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Thinking of extending? Read this first!


Are you thinking of extending?

When considering an extension, you need to think about a few fundamentals to ensure that you are making the right choice and spending your hard earned money in the most effective way.

What are your reasons?  For example are you looking at this as an alternative to moving or as a way of increasing the value of your property so that you can sell for a higher price?  Location can be a big factor in determining the maximum value of a property so extending might not increase the value beyond that maximum.

Any building work on your property will be intrusive on your everyday life and depending on what you plan to do, you might even have to move out whilst the work is taking place. Replacing a kitchen or bathroom will probably be the most disruptive to your life. Whilst worth it in the end, it can be a very stressful time. It is a common known fact that it will probably take longer than you think and may cost you more than you budgeted for.

However, that being said, extending your current property can add value when you come to sell, create a better living space for you and your family and generally mean you might be able to stay in your current home a few years longer.

things to consider before you start

Things to consider before you start:

  • What is my budget? Bear in mind that most builds will cost more than you think so build in a contingency – 10% is a good rule of thumb.
  • How much value will it add? If it isn’t going to add value it might not be worth doing.
  • Will I at least make my money back? The minimum you will want to achieve is for the work to make you your money back when you eventually sell.
  • Do you need good weather? It might be more suitable to do the work in the summer.
  • Is your property listed? If so you may be prevented from doing what you want to do so check first.
  • Has a neighbour done a similar thing, could you ask to have a look?
  • Will we need to move out whilst the work is being done?

the process

The process

Before you commit to spending any money talk to an estate agent and find out how much value the work might add to the property. If you are thinking about extending on the ground floor and perhaps going up into the loft as well, your estate agent should be able tell you which will add the most value.
Once you have completed your research and decided that extending your home is the right decision, you will need to:

  1. Get your plans drawn up by an architect – speak to the architect and make sure they understand exactly what it is you want to achieve. They will be able to offer lots of suggestions to make the most of the space.
  1. Submit planning permission to your local council – Now you are happy with the plans, it’s time to submit them. Usually your architect can do this for you. Expect it to take around 8 weeks for you to hear if yours has passed and bear this in mind when booking in builders. It is also worth noting that there is a cost for submitting your plans.
  2. Get quotes from builders – Have a time frame in mind when speaking to builders and try to remember they can have quite long lead in times so try and book your builders in in plenty of time.
  3. Building control – Speak to your architect about the best way to organise building control. Building control are there to ensure the work is being carried out correctly and that you are abiding by the correct laws.
  1. Structural engineer– You will need a structural engineer to draw up plans to ensure your build will be structurally sound. They will look at the house and draw up plans which your builders will follow.
  2. Start the work – There will always be things that crop up whilst the build is getting underway. If you live in an old house you might find that new foundations need to be built, something you weren’t expecting but will have very little control over. The more relaxed you can try to be and the more organised you are, the easier the chaos will be on you and your family.

what happens when the work is finished?

What happens when the work is finished?

Once the building work is finished, you will need to gain a completion certificate from your building control officer. This certificate is a vital piece of paper as it confirms that your project complies with the Building Regulations, and it will help you re-mortgage or sell your home in the future.

Need advice?

Head to for more information on planning, building control and more.




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