An extension is a great way to add value to your home and provide that much needed extra space. Whether it is an extra bedroom, a kitchen extension or you want to lengthen your front room, you need to prepare carefully. Home extensions can end up expensive, but if you take care in the planning stage, you can eliminate many of the hidden costs.
Designing your extension
The first step in planning any home extension is to identify exactly what it is you want. You need to be realistic. It is highly unlikely you’ll be able to turn a two-up two-down terrace into a five-bedroom house. Therefore, identify how much space you have and how best to utilise it. You may find you are restricted by planning laws, or by the existing design of the property as to what you can do, so ensure you know what is possible and what isn’t.
All home extensions require a proper plan, so hire an architect that has experience in the type of work you want doing. You need to ensure you clearly communicate what it is you want, and be specific. Some people like to draw up a rough plan themselves to help explain exactly what they want. The architect can then use this to draw up proper plans.
Plan your budget carefully
Never plan to spend every penny you have on your home extension because any problems or hidden costs could leave you with a half-finished project. Always have some spare cash for the unforeseeable. Don’t just consider the cost of the project and materials, but think about extras, such as the plumbing, electrics and any equipment hire, You may need to have a lot of ground dug up, so contact a digger hire company such as Scot JCB, who will be able to quote you the price of hiring excavators and other heavy equipment.
Never build a home extension without first getting planning permission. Your local authority has the power to get you to pull down any extension if you don’t have the right approval, so make sure you liaise carefully with the people at your local planning office. If you require planning permission, make sure you start the process early, well before you sign contracts, as local by-laws may restrict the types of materials you can use and the overall design of the extension. If you live in a listed building, you may not be allowed to alter it at all or you may be restricted to ensuring it is in keeping with the original aesthetic. It is also a good idea to speak to your neighbours too, explaining what you intend to do because if they object you may find getting planning permission is a lot harder and more time consuming.
Find a good contractor
Make sure you find a contractor that you trust and are happy to work with. Speak to people you know that have had extensions built and get recommendations, and don’t be afraid to ask for references or examples of a builder’s work. Make sure you are clear in your communication and explain exactly what you want. In addition, ensure you are both clear about the costs and who is paying for what and when. Most builders will require a deposit to pay for materials or may want regular payments throughout the project’s duration, but never pay for the entire project up front, as this could lead to problems if the contractor goes out of business.
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