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Considerations To Make Before Planning A Basement Conversion In North London

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Looking to introduce an entirely independent new room to your home? Why not consider a basement conversion with its own, exclusive entrance, for purposes such as a home office, gym, or a residential annexe? Before getting the project up and running, there are some serious considerations to make.

Do you need permission? If your North London home already has an underground space that is suitable for conversion from storage (or similar) to a habitable function, planning permission is not normally required as such a change is merely seen as re-purposing. If, however, the space needs alterations – such as lowering the floor level to increase head clearance – local planning authorities are likely to consider the development as an extension and, therefore, ask you to apply for planning permission.

Are there regulations to meet? The structural construction of a basement forms part of the fabric of your home so, naturally, you will want to ensure that any work undertaken is of the highest standards if you aren’t sure, then contact a professional. Whether you are converting an existing basement to a different function or creating a new underground space through excavation, Building Regulations are there to guarantee that minimum standards of safety, energy efficiency and hygiene are met. If, however, you are merely renovating an existing basement and not changing its purpose, the job is exempt from Building Regulation scrutiny.

Why Planning Is Important To take all design details into consideration before any work begins, we recommend that ‘full plans applications’ are made for basement conversions, as opposed to a ‘building notices’ that may result in remedial work being required should local authorities be unsatisfied with the development. You can find additional information on the Government’s Planning Portal for free.

Party Walls are shared by adjacent buildings and, as such, any work that could affect them needs to be agreed by the owners or leaseholders of both properties and any others that adjoin them. This could include: extension, alteration, underpinning, or even excavation near to the wall itself.

Practicality Depending on the nature of the development you are having undertaken, there is a very real possibility you may need to vacate your home while the work is ongoing. For example, if there is no access to the basement from your garden or a neighbouring highway, materials to be removed will have to be taken through the house, making it exceedingly impractical for you to be there while the contractors are doing their work. Consider the kind of job that you are having done. Simple conversions make take just a few weeks to complete. Significant changes to the structure of your house, such as excavation, underpinning and so on, may take a number of months depending on the size of the job.

 Is it a worthwhile investment? Everybody’s living and financial circumstances are different, and are certain to affect any decision on whether a basement conversion is a viable expense. In some cases, creating a space underneath your home is the only way to increase the usable square footage of the building – one reason that basement conversions are so popular in North London homes, where opportunities for above-ground alterations are minimal. Consider whether your proposed job is out of practical necessity, to increase the value of your home, or both. Depending on the area in which you live, factors like access, available headroom, and the potential for natural light can significantly effect the value per square metre of a basement conversion. In some areas, however, there is considered to be a ‘ceiling’ value for house prices that, no matter how beautifully converted your basement, is hard to surpass. It can be worth consulting a local estate agent for their opinion before making hard and fast decisions regarding the nature of the basement development to undertake.

At Entire Houze we have been converting basements since our inception and can advise, design and build the right basement conversion for you and your property. All our work is personally supervised by our company directors to ensure it is carried out to a very highest standard. So, whatever your basement conversion needs, we will manage all aspects of the project from the initial planning and design stages through to building work, plumbing, heating, electrical works, insulation and anything else that may be needed.




Top tips for buying a new-build in 2017

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Buying a brand new home can be an exciting prospect, but it also comes with it’s own set of challenges. Here are our top tips to help you through the process.

Price Negotiations
Buying off plan means you purchase your new home before building has been completed (or sometimes has even begun) It’s worth doing your homework by comparing prices with similar developments in the North London area and seeking advice from your local estate agent. Once you have all this information its down to negotiating, no sale price will be set in stone. Don’t immediately assume your property will be worth more money once it’s been completed.

Find our exactly what you’re getting
When your buying off plan there is often nothing to see, so make sure you find out exactly what your getting for your money. Does the price include landscaping for the garden, a parking space or even white goods? If you a buying a flat or an apartment within a block, then consider the annual service charges and ground rent.

Look beyond the show home
Builders and developers build show homes as a selling tool, but this only gives an indication of what you’re buying so take this with a pinch of salt. Your own home will be on a different plot or even a different floor or building all of which will alter things like light and noise levels considerably. Although developers do dress show homes the furniture tends to be minimal which will make it appear more spacious.

