Are you considering extending your home? With so much extra time spent indoors during lockdown, you may have become all too familiar with your property’s current limitations. Carrying out an extension could improve your quality of life as well as adding value should you come to sell in the future.
They’re popular too, with the number of people choosing to improve their homes rather than move increasing five-fold between 2013 and 2018. It’s a trend that’s only likely to continue with the uncertainty around the pandemic and Brexit.
An extension still represents a sizeable project however, and there are various things to think about at each stage of the process. Read our beginner’s walkthrough below.
Start with the bigger picture
First things first, you need to visualise your end goal. Ask yourself why you want an extension and what features it needs to fulfil that desire. Do you want a larger kitchen, more space to socialise, or extra room for utilities? Perhaps a home office could be on your mind due to the predicted rise of home working.
Next is to assess where you can extend – to the rear or side for example – and which option offers the most potential. You’ll also need to consider how much of your outdoor space you’re prepared to give up.
Even if only a rough plan, your decisions in this stage will guide things like the cost and timeframe of your project as well as whether you need planning permission.
Put together a budget
It’s common to hear horror stories of home improvement projects going over budget. Carefully review your financial situation before you get started, looking at your current income and outgoings as well as what’s on the horizon. This way you can establish whether you’ll need any external help to get it done.
Your budget will need to cover building materials and features as well as labour costs for designing, building and possibly decorating. It’s wise to allocate an additional 10% for unexpected extras.
Do you need planning permission?
Relaxed regulations in recent years have allowed homeowners ‘permitted development rights’, creating certain scenarios in which planning permission isn’t required. These include limits of 8m single-storey extensions to the rear of detached houses and 3m for double storey extensions.
You can also usually build on up to 50% of your home’s existing land – but there are lots of stipulations. Different rules apply for listed properties and conservation areas for example. Check the Planning Portal for more detail.
Finding architects and builders
It’s likely you’ll need to need to speak to various professionals depending on your level of design and build experience. An architect will help you draw up plans and realise what’s possible – as long as you provide a detailed brief. You can use the details you outlined in step one.
You’ll also want to find a builder you can trust to get the work done to a high quality. Compare local tradespeople and ask friends and family for recommendations. With both builders and architects, it’s smart to shop around and compare quotes before committing to any agreements.
With all these practicalities covered, you’ll be ready to get to work on improving your home.