The facts about boarding lofts in new builds
New Build properties and loft boarding
At Access4Lofts Liverpool South we have been creating easily accessible, safe storage spaces in lofts for over 10 years. During that time we have carried out thousands of loft storage installations in new build properties without any problems or insurance claims – just thousands of happy customers with loads of extra storage space in their new home.
We’ve been asked every conceivable question relating to lofts (take a look at the FAQ’s page on our website that we’ve collated over the years). However, the most frequently asked question comes from homeowners who have purchased a newly built home, and that question is “will my NHBC warranty be affected if I board my loft?”
Generally, the reason they ask us this question is because the housebuilder has looked at the new owner in horror when they mention using their new loft for storage, and they will tell them it will affect their NHBC warranty.
This is just not true – in fact, if you have any maintainable equipment in your loft (such as mechanical ventilation, alarm system a boiler or solar panel control unit), then Construction Design Management 2015 regulations and the NHBC require boarding to be in place.
Common reasons given by house builders for not boarding new-build lofts
- It will compress the insulation – not true. Access4Lofts Liverpool South uses a Loft Leg system which is specifically designed to overcome this issue. It raises the loft floor above the insulation thereby allowing the insulation to work effectively.
- The loft floor isn’t strong enough to carry the extra weight – not true. New houses constructed with loft hatches, built to British Standards are designed to carry 25kg per square metre of permanent load and 180kg per square metre of temporary load.
- It will cause damp – not true. Damp can be caused by compressing the insulation or blocking the airflow in lofts. The Loft Leg system and the fact that Access4Lofts Liverpool South will not join the boarding to meet the roof ensures that airflow is maintained and insulation is not compressed.
- It will invalidate my warranty – not true. In fact, the NHBC and CDM regulations actually require a loft to be boarded if it contains any serviceable equipment. The NHBC Warranty policy does not contain any statement which challenges suitably installed loft flooring.
For Your Extra Peace Of Mind
As the UK’s leading installer of loft storage products and after 12 years and over ten thousand trouble-free loft storage installations, you can rest assured you will be getting the best quality products and service.
Ultimately, you have to be comfortable with your decision as to whether you have your loft boarded for storage, but we hope this document goes some way to alleviating your concerns about the affect it may have on your NHBC warranty.
Your NHBC Warranty and Raised Loft Storage Systems
Access4Lofts Liverpool South are the preferred supplier of the ‘Loft Leg’ raised loft storage system and they too have often been asked whether installing a system such as ‘Loft Leg’ would invalidate the NHBC warranty.
“we have discussed this issue at length with the NHBC Technical Department and consulted a Chartered Structural Engineer to ensure we can provide the best possible advice to our customers. It is also important to clarify that this statement applies to all raised loft storage systems”
explains Gareth Storey, Owner of Loft Leg.
The NHBC responded with…
“if it is installed at the instruction of the homeowner, it does not invalidate our warranty, but any defects found to result from the installation of said system e.g. condensation or structural damage would not be covered by the warranty, therefore homeowners have it installed at their own risk. This applies to any changes made to the building after the warranty period has begun.”
It is therefore imperative for our customer’s peace of mind, that we confirm that installing Loft Legs will not cause the defects mentioned above.
The NHBC has confirmed that:
“where access to loft space is provided, structural design is required to take account of live loading on ceiling joists for the purposes of occasional entry and maintenance and a nominal live load allowance is included in acknowledgement that homeowners are liable to place light, miscellaneous and infrequently used items, such as might be suitable for spreading across widely-spaced joists, in the loft area.”
Chartered Structural Engineers confirm the above is correct and that trusses in the new homes that are fitted with a loft hatch should be designed to BS6399-1:1996*. This states that the truss must be designed to carry a 25kg/m2 loading for storage and a 90kg load to account for a person accessing the loft.
Therefore, we can confirm that a correctly installed and loaded raised loft storage system will not invalidate the NHBC warranty and that if the new house was constructed with a loft hatch then the trusses should have been designed to support a storage load of 25kg/m2 and a 90kg person.