Frequently Asked Questions
If there’s anything that hasn’t been covered within the FAQ’s below please feel free to get in touch with us to ask us directly and one of our team would be happy to help you.
How long have you been in business?
We have been building for over 20 years, and in 2014 rebranded to concentrate only on lofts in order to help as many homeowners as possible realise their dream loft, with the decades of experience we have accumulated.
Are your staff your own or do you contract out the work?
All our office team are employed. The contractors on site are self-employed and they only work for City Lofts London. Each and every build team works to a predictable and immaculate standard. The proof is in the pudding; take a look for yourself on our Instagram feed.
Can City Lofts London carry out architectural work only?
Yes. We Are exceptionally good at designing lofts, and do so not only for home owners but for other building contractors, who with to leverage our expertise in getting through the planning process. Our dedicated architectural services can be viewed here: www.LoftConversionArchitect.com
Do you do only lofts or could you carry out other work too?
With a loft conversion we are happy to add other items to the build schedule too.
Would it be OK to see a loft you have recently built?
We insist that you do. We want you to have a complete and sound understanding of the quality of our craft before you proceed with us. After all you won͛t know what excellence is until you see it!
May I see a copy of the contract?
Certainly. Here is a draft contract for you to view.
Will there be a payment schedule?
Yes, your payment schedule will be in line with the progress of the physical build stage. Payments are linked to successfully building control and inspections.
What is the typical payment schedule?
On page 4 on the contract you will find the typical payment schedule.
When I initial sign the contract to send to you, I send both copies and don't date either at this stage? Is that correct?
Sign/date/keep one for yourself and sign/date/return the other one.
How much is the deposit?
3% of the project total. We use this to get the design and planning work underway immediately
Will an opt out clause will be added to the contract?
The contract benefits from a 7 days cooling off period.
Why are contractor details not listed in the contract at the time of my signing?
We have 8 build teams and the crew that you get will be solely determined by your start date. We will be locking in the start date once planning consent is in hand, party wall matters are cleared and we have completed your technical design meeting at the office. Shortly after your build tem will be assigned.
When will we know who our contractor and their team will be?
Within 4-week window of having planning consent in hand, clearance of party wall matters and completion of your technical design meeting at the office
Will I get reminders when each instalment is due, and will I get details on how to pay either City Lofts or the contractor?
Yes, Your project Co-ordinator will prompt you with plenty of notice when payment is due. The good thing is that you have added peace of mind knowing that payments are linked to progress milestones, as and when the appointed independent building control inspector successfully passes a phase of work.
Insurance & guarantees
Do you have full project insurance?
Yes. Our clients can see a copy of all our fully comprehensive insurances.
What quality assurance documentation do you produce, and what is your quality assurance process?
We quality assure as we go to ensure the snagging list at the end is as lean as possible. At the end of every stage of work our Head Project Manager, Kulvi Sanghera (himself a bona fide Master Builder), uses an internal checklist on our management platform, before kicking on with the next phase of work. This is on top of the periodic building control inspections that will take place by the Building Control Inspector. At the end of which your completion certificate is issued.
Do you offer a works guarantee?
Yes. All projects benefit from a 10-year structural guarantee.
Is the guarantee insurance backed?
Yes. We have immense confidence in the quality of our projects and all guarantees are insurance backed.
If there is damage to the existing structure of my home during the works, who will be responsible for paying for the repairs? The insurance company, the contractor or City Lofts London?
City Lofts London. You will have taken a schedule of condition of your own home before works start and this will provide a baseline of the current state of repair of your home.
If there is damage to my neighbours property who will be responsible for paying the repairs? The insurance company, the contractor or City Lofts London?
City Lofts London. You/your neighbours will have taken a schedule of condition of their property before works start and this will provide a baseline of the current state of repair of the property.
What will happens if work is delayed or disrupted?
Our jobs are never delayed, they can͛t be. We will already have scheduled the team to start the next build the day after yours finishes so we cannot logistically over-run on a job. For the same reason we require timely decisions and material purchase/delivery from the client͛s side.
Why are the other loft companies not charging me full VAT?
