What is the timeline for a loft conversion?

What is the timeline for a loft conversion?

What is the timeline for a loft conversion?

Many of our clients ask us about the timeline for a loft conversion. Following our last blog on what to think about when you convert a loft to a bedroom, we thought it would be a good time to cover the timeline of such a conversion. 

There is, of course, no one or simple answer to how long your loft conversion will take.  It will depend on many factors, but the process follows a series of stages.

 

Stages of a typical loft conversion

    1. The roof space is inspected for suitability.
      The main features being looked at will be height, pitch, access and obstacles such as a water tank or chimney stacks. This can be done fairly quickly and often at first inspection. 
    2. Suitability will be confirmed, plans drawn up, and budget costs advised.
      A Structural Engineer will also confirm whether the building can take the extra load of a conversion and suggest measures to take if it needs to be altered. Design options are then discussed before drawing up plans and arranging for a quote for the actual conversion cost. Again, timescale for this will depend on how busy your designer and surveyor are, but it’s typically a couple of weeks.
    3. If planning consent is required, an application is made by your architectural designer.
      In Scotland, you don’t need planning permission for any internal alterations unless they involve the addition of a dormer or the property is a listed building on in a conservation area.

      Dormer windows

      For a dormer, you’ll need permission if: your home is a flat or within a tenement or four-in-a-block building; your home is in a conservation area; the dormer will be on a roof slope forming part of the principal elevation or side elevation where that elevation faces onto a road; the dormer will be on a roof slope and within 10 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of the house which that roof slope faces onto; the dormer will be higher than the existing height of the house, excluding the chimney; the dormer will take up more than half the width of the roof; the dormer will be within 0.3 metres of any edge of the roof slope of the house or it will include a balcony, a wind turbine, a raised platform or terrace.

      Roof windows

      Simple roof windows don’t require planning permission if the window doesn’t project more than one metre from the roof, unless you live in a listed building or conservation area. This typically takes 8 weeks. This is the statutory period for local planning departments to determine a planning application.  Time and hassle can be saved by getting your architectural designer to liaise with your council on your behalf.

    4. Cost is agreed through a competitive tender process and likely schedule proposed.
      This typically takes around 4 weeks.
    5. Once the statutory approvals are in place, the loft is cleared and prepared.
      This will include removing the water tank and other necessary items. This typically takes a few days.
    6. Rewiring is assessed.
      Wiring and other services attached to joists and binders will have to be removed and rerouted as part of the conversion. This assessment can be done in a short visit.
    7. New floor joists are fitted, insulated and floorboards laid.
      The spaces between the joists are filled with insulation to a depth of 100mm (10cm). Depending on the age and conservation status of your home, you may need sign-off from your local authority’s Building Control department before laying the floorboards. This typically takes a few days.
    8. Rafters are reinforced.
      This is done in accordance with the structural requirements so the purlins, struts and collars can be safely removed to open up the area. This typically takes 10 days.
    9. Dormers installed
      Dormers installed, if you’ve chosen them. This typically takes 10 days per dormer, assuming easy access.
    10. Rooflights installed.
      This takes around 4-6 hours per window.
    11. Staircase fitted.
      This typically takes 2-3 days.
    12. Dormers (if any) are tiled and vents fitted.
      Ridge and soffit vents will also be fitted at this point. his typically take 5 days per dormer.
    13. Dormer windows fitted.
      This typically takes 2-3 hours per window.
    14. Roof insulated.
      Insulation is placed between the rafters, with a 50mm air gap between the roofing felt and the insulation - for ventilation. This typically takes between 5 and 10 days, depending on how big your loft is.
    15. Partition walls, if any, are installed.
      This typically takes between 3 and 5 days, depending on how many are to be installed.
    16. Wall plates, first fix electrics and any plumbing installed.
      Wall plates provide a secure fitting for things such as radiators and the boxes for electric sockets and switches. This usually takes between 3 and 5 days, depending on how big your loft is, how many radiators you need, how many sockets you want and the plumbing required to service a toilet and/or shower or bath.
    17. Electrics upgraded.
      It may be necessary to fit a new consumer unit, or extra one, if the existing one has no extra capacity. Again this will depend on how much us required. Typically this takes between 3 and 5 days.
    18. Access panels for water, electrics and eaves storage fitted and water and power connected.
      Access panels are a useful addition. This typically takes 2 days.
    19. Walls plaster boarded and skirting and door architrave installed.
      The plasterboard attached to the studs and rafters will provide the basis for the decorative plaster skim. Typically this takes between 3 and 5 days.
    20. Bathrooms (if any) clad and air extraction system fitted.
      Typically this takes between 2 and 5 days, depending on the specification.
    21. Second fix, heating and finishes installed.
      Once any bathroom wall and floor tiling is done, the shower room items can be positioned and fitted. Second fix electrics and plumbing is done when possible. Radiators are fitted and connected. This typically this takes between 5 and 10 days, depending on the specification.
    22. Decoration is done.
      Obviously, this will depend on size of the new bedroom and the scheme chosen, but for a standard-sized room it will take between 5 and 10 days.

