House extension tips - Our top ten items for extending your house into a home
Advising clients correctly for the first time at a site meeting is very much reliant upon their
aspirations, wish lists and the properties potential in where an extension could be located to satisfy these
requirements. However, time after time there is a form of strategy that has become pretty generic that can be
applied to most home owners wishing to extend their homes. Here is our top ten tips for ensuring that a home
owner gets what they want from the property to be extended:-
House extension tip number 1:-
Make a list. Write down and categorise what you are trying to achieve from the property. Prioritise
you requirements into 'must have's and bonus items as a comprehensive wish list. Extending any house will
reveal compromises along the way so it is important that you identify the devils you can live with and the
devils you cannot.
House extension tip number 2:-
Do your own research. Don't spend weeks on it but a few days spent exploring neighbouring house
extensions for similar house types as your own will give you some added ideas. Likewise looking at your own
planning public access files of other home extensions can be an invaluable source of inspiration.
House extension tip number 3:-
Call in between 2 and 4 experienced home extension designers or architects. Get them round for an hours
chat and ask them to describe their own vision for your property from your list of requirements.
See how proactive and informative they are at this initial meeting. You will soon get the feedback from their
answers and reactions as to how enthusiastic they are to your proposals. Request to have their proposal ins
wring including all fees and costs for every stage of the design works and what other ancillary services they may
offer after obtaining Council Approvals.
House extension tip number 4:-
Avoid the 'yes man' house extension designer or architect. A good home extension designer or
architect will tell it to you straight. If the site has constraints for your proposed house extension
(possible problems in obtaining Planning Permission or extra costs to suite on site practicalities) then they will
tell you. Do not mistake this with being un-supportive for your scheme. They have simply identified a
possible problem. If they are able to offer alternative solutions or strategies that would help you in
achieving what you want then this is the Home extension Designer you should be considering. Any 'yes men'
designers simply agreeing with your entire wish list without any consideration of alternative options or
approaches usually just want the job at any cost and they are to be avoided. At the end of the day you
want good design advise and consideration of other options that you may not yet have considered.
House extension tip number 5:-
Do not attempt a DIY home drawn design for your extension no matter how good your drafting skills may be.
Nearly all DIY house extension schemes we see have usually misrepresented themselves through Planning
permission which leaves them wide open to technicality traps when the Councils enforcement Officer comes a
sniffing. Always engage an experienced and professional house extension designer or architect to prepare your
plans and specifications. They will bring added value to your scheme of good design, experience and wide
ranging advice at every stage of your scheme. At some point your DIY poorly prepared scheme will require
interpretation by your builder or turning into a proper construction scheme so why start off on the wrong foot
with non concise design proposal that may have to be started again right from scratch.
House extension tip number 6:-
Take your time with the design build up prior to submitting for Planning Approval. Don't rush at accepting
the first draft proposal from your house extension design or architect. Challenge them on their
proposals. Ensure that you have a good idea of the final use of the space, how well it integrates with the
existing dwelling and is it still within your budget cost estimate.
House extension tip number 7:-
Don't let your wish list run away with you. All too often the principle motivation of the home owner
for the extension has been swallowed up by a run of other works that you would like implemented whilst the
extension works are in progress. These can be external landscaping, extensive internal remodelling, upgrading
the existing house fittings etc. This is great but only if your budget is not finite.
House extension tip number 8:-
Do not start changing the house extension scheme after Planning and Building Regulations
approvals. This will build in extra costs and technical trip wires that you may fall prey to. If you
have taken your time during the initial design build up this aspect should not be an issue.
House extension tip number 9:-
Make sure your house extension designer or architect is preparing proper construction drawings and a full
specification manual that can be used for the contract documents in obtaining a fixed price, all inclusive cost
from your tendering builders. If not insist that they do so. Simply obtaining Building Regulations
approvals is not good enough as the overlap of other associated works will still be extensive which needs to be
identified, scheduled and costed by the home extension builder.
House extension tip number 10:-
Select at least 4 to 5 house extension builders for their tender prices from known, local and recommended
sources. This can be from friends and colleagues or from recommendations from your house extension designer
or architect. Builders are notoriously slack at administration skills and early customer care so many
will forget to tell you they are too busy to start a new project for 6 months, or unhappy completing this type
of extension or simply do not like you as a potential client. Therefore, many will come & see you and take away
the tender package only to vanish & never respond with a price.