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Building An Extension

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 15 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Storey Property Renovation Renovate

With house prices the way they are these days it’s no wonder that many householders choose to extend their property rather than sell and move on. An extension can give growing families the extra room they need and, if planned properly, will add value to the house. Now that the housing boom has taken so many houses above the higher stamp duty threshold, it’s possible to build for less than the cost of moving.

Know Your Own Mind

It’s essential to know exactly why you’re extending and what you want to use the extra space for. If the tiny kitchen is getting you down you can give yourself a bigger kitchen, more space in the dining room and build in a utility room too. If the family is growing you might need extra space downstairs, but have you considered factoring in an extra bedroom or bathroom at the same time?

The majority of extensions are single story additions, and doing both storeys might seem like a big job, but consider whether or not it might be worthwhile. A lot of the cost of an extension is in the roof, and that’s the same for one storey or two, and the aggravation while the building work is going on won’t be a great deal more. The extra bedroom should reap dividends, as in the UK houses are valued on their number of bedrooms rather than overall space.

Talk to the Planners

Planning permission is almost certain to be required for all but the smallest extensions, particularly if it’s going to have plumbing for a kitchen, utility room or bathroom. The rules as to what needs permission and what doesn’t differ around the United Kingdom so it’s essential to get in touch with your local planning department.

Hiring an architect is a good idea, not only will they know the regulations and deliver plans that can be used by the planning department and the builders, but they will also be able to show you ideas that you may not have though of yourself.

Internal Space

Plan the internal layout carefully, think about the paths that people take through the house now, and where they will go when the extension is in place. Try to avoid rooms with doors at either end as they end up becoming wide corridors with hard to use spaces at the sides.

An architect or builder will be able to pick out places where your ideal layout may cause building problems, or snags linking into existing services such as plumbing, gas, drainage and electricity.

Exterior Choices

It is very important to arrive at an external design that will enhance, rather than detract from, your home. Unless you are doing a simple one-storey box on the back of your home and you don’t think you’ll be moving for a number of years, it’s critical that the new build blends in with the existing property. Look at what others have done in your area to similar homes and if you know anyone who’s had a good job done recently ask to have a look round and find out who they used.

Get Cracking!

Once you have a good idea of what you need, look for builders, preferably through personal recommendation. Follow the tips in the articles in our ‘Getting Started’ section for more details on the actual build process.

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