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London loft conversions and extensions

This guide will help you understand the different types of loft conversion and the factors that will decide which is best for your needs.

In 2015 the planning regulations in London were simplified and as a result the number of householders opting to convert their lofts vastly increased with some households no longer requiring planning permission. We can help establish the relevant requirements for your property as it may be possible to convert your loft conversion under Permitted Development regulations. If you would like to add extra living space, increase the value of your home and avoid the stress of moving, we offer loft conversions that are of the highest quality in terms of design, craftsmanship and sustainability. Our work will not only give you additional space but will enhance both your property and your lifestyle.

What are the different types of loft conversion?

The type of loft conversions we recommend for your property will depend on a number of factors – property style, roof height, available space, conservation area, local planning regulations, your budget and needs.

Dormer and l-shaped dormer loft conversion

A dormer loft conversion is an extension to the existing roof that projects vertically from a sloping roof, creating additional floor space and headroom within the property. Internally, a dormer has vertical walls and a horizontal ceiling. It is the most common type of loft conversion, as the flat roof dormers often add the maximum amount of additional space. In addition, it is possible to create a gable front and a hipped roof dormer to make it look more attractive, however, these types of dormers do not offer as much internal space. Additionally, due to the added complexity, a gable front and hipped roof dormer will cost more to build. The l-shaped dormer loft conversion is also very popular and is often considered the best way to extend a mid-terrace period property to maximize space as it can give around 40m3 of space or slightly more under planning. 

A major advantage of a dormer loft conversion is that it can often be constructed without gaining planning permission, although planning permission may be required depending on the specifications. 

The main styles of dormer conversions include:

  • Flat-Roof Dormer - A Dormer Conversion with a flat roof
  • Gable-Fronted Dormer - Sometimes called ‘Doghouse’ Dormer
  • Hipped-Roof Dormer - A Dormer Conversion with a hipped roof
  • Shed Dormer - A Single Planed Roof that is pitched at a lesser angle than the main roof

Mansard and l-shaped mansard loft conversion

A mansard loft conversion, named after the 17th-century French Architect Francois Mansard, is situated to the rear of the property. This type of conversion has a flat roof, with the back wall sloping inwards at an angle of 72 degrees. Windows are usually housed within small dormers which extend from the roof to create additional space.

Mansard loft conversions normally require planning permissions, due to the large changes to the roof shape and structure.

In addition, we specialise in l-shaped mansard loft conversions, which can really open up the space and add even more value to your property. The l-shaped mansard loft conversion works particularly well if you are converting the loft into an open-plan bedroom with en-suite.

Double mansard loft conversion

This is similar to a normal mansard (a flat roof, with the back wall sloping inwards and windows housed within small dormers) but also with a mansard to the front. This is not possible in most areas of London due to planning restrictions however we have been known to do this in Fulham, Clapham and Wimbledon but only when we have been able to do a few together. We recently did one street in Fulham where 22 neighbours gained permission collectively. 

Velux loft conversion

Velux Loft Conversions are also known as rooflight loft conversions. Velux is the leading manufacturer of roof windows so hence the name.

With this type of project, the roofline is unaltered, as the velux windows are installed fitting flush to the roofline, leaving the original roof structure untouched. Therefore, planning permission is not generally required, making it an attractive option for many. Also, due to the fact that no large alterations need to be made to the roof, the cost of the conversion generally remains lower.

Hip-to-gable and l-shaped hip-to-gable loft conversion

The majority of houses that are hip roofed in style tend to have a reasonably small internal volume, so for a conversion to be practical, a hip-to-gable conversion is a smart solution. This type of conversion involves changing the sloping side of the property to a flat gable end. This increases the size of the loft space, often creating extra space for the staircase. As this type of loft conversion changes the outline of the roof, planning permissions may well be required. We also specialize in l-shaped hip-to-gable loft conversions.

Loft conversion with full back addition

A full back addition is where we not only build a loft over the main part of the house but also over the back addition if available. Although this is not possible in some areas of London it is feasible in the Wandsworth area where we have done quite a few. As it is not known how long this option will be available, if you live in Wandsworth and need additional space we would recommend you contact us now to take advantage before this opportunity disappears! A full back addition allows you to almost replicate your first floor in terms of space and design giving you the possibility for even three or four new rooms. No other type of loft conversion gives you as much additional space. 

Loft conversion with pod room

A pod room is the room that is built out usually over half of the back addition giving a room approximately 3m *3.5m in size. We often get called back by old clients to build this room years after we have done the original conversion to get some additional space. Pod rooms have not been possible for that long and so are a newer requirement for lofts in London. The space is often used as a spare bedroom, home office or even large luxury bathroom as the size is sufficient for a small double, large single, large office, playroom or even nursery. Pod rooms are incrementally more expensive to build on their own, so if you have the space and do not have a main loft at the moment, we would recommend you opt for the l-shaped loft shown here. However, if you already have your loft conversion in place, a pod room may be the only additional option.  

Loft conversion with roof terrace

In some areas of London planning regulations have become more relaxed in relation to roof terraces. In our experience, you are still likely to have most success with the planner if you live in Wandsworth or Hammersmith and Fulham. Roof terraces always require planning permission so are dependent on the leniency of local planners for permission. Roof terraces appear more popular in areas with a large number of houses that have been converted into flats as space is a premium and gardens tend to be either small, dark or both. We have done a number of conversions with roof terraces in London for these reasons and these properties have gone on to be sold for record amounts in the area! 

Nuspace loft conversion steps:

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