10 things you need to know before adding that dream extension
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Do you have your heart set on building a new extension for your home? If you do then it’s important that this decision is not taken lightly. There are many things that you need to carefully consider right from the initial idea through to the final build. Below we share 10 essential things you need to know before going ahead with your dream extension.

1. The cost.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty, that of money. Adding an extension to your home will cost you a considerable amount of money and it is very easy for your finances to quickly spiral out of control. It is important that you set yourself a budget from the very beginning and come up with a detailed plan of all costs. You need to factor in any planning permission costs, architectural fees and hidden charges such as VAT. Take your time in setting a budget that is realistic and carefully work out all associated costs before you even begin the design process.

2. Why do you need an extension?

This should probably be your first question as the reason behind this will greatly influence the style and use of space. Do you simply want to add value to your home before you plan to sell? Do you want to create an additional living room? Do you want to extend a narrow galley kitchen? You need to know exactly why you wish to add an extension to your home and then build upon this idea in the design and planning process.

3. Room for access

One thing that many homeowners forget when planning an extension is that of access to the build site. This needs careful consideration, especially if you live in a terraced house and do not have a driveway. If this is the case, then builders will need to gain access through your property and find an alternative space to park their work van. You also need to consider ceiling height and if you have any low beams that could make transporting large items through your property a little bit difficult. So, think carefully about access and parking during the build.

4. You need to consider your neighbours

When preparing to add an extension to your property, it is important that you consider your neighbours, especially if your property borders theirs and you share a party wall. If this is the case then you may need a party wall agreement. A party wall specialist can help you with this and complete any paperwork on your behalf. Even if you don’t share a party wall, it is only polite to alert your neighbours to any planned work and any subsequent disruption.

5. When the build happens

This may seem like the last thing you need to worry about, but it’s important that you think about what will happen to you and your family when the building work takes place. This is especially important if you have young kids and the builders need to turn off the water and electricity supply. Could you go and stay with relatives? Or perhaps book a week away somewhere local? Think about your options, and if you do plan to stay in your property, how best to achieve this.

6. The time it will take

Building an extension on your property will obviously take time. It’s important that you know how long the proposed work will take from demolition of any existing structures such as a garage or outbuilding, to the finished build. Not only do you have to factor in the paperwork, but you need to consider your own schedule and that of any builders or tradespeople who are working on your property.

7. Project manage the build

Every new extension project will need a project manager. You may decide to do this job yourself if you have the time and relevant skills. But, ideally, it is best to call in an expert to do this job for you. They are able to coordinate the work, schedule tasks and tradespeople, while ensuring the smooth running of the build. Having a project manager also means that you are more likely to stick to your schedule and have the extension finished on time.

8. Hire an designer 

If you plan to build an extension then it is probably a good idea to use architectural services. They will have the knowledge and experience to draw up plans that are both practical and safe. They know how to utilise any available space, where best to place windows and doors, and they know fire safety regulations and most importantly they will work with your ideas to create the space you need. Using an architectural designer and a structural engineer to draw up plans will ultimately keep you safe.

9. Planning permission

When planning your dream extension you need to find out if the build requires planning permission. In most cases, this is not required, but in some cases, such as when working on a listed building or when there are height restrictions, planning permission will be needed. It’s always a good idea to check with your local council about planning restrictions on residential properties and to gain advice from them. If you are using architectural services then they can also assist you with this problem.

10. The right builders

You really need to do your homework when finding the right builders. Always check that they have the right credentials such as building certification and that they are registered gas safe. Do some digging and ask around. Recommendations from friends are always useful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s also a good idea to get several quotes before you make your mind up.

Here at AC Design Solutions, we can be with you at every step of your extension project. We offer a range of services including structural engineers, architectural design and party wall services in London. To learn more about our services and our interior design consultant London service, then please do get in touch with us today.