Find out how many other new builds have been sold and to whom.
You don’t want to be surrounded by a building site for twelve months, so find out how much of the development has been sold. Ask also about the ratio of owner-occupiers to investors as you may soon tire of being the only permanent resident among a revolving door of tenants.

Warranty Schemes
It is important to check the builder or developer is signed up to a warranty scheme. Whether you’re buying off plan or new a warranty scheme is crucial. NHBC’s Buildmark is the largest of these schemes but others such as Premier Guarantee and LABC Warranty do also exist. A warranty scheme will protect your deposit if a builder or developer goes bust. As deposits can be around 30% of the property value without it you stand a lot to loose. It will also ensure the home has been built to agreed standards. Never proceed with a sale if your builder or developer does offer a recognised warranty.

Consumer Code
Do your homework on the Consumer Code for Home Builders, launched in 2010 many people are unaware of the this code but it’s sole purpose is to protect buyers of off plan and new-build homes. One of the most useful parts of the code is that it forces builders to provide realistic information on when your new-build will be completed.

Don’t Change Jobs Before You Complete
Mortgage offers tend to have a three to six month shelf life and if yours runs out before your home is completed you will have to reapply. If your circumstances have changed a lender is within their right to refuse your mortgage the second time round. So stay put and steer clear of any additional financial contributions.

See What Extras You Can Get
You may only buy a new-build home once in your life, so see what extra’s you can get thrown in, additional light fittings or plug sockets for example. You may even be able to choose the colour schemes or flooring, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

How To Keep Your Home Secure During The Winter Holidays

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We all take time off over the Christmas holidays, but thieves don’t and the season to be merry and joyful can very often turn into the season to be burgled.

 This December don’t let your guard down and become a victim of crime, here’s how to keep your North London home safe over the Christmas period.

 If you’re going away don’t tell all and sundry that you’re off on holiday, shouting it from the rooftops to your neighbours over the fence, you never know who’s listening. The same goes if you pop into the local newsagents to cancel your papers, discretion is key. This also goes for social media, announcing to the world that you are on holiday opens up your home to opportunist thieves.

Consider asking a neighbour to pop round daily just to check everything is in order. If potential thieves see that someone is keeping an eye on your property they will possibly be deterred. Your neighbour can also check to see if pipes have frozen, or for potential leaks You can buy light switch times, which will switch lights on at certain times, thereby making people assume you’re at home.

 If you do have a burglar alarm, check with the company that installed it that it’s working fine and has been serviced.

 Lock away anything that might look good to thieves, take all keys out of windows and doors, lock garden gates and sheds and makes sure your keys are’t visible. Many thieves have been known to spot keys by looking through letterboxes, and then using a pole to grab them and let themselves in.

 If you are staying at home Christmas time (especially the elderly) can encourage people to let their guard down. As the nights draw in, always use the chain for the front door and don’t open it for anyone that you’re not expecting, or who behaves strangely. Trust your gut and always double lock the door at night or when you leave the house in the morning.

 Check all windows and doors for weak spots and if you find any, install a few dead-bolts and new window hinges to strengthen them.

 At Entire Houze we offer a wide range of doors and windows, from sash and casement windows, PVC-U or aluminium to wooden, composite, aluminium and PVC-U doors and double and single sliders. Whether you’re looking for repair or complete refurbishment to secure your North London property this Christmas our team of skilled joiners and fitters are here to put your mind at ease.

 Emergencies do happen even at Christmas especially where alcohol is involved, so if you unexpectedly get locked out or have any other lock emergencies. Our emergency locksmith company are here to help you gain access or prevent intrusion we offer lock installations and replacements, repairs and upgrades to burglary repairs and a full range of security solutions.

 Christmas is a fantastic time of year so just a bit of preplanning will ensure your North London home is safe and secure during the festive period.

Five Reasons Why You Should Renovate Your North London Property During The Winter

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A common misconception is that it is better to plan home renovations during the Summer, rather than other parts of the year. Although certain tasks, such as paving a driveway or inspecting a roof, require conditions that are specific to warmer weather, in many cases renovating during the Winter can prove to be a good option. Here are five reasons why you should plan your renovation projects in the Winter.


