A loft conversion is one of the most profitable investments you will make. To get the best ROI however, you need to make the most of your attic space and employ an experienced loft conversion specialist you can rely on to do the job properly.
Hiring a specialist contractor is critical. Loft conversions require particular attention to detail to make best use of the limited. Learning these tricks of the trade requires knowledge, imagination and experience which only a loft conversion specialist has. In other words, loft conversions are not a job for everyday builders, so even if you can save yourself a bit of money now, you will lose a lot more in the long-run.
Choosing a builder
The character of your building contractor is more important than you may initially consider. You have to be able to trust the builder of course, but you also have to consider they will be spending between 9 and 12 weeks at your house. Although you will probably not be at home all day with the builder, it helps with the building process if your personalities are compatible as there needs to be continuous communication.
On the subject of trusting a builder, there are three key questions you should ask. The answers will tell you if you are speaking with a good builder:
- A good builder will not be able to start tomorrow
- A good builder will not price the job immediately
- A good builder will not be cheap – low quotes usually mean cutting corners. Compare at least three or four quotes.
When receiving a quote, ask the builder what costs the fees cover. Sometimes quotes are given for just the builder and excludes costs for the architect, decorating materials, planning fees and admin whereby the quote appears much lower than the actual amount you will pay. For peace of mind, you are better to go for a fixed fee that is agreed before building work commences.
Also ask contractors if they have public liability insurance. If they do not and have an accident in your home, you may be responsible to pay damages for an injury. For example, if a builder slips on a wet floor and breaks his wrist you are held accountable. A reputable loft conversion specialist will typically mention this without you having to ask.
Do you need an architect?
For projects as complex as remodelling an attic room, an architect is a must. Some loft conversion specialists have an in-house designer, but you are not obligated to use that service if you prefer to choose your own architect. Make sure you ask to see evidence of their last five projects. An architect is only as good as their previous job.
To test the design skills of a potential architect, ask them about storage space. In loft conversions, storage space is one of the most critical and difficult aspects of the design because the space is limited and attics are ordinarily used for storage. You will probably not want to throw everything you have in your attic out so you need to be assured it is going to go back in.
One final thing to look for in a loft conversion specialist is a guarantee. A professional loft conversion specialist will typically offer a 10 years on their work whereas a general builder will not offer anything.
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