Many of these operations will be carried out with two or more contractors on site at any one time and therefore there will most likely be time overlap.

 

Typical total times

The average length of time for the most common loft conversions is:

      • Velux/rooflight – 6 – 8 weeks.
      • Dormer – 10-12 weeks.

 

Identifying issues early helps

Identifying planning issues early can help to streamline the project. All Design has an excellent record in securing planning approvals, and we offer realistic advice based on our experience with Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Moray and Angus Councils. Having good relationships with them helps to identify and address any planning issues at an early stage and effectively and efficiently deal with them.

Contact us to arrange a chat about your options and preferences, to get a realistic estimate for time and cost based on our experience of working on similar homes in your council area.

 

Get in touch

All Design is a dedicated, friendly team of architectural designers who work alongside external associates and consultants to help people across Scotland find property solutions through carefully-considered designs which respond to their needs, the site, budget and planning policy. 

We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and thrive on using a creative yet practical approach to design to improve space for people.

Our values are: People; Honesty, Delivery; Creativity and Friendly.

Contact us for a FREE quotation.

What to consider in a loft to bedroom conversion

Before and after - bedroom loft conversion Aberdeenshire
Loft conversion
bedroom conversion in progress with velux window

What to consider in a loft to bedroom conversion?

A loft to bedroom conversion can be a smart way to extend the living space in your home without using up valuable garden space and changing your home’s footprint. It will also add value to your home and is more cost effective than adding an extension. But before you start imagining that new dreamy bedroom in your loft, you need to consider the following factors first.

 

Does your loft have enough free space to become a bedroom?

The main considerations are: available head height, roof pitch, roof structure and obstacles - such as water tanks or chimney stacks.

Ideally, you should have at least 2.2 metres of usable vertical space measuring from the bottom of the ridge timber in the centre of the loft to the top of the ceiling joist. If you have less than that, you can opt for a mansard roof, replace the entire roof structure or restructure the vertical space to take some from bedrooms below as long as you leave them with a minimum of 2.2 metres of floor-to-ceiling height.

The higher the angle of the roof pitch, the higher the central head height is likely to be. If dormers are used or the roof is redesigned, the floor area and its potential for comfortable headroom, can be increased.

Traditional framed-type roof structures are usually the simplest to convert. Rafters on traditional roofs run along its edges, leaving a good amount of free space. The rafters may need to be strengthened or additional supports added.

Trussed roofs - with W-shaped rafters - are harder to convert, but the rafters can be replaced with an A-shape structure which creates a hollow space.

The heating and hot water system may have to be replaced with a sealed system if you need to move a water tank and any plumbing. You’ll have to find space and budget for them.

Does your loft conversion require planning permission?

In Scotland, you don’t need planning permission for any internal alterations unless they involve the addition of a dormer or roof window.

For a dormer, you’ll need permission if: your home is a flat or within a tenement or four-in-a-block building; your home is in a conservation area; the dormer will be on a roof slope forming part of the principal elevation or side elevation where that elevation faces onto a road; the dormer will be on a roof slope and within 10 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of the house which that roof slope faces onto; the dormer will be higher than the existing height of the house, excluding the chimney; the dormer will take up more than half the width of the roof; the dormer will be within 0.3 metres of any edge of the roof slope of the house or it will include a balcony, a wind turbine, a raised platform or terrace.

Simple roof windows don’t need planning permission if the window doesn’t project more than one metre from the roof, but you will if you live in a conservation area and listed building consent if you live in a listed building.

 

You’ll need a Building Warrant

A Building Warrant is needed for loft conversions unless you only plan to simply floor the roof space for light domestic storage with access via a ladder. A warrant and conformity with Scottish Building Standards will be required for the changes you make, including adding a staircase, insulation and fire safety.

 

Can your home’s foundations take the extra weight?

A loft conversion can put extra stress on the foundations of your home, so they should be checked first. If they’re not considered deep enough to support the extra weight, we can get a structural engineer to suggest structural interventions to spread the load.

 

What style of loft conversion will be best for you?

There are several types of loft conversion to consider:

Rooflight (Velux): one of the simplest and cheapest as the existing loft space is retained and rooflights added. The existing floor may need to be reinforced, stairs added and electrics and plumbing altered as insulation added. This is ideal for smaller spaces where only one bedroom is being added.

Dormer: these project out vertically from the slope of the roof and use standard windows. This is good where the roof pitch angle is high and the useful floor area can be increased. They can be single, double or full-width, flat-roofed or gabled.

Hip-to-gable: the hipped, slanted section at the side of your roof is extended and becomes a vertical wall (gable end) which is built up to the same height as the ridge. This is then given a standard pitched roof that creates a space internally with full headroom. The vertical wall also allows for standard windows. This is ideal for semi-detached homes.

Mansard: this adds an extra storey to your home by replacing the sloping roof with an almost-vertical wall and a flat roof. Most run the full width of the house. A mansard conversion can solve the problem of low head height at the eaves or a lack of space and can be added at either the front or rear of a house, or have a double-mansard roof at the front and rear.