Contractors have more availability

You will probably be quoted with more competitive prices, simply due to the fact that contractors are looking for work and are willing to work for reasonable rates in order to sign more contractors. The same could be send for construction materials and other products with stores offering great sales prices, and if you shop well, you will probably find what you are looking for at a reduced price.


Equipment and planning

North London contractors that work during the Winter own special equipment to keep the property clean during the renovation process, as well as after. This despite the fact that Winter attracts a lot of dirt. In actuality, Winter and Summer both product approximately the same amount of dust and dirt, but equipment that is made especially for the Winter has the added value of being able to send the dust outside, regardless of the weather conditions.


Protecting Against The Elements

In order to avoid any cold air entering the house, the workers will install protective sheets that will cut any air currents, so you don’t have to worry about being cold during the renovation process. Winter weather can actually be used as an advantage both for the room temperature and the humidity level. Among other things, it will be possible to choose the amount of humidity and the temperature to make paint dry fasters.


Avoiding Manufacturer Spring Price Increases

Typical price increases for wood, windows and cabinet lines happen in Spring. During the winter, manufacturers may feature special offers to reduce inventory, so save money here.


Planning Approvals
Government agencies are usually less busy in Winter months, which makes it easier and quicker to obtain necessary planning permissions


Entire Houze team have been dedicated to offering the highest standard of building work and impeccable service with a complete hands on approach to every project whether large or small. We are the leading builder North London based company, and whether you are looking for loft conversions, new kitchens, bathroom renovations or house extensions. Entire Houze have the expertise and experience to bring your project to life. Contact us today for a no obligation quote on renovating your North London property this Winter.


Six Easy Ways To Prepare Your Home For Winter in North London

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With the days getting shorter and nights about to start drawing in there is no getting away from the fact that Winter is fast approaching. Fortunately, here are some tips that’ll keep you warm and pro-tect your home from the jaws of Winter.

Home Insurance
Check to make sure that your home insurance policy is up to date and you are covered for any Winter related damage such as burst pipes or a leaky roof, by letting either your buildings and con-tents insurance lapse leaves you open to huge repair costs if anything should go wrong. For the sake of less than the cost of lunch in the City each month, it’s worth keeping your cover in place, to not only protect your home, but also your belongings.

Clean Your Guttering
While you still have the occasional fine day it’s an idea to ensure all the leaves and grime that have built up in your gutters are cleared. If left full of debris, clogged gutters and drains can form ice dams that prevent your drainage systems working properly. This can lead to water seeping into your home, and extra energy costs. Save yourself the hassle by clearing your gutters and drains now, pour water through to double check everything is free flowing and check for misalignments that could cause water damage further down the line.

Is more than just putting on a jumper if you are cold. About a quarter of the heat in your house is lost through the roof, so having good loft and wall cavity insulation could keep the house warm with less energy used. These improvements needn’t cost the earth, as there a number of government grants and schemes that subsidise insulation installation.

Bleed The Radiators
If your radiators are colder at the top than they are at the bottom, then your radiators have trapped air inside them that’s stopping the heat from circulating properly. It’s time to grab a towel and your special radiator key (these can be purchased from DIY stores if you don’t have one) and bleed that radiator. By releasing the air slowly until you start to see moisture allows the radiator to run more efficiently.

Get Your Boiler Looked At
A poorly maintained boiler wastes more energy and costs more in the long run, not to mention running the risk of leaking carbon monoxide. A simple boiler service before Winter or changing your model for a condensing unit, which could shave off around £235 a year (according to the Energy Saving Trust)

Switch Energy Suppliers
If your bills are still high despite these improvements, give your energy supplier a call and see if you can be put onto a more appropriate tariff. It may also be advisable to utilise a money saving utility website which provides all tariffs so you can see who is offering the best deal. There’s no disruption in service, all that happens is your money goes to a different company when you pay your bill.

Colder weather is on it’s way, and using these tips will help you stay warm and cozy, while saving energy and money in your home.

