Extending is a popular way to add space without having to move. We explain everything you need to know from planning permission to costs, design work and much more
It is said that for every person who self builds there are 15 that add extensions to their homes. The reasons for all this are easy to see. It often makes more economic sense to stay put and avoids the need to find a plot. It means we can stay in the same neighbourhood if we like it and that the children can remain at the same school.
What’s your budget?
This is probably one of the most fundamental questions – and it’s usually the first thing we have to ask our clients.
What do you want to achieve with your property extension?
Are you looking for a new living area that the whole family can enjoy, an extra bedroom for a new arrival or a home office?
How long will it take?
House extensions don’t happen overnight – and even getting planning permission and building regulations approval can sometimes take months. So be patient, and expect some upheaval and interruption to normal family life while the building is going on.
Do you need planning permission?
For some property alterations such as loft conversions and single storey extensions, or certain types of sun rooms, you may not need planning permission. But you are well advised to check all local planning regulations and requirements first before making any definite plans to proceed.
Does your property extension mean you need an architect?
Big projects such as loft conversions or external home extensions are not simple DIY jobs, and we’ve seen them go wrong too many times when even skilled DIYers have had a go themselves, so ensure you seek advice from the professionals.
Will your plan impact on your neighbours?
This is a particularly important consideration, especially if you are making major alterations to your property. Do you share a party wall with your neighbours, and will your alterations potentially damage their property?
Are you in a conservation area?
If your home is in a designated conservation area or is a listed building, there may be very strict controls governing what alterations you can and cannot make, so make sure you do your homework and find out how this could affect you.
Up, Down or Out to the side?
Where you put your house extension is the next decision. Loft conversions are increasingly popular – so if you have the option of converting your attic space into a new room without any external signs of extending the property it’s worth considering. The most common option for simply gaining extra space either is either a single storey or two storey extension, for which you may want to build out to the side of your home.
Know a good builder?
Unless you’re an experienced builder yourself, the likelihood is that you will need to get a professional building firm in to do the work – even if it’s a smaller job like a loft conversion.
Choose wisely, and take note of the recommendations of friends who have had work done on their properties, or see if your architect can provide contacts.
What’s your timeframe?
As we said earlier, it’s wise to plan well in advance. Set yourself a strict timetable for completion. The chances are that it will over-run, but if you lay down the ground rules for completion at the very start of the project you can avoid living on a building site for months on end.
Having read the above key points you have a great basis in which to form your brief with your builder or architect. This will save time throughout the process allowing you to be clear about your expectations from the outset, and tasking your professionals to deliver the desired finished result.
We have been building extensions since our inception and can advise, design and build the right extension for you and your property. All our work is personally supervised by our company directors to ensure it is carried out to the very highest standard. So, whatever your extension 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.