F.A.Q

Frequent asked questions

We have built this section with most common questions a home owner faces before starting any project. We hope this will help you answer as many questions as possible.

F.A.Q. about Loft Conversions

DOES MY LOFT HAVE ENOUGH HEADROOM TO BE CONVERTED?

Most lofts can be converted but what is crucial is that there is enough achievable headroom. Ideally you need a minimum of 2.3m (7 feet 6 inches) to start with from the existing ceiling joists to the apex of the loft.

Therefore, once the new loft floor (about 200mm or 8 inches) and ceiling (about 100mm or 4 inches) is in place in the loft conversion you will be left with a ceiling height of about 2m (6 feet 6 inches).

Take look at the closest door to you – the opening (if standard) is likely to be 1.981mm in height which is just a touch under 2m. With this in mind we hope you agree with that if can not achieve at least 2m then converting your loft simply isn’t worth it!

IS PLANNING PERMISSION NEEDED FOR MY LOFT CONVERSION?

Under new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008 a loft conversion for your house is likely to be considered permitted development which will not require the hassle and the cost of Planning Permission. This is subject certain limits and conditions – please see the Planning Portal Website for details.

WHERE WILL THE NEW STAIRS GO?

Regulations stipulate fixed stairs must be put in to give safe access to and from the new room. The regulations cover things like staircase steepness (max pitch 42 degrees), headroom (min. 1.9m), step sizes and rails.

The stairs we supply are always fully compliant with Building Regulations and depending on exact requirements it often makes sense to place the new stairs over the existing stairs if possible. In doing so you must achieve at least 1.9m of clear headroom over the existing stairs to satisfy Building Regulations.

If this is not possible then we can normally always find another way – sometimes by taking away a slice of another room. Although this isn’t ideal it is normally considered the sensible compromise in order to achieve a loft conversion.

WILL A LOFT CONVERSION REALLY ADD VALUE TO MY PROPERTY?

Yes, here at FS Refurbishments we firmly believe that a loft conversion will add value to your property… but we would say that wouldn’t we!

Read what the Guardian say about loft conversions: Home Improvements Article.

Here’s what C4 has to say on the subject: Guide To Loft Conversions.

HOW CAN I SAVE MONEY ON MY LOFT CONVERSION?

When you chose FS Refurbishments we offer loft conversions from design through to completion – this includes planning, building regulations, structure, stairs, velux widows, dormer windows, insulation, plastering, heating, plumbing, bathroom fitting, electrical work (Part P) and woodwork etc.

However, if you would prefer to do (or manage) some of the ‘2nd fix’ elements yourself then we can tailor a package to suit your needs. Call us on 07453511694 to discuss your requirements.

HOW DO WE ENSURE BUILDING REGULATIONS ARE ACHIEVED?

It is possible to carry out a loft conversion under what is known as Building Notice but this is not advisable. As a professional loft conversion company we don’t like to ‘wing it’ so we carry out a full plans submission to the Local Authority before works commence.

This means that the Local Authority pre agree the technical specifications of the loft conversion and they carry out site inspections when the work is in progress to ensure every detail fully meets with Building Regulations.

WHAT GUARANTEES DO FS REFURBISHMENTS GIVE?

We give a 6 or a 10 year guarantee for the main structural elements of the loft conversion.

This guarantee is insurance backed through the Federation of Master Builders Insurance Services. An additional fee will be charged on top of the agreed price of the job.

If you don’t want to pay extra for the guarantee, our warranty extends only to 1 year from the date of completion.

WHY DO I NEED A PROFESSIONAL LOFT CONVERSION BUILDER?

Anyone can do a loft conversion IF they know what they are up to… and if they don’t then the loft conversion project could cost you thousands to put right rather than save you pounds.

If you are thinking of doing the loft conversion yourself then good luck – we are professionals and we often take up to 6 weeks to complete our conversions. This is all day everyday Mon-Sat, so how long do you think it will take you when maybe you can only spare evenings and weekends?

Kenet are a professional loft conversion company and take away the pains associated with carrying out a loft conversion yourself so call us today on 07453511694.

I HAVE A HOT WATER TANK IN THE WAY - WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Water tanks can be moved into the eaves of the loft out of the way and you can chose to find a local plumber and pay them for 1 days labour plus materials or you can leave our plumbers to step in and to the job.

Alternatively, a pressurised boiler such as a ‘combi’ does away with the need for water tanks in the loft so you may chose to add this into the quote as well.

HOW LONG WILL YOU TAKE TO CONVERT MY LOFT?

Every loft is different but generally an approximate guide for a velux conversion is 4-5 weeks and about 6 weeks for a dormer conversion.

We can advise accordingly at the time of first survey once we have seen your loft.

I WANT A DORMER LOFT CONVERSION - HOW IS THIS DONE?

A dormer loft conversion comes in different forms – however most clients want either a ‘full width rear dormer which goes right to the eaves or a smaller box dormer.

The cheeks of the dormer can be constructed out of masonry if you have a parapet fire dividing wall which extends above your roof. Or the checks can be constructed out of timber with vertically hung tiles or slates to match in with the rest of the roof.

