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Loft Conversion Guide

Taking on a loft conversion is a massive project. However, they are a wonderful way to increase your storage space without having to move to a new house, as well as add value to your home.

They are not only ideal to create an extra bedroom, but can also be used for studies, an extra living room or a games room. The possibilities are endless. Regardless of your ideas for the attic, it is still a big challenge. Here are a few things to be aware of and do before you get the loft conversion you’ve been dreaming about.

1)    Do an initial survey
This is the most important stage. It is vital you get permission to have a loft conversion in the first place. If your attic doesn’t meet the regulations and criteria, but you continue with the project, you will make your house practically unsellable. Also, although a lot of properties in the UK will be suitable for a conversion, this will not always be case. It depends on what is there to begin with and how the roof was constructed. Hiring a specialist structural engineer will ensure you know whether the project will be possible.

2)    Make a detailed plan
Having a vague idea of what you want your loft conversion to look like will not be enough. There are many things to consider which could easily be forgotten if you don’t have a detailed plan. Knowing what windows you want, where the staircase will go, where the heating and electric points will be placed are just some of the things to consider. Although it will be an additional expense, its highly recommended to use a professional architect. Not only will they be able to produce detailed plans for you, they will have experience with project management and could have good connections and could help you find a reputable building company which will save you the hassle.

3)    Choose the right builders
A loft conversion can add value to your home but only if you hire builders that are professional and know exactly what they are doing. They are probably going to be more expensive, however it will be worth it knowing they will do a good job and will probably finish it in a decent amount of time. There have been many cases of people hiring the wrong builders who stop half way through a job, and leave your house in a mess. Let experts help you at every stage of the process to ensure the best results.

4)    Get more than one quote
It is best to ask several building companies what they would charge for the loft conversion. This will ensure you can get the best price possible. However, do not just make your decision on cost. The cheapest quote will not necessarily be the best for you. Take into account how professional they seemed when you met them, whether you think they will do a good job and what time scale they are predicting the job will take. Always ask for examples of their previous work so you can ensure it’s a good enough standard. Also, ensure you have a payment scheduled sorted in advance. Never pay them in full before the job starts. Organise an initial deposit and a payment plan for the rest upon completion.

5)    Think about light
Try and place the biggest windows possible in order to get as much natural sunlight into the room as possible.

6)    Think about storage
This is your chance to plan a room from scratch and it is always good to think about where the storage will go from the beginning. Deciding at design stage means you can plan clever storage solutions and built in wardrobes which will save space and make the room look bigger.

7)    Go green
Where possible, think about the environmental impact of your project. Not only should you think about the building materials used, you should consider the effects this will have once the project is finished. If you create an insulated house which will conserve energy, it will not only be good for the environment, it will also be good for your bank account.

8)    Hire a skip
Converting your loft will create a lot of mess. Not only with the building work itself but also from having to empty the attic to begin with. Preparing for a loft conversion is an ideal time to go through your stuff and get rid of anything you don’t need. Ensure you hire a skip that will be big enough for your project and be suitable for the type of waste you want to dispose of.

If you are looking for advice for suitable skips for loft conversion projects, then speak to LSPS today. Contact us on 0800 083 7807. We are open Monday – Friday between 07:30 and 16:30 and Saturdays from 7:30 until midday.

Disposable coffee cups: How big of an environmental problem are they and are we doing enough?

As a nation, we love our coffee and our coffee shops. According to parliamentary papers there are four times as many coffee shops in the UK than there were in the year 2000, with 20% of the population visiting a coffee shop daily. It has been estimated that 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year - that’s approximately 7 million cups a day!
Almost all the high street coffee shop chains now run a recycling scheme which tries to encourage people to bring their own reusable cup, but are these schemes actually working?

What is the problem?
The reason why this enormous number of cups is such a problem on the environment is that they are difficult to recycle. The lining on the takeaway cups is a mixture of paper and plastic which is used to make the cups both heatproof and leakproof. However, this makes them difficult to recycle. The figures suggest that the vast majority of cups (more than 99%) are not recycled, even if they are thrown into the recycling bin.

The success of documentaries such as Blue Planet has forced people to realise what a huge problem plastic is on our planet, as it takes years to break down if not recycled, adversely impacting the natural environment. The plastic is not the only problem. The paper element of the cups has environmental issues of its own. Trees must be felled to produce products that only end up being used for the length of time it takes for someone to drink a cup of coffee.

What schemes are coffee shops running to help?
Recently there have been many schemes set up in coffee shop chains in order to try and encourage customers to bring their own reusable cup. Starbucks, Nero, Costa and Pret a Manger all offer a discount of between 25p and 50p when customer present their own cup.

Costa were also the first coffee chain to turn their stores into recycling points for people to place all of their takeaway cups, regardless of the brand.

Despite these efforts though there have been backlash saying that some places are still using disposable cups to pour the coffee in before putting it in the reusable cup, thus defeating the point.

What are some other options?
It is not just the coffee chains themselves that are coming up with ideas to reduce waste. Shrewsbury have become the first city to offer a cup deposit return scheme in the UK. A selection of cafes across the town let you buy a bright reusable cup for £1 which can be refunded when you return the cup to a participating store. The trial of the scheme was a success, leading to it being rolled out across the town centre a few months later. The cups can be used hundreds of times and created from a good quality plastic which will last.

There are also companies trying to develop completely biodegradable cups. Others have suggested a coffee fine for using a reusable cup is a solution, thinking that the discount off a drink is not enough of an incentive and psychologically people will do more to avoid a fine than to receive a discount.

Here at LSPS, recycling is of great importance to us and we help businesses and individuals all across Leicestershire to reduce the amount of their waste that ends up at landfill sites. Our Waste Transfer Station is open to traders and has an extensive range of state-of-the-art equipment.

To find out how we can help with your waste disposal needs please contact us on 0800 083 7807 or visit our website for further information.

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