Planning Your Extension - Is a Building Extension Right For You?
Buying a house in the more prosperous part of South East England would cost you near £300,000. With a 3% stamp duty, this would amount to £9,000 - an amount enough to build an extension for your house. The rising cost of buying a house and the added hassle of moving has prompted many households to build extensions rather than move house. A house extension can give a growing family the much needed "extra" space and of course upgrade the value of a property - that is if an extension is done right. At the current price of stamp duty applied to houses, it may well be that building an extension is cheaper than moving.
Know What Building Extension You Want
If you are serious in building an extension, do you know why? You have to know for sure why you need an extension. If you need a bigger kitchen area because that is where you and your kids hang out, then extend the kitchen and complete it with a breakfast nook. If you have another child coming and you are one bedroom short, then by all means, extend one of the walls and have your new nursery. If you need a restful space that has a link to the outdoor garden, build that deck and while you are at it, consider adding a Jacuzzi. Why not convert the loft for your master bedroom with an en suite toilet and bath?
It is a fact that majority of extensions are one storey-affair. Most people think adding a two storey section is twice the price of a single storey addition. Wrong. A two -storey extension is a big job. However, it is not as costly as you think for a lot of the cost goes to the roof and single or two; the roof will still cost the same. An extra bedroom will definitely add value to your property as UK houses are valued by the number of bedrooms and not by the actual dimensions of a house.
There are a lot of extensions that are driven by new lifestyles. A work-at-home mum would prefer to have her own office in the house. A regular DIY-er dad would want to have his own workshop. The kids could definitely do with a cool video games room cum entertainment area. You should inspect each room and space in the house. Where there are boxes and bags of clothes and toys, more space is needed.
Be Realistic about your extension
Before you envision your dream extension, do a reality check first. Can the planned extension be accommodated in your plot? If you live in a terrace, then the only possible extension is in the backyard. You can go vertical and convert the loft but you have to ask your neighbours for permission as they would surely "suffer" the construction phase themselves.
There are more extension options for a detached or semi-detached house though. You can extend to the back or at the sides of the house granting it is permitted in the locality. There are plenty of homes who have built on top of their garages for that extra living space. There are those who converted their garages into beautiful living spaces and built garages somewhere out the property.
Consider your finances. Can you really afford the extension without breaking bank? True. It is less expensive to extend but if you don't have the cash and you have to get a mortgage on top of a mortgage, lower down your expectations and build an extension the DIY way - at least on some parts.
Designing and Planning the Extension
An extension would probably require that you get a planning permit and building regulations permit. Kitchen and bathroom extensions with additional plumbing definitely need permits to plan and build. Building regulations vary from one locality to another. It is then best to seek the help of a professional Architect at the beginning. An Architect will be able to provide you the floor plans and other building requirements needed to start the construction of your extension. There's nothing really wrong in designing your own extension but believe that it is harder than you think. You might not be equipped to think of all the little details that make construction a bit challenging. An architect can. Assess your needs and list down possibilities. It is best if you describe what you want to the architect then let him do the actual planning and designing of the projected house extension. The goal in building an extension is to have one that does not look like an extension but as an integral part of the old house. You cannot expect to add a Zen-like extension to a Victorian house. A professional will be able to present to you a relevant and cohesive design that would suit your needs.
DIY the Building Extension
If you have the skills, why not self-build? A do-it-yourself project does not mean you have to do all the work yourself. It is more on being able to control and manage the project where you can bring in professional help like plumbers and electricians as needed. You can do some of the digging, laying and plastering but know that you have your limitations. You may have the skills for masonry and carpentry but not in heat installations and electrical work.
Look through the white pages or talk to other DIY-ers and ask them for names of trusted tradesmen in your area. When presented the opportunity talk to these tradesmen for quotes. Self-building your extension can be a very uplifting project. It is not as hard as building a new house but it can really be a very exciting opportunity. If you can do a large portion of building the extension yourself, then you may very well be on your way to finally extending.