We cannot comment on the affairs of other firms, but as the home owner you have the obligation to check the VAT status of those you hire. If you appoint a VAT registered company, you are obliged to ensure they collect the VAT from you and pass it on to the HMRC. If they do not, you can become liable as the hiring individual.
What happens if I find myself in financial difficulty mid-way through the loft conversion?
We suggest having your finance in place prior to the scaffold going up, so the job runs smoothly an efficiently for all. An option for an independent provider of loans can be found here: https://ideal4finance.com/consumer
The quote provided by City Lofts London is more than that of cheaper firms.
It is not that we are the most expensive, we are just the most honest. We do not have hidden costs. We factor in the variables from day 1 and you have witnessed from your loft survey that we are thorough, leaving no stone unturned. We don͛t like to guess prices instead we would rather spend tie upfront calculating exactly what the loft will cost you to the penny. That͛s what you will hear from each and every customer we have ever served. Hear what our clients have to say for yourself.
Why do I have only 1 day to review and remit payment requests?
Who will be given the payment schedule upfront so you know exactly how much the loft conversion will cost and when to make payments. Timely payments keep the work going and mean that we don͛t need to stop working if materials have not been purchased on time.
How long does a loft conversion take and do you commit to a fixed build timeline?
We anticipate 8-9 weeks for a standard loft conversion, but we say 8 to 10 weeks to cover the possibility of unforeseeable events.
From signing the contract with City Lofts London, how long will it be until build begins?
Set aside 12 weeks. Within two weeks of receipt of contract and deposit, an architect will produce your planning drawings and submit them for approval. At the same time as doing this, we suggest you begin Party Wall process. The approval process will take no more than 8 weeks. Once planning is approved and party wall matters are complete, we will then need 4 weeks to get our team ready and start build.
When do we get the drawings?
You will get the drawings no more than 14 days after the architectural survey. You can take as long as you need to review and tweak drawings over two revision cycles. If you want anything to be shown on the drawing that is not already included within the price, then we will price the individual items for you as additions. Such as a skylight, extra windows, sliding doors etc.
Design & Planning
Who takes care of getting planning permission?
If using our architectural service to produce drawings, the architect will submit the drawings to the council on your behalf. If you already have drawings, then you submit them to the council.
How do we know if we need to issue party wall notices(s)?
Party wall notices for loft will need to be issued to all adjoining neighbours unless your property is detached.
If party wall award has been issued, but the neighbour moves house before or during works, what happens to the party wall award?
Once a Party Wall Award is in place, it stands regardless of whether a new neighbour moves in.
Permits and fees
What happens about skips and permits?
Included in the quote is the cost for skips and rubbish disposal from the site. If the skip is placed on the drive, no permit is required. A highways permit will be required if the skip is placed on the road with no parking restriction. City Lofts London or the skip supplier will apply for the permit and the cost of the permit is paid by the customer. If there is restricted parking on the road where the skip is going to be placed, you will need to pay for the resident͛s bay suspension with your local authority.
What are the actual planning application costs. Who pays this? Are there extra payments for re-submittals?
The planning application cost for a permitted development application is £226. We are paying this for you. Any additional submission is £226 which you pay, on top of a pre-agreed fee for re-drafting the drawings.
What will the cost reduction be if we used our own Architect?
If you supply the planning drawings without structural working drawings, we will still need to come out and measure the house with an architectural survey, in which case there is no money off, as we will need to reproduce the drawings from scratch. If you have all the planning, structural, working drawings already produced and made available as a .DWG file, we can take out the £800 we have provisioned for the architectural work.
Building process/ site set-up
Does the price include removal of existing insulation and water tanks?
Yes, insulation will be cleared and disposed of, and new will be laid. We will also carry out the necessary plumbing work.
Is the cost of Scaffolding included in the quote?
Is the demolition and removal of all rubbish included?
Yes, we will demolish and remove all that is necessary for us to be able to complete your loft conversion to the specification agreed.
Who is responsible for clearing the loft?
The client is responsible for clearing the loft of all items prior to opening up. If you plan to throw out just a bit of stuff you are welcome to use the skip, if there is a lot of stuff to throw out we can lay on an additional skip for you to use. A 6-yard skip will cost approximately £345.
