1. Decide why you want to extend
Extending your home can be very daunting. Especially at the beginning when you may not know where to begin. Although much of the burden will be undertaken by your builder and architect there will be many questions that only you can answer. If you do not already know, decide what you want to use the extension for. More space for a growing family. Increase the size of your kitchen. To add a bathroom. To add bedrooms or extra living space. There are many reasons and all individual to your personal requirements. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind when planning your extension. I have seen many families lose focus on the initial reason for extending. The build may become much larger than originally required or unnecessary extras added. Stay focused to stay on budget.
2. Set yourself a budget
Leading on from the first point it is a good idea to have a budget in mind that you can afford. It is no good allowing an architect to put pen to paper on your dream extension only to find when you get quotes from builders that you cannot afford it. If you trust the architect it might be a good idea to divulge your budget to him so that he can design an extension that you can afford. When deciding the budget you must also remember to put aside an extra 10% for extras. There are always extras. Most of the time these extras will be additions that you require as the build comes to life. There should not be extras from a competent builder if he has completed a quote correctly.
3. Purchasing the correct plans
At this stage the best person to talk to is an architect. A good architect will know what you can build. They should be able to advise what your local council will allow you to build. An architect will draw up the first set of plans to submit to the planning office. Ask your architect for additional sets so that you can hand them to builders to use for their estimates. These first set of plans are only basic and are used to determine “what” you can build. These can be used by builders to formulate estimates only as they will not have all the details. However the second set of plans that your architect will produce are much more detailed with a complete set of specifications. These specifications will include materials to be used and instructions about specific details such as steels or foundations. As the first set of plans determine “what” you can build this second set determines “how” you can build. Do not opt out of purchasing this second set of plans to try to save money. These are the plans that could save you a lot of money as the build gets under way. It is better that everyone is literally working from the same page. It is also important to pass these plans onto the builder that you have chosen so that he can firm up his estimate into a full quotation armed with all the information.
4. Choose the correct builder
It is important to choose the correct builder for your extension. There are far too many considerations to be listed here. Please, instead read the full article 10 Steps to choosing the correct builder for your extension once you have completed this article.
5. The sacrifices you make for your extension
A consideration that is often overlooked is that every home will suffer due to the new extension. Your extension should add much value to your home and to your lifestyle, however there is always a trade off. This may be the loss of part of your garden. The room that you are extending from may now be in the centre of the house and may suffer from a slight lack of direct sunlight. If you are extending to the side of your home you may lose the access to your back garden. Every extension comes with a trade off. If any of these sacrifices or any other that you think of worries you it is best to talk to your architect to try to find solutions.
6. Consider the Additional Extras
When your extension is complete there will be other smaller projects that you will need to undertake. It is better to think about these at the beginning so you can prepare and either include them in your budget or save for a later date. You may require a new patio, decking or garden landscaping. Your new extension will need decorating. If this is not included in the quote this will need to be conducted later at an additional cost or by you when the build is complete. Some clients decide to use the extension as an excuse to replace the internal doors throughout the rest of the house. This may also be true of the existing windows. You may need to replace the boiler to accommodate any additional radiators. You may also require additional electrics or a new consumer unit to accommodate the additional sockets and lighting. As every project is individual there is an endless list of additional extras for you to consider. Speak to your architect and your builder to try to uncover this list of potential extras. It is better to be prepared from the beginning.
7. The disruption the extension may course
A good builder will always try to keep the disruption to you and your family to an absolute minimum. However, it is inevitable that there will be some interruption to your day to day life.
- Your driveway will be required to store some of the bulky materials such as building sand, bricks and blocks and possibly a builders skip. If you have a small driveway you may have to find an alternative place to park.
- If you are having an extension that requires your kitchen or bathroom to be removed you may have to sacrifice a cooked meal for a few nights or a hot shower or bath.
- You may not have much access to your garden for a while as the builder will require somewhere to store equipment and materials.
- There will be dust. I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you. You can’t stop dust. It has a habit of finding it’s way through the most tightly taped joints and partitioned areas. A good builder will endeavour to reduce the mess by using dust sheets, or spend the last half hour each day tidying but there will still be dust.
- You may have to adjust your daily routine. As the build gets underway, all sorts of small changes may alter your daily schedule. A few quick questions from the builder in the morning may course you to be slightly late for work or the loss of a bathroom or kitchen for a few days may mean you have to pop to a family members house for a quick shower.
These disruptions will be a small price to pay for a new extension that will transform your home-life.
I hope this article hasn’t put you off an extension, but I find that it is better to be prepared for these situations rather than be surprised or even upset when they arrive. A good builder will do his best to help you work through these circumstances and make the process as enjoyable as possible. And remember, the end result will always out-way any inconvenience in the long run.