dormer loft conversionA dormer loft conversion can add significant value – not to mention much-needed head clearance – to your property if you have loft space currently not in use.

But what exactly is a dormer? Abell Building Services’ expert home extensions builders have worked on many dormer loft conversions in Loughborough. In this article, we’ll take a look at what they are – and what they’re worth.

Definition of dormer loft conversion

A dormer is “a window that projects vertically from a sloping roof” and this is what gives a dormer loft conversion its name. A definition of a dormer loft conversion, therefore, is a loft conversion with vertical windows projecting from a sloping roof.

Dormer windows add head clearance to the lower part of a sloping roof as well as letting in light; furthermore, many people like the look of a dormer window from the outside of the property.

Alternatives to dormer windows

There are a few suitable alternatives to dormer windows for a loft conversion, for example:

  • Vertical windows placed lower on the walls
  • Sloping Velux windows with no built-out dormer
  • Rooflights and roof pyramids for flat roof loft conversions

In general, if you want to add head clearance, dormer windows are the way to go, as the alternatives don’t make a significant change to the roofline.

Why does head clearance matter in a loft conversion?

Having an acceptable minimum ceiling height in a loft conversion is not just a matter of comfort, although obviously you want to avoid bumping your head on the roof.

Building regulations typically require a minimum internal ceiling height of 1.9m, and once you add the ceiling and insulation to this, your loft conversion should have at least 2.2m from floor level to the underside of the external roof.

If you don’t achieve this minimum head clearance in a loft conversion, you may not be allowed to designate it as habitable space, meaning it can only legally be used as accessible storage.

More things to know about loft conversions

There are several significant rules that may apply to your loft conversion, depending on any previous work carried out to extend or convert parts of your property.

For example, a loft conversion may not need planning permission if it meets the following criteria:

  • Less than 40 cubic metres increase to the roofline of a terraced property
  • Less than 50 cubic metres increase to the roofline of other properties
  • Obscured/frosted glass used on any side-facing windows

It’s usually easier to add a dormer window to the rear of a property as the rules are stricter on the front-facing elevation, but we can help you decide how best to proceed to get the living space you need.

Don’t fall foul of planning permission

If you’re considering a dormer loft conversion in Loughborough, speak to Abell Building Services as we have extensive experience of working with the planning permissions needed.

Research by Churchill Home Insurance in 2020 found that across the UK on a typical day, 40 retrospective planning applications are made for work already completed. Of these, an average of five are refused, with loft conversions one of the three most common types of home extensions to appear on retrospective planning applications.

In the East Midlands alone, nearly 3,000 retrospective applications were made in 2017-19 and over 340 of those, 12% of the total, were rejected. By speaking with an experienced builder from the start, you can make sure your dormer loft conversion is all above board and get it signed off before the work is done.

Get in touch

Call our local Loughborough builders on 01509 734550 or fill in the form on our Get a Quote page for a quick response from our team.