Monday, 28 January 2013

Staircase is the link between old and new

The location of your loft conversion stairs is a vital part of your overall loft conversion design.  It forms the ‘bridge’ between the old and new and it is usually the first piece of work to be completed.

However, the staircase is not just a design feature.  It’s also an important safety aspect of the conversion and it must conform to strict building regulations which will need to be signed off by an independent inspector.  The stairs to your loft conversion must provide an adequate escape route in case of fire and so working with an experienced loft conversion company like Econoloft will ensure the plans are drawn up correctly.

Once we have designed your loft and decided where the staircase will go, we will work with you to develop the finer details of the staircase so they meet your individual needs.

For example, if the loft conversion is being used as a child’s bedroom or playroom, would you want child friendly hand rails?  If the room will be used by a more mature person should we consider stairs that are not particularly steep and have banisters on both sides?

What about lighting?  Do you need a switch at the top and bottom of the stairs?  Maybe you would like in-stair lighting for a modern and contemporary feel? 

If the room is being used by a teenager that enjoys loud music and sleep-overs, do you want to install an additional door at the bottom of the stairs to sound-proof the loft conversion from the rest of the house?

Many of our customers have traditional homes with period features and naturally want a new staircase to blend in with the rest of the house.

Geoffrey and Christine Morris raised two children in their Edwardian terraced house in Surrey.  The property has many original features including a beautiful staircase with rounded mouldings to the sides, pierced spindles and fluted newel posts.  

Geoffrey said: “Thanks to the Econoloft team and their recommended contractors the loft conversion blends in seamlessly with the rest of the house.  The staircase in particular is magnificent. It was so reassuring to know we were dealing with professionals”

Whatever your property type or size, the stairs to your loft conversion is the first part of your new space – it will set the tone for the new room and will create the first impression.   Like all first impressions – it needs to be a good one!  

For more examples of our staircases visit Econoloft at Pinterest or see the photo album on our Facebook page 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Homeowners still confused about planning permission

According to national loft conversion experts Econoloft, many people are still confused about the issue of planning permission when it comes to extending their home.  If you are considering a loft conversion in 2013 their advice is to get the right information before you start.

Becke Livesey from Econoloft said:  “In October 2008 planning laws were relaxed which means the majority of loft conversion can be built without planning permission – these properties fall under something called ‘permitted development rights’.  Even so, building regulations still apply but the process is usually more straight forward.

“However, the confusion lies around the fact that permitted development rights are not universal.  For some properties, permitted development rights are more restricted or do not apply.”

As a general rule, if you live in a flat, a maisonette, a conservation area, national park or an area of outstanding natural beauty you will still need planning permission to construct a dormer as part of your loft conversion.  Homeowners should check with their local authority on whether or not planning permission is required before employing a loft conversion company.

Becke adds:  “Homeowners should clarify their position prior to asking for quotes as the design of the loft will be considerably affected by whether or not planning is required.  It will have to meet strict criteria - though is you use an experienced loft conversion company this should not pose any real problem.

Econoloft carry out hundreds of loft conversions every year, mainly in London and the Home Counties where space is at a premium, and only around 10% of these need planning permission.

“Each local authority has a different approach to this,” adds Becke. “Have a quick chat with them before employing a builder as this will save you time, money and stress! 

More information is available at or call Econoloft on 0800 269 765.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Upsurge in enquiries as a result of 'The Beeny Bounce'

Property commentators always cite loft conversions as the home improvement that will add most value to your house. However, Sarah Beeny's recent Channel 4 TV series Double Your House for Half the Money has shown not just how a loft conversion can add money to your home, but just as importantly, the practical benefits to having extra living space.

Studies have found that houses in the UK are among the smallest in Europe and with more grown up children than ever before either remaining in the parental home or coming back because they can’t afford a house of their own – it’s no wonder Britain is feeling a bit over crowded.

A well designed and well-built loft conversion can add considerable living space to any home, even flats and maisonettes.  We have been established for forty years and every year over the last decade we have seen our business grow as more people than ever realise that extending into the loft is better value than moving home, particularly where property prices are at a premium such as Greater London and the Home Counties.

Sarah Beeny has now further enhanced business for Econoloft which we have dubbed the ‘Beeny Bounce’ to reflect the increase in enquires over the last two months.

People are now quoting Sarah Beeny or the TV programme when they ring us. It has provided the catalyst for people who may have been thinking about a loft conversion to actually pick up the phone or send an email and take that extra step to find out more.

 However, a word of warning - a loft conversion is a major financial decision and you need to do your homework before handing over any money.  Research the companies you ask to quote and don’t be afraid to ask to talk to other satisfied customers or even see completed lofts.  Ensure the builder you choose has the necessary professional affiliations such as Trustmark or the Federation of Master Builders and most importantly confirm all your work is insured and guaranteed.
For information about loft conversions visit, Freephone 0800 269 765 or tweet @econoloft. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Consider a wet room for the ultimate in luxury bathing

Once the decision has been made to have a loft conversion, many of our customers also want to include an ensuite.  The idea of an additional family bathroom is a luxury many people want and the experts at Econoloft will guide you all the way.

