Taking advantage of the planning amnesty

So you’re struggling for space and you need more room as a matter of urgency. You won’t be surprised to hear that you’re not alone. With demand for accommodation in the capital reaching astronomical levels in recent years, Londoners in particular are hard-pressed to find the space they need. This is a problem facing more and more homeowners outside the capital as well, though.

Loft Conversion Planning

A loft conversion could be just the solution to your problems. But perhaps you’re wary of having to trudge through all the paperwork just to obtain planning permission. You could, however, be in luck. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is offering homeowners the opportunity to take advantage of a planning amnesty covering certain types of domestic redevelopment work.

What does this mean?

This planning amnesty means you can undertake substantial work to your property without having to go through the hassle of getting planning permission – allowing you to convert your loft with the minimum of hassle. But the amnesty is currently due to come to an end next spring, so don’t hang around. It’s possible that it may be extended, but as yet there’s been no confirmation – so if you want to make that long dreamt-of loft conversion a reality, now’s your chance.

What should I look out for?

It’s worth noting that the amnesty does come with some caveats attached. The permitted development (PD) scheme stipulates certain size limits and a style guide, while people living in conservation areas or listed buildings are not covered by the planning amnesty. Plus, you’ll still have to apply to your local authority for a Certificate of Lawfulness before going ahead with the work, although the process of obtaining one is generally straightforward.

So long as you stay within the size limits laid out by the PD scheme and make sure your redevelopment work is in keeping with the rest of the property, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting the green light.

Loft Lounge

Consult an expert

It’s always wise to consult with an expert before you undertake such a substantial revamp of your home. A specialist can help you ensure that your loft conversion lives up to your expectations. A good loft conversion can seriously boost the value of your property, so it’s well worth taking the time to get it right. Get in touch with Econoloft’s experts today to find out more about what sort of loft conversion would work best in your home.


Basement vs Loft Conversion – Which is Best for You?

More and more people are choosing to improve their existing home rather than moving on to pastures new. Still, finding space can be a big problem. Thankfully, there are solutions to this problem that don’t involve moving to a new home. Loft conversions have been commonplace in UK cities – London in particular – for a number of years, though more recently more homeowners are opting to dig down into their basement to create more space.


Loft Roof Interior Conversion


So if you’re struggling for space and you’d rather not have to uproot yourself and your family, you can have your loft converted or you could convert your basement instead. But what are the pros and cons of each? Let’s take a look.

Affordability and convenience

When it comes to cost, there’s really no contest – loft conversions are much cheaper than basement conversions. It could cost you up to £2,200 per square metre to have your basement converted into additional living space, depending on the extent and the nature of the work that needs to be done. Another key advantage to opting for a loft conversion is that it’ll most likely be ready a lot sooner. Completing a loft conversion can take between six and eight weeks.

Obtaining planning permission for loft conversions is also pretty simple. There are some restrictions in place when it comes to head height, for instance, but when it comes to loft conversions the planning regime isn’t particularly strict. You should still, however, familiarise yourself with it first. It’s worth running your ideas past an expert to see what they think – and if you do need planning permission, you must make sure you obtain it before starting work.

It’s worth noting that basement conversions also tend not to need planning permission – though there are other guidelines you need to stick to – and you can usually dig as far as you need to or your budget allows. Building regulations still apply though and you’ll need to make sure an inspector improves the work. Work on basement conversions can be disruptive, so you’ll need to think about the effect it’ll have on your family life while it’s ongoing.

Space and liveability

One important difference between loft and basement conversions is that with the latter, you can take advantage of natural light. This is obviously not possible with basement conversions underground. By positioning windows and skylights in the right places, you can effectively control how much natural light enters your converted loft space. Converted basements, on the other hand, require artificial light. Some people find that artificially-lit spaces are little too claustrophobic, so an airy loft conversion is more likely to be the better bet.

Roof Loft Conversion

Both options have their advantages, but basement conversions at present are a bit of an elite concern – they don’t come cheap, so they appeal mainly to the very wealthy. Loft conversions, on the other hand, are popular, inexpensive and most of all very practical.

