5 things to consider when extending your home
The majority of homeowners looking for skip hire in Greater London are taking advantage to recent changes to permitted development rights that allow them to make certain changes to a residential building without the need to apply for planning permission.
In May 2013, the government increased the size limits for the depth of single-storey domestic extensions for detached houses from 4m to 8m and from 3m to 6m for all other houses.
This move was originally planned to last for three years and sparked a spike in domestic building projects in and around the M25 as homeowners sought to make the most of soaring property values by adding loft conversions, ground floor extensions and other remodelling work to increase a home’s size.
But last year, the government announced extended its temporary extension to permitted development rights would continue until May 2019.
But before you join the rush to extend your family’s living space, here are a few things you need to consider…
1. Set a realistic budget and stick to it
Unless money is no object to you, the cost of the building project is one of the most fundamental questions that needs consideration. After all, there’s little point spending £100,000 on a home extension if it will only add £50,000 to the value of your property.
Before you start buying breeze blocks or arranging skip hire, set yourself a reasonable budget. Remember, most professionals in the construction trade will not include VAT in their quotes, so remember to factor that into your cost calculations.
Helpful tip #1
Labour costs represent between half and two-thirds of the budget for a typical extension in the London area. While doing some of the work yourself could save you on labour costs, it will take much longer and the quality of the extension could suffer.
2. What are your needs?
Do you want your building project to provide space for a growing family, a home office or gym, to make better use of your home’s current lay-out or even to provide off-street parking?
Money Saving Experts Said "taking time to consider what you want your building project to achieve will help you ensure it delivers maximum value for money".
3. Will I need professional help?
Yes. When you think you know what you want, you will need to have professional plans drawn up.
Helpful tip #2
The Architects Registration Board has a searchable database of 34,000 professionals around the country at arb.org.uk. The Royal Institute of British Architects also has a find an architect service available at architecture.com.
And if your building work affects a shared wall or is within 6m of your neighbour’s property, you will need to comply with the Party Wall etc Act 1996.
Many building firms now employ their own architects and have legal specialists to deal with all the legislation involved in such projects. They will also arrange the delivery of any building materials the project requires. However, this will add to their costs.
4. How long will my home be a building site?
The bigger the project, the longer it will take to complete. Just because you may not need planning permission, you will still need the consent of your neighbours. Under the neighbourhood consultation scheme, your local authority must give your neighbours the opportunity to object to your plans after it receives them. In fact, it can take about four weeks for a local authority to give your plans the go-ahead.
When building work gets underway, it can take up to three months to complete even a single-storey extension. And if you intend to fit a bathroom or kitchen in part of your new living space, this can add to the time it takes to complete.
5. Set a timetable
Once you have picked your builder, it is vital that you make sure you know the terms of your arrangement by completing a formal contract. You should agree on a timetable with a predefined completion date, although it is best to keep this flexible if possible, as it may be subject to the availability of certain materials, weather or changes you make to the extension's plans.
Although most building firms have a cashflow and credit with local building suppliers, if your builder asks for a downpayment only agree to pay only for the first stage of work in advance. And once the building work is finished, make sure you are fully satisfied with the work before paying the outstanding fees.
Helpful tip #3
To avoid disputes, maintain a dialogue with your builder and raise any issues when they first become a cause for concern.
Space has overtaken location as the first and foremost concern for homeowners for the first time in years, according to new research.
Bigger rooms topped the list of the most important criteria when shopping for a new home, according to a survey of 2,000 homeowners by the Ratedpeople.com website. And one in six people are dissatisfied with the size of the rooms in their home.
While the cost, time and disruption caused by a major building project in your home can be daunting, the benefits of extra space – and the value this adds to your property – will be felt for many years to come.