What are build preliminaries?
These are things we need to do or spend on in order to be in a position that we may start the physical build. Things such as building control, scaffolding, permits, waste disposal, port-a-loo to name a few.
If a building control officer asks to change a damaged door at the end, would the repair be added to our price or would City Lofts London cover it?
It will be added if building control make it mandatory or if you request it as an additional piece of work.
If you have to chase electrical wires into the walls, will you make good the walls afterwards?
We will bond the wall back up ready for the decorating, and if any exploratory holes are made in the ceiling for rodding cables, these will be patched.
How many builders will be present at any one time? What are the working hours?
You will have the same 3 tradesmen every day from start to finish. Additional workers will come for other parts such as stair fitting. Working hours are Mon-Sat 08.00-17.00 where 13.00-17.00 on Saturday are designated “quiet hours”.
What does "no finished" flooring means?
No finished flooring means it will be left ready for you to either carpet or lay wood flooring. We can price you for the latter should you opt for it.
You have discounted the cost of the "tin hat" (thank you!). Why are you willing to offer this free?
The tin hat is expensive by vital. We have had clients go without the tin hat in the past in order to save money, which I completely understand, but doing so is a false economy. It can rain anytime even at the height of a hot summer, and if it does the only thing between your home and a downpour is the tin hat. So, of all the things we could do for you, giving you the free tin hat us the best freebie – it means the house is protected from the elements and means once we start the loft, we don͛t leave until the last screw is in.
What are the implications if we are unable to provide access to the site on the agreed start date?
If we have agreed a start date and the team arrive and access for some reason is not given, then we will incur the day rates of each tradesman on site which we will pass to you.
I have a dust allergy. Will a lot of dust be created and is there anything you do about that?
We always keep work areas tidy, but a level of dust will be inevitable as we are building an entire new floor.
We like privacy and would prefer not to have photos of our home or the work put up on your website. We also do not want visits offered to prospective City Lofts London customers. Is that OK?
Yes, in this situation we would not take any photographs of the outside of your property or any photographs with your personal items on display. What we would ask however is whether we may take a few photographs of the empty room/s and use them. You will appreciate how valuable it is in the decision-making process for people, if they can see a recent and local loft conversion that has already been done by us.
Do you supply and fit fire doors?
We go one better. Replacing the doors through the house to fire-check doors is one way to meet fire regulations. Instead we will be fitting hard-wired, interlinked smoke alarms throughout the house. Hard wired to ground, first and loft landing, and radio-linked to every other habitable room from there –so now if there is a fire in the middle of the night, everyone will hear about it and be able to get out. This method meets building regulations. It is a little more work for us, but we͛d rather spend that time to know that our customers are safe. On the new loft floor itself, where brand new doors will be fitted, these will of course be fire-checked. Should the Building Control Inspector ask for individual doors to be replaced, we would charge you just the labour to hang the new door you supply.
Can you also decorate?
We provide an expert loft decoration service for those that would like it, and a quote is available upon request. All rooms will be left skim ready should you choose to decorate yourselves.
How hot can get in loft conversions. How could we mitigate this (avoiding aircon)?
- Non-mechanical solution: During warm nights, simply leave the windows ajar, and the through-breeze will naturally cool the room.
- Mechanical solution: Fit an air-conditioning unit. This is becoming more popular as summers are getting warmer. Technically a full planning application is required for this, and the local authority will want to satisfy themselves that the unit being fit will not produce excessive noise pollution. We can do this for you.
What is included in the City Snagging pro forma?
Two weeks from the end of the build we will email you an official snagging sheet. We will ask you to walk through the whole loft towards the end of the job and write down a list of things, if any, you want done (E.G. filling holes etc.). We will then check off everything on this list and upon doing so, ask you for final payment. That way you are in control of the funds and only release final payment once you are completely happy.
Can I have underfloor heating in my loft?
Yes. You can have electric underfloor heating to your en suite. Or we can extend the wet-delivery underfloor heating to the entire loft. In order for this, we would need to carry out a full plumbing survey of what you currently have and how much work is needed to adapt the system, so it is suitable for wet-delivery underfloor.