What is a Hip to Gable Loft Conversion?

Home renovations in London often incorporate some kind of home extension within them. Here at Home Tales, we listen to your requirements and aim to understand the broader context for why you are considering a home renovation or home extension (or both!). We also take into consideration budget and timeline objectives too. That enables us to advise on what we feel would be best suited to you. 

There are various types of extensions out there, all with different names, descriptions and terminology. We thought we would focus on a specific type of loft conversion today, which is referred to as a hip to gable loft conversion. 

What makes a hip to gable loft conversion different to a dormer extension?

A hip to gable loft conversion can only be achieved on a particular type of property, as it requires multiple pitches on the roof (typically three of more). A typical mid terraced period property will have two pitches on the roof. The front pitch will slope up to meet the ridgeline of the property (the highest part of the roof), and a second pitch will mimic the front pitch on the other side, creating a typical upside-down V-shape roof. A hip to gable loft conversion is more common on an end of terraced property or a semi-detached property. On these properties, it’s far more common to find a third pitch on the side of the roof. 

On a property with a two-pitch roof (like the one above), we would typically propose a dormer extension to pull out the rear pitch at a 90-degree angle, to align it with the ridge line of the property and give full head height to the rear of the loft conversion. A hip to gable loft conversion is only an option when there is a third (or more) pitch on the roof, like this property below. 

What is a hip to gable loft conversion?

A hip to gable loft conversion is essentially two extensions that join together to create one large ‘wraparound’ loft conversion. There is a dormer to the rear, pulling out the rear pitch, and the pitched wall on the side of the property is built up to square off the rear dormer. 

In this project, we created a dormer extension to the rear of the property and built up the side wall of the property to enable the dormer to have full height across the full width of the property. This allowed for an entirely new floor to be added to the property. The new floor added two bedrooms and a bathroom on this property, taking it from a 3-bed to a 5-bed. 

How do I get permission from my local council?

You can go about obtaining permission from your local council in one of two ways. If you are able to exercise your permitted development rights, that generally is the preferred method to obtain formal approval. The project shown above was obtained via permitted development from Wandsworth Council. For a semi-detached property you are allowed an allowance of 50 cubic meters. For a typical semi-detached property in London, that enables you to maximise the footprint of the loft floor area. 

If you are in a conservation area, or if the property is a flat, or if you need raise the ridgeline of the property, it’s likely that permitted development won’t be allowed and you will need to apply under full planning permission. 

We have recently written a blog article which discusses the question: Do I Need Planning for my Loft Conversion, which goes into the more intricate details of this question. Read more here. 

What if my council won’t allow a full hip to gable loft conversion?

Depending on your property style and area status (ie. heritage area, conservation area, listed building or Dulwich estate), you might not be allowed to undertake a full hip to gable extension like the one we have shown above. A hip to gable extension does modify the front elevation of the property and local councils can (in some cases) show resistance to a proposal of this nature. We recently applied for a full hip to gable loft conversion in Wandsworth, which was on a property within the Sutherland Grove Conservation Area. The local council rejected the full width dormer and offered us with the opportunity to amend the scheme to reduce the size of the rear dormer and side dormer. Their main objection was the bulkiness of the wraparound nature of the two dormer extensions joined together. We agreed on a scheme which still enabled the homeowner to achieve their original requirements but satisfied the council as it spilt the wraparound dormer into two individual dormers. The side dormer allowed for the staircase to be built up, enabling access to the new floor of the property. The rear dormer allowed for two bedrooms and a bathroom to be built. 

If you are thinking of undertaking a home extension, but aren’t sure what options are available to you, get in touch with our team today on 0207 043 2378 or email us at hello@hometales.co.uk. You can also book a consultation with our team directly via our online diary booking page. 


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