Getting an extension built is an exciting prospect, but it can also be quite daunting. While it’s great to think about all that extra space, the thought of the actual construction work taking place on your property can make you worry.
Will it be too expensive? Will it cause a mess? How can you make sure you’ve hired a reputable company to build it? These are all questions you might be considering when thinking about getting an extension. Well, you’re right to consider all the different aspects of getting an extension done, as it’s not a project to be taken on lightly. So, here are some of the questions you should have answered before you undertake a house extension.
Do I Have Enough Space for What I Want?
First of all, you will need to make sure you have enough space on your property to build the extension. This will depend on what kind of extension you want to build. A new bedroom or bathroom might not take up too much room, but a new kitchen or a larger extension may significantly impact how much space you have left in your garden.
Visualise how much space your new room will take up, you can use markers or rope to map out the new extension on your property or use the size of an existing room as a guideline. But you will also need to take into consideration a limit on the size. The extension must remain subservient to the original house, and you will need to ensure it will not inappropriately block your neighbour’s light or obscure their views.
How Can I Make the Extension More Cost-Efficient?
A big concern you may have about building an extension is the cost. They can indeed incur high costs, and you may end up going over budget due to unforeseen circumstances. That’s why it’s essential to plan ahead so you can make the project as cost-efficient as possible.
Do your research into the costs and figure out what’s best for you. You may have to compromise on a more simple design to save on costs, as a simple configuration like a rectangle with a pitched roof will be cheaper than a more complicated design. You may also consider the types of fittings and DIY products for designing and opt for more cost-effective options to save on costs.
What you shouldn’t do is compromise on a builder. If a quoted price seems too good to be true, it probably is. It would be less cost-effective to end up having to get work re-done if you went for a cheap, non-reliable contractor who does a shoddy job. Make sure you get a contract written up with the amounts detailed, so you know what you’ll be spending. You can talk to your contractor about pricing, and they should be able to offer advice to cut down on costs without compromising on quality.
Do I Need Planning Permission?
In the UK, you typically don’t need planning permission to build an extension if specific limitations and conditions are met under permitted development rights. For example, only half the area of land around your house can be covered by an extension, it cannot be higher than the highest part of the existing roof, and the exterior work must be of similar appearance to the exterior of the existing house.
In England, a single-storey rear extension can be three metres deep for terraces and semi-detached homes, or eight metres deep for detached houses. Your contractor should be able to advise you as to whether your project meets permitted development criteria.
Will it be Possible to Get Natural Sunlight in?
A key consideration for extensions is whether you will be able to get enough warmth and sunlight into the house. If you’ve already lived in the property for some time, you should be familiar with where the sun enters the property during the different seasons. More natural light will make your extension more comfortable, especially if it’s a room like a living room where you will spend a lot of time.
However, while a large window can be great for letting in sunlight, you should be aware that in the summer, the position could cause the room to become scorching hot and make the space unliveable. This is where a good understanding of orientation and glazing specification is critical. An architect or building designer should be able to help you achieve the best results.
How Do I Find the Right Contractors?
Before you can” begin work, you need to get the right people in for the job. You’ve probably heard plenty of stories of terrible building work done by dodgy companies, and you might be worried about accidentally hiring one.
You should also ask for recommendations and read plenty of reviews before hiring a company. Find one that has experience building extensions, especially if they’ve worked within a similar budget to yours. Create a shortlist of contractors to ask for quotes from. You will likely want to go with the cheapest, but make sure you only do so if you are confident that they will be able to do the job to your satisfaction. And if one company is significantly cheaper than the others, there might be a reason for that, and it would be wise to be cautious.