Points To Consider When Thinking About Extending Your Home
Extending your home is a great way to add extra space without having to move. However, it is still a big decision and there are a lot of aspects that are worth thinking about before you get too far into the planning process.
We’ve put together some of the main points to consider when thinking about extending your home. If anything doesn’t make sense or you have any questions, you’re always welcome to book a free 20 minute call with one of our home improvement Architects about your project.
Points To Consider When Thinking About Extending Your Home
- Are there any restrictions in place?
You probably don’t have permitted development rights if you live in a listed building, a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty, the Broads, a National Park, a World Heritage Site or a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
You also cannot use permitted development rights to improve, alter or extend your home if permitted development rights have already been used to repurpose commercial premises for residential use; planning permission is required.
Check with your Local Planning Authority if you’re not sure whether or not you have any planning restrictions in place.
- Is your property freehold or leasehold?
If you own the freehold, it means that you own the building and the land it stands on. If you own the leasehold, it means that you just have a lease from the freeholder (sometimes called the landlord) to use the home for a number of years. The guidelines for alterations to freehold/leasehold properties are different. As a freeholder, you have more freedom to make alterations to your property but a leaseholder will have to obtain permission for any major works done to the property.
- Is the property mortgaged?
If your property is mortgaged, then you’ll generally need to ask for permission and get consent from the lender before making any significant changes to your property that affect its structure or that add to it (for example, building a conservatory or a garage). Usually this is just a formality as long as the proposed changes don’t reduce the value of the house.
4. Is the property within 3 metres of a neighbouring property?
If your extension involves building or digging foundations within 3 metres of a party (shared) wall or other foundations, then you may require a Party Wall Agreement.
You can issue a Party Wall Notice yourself to each of your affected neighbours. If your neighbour agrees to the works in writing, you will not require a Party Wall Agreement and this can save on the fees, which are typically £700 to £900 per neighbour.
5. Trees, drains or other buried services
Will your extension impact any trees (either your own or your neighbours)? If so, check that there are no Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) in place. A TPO means that it is against the law to do anything to that tree without the local planning authority’s written consent (even pruning the branches of a neighbours overhanging tree is considered a criminal offense if the tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order).
If there’s no TPO in place and you’re not in a conservation area, then you are allowed to cut down a tree that’s wholly on your property. A tree report will cost from £250. Tree removal costs vary between £300 – £500 for a small tree and between £2,500 – £3,500 for a large tree.
If your extension plans involve building over or within three meters proximity of a shared drain, then you’ll require a Build Over Agreement from your local water authority which costs around £350.
6. Site Access
How easy will it be for trucks and lorries to unload large items and materials required for the extension? Will builders be able to access the site directly, or will all materials need to come through the property? You’ll also need to consider where traders will park and store their tools.
7. Finding The Right Team
Invest time and energy into finding the right people for your project.
Choose an architect/designer/engineer with experience in the type of extension you’re planning. Architects can also help to maintain the quality of the materials, instruct other workers, control expenses or supervise the entire work process.
After decades in the construction industry, Yoop Architects have worked with some great builders and we can help you find someone who you can trust with your home. Take the time to ask any prospective builder questions – do you like their communication style and response time? Are they transparent, open and happy to answer questions? It’s important to make sure that you get on well with your builder.
You should also consider whether you’d prefer to hire a project manager or project manage the extension yourself.
8. Building Regulations Approval
All extension work requires building regulations approval and you may need building regulations approval for many alteration projects. This can cost from £400 – £750. However, you do not need to get approval yourself if you use traders registered with a competent person scheme.
9. Demands On Existing Services
Will your existing boiler be able to cope with the extra demand from the new extension?
Many boiler suppliers offer an online quoting tool which can calculate the size of boiler that your home would need, such as www.heatable.co.uk/compare/boiler-quotes
If you are carrying out conversion/extension works you should arrange specialist insurance to cover the new works and the existing structure as most home insurers won’t cover works if contracts exceed £50,000.
It’s important to sort insurance in good time as most insurers will not insure when works have already started. GPS Insurance Brokers can provide specialist insurance cover for conversion/extension works and the insurance will last for the duration of the building project. Insurance should be arranged as soon as you know works will commence.
You should also inform your home insurer as an extra room could result in a higher buildings insurance premium. Failing to inform your insurer of any changes to your property could invalidate your home insurance policy.
For expert advise on this and any other insurance exposures, please contact Gary Philip at GPS Insurance Brokers on 020 8207 7385. GPS Insurance
If you have any questions about renovating, planning an extension or just about creating your dream home in general, go ahead and book a free call below with Yoop.
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