The last few weeks have involved a change to the plans… not anticipated and at an extra cost of £2,500, but I hope you’ll agree it’s been worth it. In meeting with some excellent architect friends of mine their first thought was that I should find a way that would comply with building control and allow me to not have the top of the staircase boxed in as per the original plans.

They advised that once the loft space is created it would make a huge impact to the sense of space. Will and Neil at Sketch London were an incredible help trying to find a way forward — suggesting options such as automist or a smoke ventilation window. After much ringing around for quotes and, most importantly, speaking to building control, we had found a way forward that complied with building regs.

As well as fitting 30 minute fire doors on all the first floor rooms, I needed to fit an automist system (or similar) or an Automatic Opening Vent (AOV) window above the stairs. I opted for the window as the plans always included a roof light at the top of the stairs and the price was the same for a ‘sprinkler’ system or a light. The window would also floor the first floor and the newly created second floor with natural light.


The AOV window by Velux


I hope you’ll agree it’s been money well spent — now standing in the room you get a wonderful sense of space, which would have been lost if the top of the staircase was boxed in with a door at the top.

Jo DysonAbout the Author

Jo is a serial property renovator, relishing the challenge of taking a tired, lack-lustre property and realising its potential. Growing up under the wing of a property renovator father, Jo’s first experience of DIY was with her Fisher Price toolkit as a four year old. Now with six property renovations under her belt Jo has learnt how to project manage, fund, develop a property on a budget and, through clever design, turn the undesirable, into the desirable.

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