Extending your House
Bear in mind that if the work is just to increase the re-sale value of the house you need to consider the value of the other houses in the area or street where you live because they can limit what you can put your house on the market for, so take care to ensure that the work you have done is going to be value for money.
There are a number of options to choose from in terms of increasing the size of house – if we set aside conservatories or garden rooms, you can go up, out or down with each option having its own pro’s & con’s, but if done well, extending your home is a proven way to add real value to your house.
Popular Home Extension Types
Porches: Most often seen as small extension to the front of a property but can also go on the side. Usually consisting of a doors with a side panel or window in brick or uPVC. Be careful about the size of a front porch as there are restrictions on what you can build at the front of a house if it faces a highway (More here).
Single or Multiple Storey Extensions: This is where you extend one or more sides of the house at ground level or all the way up to the roof line – it may or may not also include building a new basement or extending an existing one.
Lots of things to take into consideration when building a multiple storey one, such as planning permission, interference with neighbours, building over drains, power lines, water pipes. Smaller constructions may be possible without planning permission, but don’t commence any work without checking first. Multiple-story extensions are virtually guaranteed to need planning permission, so it is prudent to engage a professional to draw up the plans and deal with this aspect (read more about planning permission here).
Building over an Existing Structure: You may already have a single storey building adjoining the property, such as a garage or dining room and want to extend it upwards – quite a common practice.
However, the first thing to have checked is the original foundations of the structure you are building over to ensure that they are sufficient to support the new structure being built on top. For Example many garages will have been built without a cavity wall using only one single skin of block or brickwork, this will definitely have to be upgraded (probably the foundation as well) before anything can be built on top.
Loft & Basement Extensions: Using the existing loft space to make it into a bedroom, office or bathroom can be a good move as it can sometimes occupy up to 1/3rd of the floor area of a home, using this area to create new living space is cost effective and can be done without too much disruption to your day to day life.
An existing basement or cellar is a great place to convert into a family space, but creating a new one is a much different operation and can cost the more per square foot of construction than any other type of extension. Excavating & building a new basement room should be handles by professional builders with experience in this field.
Simple conversions for lofts & basements may not need planning permission (check before building) but that does not mean you do not need to meet building regulations - and can add in some cases almost 20% to the resale value of your house if done well.
As with all work, if you are having electricity or water connected then competent certified contractors should be used.
Building an Extension
It is almost certain (with a few exceptions) that you will need to have planning permission and that the work will need to meet local & national building regulations, so it is recommended that you use an experienced professional builder from outset. It could be that your contractor will provide all the design layouts, create blueprints & plan drawings or you can consult with an architect and work with them to come up with the most suitable construction for your circumstances.
If you live in an area of outstanding natural beauty, national park or inhabit a listed or protected building then consultation with the local planning authority is sure to be required prior to any work being done or you could end up with all your work being in vain as the authorities could order you to undo or demolish any construction that has not been approved.
- Don't forget to contact your home insurance provider to inform them about the proposed work and ensure your building insurance is modified to allow for the new value.
The cost of any extension will obviously be related to the scope of work required and it is recommended that you always get a written quotation from at least 3 or 4 different companies and where possible go for a contractor that offers a fixed price & timescale for completion of works.
- Make sure your quote is not an "estimate" and clearly agree all the terms of business with the builders before signing any type of contract.
- Always look for industry accreditation (FMB, UKFB, NFB,NHBC, Trustmark or equivalent)