As part of it’s complete range of building services, Entire Houze provides full plumbing and heating services to both domestic and commercial North London clients. Our technicians are fully accredited and highly skilled, providing solutions to plumbing and heating issues across the board. Our services include fixing burst pipes, boiler breakdowns and replacements, installing central heating maintaining and clearing water systems, pumps, tanks, system repairs and upgrades and general plumbing services.




Top Tips For A Profitable Renovation In North London

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Renovating your property for profit can be easy if you know what you are doing. With various television programs such as Homes Under The Hammer or Property Ladder it seems everyone wants to try their hand at property renovation. On the face of it, it seems like a good idea and can be highly profitable, but the truth is that very few renovators make money, and worse still some lose money.

Our following guide will offer tips for a successful project renovation. 

Do Your Research

If you are investing in a property that needs considerable renovation, check how long the property has been up for sale. A property that has been on the market for more than a few months suggests there isn’t a great deal of profit to be made. Research your chosen location thoroughly consider who you’ll be pitching your finished property to and the type of local amenities important to them. For example, if you are renovating a family home, are the local schools in the area good ones. 

What Should You Look Out For?

Ensure you aren’t buying a property that will put an instant drain on finances. With an older property you really should be prepared for anything. Stripping wallpaper could involve the walls themselves coming away with paper, incurring further plastering costs. Don’t be afraid to make various appointments to every type of tradesmen or contractors in order to know what you’re letting yourself in for. 

Ask The Experts

Engaging the services for estimates of specialist contractors in roofing, damp specialists, electricians, and plumbers will charge nothing or very little to offer estimates on work and will be more beneficial to you than a surveyor in the earlier stages of property investment. 

How Much Work Is Involved?

This really does depend on the type of property you are choosing to invest in. But don’t bite off more than you can chew. A good place to start try doing up a dated property rather than a complete wreck. Renovating a new kitchen, bathroom, re-decoration, adding central heating and new carpets can transform something dated into a modern new home. 


Be prepared. Set yourself a budget and build in some contingency funding, fifteen percent of the total cost is a good guideline. With multiple quotes from qualified contractors this will offer a guide of how much your renovation will cost. 

Manage Your Project
Ensure you liaise with the builder or contractor to make sure work is carried out to specification. If you are confident enough you could manage the renovation yourself or employ an independent project manager. Get all quotes well in advance from tradesmen or contractors, this way you can calculate your expenditure. Never expect scheduled timescales, things can go wrong and may not always go as planned. Seek as much advice as possible, especially from people who’ve done it before. If you’ve brought a property to renovate and live in be prepared to live in a building site until things are settled.

Employing A Tradesman or Contractor In North London

Decide exactly what work you’d like to be undertaken before asking for any quotations. A JCT a Joint Contract Tribunal is an independent body that has produced a standard contractor for use between you and the builder. This is a legal document that avoids technical and legal jargon. It will however confirm the precise arrangements for the work to be done, the price, payment terms, working hours, insurance and guarantees and how to resolve disputes if they arise. It sets out clearly what’s expected of you and the builder or contractor. In addition, it’s important to remember that any builder or contractor will be spending a lot of time in your home, and therefore should be someone you feel comfortable with. Good communication and a professional relationship is important. Request references of past work, in some instances you may even be able to visit previous jobs in the North London area to view completed projects. 

Above all make sure you don’t get emotionally involved in the buying and selling process of your homes. Remember you are doing this to make a profit and the best results will be achieved by people that stick to their budgets.


Ways To Maximise A Small Space In North London

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The average size of a family home has shrunk by two square metres, over the last decade it has recently been reported. RIBA the Royal Institute Of British Architects has stated the average one-bedroom new-build home is currently 46 sq m, the size of a carriage on London Underground’s Jubilee Line. 

With London house prices continuing to sore whether you live in a quintessential studio apartment or want to get more out of a small room use these small space design ideas to help you maximise the space you are working with in North London. 

Create Different Sections

Think about all the things you do within your space; work, sleep, relax, eat, entertain etc and then establish separate zones for those activities. Subtle separations can help the space feel larger. Evoke rooms with multiple seating areas, a tented or curtained bed, window seat, or smartly placed furniture. 