Modular: also known as pre-fab loft conversions, they come readymade, constructed off-site and once the roof has been removed, the modular loft conversion is craned into position. It’s possible to specify one complete with windows, doors, electrics and bathrooms.

L-shaped: the perfect solution for homes previously extended at the back, it consists of an L-shaped dormer, the larger end of which extends out from the main roof. Ideal if you want to have a separate bathroom and include good storage space.

Bungalow: there are many different designs to consider but the simplest and cheapest option is to add rooflights and floor reinforcement to a large existing loft space. Dormers will increase the useable space. Some people remove the whole roof to add a second storey.

 

Where will you put the staircase?

The ideal place is in line with the roof ridge to make best use of the height above the staircase. Your best position will depend upon the layout of the floor below and what height can be achieved using a dormer or adding a rooflight above the staircase o converting a hip roof end to a gable.

 

How will you introduce natural light?

The two main options for bringing in natural light are rooflights and dormers.

Rooflights are the most straightforward, economic, and most likely to be allowed without planning permission.

Dormer windows add space as well as light and are particularly effective where the pitch angle is high, as the useful floor area can be increased.

 

How will you ventilate your new bedroom?

For maximum energy efficiency, the roof space should be made as airtight as possible, so it’s essential to introduce controlled ventilation to prevent condensation and maintain good air quality. This means including background ventilation (airbricks and trickle vents) plus rapid ventilation (windows).

 

How will you heat your new bedroom?

A boiler upgrade may be necessary as the heat load requirement of the house will increase. If you do, it’s a good idea to switch to an unvented system which uses mains pressure (as long as it’s at least 1.5bar) instead of header tanks – to give you more space to use. Options for outputting the heat include radiators, underfloor heating, or both.

 

Will you soundproof your new bedroom?

Adding soundproofing should be considered and it can be easily included when insulating floors and any party walls.

As you can see, there are lots of issues, to consider, so contact us to arrange a chat about your best options.

 

Get in touch

All Design is a dedicated, friendly team of architectural designers who work alongside external associates and consultants to help people across Scotland find property solutions through carefully-considered designs which respond to their needs, the site, budget and planning policy.  We have more than 30 years of experience of helping homeowners create beautiful, yet practical, space in their homes.

 

Contact us to discuss your requirements or for a free quotation.

Design: Small bathroom ideas & tips

owel rail on door - blog by All Design
Corner sink - All Design blog
Vanity unit with storage space
Bathroom mirrors create the illusion of more space
Large patterned wallpaper

Design: Small bathroom ideas & tips

Designing a small bathroom to be both a functional and comfortable space can feel like a Wordle puzzle you’ll never get right, but if you address the issues systematically you can crack it without losing too much sleep.  Here, we’ve put together some small bathroom ideas and tips to help you through the process.

The big issues...

  • Space
  • Placing a toilet and sink
  • Fitting in a bath and shower
  • Where to put towel rails and toilet roll holder
  • Ventilation
  • Windows
  • Storage

How to make good use of space in a small bathroom

Avoid fighting your space
In a small bathroom with an awkward shape, make the most of the footprint you have rather than fighting it. Rather than feeling limited by the constraints, view them as features which help you decide on your ideal layout for that bathroom.

Replace a corner bath with a standard bath or bath & shower combo
Shower-bath combos can fit into small spaces, with some baths measuring just over 1.5 metres long.

Replace a shower door with a curtain
A shower curtain which goes to and from saves space compared with a glass door that moves in and out. 

Mount the towel rail on a door
Mounting a towel rail on the shower or bathroom door keeps the towels you need immediately handy. The rest can be stored elsewhere. 

Ventilation
Proper ventilation limits condensation and helps prevent mould and mildew which can cause respiratory problems as well as skin complaints. It also prevents premature wearing of bathroom accessories, paint and plaster.

Scottish regulations require all bathrooms to have some source of ventilation - either a window or an extractor fan with total air replacement of at least 15 litres per second/ 54m3 per hour.
If your bathroom only has a toilet, a window alone is fine. In new-build bathrooms with a bath and shower, an extractor fan is required because new-builds are designed to be more airtight than older homes. 

Install a corner or trough sink
A corner sink across from the toilet will maximise your space utilisation in a really small bathroom. Alternatively, a trough sink is an attractive and efficient space solution as they have a low profile and when wall mounted they free up floor space. 

Use a wall-mounted tap
Mounting a tap on the wall allows a narrower sink or vanity unit, which frees up footprint overall.

Use every bit of space
If space is really precious, you need to make the most of areas which seem inaccessible – such as the space beneath the eaves in a loft bathroom, which can be used for storage.

Clever wall design
Walls can be altered to help make the most of use of the footprint you have available, so ask your architectural designer about the options for yours.

Built-in storage
Building storage into the bathroom design makes life a lot easier. E.g. put some storage in the space above a wall-hung toilet or build a cupboard into a wall. 

