When making the decision to extend your home, there are a number of factors that need to be considered:

1 – What is the main reason for the extension?

2 – Is an extension the best way to achieve what you are looking for?

3 – Do you have enough space outside to achieve the extension?

4 – Are there any existing services that could be affected by the extension?

5 – What permissions/applications are involved?

6 – How much will it cost?

7 – What is the process of getting the relevant permissions?

8 – Do you need a party wall agreement?

1 – What is the main reason for extending your home?

9 times out of 10 the main reason people choose to extend their homes is to create more space, but what will that space be used for? Larger Kitchen, Dining Room, Sunroom, Playroom, additional Bedroom, home office?

2 – Is an extension the best way to achieve what you are looking for?

This is a question that may not be answered until the whole house is drawn on a 1:1 scale. It’s difficult to picture your whole house relative to all other rooms when simply standing in one place because inevitably you will be looking at a wall or two from floor to ceiling. However, you will know yourself, how often you use areas in your home.

One area we come across a lot in our designs is the Dining Room. Many people nowadays either sit in the Kitchen or Living Room to eat our meals and only use the Dining Room on special occasions. It may be, that knocking through a wall from the Kitchen to the Dining Room would open up both rooms and can then be utilised more often as it will become a more open enjoyable space.

3 – Do you have enough space outside to achieve the extension?

Assuming an extension is the way forward, do you have enough room externally to build the extension?

More and more modern built estates only have small garden areas so amenity space may be compromised. It is important that you understand exactly how much you need to extend your house by to achieve your goals. When looking at this initially, remember to consider the wall thickness of the outer walls (around 300mm).

4 – Are there any existing services that could be affected by the extension?

This point may be obvious, but you need to consider any service that may require diverting. Drains, Electricity meters, Gas meters, Water meters etc as they are not cheap to move and, in some circumstances, may require additional applications, such as diverting or building near a public drain.

5 – What permissions/applications are involved?

This is a very site-specific section, but to list a few:

Some extensions do not require planning permission if the requirement falls under permitted development rights. There are certain criteria that need to be met to fall under this category, which we can advise on, however, even if the build itself does not need permission, you will still require the build to meet building regulations. Which involves a government approved body to check plans and inspect the build in stages.

Planning permission – This requires a formal application to your local authority to request permission to carry out the required works and will require scaled drawings to accompany the application, along with any other required documentation (site specific), from flood risk assessments, tree surveys, ecology surveys, contamination reports, heritage statements, conservation statements,….. the list continues, but we will be able to advise when we offer a quotation.

Building Regulation Approval – Once planning permission is granted (assuming it is granted), you will need the planning drawings updated to building regulation detailing. This is to specify insulation types, construction methodology, and all details relevant so that your building is built to specific standards. Plans are checked by an approved building control body and the build will be inspected at various stages of construction.

Drainage – If you are to build near a public sewer, an application may be required to the local water authority known as a build over/near agreement. Other agreements that can be applied for include surface water discharge and sewer diversion agreements.

6 – How much will it cost?

This is a very common question and is usually asked before drawings begin. Truth is, no-one will actually give a full and accurate quotation until building regulation details have been specified for the specific project. Also, a lot depends on final finishes to you build such as Kitchen units, floor finishes etc.

7 – What is the process of getting the relevant permissions?

A – Obtain quotations from 2-3 different Architectural service suppliers and evaluate costs and timeframe to suit your budget and timeframe as well as the ability to connect with the designer.

B – Agree a design brief with your chosen supplier.

C – Any other services are engaged (tree surveys, ecology surveys etc if required)

D – Initial drawings are sent to you and any necessary amendments made.

E – Once your plans have been finalised, an application can be submitted online.

F – Planning permission will take a minimum of 6-8 weeks dependant on workload of the local authority.

G – Once planning permission is granted (assuming it is), building regulation drawings and specification can begin.

H – Once building regulations details are completed, builders can quote accurately for work to be done and contractors can be engaged, and contracts signed.

I – Building regulations to be submitted to the chosen building control body.

8 – Do you need a party wall agreement?

A party wall notice will require issuing if any of the following situations are relevant to your build.

  • Your extension is to have foundations within 3m of any neighbouring foundations (6m if foundations are to be piled).
  • Your extension is to be built along or over a boundary line.
  • Your extension involves joining to or altering an existing party wall.

The part wall notice is a legal requirement and ensures that any damage that may be caused to your neighbour’s property by your works, will be put right at your cost.

Once an initial party wall notice has been issued to your neighbour, the reply must be signed and dated within 14 days of issue. Failure for this to be responded to within 14 days, it will be assumed to be under dispute and a party wall surveyor will need to be appointed to deal with the party wall agreement. Also, your neighbour will be required to assign a party wall surveyor. This surveyor is your neighbour’s choice and will be your responsibility for the cost. The surveyor for both parties can be the same person/company. If there are two separate surveyors and they cannot agree, then a third party wall surveyor will be brought into to mitigate between the two surveyors.

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