There’s no doubt that building an extension is a big investment, both in time and money. Before you decide to bite the bullet and get the work done, there are a few factors you will need to consider carefully.
Is an Extension Right for your Property?
The biggest question you need to answer before proceeding is whether you are making the right decision. An extension may seem like a good idea while you’re sat in bed thinking about the wonderful possibilities, but it is going to have a big impact, particularly on the amount of outdoor space you will have left to you. It’s important to weigh the pros and cons and come to a measured decision rather than rushing into things.
Planning Permission and Legislation
The chances are you will need to get planning permission for an extension. This can vary from council to council and will depend on several factors, not least whether your neighbours object and the impact on the local environment. The laws and regulations in this area can be quite confusing for the layperson, so it’s worth working with a builder that knows their way around the challenges of planning applications and can advise you accordingly.
One good idea is to check your local area for properties that have similar extensions. Usually planning applications are a matter of public record and can be accessed via the internet. It’s a great way to get a feel for the local planning laws and any hurdles you might face.
Time wise, getting planning permission and building regulation approval can take several months so be prepared for this. It can be a long-winded process.
Choosing an Architect and Builder
You will need to get someone to work on the design of your extension and that means hiring the services of an architect. Some construction businesses have these in-house or can recommend someone who they work with regularly. You need to be clear on your brief and what you want the extension to achieve.
Finding the right builder can be a big challenge. You should take your time over this and get at least three or four different quotes. Ask family and friends for recommendations of people they have used, search the internet, check reviews and do all the due diligence you can before hiring a builder. There is some great advice available on the Federation of Master Builder’s website.
If you are creating an extension that needs to fit in with the design of the rest of the house, there may be extra costs involved in sourcing the right materials, particularly for older and unusal properties.
Choosing the Right Time to Start Work
Another aspect you will need to think hard about is when you want work to start and when you want it to finish by. Bear in mind projects of this nature often over run, so be realistic with your expectations and build in a time-buffer. An extension is going to cause a lot of disruption to the household. You may want to move out of the house while work is going on. If that’s not possible, you need to liaise with the builders so that you minimise disruption. You will also need to handle any potential issues with neighbours and keep them informed of what is going on, including when work is about to begin and what they can expect.While there is a lot to consider, putting effort into the planning of your extension will certainly help the project to run a lot smoother. Our main piece of advice is don’t rush things – this is a big investment and one you’ll have to live with for a long time to come, so take time to contemplate each stage or challenge as they arise, before making your decision.