Multi Use Furniture
Find a table that can function as both a desk and a dining table. Get daybeds or deep sofas that can double as guest beds. A storage ottoman can provide an extra perch. Invest in pieces that can be rearranged to transform the use of a room.

Trick Your Eye
Creating an impression of expansiveness by exploiting decorative sleight of hand, floor to ceiling curtains and strategically placed mirrors will open up your space and create the illusion of more space.

Make Every Piece Count
Choose furnishings and decorative elements that offer maximum functionality in minimal square footage. Use two small round tables instead of one big coffee table. Far better for traffic slow and a lot easier to move.

Use Bigger Furnishings

It may seem counterproductive but using bigger but fewer furnishings rather than a mishmash of smaller furniture can actually make it feel grander. Although don’t be afraid of filling up the space, when a room is populated with furniture, it actually appears larger.

Consider Paint With Care
Soothing, even-toned rooms fool the eye into thinking they’re more spacious than they are.

Bespoke built-in’s, storage space and furniture tailored to your exact needs can utilise every available sliver of space.

Think Vertically
Exploit the often under-utilised space between the tops of furniture and a room’s ceiling with hanging or high mounted elements. They’ll draw the eye upward. Take bookcase and cabinets all the way up.

Remove Clutter
You don’t have to display everything. keep things uncluttered. Group your possessions and accessorise your shelves but give them room to breathe, less is more.pjimage-10

How Will Brexit Affect My Building Project In North London?

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Regardless of your own personal political choice in the recent EU referendum should we be worried about taking on building projects in North London in  light of Brexit? There is no doubt that brexit has been a significant economic shock. For those building, extending, renovating, converting their own homes in North London the temptation is to reassess current plans in light of the uncertainty.

From the initial knee jerk reactions we are already beginning to see more positive news on the horizon with mortgage rates at least in the short term falling even further.

The impact on construction costs could be effected with the devaluation of the pound. However we are already starting to see improvement here. For the most part it appears to be business as usual, projects continue to go ahead, materials are being purchased, and personally we’ve never been busier with house extensions, kitchen installations, loft conversions and home renovation projects in North London.

Those who see their home as a long-term project and not a short term investment are not considering the current risk to house prices. However if you are looking to make a quick gain with property, you may pause for thought to see which way things go and the direction the housing market takes.

Of course, no-one can predict the effect Brexit will have on the self build and renovation sector in the coming months and years – along with the impact it will have on house prices. The elements of this market remain favourable for people investing money in property.

Having the right house and somewhere that you really want to live should come first and foremost over any housing market change.

If you need to improve your home, by renovation, extension, or refurbishment in North London those desires will not have changed, and most people will be keen to just get on with it.

You will have heard a lot of contradictory arguments across industries, and businesses on the benefits of staying or leaving the European Union. Ultimately it is up to us as individuals to weigh up the pros and cons for your own home improvements in North London.

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10 Ways To Make Sure You Stay On Budget For Your Building Project

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People may consider that the most essential component in redesign is the house itself, and they are on the right track to a degree, without the first open door there can be no development. Be that as it may, truth be told, the most imperative part of any task of this nature is the budget, without which no feasible move can even be made to secure the house.

 Budget, budget budget!
In theory spending money on a quality renovation instead of cheating out the necessary funds will magically appear, but in reality we know this isn’t true, so make sure you do your homework to keep on track of costs

 Do Your Homework

Talk to a friend who has been through a similar renovation, do as much window shopping and cost-comparisons that you can do. Make sure you tack on at least an extra 20% for those inevitable issues that will spring up. Check your budget with your builder or architect regularly to make sure you’re on track. Finally don’t borrow to renovate if you can. A renovation is much more satisfying if you save up the necessary funds before you renovate.

 Find The Right Building Contractor

We’ve all heard the horror stories, the best building contractors can be found through word of mouth. But if you can’t come up with a good referral, then look online and ask for references before you sign any agreements

 Be Realistic

Be realistic about what you can accomplish based on your budget resources and your existing home. Is it essential that you have a brand new kitchen right now, over rewiring old electrics which are an essential part of your home.

