Residential Extensions - how to cut the costs.
Residential extensions are more expensive to build per square metre than a green field site for a new
house. There are numerous reasons for this but in a nutshell, residential extensions are more complicated to build
where the existing structure, limited access and the current occupants all contrive against the builder for an
efficient working environment.
Most residential extensions will require some form of alteration or remodelling of the host dwelling & it is
often these alteration works that can cost more than installing the extension itself. Very few residential
extensions can be treated as a ‘bolt on‘ project.
Regretfully, many homeowners fall into a trap when they have home extension works completed and the ‘wish list’
of all the other projects and remodelling or improvement works suddenly appears for the home extension builder.
Sometimes, homeowners on a limited budget need to step back & re-assess their original primary works and
motivations for adding the extra space. Many residential extensions get shelved simply because of all the ancillary
works that the home owner now requires the builder to complete.
The over-extended wish list can also encompass the physical floor space of the extension itself. A simple single
storey kitchen extension can suddenly evolve into an additional fourth bedroom over as well with the home owner
being completely unaware of the doubling of costs.
I always ask my clients what is their expected budget for the residential home extension scheme and each time it
feels like plucking hens teeth to get a simple straight answer. I think we are all internally hard wired to know
what we are able to afford but subconsciously dream of double the amount without wishing to recognise the fact that
we are already overspending.
So the tip is…if your residential home extension project is on a tight and finite budget, ensure that the final
design and scope of works tries to initially match those realistic aspirations. Keep the internal alterations works
to a minimum provided it does not compromise the final use of the space.
Its no good simply removing the wall under an existing window to retain the existing lintel if the remaining
wall obstruction the use of space and creates an awkward barrier between the two spaces.
Try to make your residential extension link spaces together rather than a simple bolt new room. Although the
bolt on extension may achieve the space required they are often not very pleasing to look at. Try to obtain a good
compromise between practicality and the cost of integration.