Extension Checklist: What to Consider Before the Builders Move in

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Extending your property is a great way to create much needed extra space in your home, it is also often cheaper than moving to a new house as you avoid the need to pay stamp duty and agency fees. With the right design and execution, you can add significant value to your property whilst creating a wonderful new space that is tailored to all your family needs.
With that said, there is a lot to consider before you can put your plans into motion. To help with preparations, we have created a checklist to set you on the right path.

1. Make a Considered Brief for your Designer/Builder

One crucial consideration is how well-balanced your new house will be. For example, if you want to add a new kitchen /diner and upstairs bedroom, you may also need to add a bathroom to serve the extra accommodation. If you don’t make your house well-balanced, it will be more difficult to sell in the future. Other things to consider are, where does the light come in? Do I want to sit and enjoy a view of my garden? Do I want my bedroom to be close to my child’s? Do I want a bath tub in the new bathroom? Think about how you live your daily life, things you enjoy and concerns you have.

2. Set a Budget

Create a realistic budget and give it to your designer/ builder (minus contingency). Don’t be blasé about budget, if you are, you may get into a situation where you can’t afford to finish your lavish plans and the building process will be very stressful. An important thing to remember is that some building companies will provide you with an estimation, not a quote, don’t get confused between the two.

3. Apply for Planning Permission

Firstly, you need to establish if you need planning permission. Some single and multi-storey extensions are allowed under permitted development rights. But your project will need to fit into a range of restrictions relating to size, height, orientation and materials. For larger projects, or extensions on older buildings it is more than likely that you will need planning permission. Either contact your architect or ring your local council for advice on planning permission. If you need permission, remember, this can sometimes be a lengthy process and you may need to adapt your plan if the council has any objections.

4. Consider Your Neighbours

If you are looking to extend a semi or terraced property, you will need to consider the effect that extension will have on the neighbour’s property. Design your new extension with respect and awareness of their house in mind, avoid overlooking and overcrowding where possible. You will also need to consider the auspices of the Party Wall Act if your new extension involves one boundary or party wall. If you fall into this, a suitable agreement with the affected neighbour will need to be secured.

5. Create an Access Plan

If you’re planning a rear or side extension and live in a semi-detached property, then getting materials on site could prove an issue. It should still be possible to execute the extension, but it may add time and cost so make sure you discuss this with your builder.

6. Establish Where Drains are Located

If there’s an existing drainage route under or close to the location you have in mind for an extension, this may need to be moved before your project starts. It will be more of a complex issue if it is a shared public sewer, then you’ll need to ask the water company to make alterations.

7. Check You’re Insured

Most standard buildings insurance policies won’t cover your property whilst you have major work done to your house. To make sure you are covered you’ll need specialist site insurance to cover the extension project.

If you take all this information into consideration before getting started you are less likely to come across any nasty surprises and un-planned expenditures. You are even likely to enjoy watching your house transformation if you work with an experienced professional team to plan, design and build your dream home…

Trading for 15 years, John O’ Connell have built a reputation for innovative design and attention to detail. With your budget in mind, we provide fixed price quotations for all projects and pride ourselves on finishing all projects on time and within budget. If you would like to enquire about our building services or need any help or advice with regards to your new extension, please contact us on 01206 396667.
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