Get in touch with Econoloft to find out more about how you can transform your loft. We’ll take you through every step of the work to help you get that are right for your home.

Avoiding Common Loft Conversion Pitfalls

Loft conversions can make a fantastic addition to any home. Not only are they proven to provide property values with a powerful shot in the arm, but they also provide much-needed space – ideal for those struggling to find the room they need at home. That said, it’s important to plan properly before starting work, because there are plenty of potential pitfalls to avoid.



According to a survey carried out by Direct Line Home Insurance in May, 36 per cent of British tradesmen questioned named loft conversions as the single most problematic home improvement. Bathrooms followed on 26 per cent, while kitchens were cited as the most troublesome job by 19 per cent of traders.



None of this need put you off making your dream loft conversion a reality, though. Thankfully, with a bit of careful consideration, you can bring that perfect loft conversion you’ve always wanted to life.


There are certain questions you should ask yourself before you get started on your loft conversion. First of all, you need to think about the relevant building regulations and planning permission. Make sure you’re clear on what legal hurdles you need to climb over before starting work. Once you’ve got the necessary approval, you’re good to go. But if you live in a terraced or semi-detached house, you’ll need to inform the neighbours about the work first – this is a legal requirement.

Another issue to consider is access to the loft. Finding room for stairs can be tricky and you’re also going to need to make sure that you’ve got enough space to get your furniture and other belongings into and out of the loft space. Purpose-built staircases are more expensive than standard off-the-shelf varieties, but they are more likely to provide a practical solution.

You’ll also need to have a clear idea of how much headroom you’re likely to have in your converted loft space. Lots of people who have their loft converted find they have less standing room than they’d expected. Get in touch with a professional and ask them to work it out for you – this should help to avoid any disappointment further down the line.

Insulating converted lofts can also be a challenge. Still, there’s no reason why converted loft spaces should be inefficient. The best way to ensure this is the case is simply to recruit the services of an expert firm. A loft conversion specialist will be able to ensure that the loft is properly insulated first time, saving you unnecessary aggravation later on.




You might think you’ve got your loft conversion mapped out in your mind, but you shouldn’t do anything until you’ve got in touch with a loft conversion expert. They’ll be able to take you through every aspect of the job until you’ve got the results you want.

Amazing Ideas to Inspire your Loft Conversion

Need more space around the home without having to move house? Want to add value? Or does it just feel like the time’s right for a big home improvement project?

A loft conversion could be the perfect choice for you. Whatever you choose to do with it, a converted loft space could be just the ticket for revitalising your home.


But before you roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, you need to think carefully about what you want to do with your loft conversion. Having a clear idea of what you’re looking for in advance can help you get the best end results. Here are a few design ideas you might want to consider before you start work on converting your loft.


  • Turn your loft into a handy office or study space. Finding the opportunity to work or study in peace can be difficult when you’ve got a house full of people to contend with. A converted loft, situated above the melee, could be ideal if you’re looking for somewhere to escape to. The calmer and quieter surroundings should help you be more productive and, hopefully, less stressed out.
  • How about an open-plan loft bedroom? By taking a minimalist approach to your loft conversion, you could make it look spacious as well as sophisticated. Think sleek, simple modern furniture and whitewashed walls, along with bare floorboards. This way, you can make even small loft spaces look positively spacious.
  • A rustic spare bedroom could add a touch of class and charm. Wooden beams are always a reliably charismatic feature, especially in a converted loft space. Complement them with stripped-back wooden furniture and muted décor for added allure. The end product should be a timeless and cosy converted loft.
  • Alternatively, you could turn your loft into a fun playroom for the children. Any kid would love to have their very own playroom to lark around in, so why not give your children the playroom of their dreams in your converted loft? Your best bet would be to keep the playroom nice and bright – so you could have a skylight to let in natural light as well as a bold colour scheme.
  • Perhaps you could turn your converted loft into a cool, charismatic and modern dining room. Why cram yourselves in downstairs when you can dine in style by turning your loft into a spacious dining area? If you’re going for that rural rustic vibe, wooden dining furniture could be ideal for rounding off the whole look.


broomfield bathroomOf course, there are lots of other factors you need to consider before starting work on a loft conversion. You should think about how you’re going to take advantage of natural light, how you’re going to accommodate a flight of stairs, how you’re going to retain privacy, and so on. But these design ideas are just a few suggestions to help you get started. Good luck!