Use a ledge
If you need to conceal a toilet cistern, use the opportunity to build a shelf above the false wall for storing your toiletries. Shelves don’t have to be huge - as the items you need to store on them are usually small. 

Shelving
You can create extra shelving space by extending a worktop over the toilet.  This doesn’t affect toilet placement and creates a minimalist look.

Use a vanity unit with a shelf
Sink unit design has evolved a lot over time and even a pedestal-style unit with a shelf can hold towels or other essentials. 

Mount the vanity unit over the floor
A vanity unit above the floor helps the bathroom feel bigger and frees up space for small items underneath. 

Use a round vanity unit
Tight spaces can create sharp corners little ones may bump into. Going for a rounded-style vanity unit avoids the issue. 

No smoke, just mirrors
You can create the visual illusion of your bathroom being bigger by using mirrors cleverly. They’ll also help it feel lighter by bouncing around what light is already there. Practically, even in the tightest spaces, having a mirror stretch across the wall beyond the vanity unit allows more than one person to use it at the same time…if you’re happy to share your bathroom time, of course. 

Use a large-pattern wall design
A big-pattern wall design tricks the eye into seeing the space as bigger than it actually is.

 

Even if you are not planning a renovation, there could well be some space-saving ideas here for all. Pinterest is a great place to get some inspiration from and if you need some help with your space, please get in touch.  We have designed many bathrooms over the years of all shapes and sizes.

Contact us to arrange a chat about how we can help solve your small bathroom puzzle.

 

We are growing! Architectural Technologist

All Design Aberdeen - We are growing

 

We are very excited be recruiting and growing our 'family' once again at All Design.  Please spread the word and if you're interested, please get in touch.  Here's the details:

Full-Time or Part-Time Architectural Technologist

All Design is a well-established architectural company providing design solutions to both domestic and commercial clients.

We are looking for an experienced Architectural Technologist to join our expanding team on either a full-time or part-time basis (minimum of 25 hours per week).  Applicants should have a minimum of 3 years post qualification experience in a similar role and be able to demonstrate a full range of skills from feasibility designs to detailed planning and building warrant drawings.

Working as part of a cohesive team, you will have the opportunity to work on various residential and small commercial projects.

Candidates should have experience in the following:

  • Carrying out measured surveys
  • Preparing initial sketch and 3D designs, drawings for planning and building warrant applications, including sections, elevations and necessary detailing
  • Understanding and applying Scottish Planning and Building Regulations
  • Identifying and managing risk through coordination of design information in line with project programs
  • Investigating and selecting best materials and processes for projects
  • Communicating both written and verbally with clients, design teams, external consultants and the local authority.
  • Conducting site inspections
  • Arranging 3rd party site investigations, utility checks etc.
  • Assisting junior staff with queries and providing advice and guidance as necessary

A minimum of 3 years of experience in a similar role is essential as is significant experience of AutoCAD LT, Revit, Photoshop and MS Office.

A competitive salary along with company pension is offered.

If you are interested in the role, please forward your CV and portfolio to Audrey Walber at audrey@all-design.co.uk or contact Audrey direct on 07786198490 or 01224 701576.  Please indicate whether you’re applying for a full-time or part-time position and detail your salary expectations.

What to consider when adding a glass extension to your home

Glass Extension
Glass extension, Bridge of Don

What to consider when adding a glass extension to your home

Thinking of adding a glass extension to your home?  We’ve put together this blog to help you get it right…

While you’re spending more time indoors over the Winter months, the idea of adding more space and light to your home, as well as improving its value, may become more appealing. Although adding a conservatory has been a popular choice for some time, unless it includes extra heating and cooling it can be cold in Winter and too hot in Summer. A glass extension offers a more attractive and temperature-controlled alternative.

 

What is a glass extension?

Glass extensions usually comprise a ‘box’ made up of two glass sides and a glass roof or ceiling, but there a range of styles you can go choose between, depending on the style of the property it’s being added on to. More of that later.

They can be installed quickly and easily by specialist or local contractors. The glass panels are held together with a specialist adhesive resin known as structural silicon.

Most glass extensions now use high-quality double glazing made with a thin coating of metal oxide on its outside (also known as Low-E glass) - to allow heat and light to easily enter, while preventing around 80% of the heat from escaping. This way they can be cosy in the winter and comfortable in the Summer.

 

Why get a glass extension?

First and foremost, a glass extension is a great way to offer a seamless view of your garden and accentuate the connection with the outdoors while remaining warm and dry indoors.

A glass extension also adds a Wow-factor and more glamour to your home. That will also add to its value beyond what a simple footprint extension would bring.

Another purpose is to use a glass extension to connect two or more areas of your home.

Period properties often have smaller windows which constrain how much natural light can enter. Adding a glass extension can add a lot of natural light, open up space and add a modern touch to a period home.

 

Style options

While a simple glass box is always the first design option, there are others to discuss with your architectural designer to help the extension blend in well with the rest of your home.

If you don’t fancy a 100% glass design, you can balance the extension with steel or timber frames.

