Parents asked the following question and got this response.

Q: Our child will start college in Dublin and, as he won’t be able to manage moving out, we thought about transforming the attic of our semi-detached into a bedroom/study for him. Exactly what are our choices?

A: Converting an attic can be an excellent and affordable means of gaining additional area, nevertheless, it is crucial that it is done correctly to guarantee you get optimal gain from the work. Think about engaging the services of a signed up architect (riai.ie) who will deliver an option that’s right for you and your house.
While less expensive than extension works, an attic conversion – when properly carried out and with the possible inclusion of a restroom – expenses in the range of EUR25,000 to EUR35,000. It can substantially increase the functional space of your house.

Though, make sure that you are increasing your existing area, as the addition of brand-new stairs will reduce the functional area on the first flooring. It is a good idea to have an expense/ advantage analysis performed before undertaking the work. If it meets this test, the place of the stairs is crucial to increasing area but also can help in separating the various usages which causes a more successful result. The brand-new stairs design and its enclosure should adhere to building policies. You must likewise think about extra soundproofing.
Your designer can advise you on the suitability of the attic structure for conversion. You should likewise look around your estate and see if any other attics have actually been converted. In the majority of semi-ds some extra structural work is required and the viewpoint of an engineer should also be sought. Lots of mortgage lenders require a designer to approve the works for home loan approval.

In my viewpoint, it’s not economically practical to convert a trussed rafter roof, these are the trusses that are factory made and have metal gussets at the junctions and are used in a great deal of advancements. They are finely crafted but can’t sustain (without significant modification) the extra loads connected with a transformed attic. On a job I recently visited, remedial works amounting to EUR25,000 were required on an inappropriate conversion.

For attic conversions to be considered as a space – and for comfortable living and to adhere to building regulations – the area needs to be” habitable”. It is suggested and chosen that 50pc of the space must be 2.4 m high minimum when determined at 1.5 m from the floor below; a diagram in the Building Regulations Part K (ventilation), describes this. There are sound reasons behind this requirement and, in any case, numerous young adults are high enough to require the height so a properly proportioned and usable (and saleable) space is crucial.
Once you know that you can please the structural and space requirements, it’s necessary to meet the current fire security requirements, in particular the escape arrangements (amazingly typically neglected). A lot of conversions have problem fulfilling the area and size of roofing system lights and windows for escape purposes but these are a must. There are others in relation to fire separation and doors, etc, that must be complied with too and your designer can recommend on these.

There is a really beneficial document published by the Department of Environment called Loft Conversion, Protect Your Household which goes through the many requirements. These just apply when the attic is less than 50sqm and not more than two habitable spaces. (Note: The requirements are less strict in a bungalow conversion.).
You’ll likewise need to fulfill the current policies on smoke alarm (one in every bed room and on all landings, etc) which need to be connected to the power supply. It’s a great chance to upgrade the rest of the home. In setting up compliant rooflights (those to the rear are considered exempted development under preparation but not those to the front or side), work to a Protected Structure will not typically be exempt. All other work needs to comply with the proper policies in the regular method.

On a more general note, when carrying out attic work for a space for young adults, install some soundproofing determines to give both you and your son personal privacy. If area allows, an extra restroom (particularly if the attic is for sleeping) is practically mandatory, this will improve family relationships throughout the college years. Ensure you install high quality insulation in the rafters (however constantly leave ventilation area) to the maximum depth you can and if area enables below the rafters too. Develop custom-made clothes and book storage in the eaves to use the space to its best advantage. Attempt to mark in some way the sleeping and research study location.

However, make sure that you are maximising your existing space, as the addition of brand-new stairs will reduce the usable space on the first floor. You must likewise look around your estate and see if any other attics have actually been converted. For attic conversions to be considered as a space – and for comfy living and to comply with building regulations – the area requires to be” habitable”. If space allows, an extra bathroom (particularly if the attic is for sleeping) is almost compulsory, this will improve household relationships throughout the college years. Ensure you install high quality insulation in the rafters (but constantly leave ventilation area) to the maximum depth you can and if area allows below the rafters too.

Article adapted from one in the Irish Independent