When you are thinking about making alterations or conversions to your property, there is a lot more to consider than the style of conversion itself, the costs and the uses of your new space. Here are a few important things to consider when deciding to convert your home that will help the process to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It is important not to skip any of the legal processes involved in loft conversions, as the consequences can be large and long-lasting.
Party Wall Agreement
It is important to understand the kind of house you have when considering loft conversions on your home. You will need a PWA if you share a wall with your neighbor, your property is attached or semi-detached, or working on your property will bring construction into or near the property boundary of your neighbor. When a surveyor initially comes to look at your property, they will be able to advise you as to whether this is necessary and how to go about obtaining the agreement. Party wall agreements are important in maintaining good relationships with your neighbors, and protecting their property if any damage should occur from the work on your home.
Once it has been decided that the work you want done requires a PWA, you will need to serve your neighbor with a party wall notice to which they have 14 days to respond. If your neighbor refuses to sign and agree, they can ask you to organize a party wall award. If you have two party walls, for example you live in a terraced house, then you will need to apply for two agreements.
What are the requirements for a PWA?
These are a few scenarios where you may need to apply for a party wall agreement if you wish to convert your loft:
- Shared boundary walls consisting of two walls. One will be yours, and the other will be your neighbors. Even though there are two walls, a PWA is still required.
- No party wall. In this case, one will need to be built in order to support the steel structures that help support the conversion.
- Party wall is in poor condition. Again, these walls need to support the conversion, so have to be in good condition to withstand this. Poor quality party walls will need to be fixed or rebuilt.
- Single skin party walls. This means that the shared wall is only one brick thick, and may need to be rebuilt in order to support the conversion.
Applying for planning permission is also very important in order to make the building work run smoothly, and to make sure it is legal. This is different to a party wall agreement, and again depends on the kind of home you have, and the work you are planning on doing. Good loft conversions specialists can help you will each element of the conversion process, making sure all bases are covered and that the work will be technically and legally correct.