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Building an Extension – What to Consider

Thu 11 Sep 2014

With house prices reaching record highs, more and more people are sticking with their current house. Many homeowners are now turning to extensions, as not only does it make sense economically, but it also provides them with more space.

It is important to really think about how an extension will work for your property before you before you jump straight in. Here are some key points to take into consideration when building an extension:

Design

It is important to think about the design of your extension and how it will look and feel once it has been built. Try to match any prominent features and materials it will have with those that already exist in your home, such as the roof and walls.

It can also be a good idea to speak to your neighbours when considering an extension, as they will want to make sure it blends in with the rest of the neighbourhood and doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Speak to an architect and find out what is and isn’t possible with the space and budget that you have.

Planning

The majority of people will need to be granted planning permission before any work can be done. This is so that councils can keep an eye on the different ways that towns and cities are being developed.

Once the council receives your plans, a committee will make a decision on whether permission is granted. This can take up to 8 weeks and if granted must be used within five years. You can find out more about planning permission on the Government’s Planning Portal.

Building

Planning permission isn’t the only tricky part of creating an extension; you also need to stick to building regulations. These rules are put in place to ensure that the minimum designs and construction standards are met throughout the build.

The majority of builders will send a Full Plan Submission to the local authority, then you will pay a fee and an inspector will come and visit the site at various stages of the construction.

Builders

Unless you already know a builder who you trust, it can be tricky deciding who to hire. The best way to find a reliable builder is through word of mouth. Speak to your neighbours and ask if there is anyone they would recommend.

It is also a good idea to get a few different quotes, to find out how long each builder thinks the job will take and whether they will be doing the job themselves. Here’s a great checklist for all the things you want to consider when choosing a builder.

Budgeting

The budget can be the main place where people fall when it comes to building an extension. It is important not underestimate the amount of time and money that the project will take from start to finish.

Don’t forget you will also need to pay fees for the planning permission and building regulations, and once the extension is finished you will most likely want to decorate it.

Be realistic from the start about what you want to achieve and don’t stretch yourself in terms of money. Only take on a project when you feel comfortable doing so and try and create a financial buffer for anything extra that may be needed.

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