Decluttering your home with minimum hassle

It doesn’t take much for household junk to accumulate over time. And the longer you leave it, the worse the problem is going to become – so it’s up to you to make sure you keep on top of things.

Fortunately, decluttering needn’t result in too much drama. Why live your life surrounded by junk when you don’t need to? In fact, you can keep your home spick and span with the points we’ve outlined below.

 dressing room

Get the family involved!

Given the sheer volume of junk generated by the typical family, keeping things in order is certainly easier said than done. Still, by being organised you can make your life a lot more comfortable and a lot less stressful. Make sure you rope in other family members to help you with tidying up – don’t let anyone shirk their duties. They might not appreciate it at first, but they’ll soon come to realise that you’re right. This all helps to inculcate good habits.


Staying organised

Try to avoid procrastinating, too. It might be tempting just to let things slide, but it really is a slippery slope – and before you know it, your home’s a bit of a mess again. If needs be, it’s good to organise a rota so that everyone knows what they have to do and when (this is particularly valuable if you’re living in a house share).


Take it one room at a time

There’s nothing quite like a good old clear-out, however long you might put it off for beforehand. But before you pile in, it’s worth thinking about how you’re actually going to go about it. Don’t do it in a haphazard manner – instead, take it one room at a time. Then, once you’re happy that you’ve cleared away everything you need to, you can move on to the next one. Think about what you do and don’t use. By all means hang on to those belongings which have special sentimental value, but those that don’t you can do without.


If you do unearth old belongings you can’t bear to part with, find a big box to put them in and put it up in the loft out of harm’s way. That should at least help you keep everything organised. You’ll find that once you’ve decluttered, you’re left with more space than you had before – so give any newly-uncovered floors, walls and shelves a good sprucing up. You’ll soon see that a little effort goes a long way, leaving your home a fresher and more pleasant place to be.

What you need to consider before your loft conversion

Of all the ways to transform your home, a loft conversion is one of the wisest investments you could make. There’s been a real surge in the popularity of loft conversions over the last couple of decades, and it’s not hard to see why – not only do they provide useful additional space, but they can also add thousands of pounds to the value of a property.

But before you get to work, there’s a lot you need to think about.

A bit of careful consideration can help you make the most of your loft space. Here are some particularly important points to mull over

  • Think about what you actually want from your loft conversion. What do you intend to use it for? How much are you prepared to spend on the job? Try to formulate a clear vision of how you want your completed loft conversion to look, as this will all help you to end up with a finished product that you’re actually happy with.
  • Familiarise yourself with the relevant building regulations first. Before you start on your loft conversion, you’ll need to obtain planning permission from the local authority. Failure to do so could have unpleasant repercussions further down the line, so make sure you tell your neighbours about your upcoming renovation if you live in a terraced or semi-detached property.
  • Make sure your home can actually accommodate a loft conversion. Your converted loft will add weight to your house, so check that the building can actually support it. If your house needs underpinning, it’ll likely cost you quite a bit more to have the work done. Also, check there’s sufficient head height so you know how much headroom you’re likely to have once the loft conversion is complete.
  • Think about how you’re going to maximise the amount of natural light entering your loft space. Which windows would be best suited to your converted loft? Skylight windows are the most obvious choice, as they’re fairly easy to fit. Alternatively, you could go for dormer windows – but as these need walls and a roof, there’s a bit more work involved. Do some research into which different types of windows are available.
  • Another important issue to consider is access. How are you going to get in to your converted loft space? Finding space for stairs can be tricky, and purpose-built staircases don’t come cheap. You could go for a winding staircase, but carrying bulky items up such narrow spaces is often difficult.

