Adding an extension to your home is a major undertaking so there is a lot to think about. This includes how you will use the extra space, the project cost, its style, and the timescales. While extending your home, you also need to know all about Building Regulations and how your insurance will be affected.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know before extending your home.
What you should know when extending your home
1. Consider your extension’s function
An extension should not be ‘tacked on’ to the back or side of your house giving the impression of an afterthought. It should serve a well-defined function and be incorporated thoughtfully into the existing property with the two spaces flowing into one another seamlessly.
Whether you are adding a kitchen/diner, downstairs bedroom or extra bathroom it pays to consider the layout and how it works for you. You also need to check if your existing services such as heating will cope with the extra space or whether you need to upgrade your system.
2. Choose a style
While extending your home, think about the architectural style of your extension. This will depend on a few things, including your taste, and the age of the house while also respecting any building restrictions that may apply to your property.
The extension can either blend with the current structure or be a contrast to your existing property in a subtle way or with more assertiveness. An extension should enhance a property’s character and it should not detract from its aesthetic appeal.
3. Don’t be too rigid
It’s a sure route to disappointment if you set yourself a rigid schedule for completion while extending your home. There will inevitably be ups and downs with the work and it’s best to have a more relaxed attitude to the timescales to avoid getting too stressed if something is delayed.
Don’t set yourself a deadline such as Christmas or the beginning of the school summer holidays. Any problems or hold-ups that push back your project completion time will add to your stress. Give yourself plenty of time if you want your extension completed at a specific time of year but be realistic about potential delays.
4. Calculate the cost
When extending your home, understand all the costs associated with this kind of project. For any building work, it’s sensible to get at least three quotes. This can mean contacting a minimum of five contractors or building companies as you may not get responses from everyone you ask for a quote.
Whether you are calculating a side extension cost or the price of a two-story rear extension don’t forget you will be paying VAT at 20%. It’s also a good idea to put aside at least 10% of the build cost for unexpected expenses.
5. Know your rights
You must understand what are you allowed to do when it comes to extending your home. Some extensions such as side returns can be carried out under permitted development rights but many types of extensions will require planning permission.
For terraced, semi-detached, and link-detached homes a single-storey rear addition can extend by 3 meters. Detached homes are allowed a 4-meter single-story rear extension. All single-story extensions should be no more than 4 meters in height.
6. Stay legal
Regardless of the type of extension and its size all such projects must comply with current Building Regulations and the work must be carried out by qualified tradespeople.
These workers should either be able to self-certify their work or liaise with a Building Control Officer for certification. If Building Regulations are not followed you risk receiving a notice to remove the extension so it is very important to get this right.
7. Remember it pays to be neighborly
It’s important to maintain a good relationship with your neighbours at the best of times but even more important when you are extending your home.
While you may be living in a construction site they are living next door to one and when the noise and dust settle you will have your new extension but they won’t have gained anything but the disruption. So make sure to let your neighbours know well in advance of your plans for extending your home.
When sharing a party wall you will need to serve adjoining neighbors with a party wall notice and if planning permission is needed your neighbors will be contacted by your local planning department.
If access to the side or rear of your property is limited being on friendly terms with your neighbors may save you the cost of hiring a crane to lift materials over the house.
8. Make sure you’re insured
It’s important to notify your insurance company that you intend to add an extension to your home before the work begins. As the extension will undoubtedly add to the value of your property your insurance company may need to revise your premiums.
Also, cover any potential damage that may occur during the building work to create the extension. Any tradespeople working on your extension project should have professional indemnity insurance in the event of any problems.
Although there is a lot to think about when extending your home it’s helpful to remember that it will add value to your property. Perhaps more importantly the extra space will enhance your home and improve your quality of life.