THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUILDING AN EXTENSION

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So, you’re considering extending your home? 

Although the cost of building an extension can be significant, it is a sure-fire way to add value to your home and will serve those looking to move away in a few year's time just as well as those who are setting up for the long haul.

As with any major project, there are a lot of factors that need to be carefully considered before any work on an extension can be undertaken. From initial designs to planning applications, supplies to labor costs, each stage of the process has the potential to cause major disruptions to the project if it is not thought through beforehand.

1. Design

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If you've designed the extension yourself you may need the aid of a designer or draftsperson to draw up your plans to submit them for planning approval (if required) and a structural engineer to produce drawings and calculations for Building Regs’ purposes.

Choose someone who's worked on similar projects before and understands what you're trying to achieve with the budget you have.

2. Cost

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Extension budget is one area where most people fall down, often underestimating the time and money that is required to complete the project. Adequately budgeting for an extension is one of the most important things to consider when planning a project to improve your home. Here are a few tips to remember:

  • You should be realistic about what you want to achieve.
  • Don't over-stretch yourself financially. Only take on a project that you feel you can comfortably manage.
  • Try to leave some money aside for emergency funds in case anything goes wrong or any changes need to be made.
  • While doing as much of the work yourself as possible could save you on labor costs, it will take much longer and the quality of the extension could suffer.
  • Remember if you are planning on selling your house that each month the project takes means an extra mortgage repayment that needs to be budgeted also.
  • Try to account in your budget for planning permission and Building Regulations application fees.
  • Set some money aside for the costs of decorating the new extension and any new furniture that you may need.

Your budget is not to do with setting architectural fees, or your consultants and contractors spending up to the top end of your 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.

However, most people want more than they can actually achieve with their budget. Unless you tell your architect what your budget is, then there is no way that they can tell you whether your expectations are realistic.

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 VAT.

3. Access to the site

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You’ll need to factor in how trucks and lorries will reach the property and unload large items and materials. You’ll also need to determine where trades will park and store their tools.

4. Services

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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 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?

Don’t forget the drainage to the property. Is there drainage in the area of the proposed works? Drainage is sometimes adopted by the local water board, particularly when shared with the neighbours. If you intend your extension to be built over an adopted sewer, a 'build over sewer' application will be necessary. If you’re unsure this is a question to ask your architect.

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!

Need help? Looking for contractors? Get in touch with us!  020 7916 2087 We offer our clients 2 key services: Design + Build and Build/Renovate. We take you from the very first stage to the last. Our architects, planners, engineers, and designers work to help you save money and get the right results on time, within budget.

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