilst I await MSE to do something about the daft codes that appear in their place when typing on certain devices.
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 11th Mar 18, 8:22 PM
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    • 433 Thanks
    sevenhills
    Cost is my main concern with only 10k ish. Do you think 10k will be enough for mini stairs, reinforced floor, window, readjusting the beams and all of the building regs paperwork?
    Originally posted by Dirty_Berty
    The quotes that I got stated 450+VAT to remove the chimney which is in the middle of the loft space, and moving the boiler into the loft would allow for a real staircase in the cupboard space, there are instances which involve very variable costs. I already have lighting in my loft.

    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Mar 18, 8:55 PM
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    Doozergirl
    The quotes that I got stated 450+VAT to remove the chimney which is in the middle of the loft space, and moving the boiler into the loft would allow for a real staircase in the cupboard space, there are instances which involve very variable costs. I already have lighting in my loft.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    Where did you get these quotes from? A chimney in the middle of the loft could well be holding up part of your roof structure. That isn't 450 of work. In fact, taking it down and fixing the roof without worrying about the structure is more than that! How does the roof covering get fixed? It needs doing from the outside. Does that need scaffolding?

    If your boiler isn't compliant to the latest regulations it cannot be moved, it would have to be replaced.

    I'm not suggesting this is the only path you have taken but you cannot have random quotations from the internet without proper specifications and consultation from a structural engineer before work begins. You're just waving a finger in the air without having a clue ofnthe knock on effects of individual elements.

    Quoting is not a science. It cannot be done using a simple calculator on a website. I'd love it if it could be.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 11-03-2018 at 8:57 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
    • beaker141
    • By beaker141 11th Mar 18, 9:05 PM
    • 464 Posts
    • 192 Thanks
    beaker141
    Thanks for all the info everyone. Really helpful stuff.

    So I think essentially I want to go along with building regs as it!!!8217;s a lot of money to invest without seeing the house value go up at all. Plus the safety aspect.

    I guess I just need to know the legal minimum I can do to keep the costs down.

    Floor - The joists up there are 7cm wide - guessing this probably means the floor isn!!!8217;t suitable?

    Height - Height isn!!!8217;t an issue as the centre up there is about 2.5m from the floor.

    Windows - Is 1 Velux window enough legally does anyone know?

    Lights + electric - will that be enough? I have central heating but a portable blow heater will probably be fine for the winter.

    Stairs - I should have room for permanent ones but might be a little steep. Should be fine though.

    I guess my last question is what do you think my best plan of action is? Start by getting a surveyor in to assess and plan? Then get all the requirements done separately by professionals, leaving the easier bits like plaster boarding, painting, etc.

    Or just get quotes for the lot and get a company to do it all?

    Cost is my main concern with only 10k ish. Do you think 10k will be enough for mini stairs, reinforced floor, window, readjusting the beams and all of the building regs paperwork?
    Originally posted by Dirty_Berty
    I'd say it depends a lot on the layout etc which we dont know.

    I was lucky in that my father in law was a builder and did basically the steels, floor, staircase fitting (from stairplan.com) and built the dormer off the existing gable wall. At the same time I had it all reroofed as it was 1930's original. I had to get an electrician in to do the electric bits.

    Over a period of about 3 years ( I kept getting bored and sidetracked) I then did the plumbing, insulation, plasterboard (kingspan backed stuff), tiling ensuite, fitting ensuite. Then a proper plasterer in to skim it all. Laid laminate flooring on a decent sound deadening membrane. Then decorate. Father in law did the 2nd fix woodwork, doors etc.

    I'ts about 10 years ago now, but I'd be happy to do it all again and be happy it'd cost me about 10k in materials, subcontractors and free labour.

    Given yours is so small (no disrespect), materials cost should be pretty low ?

    Having said that - I'd get a garden room if you want a home office :-)
    • ashe
    • By ashe 11th Mar 18, 9:20 PM
    • 530 Posts
    • 367 Thanks
    ashe
    your loft might be different to mine but if i go on my loft in summer it is bloody roasting and if it go up in winter it is freezing. A fan heater would need to be ran in winter most of the time and they are generally expensive to run.

    I know space is your concern but seriously, you will not get a well insulated safe room for anywhere close to 10k. As said above consider a garden room but I doubt you have a huge garden if you have such a small house with 1 bedroom. Is there no space for a desk in the bedroom?

    Have you weighed up options to move?
    • sevenhills
    • By sevenhills 11th Mar 18, 10:12 PM
    • 1,170 Posts
    • 433 Thanks
    sevenhills
    Where did you get these quotes from? A chimney in the middle of the loft could well be holding up part of your roof structure. That isn't 450 of work. In fact, taking it down and fixing the roof without worrying about the structure is more than that! How does the roof covering get fixed? It needs doing from the outside. Does that need scaffolding?
    Originally posted by Doozergirl
    I dont know any details, but that was the quote.

    • Doozergirl
    • By Doozergirl 11th Mar 18, 10:17 PM
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    Doozergirl
    I dont know any details, but that was the quote.
    Originally posted by sevenhills
    It is your job to provide/check details and specification otherwise you end up with a hole in your roof and/or the structure collapsing because "that's what the quote said".

    If the quote was comprehensive, the quote would contain the details of what that entailed as well.

    We had this whole exact conversation last year. Why is it happening again? You're just confusing the OP.
    Last edited by Doozergirl; 11-03-2018 at 10:24 PM.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
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