Nothing in life comes for free!!???
I went out to meet with a couple last night to talk through their plans to create a loft conversion in their recently bought property. As usual this was a free consultation and allowed me to explain the process involved with planning permission and building regulations, but also to try and pick out some areas of discussion that may or may not have been looked into this early stage.
The key stage for me is that the ideas of the owners are allowed to flow freely as in some cases they can have been considering layout options for six months or more before getting in touch with me and I think it’s important to make sure that this is relayed to me before I try to delve any deeper into the proposed ideas pot!
My first question to anybody looking to do work to their property relates to how long they wish to stay i.e. are looking to resell property in 1 – 2 years or is it a 10 to 20 year house? If they are looking to resell property quite quickly than this will obviously change the level of expenditure and choice of fittings that may be used.
The next question usually relates to whether there is anything deemed as ‘sacred’ within or around the property, for example under no circumstances would we want to remove the fireplace to the sitting room. This rarely causes an issue as there is never just one way of working through a project. What it does mean however, is that I know from that stage to avoid the ‘sacred’ item(s) and by doing so hopefully avoid frustrating the owners by not listening to their wishes.
The loft conversion meeting yesterday resulted in what could be seen as a disappointing outlook from the owner’s point of view. This wasn’t the view from the owners however, as in their minds what I had effectively done was to play devil’s advocate to their current thinking. A loft conversion was by no means impossible, however in this instance with a fairly shallow pitched roof and limited head height by the time that the structural and thermal elements had been included it would have meant a much reduced space would remain. Unfortunately, whilst it may be possible to carry out alterations to most properties, with some it is notably more challenging and may result in a lesser end product.
Time will tell as to which direction the owners wish to pursue, but although it may not have been the meeting that they were expecting, I came away feeling satisfied that I have acted impartially and done nothing more than provide some steering points in their thinking (as well as offering some alternative suggestions that they had not yet considered)!
So remember, next time somebody tells you that nothing in life comes for free, just bear in mind that it’s not an alien concept to everybody!
If you have a building project you are considering, then feel free to get in touch and I’ll happily come and play devil’s advocate!