Whether it’s to add value to your property or just create more space, house extensions are a great way to build more rooms onto your current home so you don’t need to move into a bigger property. However, construction work of any scale requires a lot of planning and careful consideration before the work even begins. Here’s a breakdown of the things you need to plan out and think about so you can design that perfect extension for your home.
Consider the Costs
An extension is a serious financial undertaking. You’ll need to consider how much it will cost you and whether you have the finances to not only pay, but also whether you have extra money set aside just in case something goes wrong.
The costs of an extension will depend on the quality, size and complexity of the extension design. However, a rough guide is around £1,000 to £2,000 per square metre. If you’re planning to enlist in the services of an architect or designer, you’ll need to factor in additional costs. If your extension will have electricity and heating, especially if it’s a kitchen extension, you may also want to consider the rising costs of your energy bills that will be a result of the finished extension.
Find Out if You Need Planning Permission
Not all extensions need planning permission. Planning permission is essentially asking the local authority if you can perform the building work. You can read all the criteria by which an extension would not need planning permission on the Gov.uk website. To find out if you need planning permission, you can contact your local planning authority. Most planning applications are decided within eight weeks, unless they are especially large or complex, then it will be up to thirteen weeks.
Ensure You Meet Building Regulations
Building regulations are the minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to buildings. They are developed by the UK government and approved by parliament. There are different parts of the regulations that need to be met pertaining to the likes of fire safety, ventilation, drainage, security and access etc. If you are carrying out the work yourself, the responsibility to ensure you comply with these regulations is with you, but if you’re employing tradespeople then the responsibility will usually be theirs.
Talk to Your Insurance Provider
You’ll need to contact your home and contents insurance provider to let them know your plans. The extension will need to be taken into account when they are pricing premiums, and if you fail to let them know about the work and there’s a problem with your property you may find that your policy is void. Your provider will let you know if your policy will cover your new extension, you may find it increases – which is another cost to factor in.
Consider the Neighbours
Whilst you don’t need your neighbours permission to do work on your own home, provided you have planning permission, you will need to observe the Party Wall Act 1996 and put a party wall agreement in place with the neighbours if you have any shared walls.
You must serve a notice at least two months before work begins. It’s a good idea to have a chat with your neighbours about your plans before serving the notice so they have an idea of what kind of construction will be taking place. If your neighbours give consent to the work (it’s a good idea to get this in writing) you will not require a party wall agreement and this can save on fees, which are around £700 to £900 per neighbour.
Reliable tradespeople are the key to a successful home improvement project. Online reviews are a good place to start, and asking around friends and family who have had work done is also a good way to find builders you can rely on to get the job done. You should always vet the tradespeople you hire to minimise the risk of hiring a dodgy company.
As with most things, it pays to shop around for the best deal. It’s a good idea to get at least three quotes from three different contractors for the work. If you find that there are large disparities between the prices you’re being quoted, you should get more quotes to find the price which seems the most consistent.
Plan What to Do During Construction
Given the noise and disruption construction work can bring, you may not want to live in your home whilst the work in taking place. Consider asking friends or relatives about temporarily moving in with them whilst the work is going on, or using a service like Airbnb to temporarily rent a room to live in.