There are a few considerations to take into account such as where your existing plumbing is, as it makes practical and financial sense to place your new facilities in line with the existing ones. 

However, if there is space available in your loft conversion we do recommend it.  It’s not just a luxury for you now but will be a great selling point in the future. This year we have noticed a growing trend for wet rooms.

 “I think travel to hotels where wet rooms are becoming the norm has opened our eyes to their benefits, “said Becke Livesey from Econoloft.

“Add to that the fact that British bathrooms tend to be quite small and it’s not difficult to see why the minimalism of a wet room appeals.”

Becke says wet rooms are particularly useful in a loft conversion where sometimes the loft may have height restrictions that prevent a standard shower unit being fitted.

A wet room is a fully water tight bathroom with no separate shower tray. The “walk-in” shower area is usually level with the surrounding floor but with a slight slope to the drain which is fitted directly into the floor. The shower unit and controls are fitted to one of the walls.

It is perfectly safe and obviously water tight thanks to our fibreglass system which is used to “tank” the room, and fully seal the wet room against water leaks.

“There is something aspirational about a wet room that appeals to customers,” said Becke.  “Thanks to their sleek lines and minimal furniture they are much easier to keep clean and hygiene levels are excellent.”

Even if you don’t want to opt for the total wet room experience, many manufacturers have developed enclosures which are effectively just glass and this can also provide a modern open feel in the bathroom.

“Bathroom design has really moved on over the last decade,” said Becke. “We work with a numerous companies who can provide the ultimate in luxury even if they are working in a really tight space.

“A wet room can become your spa at home and is the perfect complement to your new bedroom in the loft!”

Monday, 9 July 2012

Has your home shrunk?

Are you feeling a bit cramped in your house? It’s no wonder.  Did you know that homes in Britain have the smallest rooms and that London in particular has the smallest houses in Europe? 

One of the reasons for this is that we are the only place in Europe where house building does not have legally binding minimum space standards which private developers have to adhere to.

Of course we are a tiny island but Denmark is also a small country and it boasts Europe’s most spacious living accommodation. 

And living in a property where you feel overcrowded is bad for your health and can cause anxiety and stress.  Extending your living space can really make you feel good!

Chris Charles and his wife Pippa had a loft conversion on their semi detached home in Orpington, Kent

Chris said:  “It’s incredible how a loft conversion can have such a positive impact on all our lives. The space has given the children a nice play area and also means Pippa and I get some child-free quality time.

“The whole of our upstairs space now feels light and spacious.  It feels very grand and almost like we’re in a holiday home somewhere!

Of course, even if we wanted to most of us don’t’ have the option to up sticks and move to a bigger house. Often the addition of another bedroom will simply push budgets into an unaffordable range. 

The price difference between a 3-bedroom house and a 4-bedroom house, particularly if you live in areas where property prices are high, such as London and Home Counties, can be over £100K.

Mark Thomson from Surrey said:  “Much to our surprise, in order to get that all important fourth bedroom we would have had to buy a house between £400 and £450k.   Add to that, the cost and stress of moving and we decided that a fourth bedroom was not worth £100,000.”

Like hundreds of other people the Thomsons opted for a loft conversion instead and they love it.

So if you feel that your home is too small for your family – call the loft conversion experts and see how we can help.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

We needed more space for our children

Heather and Nick Sheldon and their two children aged five and nine years old have lived in their semi-detached family home for eight years.

Their house had three bedrooms, but one was a small box room, which as their children started to grow up, was just not big enough.

Heather said: “We wanted more space for our children more than anything, although a new bedroom for ourselves would obviously be a bonus!

“We thought about moving but we love our home and the area we live in, so a loft conversion looked like the best option.”

After consulting a number of companies, the family decided to use Econoloft who advised how a new double bedroom in the loft space would provide the solution they wanted.

“When it came to deciding what to do with the space, Econoloft was very helpful and gave us two options with two separate quotes-something we hadn’t considered in the past ,” added Heather.

“It’s made a huge difference to our family.  Nick and I have a lovely space in the loft and the children now have a reasonable sized room each.

“The cost was also very reasonable and we are overall very impressed with Econoloft.”

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

April is Home Improvement Month

Home Improvement Month is the perfect reason to have a massive clear out of your home, spring clean from top to bottom and make those long-awaited improvements. If you’re struggling for space in your home, why not enquire about a loft conversion?

Many people believe that moving to a larger home is the better option-after all, a loft conversion can sound like a massive upheaval to your family life. But when you add together the costs, the disruption and the fact that you could be leaving a home you really love, moving might not sound quite so appealing.

Taking 12 weeks and costing £20,000 on average, a loft conversion is a cost effective and the quickest way of getting the additional room(s) you need in your house as well as increasing its value in the long term.

And despite a recent survey from HSBC claiming that a loft conversion doesn’t add as much value to a property as in previous years, we have proof from a satisfied customer that this is just not the case. Mr Thomson would have had to spend around £100,000 to move to a bigger property just for one more room. Instead, he reconsidered his options and looked to converting his loft-and he’s never looked back!

So why not use Home Improvement Month to take that leap and do something about the lack of space in your home? Give us a call on 0800 269 765 or visit our website to find out more about your options.