Practical considerations

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    As a rule of thumb, if you can measure 230cm from the floor to the roof at the tallest part, you have sufficient head height for a conversion. To make for a comfortable bedroom or living room, at least half the loft space should be this tall.

    Pre-war buildings with steeply pitched roofs are often the easiest to convert, but there will always be structural considerations when turning this space and most lofts need additional support from steel beams to strengthen the floor and roof.

    Building regulations stipulate that if the loft is to be turned into a bedroom, bathroom, study or playroom, it must have a permanent staircase. The stairs leading to it need not be as wide as the steps on the lower flights. The most minimal arrangements resemble a fixed ladder and a spiral staircase offers an attractive solution where space is tight.

    When weighing up the pros and cons of converting, look at the space you will lose on the floor below to accommodate the new stairs, and check in particular the head height available.

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