Sprucing up your home for summer

So the weather’s starting to perk up a little and the nights are finally getting longer, which can only mean one thing – the great British summer is very nearly upon us.

dv1460011But before you whip the barbecue out, you might want to think about how you can make productive use of the better weather. Maybe you have other things on your mind – and that’s perfectly understandable – but now’s a good time to carry out a few home improvements so your house looks fantastic all summer long.

There are lots of things you can do to revitalise your home for the summer. Here are just a few points you might want to consider.


Refreshing the interior

Breathing new life into your home needn’t cost you a fortune. In fact, making a few fairly modest changes to your interior décor can make a big difference to the way it looks. Simply changing the interior colour scheme to something a little more seasonal – think fresher colours, such as cream and light green shades – can really help to brighten things up. Maybe some new furniture would make a worthy addition to your home; wicker furniture in particular can work well in the summertime.

You could also bring some garden-themed elements into your home. For example, indoor plants can work well and gardening implements can actually make for quirky ornaments provided they’re used sparingly. Also, take advantage of the increased amount of natural light. Mirrors can amplify the natural light in a room to make the space appear bigger by reflecting the light around.


Reviving your garden

The warmer weather also offers a great opportunity to get out into the garden and spruce it up a bit. First and foremost, you need to make sure you clear away any weeds, dead leaves and whatever other detritus might have gathered. Then, give your lawn a thorough watering (as a general rule, you’ll need to use more water the less rain you have) and use fertiliser. Image 2Spread grass seeds evenly over any bare patches, and mow your lawn carefully so as to avoid cutting off any grass shoots. Once you’ve got your lawn right, you can then go about other tasks such as painting fences and creating rock borders.


Looking for something more extensive?

Of course, those are just a few simple tasks you can undertake to improve your home in time for the summer. Alternatively, perhaps you’re thinking of carrying out more work on your home to really transform it. With that in mind, maybe now would be a good time to embark on an extensive home improvement project – such as a loft conversion. Converted lofts are great for taking advantage of natural light, transforming what was an empty and unloved void into a vibrant new living space.

We are all set for the Grand Designs Live appearance

With London gearing up to host the latest Grand Designs Live event next month and thousands of people expected to attend the event, the team here at Econoloft are among those getting ready to put in an appearance.

 grand designs

Firmly established as the UK’s most popular home improvement exhibition, Grand Designs Live regularly attracts hordes of visitors as well as celebrity appearances from some of the biggest names in the home design field. Anyone visiting the forthcoming Grand Designs Live event will also have the opportunity to tap into the Econoloft team’s vast knowledge of loft conversions, as we’ll be on hand to answer whatever questions you might have.


The latest Grand Designs Live event is scheduled to take place at London’s Excel Centre from May 2nd to 10th – and whatever you need for your home improvement project, you’re sure to find it on show there.


Presented by design guru Kevin McCloud and inspired by the popular Channel 4 TV series of the same name, Grand Designs Live brings together a dazzling array of home improvement specialists, workshops and presentations to help you make the most of your home. There’ll be hundreds of exhibitors at the event next month covering a range of different sections – including gardens, kitchens and bathrooms, self-build, interiors and technology. There’ll even be a street food market for the foodies among you.


At Econoloft, we’ve been specialising in loft conversions for more than 40 years – so if you’re planning a job of your own and you’re trying to work out how to go about it, don’t do anything until you’ve spoken to the Econoloft experts at Grand Designs Live. Our friendly, knowledgeable and helpful team have many years of experience between them and are always more than happy to share their knowledge and inspiration.


If you’re wondering where you can find us, we’ll be at stand B59 (you can consult the Grand Designs Live floorplan here to help you work out just where that is). Please feel free to come and have a chat with the Econoloft crew – whether you’re trying to work out if a loft conversion would be right for you or you’ve already set your heart on what you want to do, we can help you get the most out of your loft.


