Homeownership 101: Planning an Extension

A lot of people end up outgrowing their homes as they add to their families or take on more responsibility. When this happens, you have two choices: either upsize to a bigger property or build an extension onto your current property.

Depending on your budget and timescale, an extension may be the more cost-effective and practical choice. However, choosing to build an extension does present its own set of challenges that need to be thought about, so let’s get into it.

Before You Commit

You should ask yourself several things before you decide to commit to building an extension. First and foremost, will your plans add value to your property and your lives? Working out whether your extension will add value to your home and how much can help to inform your budget to ensure that the extension is as cost-effective as possible.

Next, you need to know whether or not you will need planning permission. Some extensions don’t require any special permissions because they have permitted development rights. This tends to apply to smaller projects; bigger projects tend to require planning permission.

Check with your local council to see whether or not you are required to submit a planning application. During your application for planning permission, you might discover that you need to submit evidence alongside your application. This could be the plans themselves, an environmental impact study, or a survey.

Having these surveys to submit alongside your application can swing the council when it comes to approving your application. Depending on where you are planning to build, they could even shape your plans themselves, so they are worth doing. For example, tree surveys for planning applications are quite common. When it comes to having the surveys done, you need to think about who is doing them. Arbtech covers the whole of the UK, and they also have an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Regardless of whether or not you need planning permission, your extension must still be fully compliant with the relevant building regulations. Workers need to be accredited and qualified to carry out the work. The qualifications range by job, so be sure to double-check. If your extension fails to comply with the relevant regulations, you could be forced to tear down your extension.

Before you start any project of this magnitude on your home, you need to contact your home insurance provider to make them aware of your plans. This is because an extension adds value to your home. Your insurance company uses the value of your home to determine the price of your premiums.

Failing to let your insurance provider know your plans can void your policy should damage occur. On rare occasions, your provider may not cover your extension, in which case you will need to find a new provider before your policy lapses.

Unfortunately, building projects can often put you at odds with your neighbors. It has been known to cause major disputes. If your project is bigger and requires planning permission, then it is likely that your neighbors will be notified and consulted with by the local authority.

However, as a courtesy, you should let them know about your plans in advance, especially if there is going to be any disruption to them.

The next thing to think about is whether you have a party wall. A party wall is a shared wall, usually between terraces or semi-detached homes, but it does also include exterior walls or boundary walls. A party wall agreement is usually needed for loft conversions or extensions that require new foundations.

Designing the Extension

When it comes to designing your extension, there are a few things that you need to think about. Firstly, if you are planning a bigger project, it may be worth consulting an architect. Hiring an architect is not a legal obligation, but it does often make things easier, though it does constitute an extra expense that you may not be prepared for.

When hiring professionals for your extension, whether builders, engineers, or architects, it is important that you are able to provide as much detail as possible. What do you want, where will your extension go, how nig do you want it to be, what timescale are you working towards, and how do you intend to pay?

Before you begin to look for your tradesman, you need to have as many of these details nailed down as possible. Your plans may change or adapt depending on the advice that you receive from the professionals, but you should still go into the process with an idea of what you want to achieve.

Hiring the Builders

The builders that you choose speak directly to the success of your project and the timescale that you can expect. You should always vet your tradesman before you hire. Comparison sites or online reviews of their business can come in handy. When you have a few contenders in mind, you should shop around and request quotes.

You should aim to get at least three quotes by different contractors. This can then give you an idea of how much the extension should cost; you may find that two of the quotes are within the same ballpark, and one is far more or far less expensive; this contractor should be avoided.

Work Out Your Budget

This is another important consideration that you need to make when it comes to planning an extension to your home. Think about how much you can afford versus what you want doing. Remember that a lot of the cost comes from the foundations, so a two-story extension is not that pricey than a single story. After deciding on your budget and receiving quotes, you should think about setting aside another ten per cent of the overall cost for any unexpected expenses that may arise.

In Conclusion

The truth is that people outgrow their homes. However, an extension is often cheaper than upsizing. You get to stay in a home that you love that you have dedicated time and money to getting just right. Not to mention the fact that an extension can often greatly increase the value of your home too. If you are thinking of building an extension, be sure to keep in mind the above advice.

Home Base Project Team
Home Base Project Team
At The Home Base Project, we offer practical, real-life tips and inspiration about DIY, decorating and gardening. The Home Base Project provide the best information about home renovation and design, connecting home design enthusiasts and home professionals across the world.