Shell Loft Conversions

What is a shell loft conversion?

A shell loft (sometimes referred to as a first-fix loft conversion) is a basic loft conversion perfect for customers looking to do a little D.I.Y, or those working to a limited budget. It involves all major structural work being carried out, including the installation of the new structural floor, joists and dormer(s), while leaving the customer to arrange the design and finishes.

Once the shell conversion has been completed, the rest of the work can then be finished either by the customer or their own nominated third party tradesmen. Shell lofts are an easy way to minimise the costs of a loft conversion.

What is included with a shell loft conversion?

A finished watertight structure complete with new staircase, while the rest of the design will be left to the customer to finish. This gives the customer the freedom to either get creative themselves or bring in their own choice of tradesmen to finish the project.

Included in a shell loft conversion is:

  • A complete on-site survey
  • Detailed architectural drawings including all structural engineering calculations
  • All scaffolding
  • Suspended structural floor
  • Steel beams fitted to suit building control requirements
  • Construction of dormer/mansard
  • Installation of Velux windows
  • Tiling of new dormer(s)
  • Finished flat roof on dormer (torch-on membrane, GRP, EDPM finishes available)
  • External windows and doors
  • Construction and fitting of the staircase (handrail & spindles fitted by yourself)
  • Removal of all debris from site

The process of a shell loft conversion

The process for a shell loft conversion usually takes place in four parts:

  1. In the first instance we will establish whether planning permission is required, for the loft conversion or whether it can be completed under permitted development. We will be able to advise on this during your initial meeting with our design consultant.
  2. The architectural plans are then drawn up, with all the structural engineering calculations required to ensure that the work carried out will be to comply with current building regulations.
  3. Once the plans have been approved by the customer, the construction of the shell loft can take place. The new beams, joists, suspended floor and dormers will be installed alongside the staircase and windows.
  4. After the structural work is complete, the project is handed back to the customer to allow them to finish the internal work. This involves all the plumbing, plastering, electrical installation and 2nd fix carpentry.

Shell loft conversions are perfect for customers that have a limited budget, or for those that have friends in the building industry that can help finish certain elements as highlighted above.

For those looking to have a loft conversion, a shell loft should be considered if you want a more hands-on approach to the construction work and management of the project. It is also very much dependant on the amount of time you have available to give the project, as a shell loft will require you to project manage the second half after construction, in order to complete the project on your own.