When there's not a lot of room outside, a lean-to extension is a good option as it will still open up the space and bring in extra natural light. Rather than adding a side return extension with rooflights, you can maximize the light by going for a glass roof, made up of either a single piece of glass or glass panels.

You can bring the outdoors even closer, weather permitting, with an ‘open-aspect’ glass extension – in which the outside glass ‘walls’ are glazed bi-fold doors. Two sets can allow the entire extension to be opened up.

When it comes to choosing a frame style, the thinner they are the more stylish your glass extension will look.

The exterior and interior appearance of your glass extension can also be customised with different glazing finishes. Powder-coated aluminium is a good option, but we can show you other ones.

Whether the glazed panels are fixed, bi-fold or slide open can also make a big difference to the style of your glass extension. We can show you examples of each.

Finally, a solid roof or a brise-soleil (sun shield) can be added to prevent too much sun from entering the extension. Or blinds can be used to control the light and heat, as well as add privacy when required.

Ultimately, the options are vast, so chat to your designer about what you’re looking for, so they can suggest appropriate options to choose from.

 

Ventilation

Your glass extension can be designed to use natural methods, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning for ventilation.

Trickle ventilators can be built into the frames of the glazing and a small, outward-opening window at high level can allow more ventilation without opening a door.

 

Heat control

Thinking about heat control in your glass extension starts with how not to lose heat via the glazing.

The higher the performance of the glazing, the less heat will be lost and the better the acoustics in your extension will be. So it’s worth paying more for a high-performance system with minimal frames and a low U-value (rate of heat loss). Low E (emissivity) glass should be specified as standard to minimise heat loss.

Once you’ve minimised what will be lost, underfloor heating is a good option, but you should think carefully about the position of the thermostat. Perimeter trench heating can also work in conjunction with underfloor heating, depending on the size of the extension.

Including shading via an overhanging roof, brise-soleil or canopy allows solar gain in the Winter when the angle of the sun is lower and prevents it in Summer when the sun’s higher.

 

Planning permission

In Scotland, you don't need to apply for planning permission if your extension meets the rules covered by 'permitted development'. They depend on how many storeys your extension will have.

If your glass extension will have only one storey, you don't need planning permission as long as:

  • It's located at the back of the house
  • It doesn't go back further than 3 metres if it's a terraced house, or 4 metres if it isn't
  • The height of the eaves (where the wall meets the roof) is no higher than 3 metres
  • It's not higher than 4 metres, including sloping roofs
  • It doesn't cover more ground area than your house does
  • It doesn't take up half the 'curtilage' – the grounds behind your home
  • It isn't within a conservation area

For the details relating to your home, get in touch for a chat as we have extensive experience in working with the Planning departments in several local authorities and can advise accordingly.

 

Cost

Glass extensions for homes are a lot cheaper than they might sound. The cost is dictated by the design you choose and subsequent engineering and testing of the glass you might need shaped for your extension.

As a rule of thumb, you should budget for a minimum of £3,000 per square metre. We can give you a better idea of what yours would cost

There’s more information about home extensions here.

Contact us to arrange a chat if you want to find out more.

 

Get in touch

All Design is a dedicated, friendly team of architectural designers who work alongside external associates and consultants to help people across Scotland find property solutions through carefully-considered designs which respond to their needs, the site, budget and planning policy.

We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and thrive on using a creative yet practical approach to design to improve space for people.

Our values are: People; Honesty, Delivery; Creativity and Friendly.

Contact us for a FREE quotation.

How to make your new home extension sustainable

How to make your new home extension sustainable

Environmental sustainability is in the news almost every day now, and not just because of the COP26 global climate conference.

Latest reports from the scientific experts say we all need to do more and urgently to limit the rise in global warming to avoid an unstoppable chain reaction and climate disaster in a matter of a few decades.

 

Save money

You don’t have to be Greta Thunberg to want to do what you can to ensure we all have a future on this planet.

Anyone planning a home extension or conversion can and should look into the ways it can be sustainable, partly because by reducing its carbon footprint at all stages of its life you will also ensure you save money on your heating bills.

Here are some of the things you should think about and discuss which your designer.

 

Wood

The material you build your extension or conversion with will, obviously, be heavily influenced by what the existing house is made from.

While it will need to complement what you already have, and comply with any planning restrictions in your area or relating to your property, you should consider what else might make your finished home more sustainable as a whole.

Wood sourced from sustainably-managed forests is a popular and environmentally friendly choice, partly also because of its ability to be blended into a variety of home styles.

 

Reclaimed materials

Reclaiming existing building materials is a great way to plan sustainability into your project.

If you prefer or are limited to bricks, reclaimed bricks of the right colour and age will allow you to do your bit for the ‘circular economy’ – keeping materials in use - while blending into your existing home’s style.

Your design team can advise on reclaiming and reusing timber floorboards and beams, glass panels and windows, whole doorsets as well as steel, slates and granite. All of these can be sourced by you or your builder from specialists and local demolition companies as well as using any salvaged materials from your project..

 

Windows

Windows account for 50% or more of energy lost in your home, so installing high-performance units in your extension or conversion will retain heat, save money and help the planet. 