The Econoloft team will be only too happy to discuss your plans and ideas, or alternatively, you can make an appointment for us to come round and visit you at home later on.

Unusual buildings you wouldn’t expect to be homes

This week, we’ll be focusing on some truly special homes. Everyone considers their home to be the best – with all of the time and effort you put into it, why wouldn’t you? But not everyone has the privilege of calling a windmill their home. Believe it or not, you can convert pretty much any building into a home, with a little imagination and some help from the experts. So let’s take a closer look at some unusual buildings you wouldn’t expect to be made into homes – you may be surprised.


Water pumping station

Found in west Yorkshire, this former water pumping station is now a stunning contemporary home, complete with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two reception rooms. While the interior has been totally modernised and refreshed, the building’s exterior is a true reflection that this was not always a home. And as homedit.com rightly points out, the countryside views are amazing.



This Grade II – listed converted windmill can be found in Brighton. It was built back in 1885 and served as a lookout post during WWII. During the conversion process, the ladders were replaced by spiral staircases, with the ground floor featuring a bespoke kitchen, and the upper floors housing four bedrooms. And according to homesandproperty.co.uk, it could be yours for a cool £1 million.



The Abbey Brewery in Wiltshire has been a four bedroomed home since its conversion in the 1980s. It hasn’t lost some of the more recognisable period features however, such as the exposed beams and vaulted ceilings. And what a cool place to call your home! We’re definitely jealous of the current owners. This brewery turned home features on a list of unusual buildings up for sale by the telegraph.co.uk. You can own this home for £565,000.

Do you live in an unusual building?

Here at Econoloft, loft conversions are our area of expertise. With more than 40 years’ industry experience, we’re the ideal choice to complete your loft conversion job.

We understand how important it is to put your own stamp on your home, which is why we tailor our designs to meet your specifications.

Take a look at our gallery for design inspiration, and check out our impressive client testimonials.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.

Quick and easy spring cleaning tips

We’re willing to bet that you sometimes look at your house and wish there was a cleaning fairy – be honest! It’s easy for clutter to mount up, especially during the winter when all you really want to do is curl up under your duvet with a mug of hot chocolate. But now that it’s nearly spring, the time has come to clear out that clutter once and for all – or at least until next winter. Cleaning doesn’t have to take long – just follow our quick and easy spring cleaning tips and your house will be spick and span in no time.


Organise your shelves

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be itching to reorganise your shelves, particularly if you use them to store books or DVDs. It may sound like an arduous job, but tackling your shelves will give you a sense of satisfaction – plus it’ll be much easier to locate something. Housebeautiful.com recommends organising books by size and subject but if you’d rather sort them alphabetically, we totally understand.


Double up

While it makes sense to tackle one room at a time, styleathome.com suggests tackling two things at once to save time. For instance, you could be making your bed and ironing your clothes while another load is in the washing machine.


Clean as you work

Rather than letting your greasy pots mount up as you’re cooking, fill a bowl with hot soapy water and put any dirty dishes in there immediately. That way, the pots and pans can soak while you’re tea is in the oven, making washing up less of a daunting task afterwards. Womansday.com also suggests wiping up any spillages straightaway with a damp cloth to protect your surfaces.


Wash your windows

You’re forgiven for not wanting to wash your windows in the winter, but once spring is here, there’s really no excuse. So get a bucket of warm soapy water and a squeegee and scrub off all of that winter grime. Marthastewart.com recommends washing large windows in a “snake” motion, before touching up the sides – that way, there’ll be fewer streaks.


Which chore do you plan on tackling first this spring?

Here at Econoloft, we have over 40 years’ experience in the loft conversion industry. As such, we’re something of an expert when it comes to home improvements.

Check out our gallery for design inspiration and be sure to have a read of our client testimonials – they detail exactly why we’re the best firm to complete your loft conversion job for you.

For more information or to book your FREE estimate, contact Econoloft today on FREEPHONE 0800269765 or fill in a call back form and we will contact you when it’s convenient.