10 Things You Need To Know Before Building A House Extension

 10 Things You Need To Know Before Building A House Extension

Many people are full of enthusiasm and are very keen on working on a new project, with thought, careful planning and patience you will be much more likely to get your desired end result. There are many important things which you need to know about, here are some below:

1) Quality

Why have an extension? There are many reasons to this as some of it can be for longer term enjoyment, change the building in to your final dream property, add value to your home, need to create much needed extra space in the short term until you can afford to move. These are the reasons why quality is important when extending your house.

2) Cost

Many people clam up at the mere mention of the budget but the purpose of setting a proper budget is that so that design time is not wasted and the final design is something that can be afforded by you and can be actually delivered. Your budget is not to do with setting architectural fees or any consultant and contractors spending at the top of the budget. If you know from the outset what your budget is, and what you would be prepared to spend, then a professional architect will always try to bring projects in under budget and provide best value. As exciting as your project may be, try to be realistic and honest about the money available. Another point to remember is that generally speaking extensions and alterations are not zero VATTherefore bear in mind that your spending power is reduced by 1/6th of your budget. VAT will be charged on all builder's fees, materials, building control fees and professional fees. It is commonplace in the building industry for all prices to be quoted net of VAT.

3) Time

How long will it take? A typical project might take
  • 1 ½ months survey and design time prior to planning

  • ½ months in the planning process.

  • 1 ½ months to produce working drawings and submit for building control for approval.

  • 2 to 4 weeks to tender a project

  • 2 weeks to mobilise a contractor to start.

If there are additional requirements associated with gaining planning permission and building control approval, this can delay the process. However, a good architect will usually foresee planning and building control issues before they arise and be able to address them when they do.

4) Cost, quality and time triangle

You might want it all, but something will have to give. A great way to establish the most important criteria for you and your project is to consider the cost, quality, time triangle.

This will place some clarity and direction into your proposal and brief to the design team. It will not only help you to make decisions, but also guide your architect on your preferences.Use the triangle in the diagram below and put a dot on the paper in relation to what is the most important thing to you with your project.

time focused project will have a spot around the time point.For a cost time balance, the spot will be along the line between the cost and time points. A perfectly balanced project would have a dot right in the middle.

5) Services

The services within your home refer to the supply of electricity, gas, water and drainage.

Take a look at the space that you want to develop.Is the the area where you’re planning to extend going to affect the services to the property? If the answer is yes then you may need to think about moving the water, electric, or gas meters?

6) Neighbouring Properties

Will the proposal affect the neighbouring properties?

  • Could there be problems with overlooking?

  • Could they complain about their “Right to light?”

  • Are there any significant trees on site that may need to be removed? Whose trees are they? Are they protected?

  • Who owns the boundary fence, wall or hedge?

  • Would your addition overshadow their garden?

7)  Planning & Neighbours

If planning is required, the chances are nowadays your neighbours will object. People tend to object to planning applications as some sort of hobby. If your neighbours still object, ultimately they will have to raise a material planning objection and submit this to the local authority. It will fall to the case officer at the local planning authority to weigh up the objections, decide whether there are material considerations and determine if the proposals are acceptable. 

8) Design style

In your plan get some ideas about the styles that you like

9) The whole project 

Try to think beyond the extension itself. When organising an extension you can get caught up with planning the extra space and forget about the rest of your existing home.

Your new extension can affect the rest of the house. Depending on what your new plans entail you may need to budget for spending money elsewhere to make improvements to the overall space.

For example, if you are planning on creating a new kitchen and family space that leads directly onto the garden, you may want to allocate money towards improving the garden, landscape design or even interior design of the house.

Whilst the house is being altered it is the perfect time to complete other works that create mess and disturbance. If you can, why not get all the improvements done together to save time, future mess and money? Plus the overall affect will be much more impressive and satisfying!

10)  Sustainability 

Is your development an opportunity to improve the thermal performance and lower the running costs of your new home?

Your existing house may currently suffer thermally in areas due to condensation, single glazed windows, poor ventilation and the lack of loft insulation. This could be an ideal time to improve the sustainability of your home whilst saving you money in the long term.

Older properties have the most to gain in this respect, there are many easy wins if you know what to look for.

Think about:

  • Cavity wall insulation

  • Loft Insulation

  • Energy efficient windows and doors

  • Upgrade your boiler & radiators – will your existing heating system be able to cope with your new plans?

  • Solar panels

  • Ground source or air source heat pumps?

Having read the above key points you have a great basis in which to form your brief with your 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. If  you need any help on planning our Empire Building project LTD team will be happy to help, so why not call us on 0333 050 9443!



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