9 things to consider before planning an extension

If you love where you live but are lacking in space, extending your home is a fantastic way to solve the problem without the hassle of moving. Before you start speaking with architects or builders, here are some things to consider that might save you time and money when planning an extension.


1. Will your extension add value to your property?

You may never want to move again and are not too fussed about re-couping your investment. However, if you would like the extension to add value to your property, it's worth chatting to your local estate agent for advice. Ask them whether there are similar homes in your area and whether it will be sought after once it's been developed.

Also consider the balance of your new extension. If you are creating a large open plan kitchen with two or three bedrooms, consider adding an extra bedroom as part of the extension to make your home more appealing when it comes to selling in the future.


2. How do you want the new space to look?

Adding an extension is a serious investment, so it's important that you get it right. Do you want a modern style with lots of glass, or do you want the extension to blend in seamlessly with your property and style of finish? Have a look around your neighbourhood for ideas as well as looking online and browsing through magazines.


3. What do you want to use the new space for?

Try not to incorporate as many rooms as possible in your extension, rather think of the flow of your new layout and how you will use the space. Work out what you really need in your home and what will make your life easier and more pleasurable.  A large kitchen, diner and family room might work better for a busy family rather than adding on a separate extra lounge.


4. Be aware of the "right to light"

Your extension might be within permitted development and you don't need planning permission, but you still need to be aware of the impact that your extension is having on your neighbours home and particularly their "right to light". 

Every landowner (England and Wales) has the right to receive light through their window and if you seriously block light into their window and their window has been there for more than 20 years, they can take legal action.


5. Make sure you consider the impact of light into your home 

If you live in a terraced property and extend to the side, you might block out some of the light to your home. Consider incorporating a roof lantern or glass roof to allow more light in. The more light you get into your home, the more spacious and calm it will feel.


6. Understand when you need planning permission

Or rather, understand what you don't need planning permission for! You would be surprised what you can do without planning permission which will save time and money. Check out our article your guide - extensions for an idea of what you can potentially do within permitted development.


7. Do your research on contractors

If your neighbours have carried out a similar extension, speak to them and ask for recommendations. Really check out the builders work and make sure it's of the best quality and to your standards. Have a short list of builders so that you are ready to get several quotes. Remember that the cheapest won't necessarily mean the best, so take a step back and think through your choice.


8. Chat to your neighbours!

Even if you don't need planning permission, you still need to make sure your neighbours are on board with your plans to make for a smooth process. Chat to them early on about what you are planning to do so that you can discuss any concerns. It should make life easier when you actually start the work.

You also may need a Party Walls Act 1996 (England and Wales only) consent signed by your neighbours, so it’s worth taking them through your plans at an early stage.


9. Think about the timescales

It could easily take 6-9 months to actually start the build from when you decide you want to go ahead with the extension. Consider what time of year you want the build to start, with summer being a better time with (hopefully!) not as many rain delays and warmer temperatures. Planning this into your schedule might delay the project further but it will make it easier in the long run.

Also consider where you are going to live while the work is being carried out; will you stay in your home or move out temporarily? If you are staying in your house, consider having breaks away to visit family and friends.

The work is likely to take longer than both you and the builder planned, so be patient as it will be worth the extra time!

Published: February 14, 2019

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