How to get it right: Don’t convert your loft like this!

Loft conversion - how to do it right

You may have read How to get it right - roof truss "alterations"? in our November edition. The article explained the serious pitfalls of attempting to alter a trussed roof to create additional floor space. 

Because of their design, any removal of the central “W” where most of the loads are distributed, can have disastrous consequences.

Imagine our surprise when we received this photo within hours of the article being issued:

How to convert your loft

Apologies for the clarity of the photo but we think you can see what’s been done to convert the loft to create an office/workshop. 

Thankfully all of the truss chords were still in place, but in creating the habitable space, which also included a bed at the other end of the roof, a makeshift ladder had been formed for access, boarding placed over the ceiling chords and there was no insulation anywhere! 

The tenant had no concerns for their safety until it was pointed out just how dangerous the “conversion” actually was. Aside from the structural issues of additional weight on the roof trusses, there are the unimaginable consequences of a house fire. 

Read: Building a loft conversion

How to get it right

Loft conversions need upgrading work to create a 30 minute fire protected staircase enclosure which includes interlinked smoke detection. This provides greater protection to occupants, particularly those at the new second floor where all of the hot smoke and gasses would rise if the protection wasn’t in place. 

This was a council-owned property so the Housing team was able to ensure that the illegal use stopped. It was returned to being a roof space and went back to storing the odd suitcase and Christmas tree.

Find out more

Involved a loft conversion project? Visit Building a loft conversion for advice and a video on building regulations and information on skylights, storage space and more.

Browse our 'How to get it right' articles


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the user’s professional judgement. It is the responsibility of the dutyholder or person carrying out the work to ensure compliance with relevant building regulations or applicable technical standards.


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