 It’s All In The Details

Make sure you have a list or multiple lists for each room, and make sure that you confirm and reconfirm that everything has been ordered and delivered to avoid any hiccups with your renovation project.

 Get Advice
Now you’ve talked to the experts, gotten referrals and drawn up your plans, have one more chat with friends or family who have gone through the renovation experience. Try to be as thorough as possible. You could potentially save thousands of pounds having good friends take a look at your plans and assess them from an objective point of view, do you really need a double bath or would a standard size bath be adequate if you have a separate shower fitted.

 Don’t Have Any Regrets

Renovating can be stressful and if you carefully follow the previous steps you should be more than prepared. Don’t send guess choices once they’ve been made, paid for and installed.

 Renovate For The Future
Trends are for accessorising, not for renovating. A rule of thumb for renovating is that doing a high-quality job in a classic style is exactly that, classic. If you invest in quality finishes now, you won’t regret it. Don’t be a slave to fashion, how will those olive-green appliances look in twenty years. Basic white appliances and bathrooms sets are timeless and will never go out of fashion.

 Regularly Speak To Your Building Contractor

Your builder will tell you, you only need to visit once a week. Don’t believe them, you need to visit every day, unless you have an incredibly trustworthy person to oversee your renovation. Certainly don’t go on holiday or avoid the site. Mistakes can be made and you need to be there to react to them, the longer a mistake goes unseen, the more expensive it will be to change it.

 Have Fun & Enjoy
It’s not all doom and gloom, at the end of the day there’s nothing more rewarding than watching a space be transformed by good design decisions and great workmanship. Better still is the day when the word is done and you can enjoy the results in the peace and quiet of your new home.

8 Things You Can Do, No Planning Permission Required

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If you’re planning on renovating, remodeling, or extending your home you may not have to go through a lengthy process for planning permission. Many home improvement projects can be done under permitted development rights.

What Are Permitted Development Rights?

They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. You will however need to follow Building Regulations guidance for some aspects such as structural elements and electrical works.

Moving Doors & Windows
You don’t require planning permission to replace or add new windows in the original walls of your house, you may need permission if conditions were attached to the original permission. Double glazing for example can be installed under PD, providing the building is not listed. For new or bigger windows or doors you will need to follow BR guidance. Also bear in mind that bay windows are classed as extensions.

 Using Attached Buildings

If you wish to alter the internal space of a garage for example such as incorporating an integral garage you can do so under PD providing you are not increasing the overall footprint of the dwelling.

Single Storey Extensions

Do not require planning permission providing the extension maintains the following guidelines. The extension does not sit forward of the principal elevation, materials used should be similar. Where it is within 2m of any boundary, the eaves cannot be higher than 3m, and no more than 4m in height otherwise. With rear extensions they should be no more than 4m in depth for a detached house or 3m in depth for a semi or terrace. Side extension the width of the extensions must not be greater than half the width of the original dwelling.

 Loft Conversions
Loft conversions provide a great opportunity to create additional space and may not require planning permission. PD allows for the construction of dormer windows, which would provide additional headroom within a converted attic. The windows must not sit higher than the highest part of your original existing roof however.

 Two Storey Extensions
A two storey extension can only be built under PD if it is at the rear of the property. In addition, your two storey extension must not exceed 3m in depth or be within 7m of the rear boundary.

Conservatories fall under the same restrictions as single storey extensions as they often tend to be fairly modest in size, they can be built without the need for planning.

 Sheds & Outbuildings
Where you have a larger plot, there may be opportunities to build multiple outbuildings under PD, providing the total area covered by such buildings/enclosures does not exceed 50% of the total area of the curtilage. This 50% should take into account any extensions, but not the area covered by the main house. 


If your property does not provide you with sufficient opportunities to develop extensions to your home above ground, have you ever considered building a basement. This would provide you with extra internal space, without reducing the size of your garden. It was recently decided that basements could be PD under Class A of the General Permitted Development Order. However, PD does not allow for engineering works.

 While this blog provides a summary of what you may be able to do under Permitted Development, you should always check with the Local Planning Authority to ensure you do not require planning permission, to avoid further expense and problems further down the line.

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