Ask your designer about options including triple-glazing, special coatings, nonconductive framing materials and airtight construction. 

The frames need to be well-insulated with a good U-value - the rate of heat flow through it (lower is better). Triple-glazed windows with a vacuum between the panes can further decrease heat loss.

 

Insulation

Ensuring you have a continuous layer of insulation across the walls, floor and roof will allow you to keep draughts out and minimise spend on heating. 

‘Green’ options include:

  • Sheep’s wool
  • Loose-fill cellulose made from 85% recycled newspapers and 15% fire resistant material - which has the most amount of recycled content of any insulation product
  • Recycled jeans - denim is an excellent insulator, thought more expensive than traditional options

If your extension or conversion will have a hot water supply, don’t forget to insulate the pipework as this will ensure your water stays hot.

 

Heating Options

Underfloor heating is not only trendy, but its’ also an energy-efficient choice for heating your extension or conversion because the heat is in all areas and rises, rather than the pockets of warm air radiators create. It operates at a lower temperature too, which means it can save your money.

Wood-burning stoves have been a popular choice for some time and, apart from looking nice, they’re typically cheaper to run than an electric fire and good on sustainability if the fuel wood has good eco-credentials.

 

Lighting

Skylights not only enable natural light to flood into your home, reducing your electricity bills, but they’re a source of passive solar heating. 

Don’t forget to include blinds - to control the temperature and stop heat building up in Summer and escaping in Winter. When triple-glazed, a skylight can achieve good thermal values. 

Another natural lighting option that could save on your power bill is bi-fold or sliding doors. See our blog here for considerations when choosing between them.

Where letting lots of natural light in isn’t an option, opt for LED lighting – which can cut your lighting costs by up to 90%. Less power used also means more sustainable!

 

Appliances

Everything inside your extension or conversion which uses power will also contribute to its sustainability, so look carefully at the energy consumption ratings for any new fridges, dishwashers, cookers, tumble dryers or water heaters you plan to install as part of the project.

 

Decoration

Once your extension is built and ready to decorate, you can still add to its sustainability score by choosing paints which have been manufactured in more eco-friendly ways and don’t pollute the air you and your family are breathing indoors.

 

As you see, there are a lot of ways to make your home extension or home conversion as sustainable as possible. Contact us to arrange a chat about the full range of things to think about.

 

Get in touch

All Design is a dedicated, friendly team of architectural designers who work alongside external associates and consultants to help people across Scotland find property solutions through carefully-considered designs which respond to their needs, the site, budget and planning policy.

We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and thrive on using a creative yet practical approach to design to improve space for people.

Our values are: People; Honesty, Delivery; Creativity and Friendly.

Contact us for a FREE quotation.

Which is better for your extension – sliding or bifolding doors?

Which is better for your extension, sliding or bifolding doors?

Which is better for your extension - sliding or bifolding doors?

We’ve all seen them on many episodes of Grand Designs – those impressive sliding or bifolding doors which allow the proud self-builders to open up their main living space to the greenery and patio outside.
So it’s unsurprising they’ve become pretty popular for people planning an extension too.
But what exactly are they and what are the pros and cons of each?

 

Bifolding doors

Bifolding doors, also known as folding-sliding doors, slide and concertina together the open door panels. They can also include a standard door at one end, so you can go in and out without having to fold any of the panels.

Bifolding doors can open leaving the folded doors either inside or outside the room. Most people choose the latter to make best use of the space inside and avoid having to keep furniture inside clear of the folded doors.

Half-in, half-out is also possible to fit your space, but get in the way inside and outside.
Bifolding doors are very easy to install, even in small openings and are also very secure, as most feature multiple locking points and enclosed tracks to make breaking in more difficult.

 

 

Sliding doors

In contrast to bifolding doors, sliding doors open by moving to the side and, as the name suggests, simply sliding – leaving the panes behind one another.

Sliding doors don’t allow you to fully open the room to the outside but ‘pocket’ versions are available - which see the sliding doors go into the wall. They’re good when space is limited because they don’t need room to manoeuvre inside or outside, but can mean more solid wall in the room than you’d want.

Typical configurations provide a half, two-thirds and three-quarters opening, which are ideal for larger openings.

 

Sliding and bifolding doors compared

Both sliding and bifolding doors offer great benefits., Here are the factors to consider when deciding which is best for your extension:

  •  The view: sliding doors will offer the most unrestricted view of the outside most of the time, especially with just two large panels, one sliding over the other. By contrast, bifolding doors will only offer a full view when completely open.
  • Access: If access versatility is your priority, bifolding doors are best as they can open the whole space or as many panels as you want or need. Bifolding doors are also better for creating a level threshold for wheelchair users to cross and no lip for others to trip on.
  • Thermal performance: thermal bridging, so some sliding doors can be better at keeping your previous and pricey heat in. But performance varies with materials used.
  • Installation cost: Bifolding doors can work out more expensive than sliding doors, but cost depends on a number of factors including the manufacturer and the materials used, so speak to the designer about all the options and their cost implications.

