If you need extra space at home, moving isn’t the only solution. If you love where you live and you have a house which you’re able to convert, then why not add an extension. You’ll probably find that it’s less costly than moving too.

Another benefit to adding an extension is that it also adds to the value of your home. But before you start any improvements have a good look at the prices of similar homes in your area.

It’s no good spending a fortune doing your house up if you can’t possibly recoup the cost when or if you sell. Find out the most expensive home in your street. Then aim to match or just come under the value with your improvements.

Another thing to remember is that much of the building costs are down to the construction of the foundations. This means it won’t cost much more to have a two-storey extension rather than a single storey. You will add value to your home by creating an open plan kitchen. But if you add an extra bedroom and an ensuite bathroom above then you’ll be adding further value.

Rear and Side Extensions

The most popular ways to create space are by adding a rear extension or converting the loft. A rear extension can be a single or two-storey construction with a basic build price of around £16,000. You can extend up to 6 or 8 metres if you want a single storey and 3 metres if you are going to build two storeys.

If you don’t have a lot of space, you can have a side extension. You can’t add a second storey or build higher than 4 metres. But the measurements will be enough for a downstairs bathroom or a bigger kitchen or lounge.

A Loft Conversion

If you can use your roof space, then consider a loft conversion. Prices start at around £16,000, but you can spend much more. A room in the roof is the cheaper option. Or you can have a dormer or a mansard conversion which cost more.

Most loft conversions also include an ensuite bathroom. This means additional costs for plumbing, electrics and bathroom fixtures and fittings. The extra bedroom and bathroom could add as much as 20% on to the value of your home.

A Garage Conversion

If you have plenty of street parking, then you could convert your garage into a room. It’s a great way to create space if parking isn’t a problem in your area. If it is then removing the garage might well decrease your home’s value or at least make it less desirable to a buyer.

In the Basement

Converting your basement can be a costly home renovation project. Prices start at around £50,000 but of course, you will probably have a larger space to work from. The only drawback is if you are dealing with party walls. It may take some time to obtain permission to go ahead, especially if your neighbours don’t agree with the idea. In this case, the matter goes to arbitration which takes up more time and money.

Planning Permission

Many types of extensions don’t need planning permission But, there are rules and regulations in most cases that you’ll need to follow. These usually apply to height, width and boundary distances. If you build a granny flat for example, which is self-contained, then it isn’t an extension. You will need planning permission. 

Professional Help

Whether you need planning permission or not, you will still need some professional help. Firstly, if you don’t have a good idea of what you want from your space then use an architect. An architect can draw up your plans and help you at the design stage. You can find an architect in your area by looking online. Ensure they are registered with the Architect’s Registration Board.

You can also use an architect who is a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Not all architects need to be members of RIBA. But it does mean that they have agreed to follow the Institute’s code of professional conduct. Part of this is an agreement to have Professional Indemnity Insurance.

If you have a good idea of what you want, then you might be able to get away with just using a structural engineer. A structural engineer ensures your new construction is safe and meets building regulations. They will provide the drawings for building control, including the structural measurements. And, they will advise of the materials required such as steel beams and lintels which are vital for structural support. B&S Steel can help you source your steels.

Like all trades, you can look online. You can find a structural engineer by browsing the internet. Websites like trustatrader have reviews which are useful to read.

If your plans involve a party wall you may also need the services of a surveyor. At least two months before you plan to carry out any work you must let your neighbour know about your plans. It needs to be in writing, and it must contain details about the work you want to carry out. You should also outline the start date and how workman will gain access to your property. Download a copy of the party wall explanatory booklet from the gov.uk site and enclose it with your letter.

If your neighbour agrees, in writing, then you can go ahead with the work. But if they don’t agree you and your neighbour will need to appoint a surveyor each (which you pay for). Or, you can agree to use the same surveyor (to save you money). The surveyor then investigates the situation. Then they will make a decision which is called an ‘award.’ 

Finally, you’ll need to find yourself a reliable builder. Ask colleagues, friends or family if they have any recommendations. Ask other tradesman, they often have a network of trades they work with regularly. If you use the internet check out reviews and recommendations. Also, ask if it is possible to speak to one or two previous customers. If they are reputable builders, they won’t mind.

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