The face for the dormer will have similar vertically hung tile/slates, have normal casement/sash windows and sometimes have French doors with Juliet Balcony.

The ‘flat roof’ will either be coated with rubber of fibreglass and will come with a 25 year guarantee as opposed to using traditional roofing felt.

I WANT A VELUX LOFT CONVERSION - HOW IS THIS DONE?

This is a personal choice and probably the aesthetics will be the deciding factor. In terms of technical differences, consider the following:

  • this is carried out if the existing loft area is big enough to be converted without extending the roof
  • the only outward change of appearance is the introduction of velux windows which come in various styles and sizes.

DO I NEED STEEL BEAMS?

Most lofts need beams to hang the new floor from and to take the load of the roof. These are often steel but aluminium or timber solutions can be used. Whichever the method the Building Inspector will require evidence of the structural calculations to prove the conversion is sound.

WE WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS UNDER LAW?

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DO I NEED FIRE DOORS?

If you have a standard two story property then the following fire doors will need to be in place:

  • One at the top or bottom of the new stairs going from 1st floor into the loft
  • All doors off the 1st floor landing which lead to habitable rooms (not bathroom, airing cupboard, cloakroom etc)
  • All doors off the entrance passage which lead to habitable rooms – living room, dining room, kitchen etc,

MY STAIRS AT GROUND FLOOR LEVEL ENTER INTO AN OPEN-PLAN ARRANGEMENT - WHAT HAPPENS HERE?

If you have an open-plan layout, you must put in walls to separate your stairs from any rooms, and link them to an escape route to the outside. This is far from ideal in most cases but the rules and regulations about fire are there to save lives!

It used to be up until April 2007, all doors to habitable rooms off the stairwell should have self-closers. This is no longer required but care should be taken in keeping doors shut when possible to protect the escape route in the outbreak of a fire.

WILL I NEED SMOKE DETECTORS?

To comply with Building Regulations, FS Refurbishments subcontract electricians to fit interlinked smoke detectors at each level:

  • Hall at ground floor
  • Landing at 1st floor
  • Landing at 2nd floor

These smoke alarms are mains hardwired and have standby battery backup power supply.

DO I NEED TO UPGRADE THE CEILING UNDER THE NEW LOFT ROOMS?

No, the new flooring above combined with insulation between will take care of regulations concerning sound, fire and thermal.

F.A.Q. about home extensions

HOW LONG DOES AN AVERAGE HOME EXTENSION TAKE TO BUILD?

We estimate on average a home extension can take between 8 – 10 weeks to build.

HOW QUICKLY CAN YOU START TO BUILD AN EXTENSION ON MY PROPERTY?

Our lead in times are currently 2 – 3 weeks assuming that you have plans, structural calculations and party wall notices in place (if required).  Please contact us on 07453511694 for a more accurate estimate of start dates.

WHAT IS A PARTY WALL AGREEMENT AND DO I NEED ONE FOR MY EXTENSION?

A party wall agreement is required if your home has a wall that is connected to another property on either side.  Each neighbour will have to be informed of the proposed works using a party wall notice form at least two calendar months before the intended start of the build.  The party wall agreement is there to protect you and your neighbour from issues that might arise due to work done on the party wall. It draws up an agreement between you and you neighbour on what needs to happen if there is a problem. By law your neighbour can insist you have one before the work starts.   This process is handled by clients directly, however if required FS Refurbihment can advise you on this process and put you in touch with one of our certified party wall surveyors.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A SET OF PLANS TO BE APPROVED FOR MY EXTENSION?

In general it takes 8 weeks for plans to be approved through planning permission.  However, not all extension projects require planning permission – see our question and section on permitted development.

WHAT IS PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT AND CAN I BUILD MY EXTENSION UNDER THIS PROCESS?

If your property is not in a conservation area you may have permitted development rights (PD). This means you can build your extension without having to go through the planning permission process.  For more details on the requirements and criteria for this, please visit the UK planning portal by clicking here.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS AND PLANNING PERMISSION FOR EXTENSIONS?

With planning permission you are asking the council if your proposed scheme is acceptable. It is open to rejection by them and/or your neighbours and will have to follow the local development plan. With permitted development you are asking the council to simply confirm that your scheme fits within the permitted development criteria. The council will issue you a Lawful Development Letter if they agree. Technically you are not required to have the Lawful Development letter in place before the work starts and in fact there is no law stating you have to have it. This allows clients who request it, to start the work without waiting for the Lawful Development Letter thus saving time.

HOW MUCH DISRUPTION SHOULD I EXPECT THROUGHOUT THE BUILD PHASE OF AN EXTENSION?

There is no doubt that building work can at times be disruptive and slightly stressful, after all we completely altering your home! However there are certain tips and measures that can be taken to ease this process.  If budget allows, you may decide the best way to avoid the disruption is to move out throughout the construction phase.  However we know at times this can be realistic.  Other steps are to build temporary kitchens to enable you to still cook and clean, or to build stud partitions to block out the dust from the rest of your home.  Always remember to pack away any valuables or anything that could potentially be damaged as materials and equipment will be making their way through your home.

WHAT INSURANCES AND GUARANTEES DO YOU HAVE?