 

Confused? Contact us to discuss your space and which option would suit it best.

 

Get in touch

All Design is a dedicated, friendly team of architectural designers who work alongside external associates and consultants to help people across Scotland find property solutions through carefully-considered designs which respond to their needs, the site, budget and planning policy.

We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and thrive on using a creative yet practical approach to design to improve space for people.

Contact us for a FREE quotation.

Designing an extension: open plan or broken plan?

Designing your extension: open plan or broken plan?

Designing your extension: open plan or broken plan?

When it comes to briefing an architect or architectural designer on your desired extension, there’s a major design choice you should make before you speak to them – whether you want it to be ‘open plan’ or ‘broken plan’.

Open plan

Open plan in residential architecture refers to an open living space in which two or more spaces for different uses are joined to make a much bigger one by not having the partition walls that would normally divide them. Open plan has become a very popular architectural trend over the years – most of the homes on Grand Designs use it. Structurally, it uses heavy-duty beams to bear the weight of any floors above instead of interior pillars and walls. But open plan isn’t for everyone.

Broken plan

A broken plan, by contrast, is a floor plan in which the living space is divided into different rooms by walls, glass partitions, changes to floor level, a change in materials, or other methods.
It’s a mixture of traditional home design and modern open plan layout but with the aim of retaining an element of privacy and a specific use for each space. The separation element of broken plan is currently proving popular for home-working families, especially where there’s more than one person in the household having to find space to work at home. It’s likely to continue in popularity, as more and more firms look at a blended home-working/office model.

See below the pros and cons of each design type, to help you choose which best suits your desired extension.

 

Open plan - pros

Here are some of benefits of open plan living spaces:

  • An open plan design provides more opportunities for the people living in the home to interact – because all the spaces are connected.
  • Open plan living allows you to cook in your kitchen and entertain your guests in the ‘dining room’ and/or ‘living room’ space at the same time.
  • It brings lots of natural light into your living space, making your home feel larger, brighter and lighter.
  • It creates a more fluid flow between the various living spaces.
  • It is generally less expensive to build than broken plan.

Open plan - cons

Open plan design comes with some drawbacks:

  •  Tied with the ability to interact easier, comes the issue of lack of privacy. Open plan living, therefore, is not recommended for large families, or if you entertain guests frequently.
  •  Open plan living is also susceptible to noise – both from outside and whatever’s happening elsewhere inside. Reducing the intrusion of exterior noise can be taken into account in the design.
  •  More ventilation in the extension means odours will travel further. So the smell of food from the kitchen will feature in your nearby ‘living room’ spaces.
  •  All the extra natural light and space in an open plan extension can make it more difficult to heat, and of course add to heating bill costs in those cold winter months.
  •  Open plan designs can be tricky to furnish and feel ‘empty’ and ‘cold’ if you have too much void space.

Broken floor - pros

A broken floor plan comes with several advantages:

  • Broken plan living enables privacy for each person using the extension. Being able to work in a room and then leave that room when you’re finished for the day will most definitely help work/life balance.
  • Dividing a room by adding a design feature e.g. an internal glass door, partitions or glass balustrades can provide this separation.
  • It allows you to decorate the living space in multiple styles by adding temporary or semi permanent partitions or half walls.
  • It helps you hide those things you don’t want visitors to see e.g. dirty dishes on a kitchen counter.
  • Like open plan, broken plan design brings more light and ventilation into your extension, making it feel bigger. Rooflights and glass screens can really help to encourage the flow of light.
  • With the likelihood of continued home-working, a broken floor extension is likely to appeal to buyers, if and when you decide to sell your home.

Broken floor - cons

The main disadvantages of a broken plan style are:

  • Constructing a broken plan extension may cost you more than an open plan one – because it will require the installation of partitions such as low walls, levels, steps, screens, and bookshelves. There’s also the cost of different furnishings to consider, which may be used to make it feel more like a broken plan than an open one.
  •  The partial divides in a broken plan can make finding the right balance in the interior design tricky - so you feel neither too enclosed or too open. Both run counter to the concept of broken plan living.

 

Partially-broken

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose open or broken entirely to the exclusion of the other – you can have a partially-broken design.
So you can use a partial wall to create a snug area or still have an open plan kitchen and living room next to one another, but use glass balustrades between them to reduce sound intrusion and create a more relaxing feel.

For these and other considerations, get in touch with this for a free chat about each option.

 

Get in touch

All Design is a dedicated, friendly team of architectural designers who help people across Scotland find property solutions through carefully considered designs which respond to their needs, the site, budget and planning policy.  We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and thrive on using a creative yet practical approach to design to improve space for people.

Contact us for a FREE quotation.

How to start planning a home extension

ow to start planning a home extension

How to start planning a home extension

Extending your home is one of the biggest projects you’ll ever take on in your life, so to avoid coming to grief like some of the couples in Grand Designs you need to plan your extension thoroughly.

There’s much to consider on such a complex project, starting with your reasons for doing it.

