FAQs

Any questions?

We list the most frequently asked questions below. You are more than welcome to leave us a message if you cannot find the answer you need here – we are always looking to find more ways to help!

Does a loft conversion require planning permission?

Many people assume that because loft conversions are major projects they require planning permission. This isn’t always the case. Subject to certain limitations and conditions – such as no extension being higher than the highest part of the roof, and that materials used are similar in appearance to the existing house, it may be considered ‘permitted development’ and not require any planning permission applications at all. However, your loft conversion would require planning permission if you wanted to add a balcony, there are architectural restrictions in your area, or if it’s a listed building. If this is the case, John Lewis Home Solutions can take care of all the relevant planning applications for you, so you don’t need to worry about them. Whilst some projects don’t require formal permission it is still good practice to acquire a Certificate of Lawful Development from the local authority. This will ensure your project meets the guidelines of permitted development and will be useful should you come to sell the property at a later date.

How long does a loft conversion take?

The time frame for a loft conversion varies from project to project due to a wide range of factors such as the size of your loft, whether planning permission is required, the materials used and what type of rooms the conversion will contain. Once you make an enquiry with John Lewis Home Solutions one of our Account Managers will arrange a meeting for you with an Architectural Designer. When they visit your home, at a time that suits you, they’ll be able to advise you on what the time frame would be for your proposed project, as well as take measurements and offer a quote for the work to be done.

How do I know if my loft is suitable for conversion?

Generally, the useable part of the roof needs to offer at least 2.2 metres of head height. The pitch angle of the roof and type of roof structure will also affect how easily your loft can be converted. The best way to find out if your loft is suitable for conversion is to make an enquiry with John Lewis Home Solutions. We’ll organise a consultation with a Surveyor to assess the suitability of your loft, and give you alternatives if it’s not easily convertible.

How disruptive is a loft conversion?

Although you may think that making such a large change to your home’s interior would be extremely disruptive, this is often not the case. If you’re raising the roof considerably or lowering the ceilings of the floor below, this will be considerably more disruptive than loft conversions that don’t feature such work. The most intrusive part of a loft conversion is when the new staircase is installed between the existing landing and the new loft level. You might want to go out that day to avoid the noise and disturbance. At John Lewis Home Solutions our experts will be able to advise you on the amount of disruption your particular project will generate.

Are loft conversions good improvements to add property value?

In short, yes. Available living space is one of the most important factors that increase the market value of a property, a loft conversion could increase floor space by up to 30%. Surveys have suggested that a good loft conversion can increase the value of a house, making it one of the best home improvements you can carry out to boost your home’s sale price. Conversions offer an excellent return on investment. Also, consider what rooms you convert your loft into – as this may affect how much it improves the value of the building. For example, a master bedroom with an en-suite may be more desirable to prospective buyers than other types of rooms, but this can be dependent on your particular area. If adding value is the key reason behind wanting to improve your home, it may be wise to consult a local estate agent who can advise you on what the most sought-after features are in your area.

Do I need to commission technical drawings for a loft conversion?

When you choose John Lewis Home Solutions for your loft conversion, we’ll take care of the architectural work and technical drawings for you. With full architectural service in-house, we’ll get your plans back to you quickly. We even help most of our customers with their planning permission for their loft, which we handle on their behalf.

Do all extensions need planning permission?

No. Many extensions fall into the category of ‘permitted development’, for which there is no need to apply for planning permission. Whether an extension will come under the cusp of permitted development, or if it will need planning permission, is subject to numerous regulations affecting the size and positioning of the extension, as well as the materials used in its construction. Although deciding if a project will need planning permission can sometimes be complex, you don’t need to worry about any of this. As part of the John Lewis Home Solutions service, we can assess if your extension would require planning permission during your free consultation with one of our experts, and can even take care of any applications for you. It’s worth noting that, even if your particular project doesn’t need planning permission, it can still be a good idea to obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development to prove to potential buyers or their legal representatives down the line that the building works completed are lawful.

Will carrying out an extension increase my council tax?

Under current laws, any changes or extensions a homeowner makes to their property will not change the valuation band until the property has been sold. This means that your council tax will not change if you build an extension. The rule applies unless you are planning on constructing a self-contained annexe or another form of extension that can be used as a separate dwelling. Under current legislation, a separate council tax band can be applied to extensions that are ‘constructed or adapted for use as separate living accommodation’. In order for an extension to qualify as such, it must have separate access, facilities for sleeping, preparing food, washing, and its own bathroom.

Can I add an extension or loft conversion on/near a 'party wall'?

Yes, subject to a Party Wall Agreement. The term ‘party wall’ usually refers to the shared walls between terraced or semi-detached houses. Party walls can also consist of garden walls along a boundary and excavations close to your neighbour’s property. Before building work can begin, the homeowner needs to serve notice of the proposed works to all of the affected neighbours, and in some cases require a party wall agreement. With John Lewis Home Solutions, we can arrange for a surveyor to prepare a Party Wall Award on your behalf.

How long will it take to construct an extension?

The completion time for an extension, from initial plans to those last few touches that make it perfect, can vary tremendously depending on the exact nature of the project. Factors that will influence the time frame of an extension can include things such as the exact type of extension, the size of the extension, and the materials used. To find out how long an extension to your home will take, make an enquiry with John Lewis Home Solutions. We’ll set up a consultation with one of our experts, who will visit your home at a time that suits you. During the consultation, we’ll be able to discuss exactly what you want, take measurements, and provide you with advice regarding the project’s timeframe. This will be followed up with an extensive quote for the project.

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