We have £ 5mil public liability insurance and we can offer up to 10 years insurance backed warranty through Federation of Master Builders Insurance Services (additional fee required).

I'VE HAD A SITE SURVEY, HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO RECEIVE MY QUOTATION?

Once a FS Refurbishments surveyor has visited your property and carried out a site survey it will take no longer than 1 week for you to receive a comprehensive quotation.  If you have not received your quotation in this time, then please visit your junk email folder (as sometimes  our quotations can end up by accident there!) or give our team a call on 07453511694.

HOW LONG ARE YOUR QUOTATIONS VALID FOR?

Unfortunately from time to time our rates have to be reviewed due to increasing prices of materials.  Our quotations are therefore valid for 30 days.

CAN I HAVE OTHER REFURBISHMENT WORK CARRIED OUT TO MY HOME AT THE SAME TIME AS MY EXTENSION?

Yes.  Quite often, we carry out refurbishment work to bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms and downstairs toilets and utility rooms.  Please enquire for prices on your site survey.

FAQ's about kitchen refurbishments

HOW LONG DOES THE KITCHEN REFURBISHMENT TAKE?

The refurbishment works should take around 15 working days to complete, however this can vary depending on the size of the kitchen and level of works involved.

WHO CAN I EXPECT TO BE WORKING IN MY PROPERTY DURING THE WORKS?

Our handpicked team of different tradesmen will take care of the kitchen refurbishment project from start to finish. You should expect to see a kitchen fitter, plasterer, plumber and electrician during the process, though this will depend on the level of works required.

WHO ELSE COULD VISIT ME WHILE WORKS ARE TAKING PLACE?

Our health and safety team carry out random checks on works taking place so we may visit you while the tradesman are on site, you should also receive regular visits or phone calls from the project manager who will be your main contact during the project.

WILL THERE BE SOMEBODY WORKING IN MY HOME AT ALL TIMES?

It’s unlikely there will be an operative working all day every day, for example, they could be waiting for flooring and plastering to dry, as well as the number of different trades involved.

WILL I BE LEFT WITH WATER AND COOKING FACILITIES DURING THE WORKS?

Yes, temporary cooking facilities are provided if we’re unable to temporarily re-install your cooking appliance while works are taking place. If for any reason you feel that you may need temporary cooking facilities please contact us as soon as possible. Hot and cold water will be available to you at all times.

I HAVE A PHYSICAL IMPAIRMENT OR OTHER SPECIAL REQUIREMENT, HOW WILL THE WORKS AFFECT ME?

If you inform us early on in the process of any special requirements you may have we will take this into consideration when planning the kitchen refurbishment process for you.

FAQ's about bathroom refurbishments

HOW LONG WILL THE WORK TAKE TO COMPLETE?

Generally, we ask you to allow two weeks to complete the works. If there are major structural alterations, lots of defective plastering or damp proofing to remedy etc., then it may take a bit longer.

WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO USE MY TOILET, WASHBASIN AND BATH WHILST THE WORK IS BEING CARRIED OUT?

We will organise the work to ensure that some of these facilities can be used at the end of each and every day, i.e.: the toilet or hand wash basin. Obviously whilst works are in progress there will be times during the day when these facilities and some of the services (water/electricity) are unavailable or disconnected. If temporary unavailability or services disconnection during the day is likely to cause problems, this can be discussed with the project manager to seek a solution.

HOW MUCH WILL A NEW BATHROOM AND THE REFURBISHMENT COST?

This is not a straightforward question to answer as it depends on a lot of elements such as quality of the bathroom suite and related fixtures, quality of materials used and the specifics of the work required.

Here’s a rough guide to pricing depending on the aesthetic and look you are trying to achieve:

• The average BUDGET bathroom refurbishment costs: £3,000 (labour + the building materials);
• The average MID-RANGE bathroom refurbishment costs: £5,600 (labour + the building materials);
• The average LUXURY bathroom refurbishment costs: £9,700 (labour + the building materials).

The above figures are statistical costs and should give you an idea of what you need to add atop of the bathroom suite. Contact us now to arrange a FREE site survey where we can provide a clear indication of price. We focus on quality and ensuring you have a long lasting new bathroom.

DO YOU GUARANTEE YOUR WORK?

Both kitchen refurbishment projects and bathroom refurbishment projects, the workmanship is guaranteed for a period of one year and in the event of a problem occurring during the guarantee period due to an error in fitting it will be fully rectified free of charge. If the problem is due to faulty equipment or materials the equipment or materials at fault will be replaced under the manufacturers guarantee.

HOW DOES YOUR PAYMENT STRUCTURE WORK?

We generally take a deposit before starting the project and as the work progresses and we achieve each milestone we accept a payment. Part of our ethos is to build good relationships with clients and ensure the job reaches completion on time and on the budget agreed.

CAN YOU CHANGE THE WATER SYSTEM TO SUIT THE JOB?

Yes, for example we can fit water pumps which can increase the pressure up to ten times. Our gas safe registered plumbers we can install a new boiler, heating system or water tanks, which ever suits your needs and wants.

If you find a high quality constructor for your project?