 

What are your goals?

Because extending your home will need you to commit a significant amount of financial, time emotional resources, it’s worth starting by sitting down and asking yourself, and anyone else involved, what you’re hoping to achieve.

Maybe you need more space for your growing family, add a proper home office, want to bring an elderly relative to live with you, make your retirement home a bit more spacious or add value to your property with a view to selling it on before retiring.

Whatever your goal/s, you need to be clear and agreed on them from the start with whoever else needs to be involved.

 

Is a home extension the best way to achieve your goal/s?

Would moving house to a bigger one be a cheaper and quicker way to create space for your growing family? Or adding a heated outdoor shed in the garden be good enough for the home office you expect to be working from for some time yet?

If adding value is your goal, speak to a well-recommended local estate agent - as they can give a professional view on how much value your planned extension would add to your home. That would allow you to calculate the cost/benefit of the project, at least in the short-term.

If you decide building an extension is the best solution, read on.

 

‘Permitted development’

In most cases, you don't need to apply for planning permission if the extension meets certain rules. This is called 'permitted development'.

These rules depend on how many storeys your extension will have.

 

If your extension will only be on one storey, generally you don't need planning permission as long as:

 

  • It's at the back of the house
  • It doesn't go back further than 3 metres if it's a terraced house, or 4 metres if it isn't
  • The height of the eaves (where the wall meets the roof) is no higher than 3 metres
  • It's not higher than 4 metres, including sloping roofs
  • It doesn't cover more ground area than your house does
  • It doesn't take up half the 'curtilage' - the grounds behind your home
  • It isn't within a conservation area

 

If your extension will have more than one storey, you don't need to apply for planning permission if:

 

  • It's at the back of the house
  • There's at least 10 metres between the extension and the boundaries of your grounds
  • It isn't higher than your home (excluding chimneys)
  • It doesn't cover more ground than your original home does
  • It doesn't take up half the 'curtilage' – the grounds behind your home
  • It isn't within a conservation area

 

Other approvals

It’s also a good idea to check with your council's planning department if you need to apply for planning permission as, even if you don't, there may be other approvals you'll need to get, such as ones relating to building regulations.

If you don't own the land your home is on, you may need to get the permission of the landowner.

If you live in a listed building you will probably also need to obtain listed building consent.

Don’t forget – it's your responsibility to make sure you get any necessary approval before work starts as you will be held liable for any work done without it and have to pay for any remedial work to remedy the situation! This is where a professional architectural design team or architect can be invaluable – being aware of the relevant rules and permissions required in different situations and areas.

 

Neighbours

Building projects are a major cause of disputes between neighbours. If planning permission is needed for your extension, your neighbours will have to be consulted by your local council, so it’s a good idea to let them know about what you’re thinking about from the start.

This way they can feel involved, are more likely to agree and your designer can take into account any feedback from them on limitations to the design they’d wish.

 

Find and brief a designer

While there’s no requirement saying you have to use an architect or architectural designer to plan and manage your extension, it’s clearly a lot easier and less stressful to have a professional draw up the designs and manage statutory permissions and your project from start to finish.

Finding the right one for you is a matter of asking people you know, looking at the websites of the relevant professional bodies and researching each firm’s past projects and their client testimonials.

When you first meet your chosen designer, it’s crucial you give them as much detail as possible on what you want from the project, any timings you have in mind, payment terms, and what penalties will be in place if deadlines are missed. They will then send you a detailed letter along with a contract to sign.

 

Get in touch

All Design is a dedicated, friendly team of architectural designers who work alongside external associates and consultants to help people across Scotland find property solutions through carefully considered designs which respond to their needs, the site, budget and planning policy.

We have more than 30 years of experience in the industry and thrive on using a creative yet practical approach to design to improve space for people.

 

To discuss your requirements or for more information please get in touch.

We’re Hiring

We are hiring! All Design Scotland

Part-Time Architectural Technologist/Technician

We are a busy and well-established architectural firm providing design solutions to both domestic and commercial clients.

Currently, we are looking for someone to join our small, successful and expanding team on a part-time basis of around 18 hours per week. Applicants must be able to demonstrate a full range of skills from feasibility and detailed planning to technical capability and project management with job running experience. You will have the opportunity to work on various domestic and small commercial projects and should have proven experience in the following:

  • Carrying out surveys.
  • Assisting with concept designs.
  • Preparing technical and construction drawings, details and specifications for accompanying applications for planning and building warrant approvals in line with project budgets and timeframe.
  • Identifying and managing risk through coordination of design information in line with project programs.
  • Investigating and selecting best materials and processes for projects.
  • Liaising with clients and design teams.
  • Preparing and analysing tender documentation.
  • A minimum of 3 years’ experience in a similar role is essential as is significant experience of AutoCAD, Revit, Photoshop and MS Office.
  • A competitive salary along with company pension is offered.

If you are interested in the role please forward your CV and portfolio to Audrey Walber at audrey@all-design.co.uk or contact Audrey direct on 07786198490 or 01224 701576.

Closing date: 31 March 2021