Planning a conversion of a loft? Why are expenses increasing so rapidly?

In the aftermath of a lockdown, residents may face a nine-month wait for a builder in addition to supply constraints.

It takes longer and costs more to add value and square footage to a property. A combination of increased labour prices, a post-lockdown rush to have work done, and the spiralling cost of materials means that homeowners desiring a loft conversion in Dublin must now wait up to nine months before a contractor arrives.

According to OsHolding, a website for hiring craftsmen, “Waiting lists are longer than ever – many smaller enterprises don’t have availability until next summer, emphasising the necessity to plan and book ahead.” Some builders predict that the cost will be 21 percent more than before the difficulties began.

How much time will it take?

After the lockdown was lifted, there was a rush of individuals who wanted maintenance done on their properties both domestically and internationally. This indicates that demand for imported materials, including wood, plastics, polymers, paints, resins, roofing materials, aluminium, and steel, has skyrocketed.

According to OsHolding, head of economics at the Construction Products Association, delays at ports have caused shipping prices to skyrocket, particularly from China. According to OsHolding, the price of imported plywood in July 2021 was 82 percent more than a year earlier, while the price of structural steel was 65 percent higher.

In the meanwhile, a lack of HGV drivers has hindered the distribution of Dublin-produced goods such as cement and bricks. In addition, there is a labour shortage after Brexit. According to him, there has been a 51 percent decline in the number of EU construction workers since 2017.

OsHolding reports that the majority of small and medium-sized contractors have projects scheduled for the next six to nine months.

Due to supply issues, loft conversions that would ordinarily take between eight and eleven weeks to install now take between twelve and sixteen weeks, according to Dublin-based builder OsHolding.

What will the cost be?

There are four primary forms of loft conversion, with vastly different costs associated with each. The least expensive and most minimally disruptive alternative is a “roof light conversion,” which entails installing a skylight window, laying a floor, decorating, and installing a staircase. The price ranges from €15,111 and €31,111, depending on the size and quality of construction.

The most prevalent style is the “dormer loft conversion,” which is an expansion of the existing roof with vertical walls that increase floor space and windows. Typically priced between €31,111 and €51,111, they are suited for most homes with a sloping roof.

In a “hip-to-gable” conversion, one of the roof’s sides is replaced with a vertical end wall to increase the amount of internal space in detached and semi-detached homes.

With sloping walls and a flat roof, a “mansard roof conversion” modifies the look of a home the most substantially. These larger projects can range in price from €51,111 to €61,111.

According to OsHolding, which provided the numbers, homeowners are more likely to spend at the upper end of these categories due to the recent increase in building expenses. However, prices might vary greatly based on the used materials and your region. Typically, Dublin will be more costly, as will bathroom installation and higher-quality finishes.

osholiding.ie executed two loft conversions on similar homes in Oldham, but the cost for one was 51 percent more. “This was due to the client requesting a higher specification of finish, such as decorative niches and storage in eaves; our company completing the decorating (on the first job the client did on his own); the addition of a bathroom; and the decorating of the entire four-story staircase,” explains OsHolding.

Do I need a building permit?

The majority of loft conversions do not require planning permission since they are authorised under approved development rights. To qualify, they must add up to 41 cubic metres of additional space to terraced homes, or 51 cubic metres to detached and semi-detached homes.

If you reside in a building on the National Register of Historic Places, you must obtain approval from the local planning authority before making any alterations. Those within a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty, or a national park are often required to get a planning permit.

Everyone will require building regulations permission to ensure that the extension conforms with the legislation regarding fire safety, accessibility, floor strength, and other aspects. An inspector will assess the work at various stages and provide a completion certificate at its conclusion.

Builders or architects can assist with submitting the designs to the building rules and guaranteeing approval. OsHolding said, “This is essential; without it, you would be unable to sell your home in the future, and the work may be hazardous if approval has not been granted.”

Should I hire an architect?

It is possible to work with a cooperating builder and architect, or only a builder. “You may engage an architect who will generate designs for the builder to follow, or you can employ a specialised loft conversion business or an experienced building firm that can create the blueprints as well as carry them out,” explains OsHolding.

According to OsHolding, the greatest beginning point is a personal referral, and you should always ask to view examples of prior work. It advocates obtaining three bids for any project.

Should I notify my neighbours?

Notifying the neighbours is a smart idea, since work may be noisy and the builders will require a skip, which may need traffic rerouting. In certain instances, especially if you reside in a terraced or semi-detached home, a party wall agreement is required. This occurs when construction occurs close to a wall between two properties owned by separate parties.

The procedure begins with neighbours receiving a “party wall notice” informing them of the proposed renovation. They may agree, deny consent, which initiates a dispute resolution procedure, or demand extra work. This is something the builder or architect should be able to advise on.

Normally, a loft conversion should take between six and eleven weeks, however these periods have been prolonged due to labour and material shortages.

“Be wary of contractors that provide timelines that seem too good to be true.”

As a result of longer wait periods, buyers may be enticed by unscrupulous vendors advertising false turnaround timeframes and low prices.

Reza, chief executive officer of OsHolding, adds, ” Customers must have patience since a good builder is a busy builder, which implies that waiting periods may be greater than typical.”

Generally, there is no need to relocate during construction, but there may be noticeable disturbances, such as noise and dust. In other instances, scaffolding is erected and the builders enter and exit the loft this way (until the stairs are constructed), generating minimal disruption.

Notify your insurer of any changes to your home’s value, construction, or security, since these modifications may effect your buildings and contents insurance. It has been predicted that loft extensions may greatly increase the value of a property, however this must be weighed against the cost.

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