Extending your house is not only popular lately but it`s also necessary for most people. An extension can radically improve your property. Bigger, better space and extra rooms can add value, and make a house more attractive to buyers. The decision to do extension is difficult and you have to know enough about design, the law, construction and planning.
First you have to think about why you want to make an extension. Will it look right? Does it Improve My Home? Can I afford an extension? Find out the current value of your home, and then you’ll need to get an estimated value of what your home will be worth once the extension is complete. If the added value is greater than the cost of building the extension then it’s full steam ahead.
Whether you are extending the ground or first (or indeed second!) floor of your house, you need to know what this extra space will be used for. Balance Your Accommodation. Try to think about your home as a box and the walls as paper which you can slide around how you want to. Often, after compromises for supporting walls etc., you can come up with something much more efficient for your lifestyle. If you are extending to add extra bedrooms, clearly creating the number of bedrooms needed for the household is the main priority, but this should, if at all possible, be balanced by an increase in the number of bathrooms. Future buyers will expect at least one bathroom and a shower room on a four or five bedroom house and without this the value will be constrained.
Consider Adding Basement Space. If you have an existing cellar, you can convert it into living space without using up your permitted development rights — the volume you can add to a building without needing planning permission. Creating basement windows and external access will not usually require planning permission either, although it is always worth checking your local authority’s policy on basements. All work must, however, comply with the Building Regulations.
Get to know the Building Regulations. Even if you do not need planning permission for your extension because you are using permitted development rights, you must get building regulation approval. The Building Regulations set out minimum requirements for structural integrity, fire safety, energy efficiency, damp proofing, ventilation and other key aspects that ensure a building is safe. Most repair work is excluded from the Building Regulations, with the exceptions of replacement windows, underpinning and rewiring. All new building work, including alterations, must comply with the Building Regulations.
Once you have dealt with planning, if you are in a hurry to start building your extension, you can commence work immediately after giving the local authority building control department 48 hours’ notice. You are required to submit a ‘Building Notice’ and the required fee. Generally the Building Notice method is more suitable for simple works where detailed drawings are not required, but it can be used for any project, with the exception of work to listed buildings. For most extensions it is best to make a Full Plans application. This involves submitting detailed drawings, specifications, calculations and a location plan for inspection by the local authority, together with the application forms and appropriate fee. Building control has to respond within five weeks unless you agree to give them an extension to two months. A Full Plans submission allows any irregularities to be resolved before work commences. With a Building Notice, the building control officers can ask for proof of compliance at any stage, so it is essential to make sure they make all necessary inspections and provide any structural calculations when requested. When the project is completed and inspected by the local authority, a completion certificate will be issued which will prove useful if the property is ever to be sold on.
The most important is to know how much money you are able to spend on your extension before making any other decisions. Once you know how much you can spend, you can decide where to go from there.