Planning an extension - the do's and don'ts
Tips & Advice

Planning an extension - the do's and don'ts

With rising house prices and an uncertain property market, adding living space to the home is more popular than ever in the UK. However, many homeowners embark upon their extension process without recognising the simple dos and don’ts of designing and completing a project – so, take a look at our list of foundations for a foolproof and flawless residential development.

Garden extension

DON’T:

  1. Forget to acknowledge how complex the whole process will be
    It is important to realise that any kind of renovation is never simple; there are always many different layers involved. Ensuring your designs perfectly solve your most pressing issues in the most effective way possible will kick-start your project in the right direction. Choosing an architect, selecting a builder, getting your planning permissions straight and living alongside workers for a period of time are just part and parcel of having an extension. By ignoring the inevitable, one of these elements may come back to bite you!
     
  2. Start with anything other than your design
    The design is arguably the most fundamental element in your project. Misjudging its importance is a common mistake that lots of people make; great planning from the outset will save you time and money in the long term. Employing an architect will help you to create a tailored solution to your project – by interpreting your brief imaginatively and expertly in a detailed design, an architect will help your project advance smoothly and add just that extra bit of brilliance.
     
  3. Forget to budget properly
    You’d be surprised how many people don’t think sensibly about how much budget they have available. Discussing your finances with your architect right from the outset of your project will mean that they can work with you on your budget in order to create a bespoke solution best suited to your accessible funds.
     
  4. Forget to create a timetable
    By putting in place a realistic program and practical plan at the beginning of your project, you will have an accurate idea of what should be happening and when for the duration of your process. Work out with your team the time needed for the design phase and the build periods so that you can adjust your life accordingly (for example, you might need to move out or re-site a basic kitchen etc.)
     
  5. Stray from your plan
    If you can, resist the urge to change things at the last minute. Having committed to building works, don’t revise your plan unless you absolutely have to. It can spoil the process you were going for, will most likely cost you more money in the long run and can lead to delays.

Side of house small extension

DO:

  1. Seek good advice
    Always talk to trusted professionals. Consulting an architect may cost you money in the short-term but their expertise will save you time, heartache and money. The experience and creativity of a good architect will not only deliver something attractive, but can help on so many different levels with a home-improvement project – what is and is not feasible, planning strategy, budget advice, choosing a builder and much more.
     
  2. Talk to your neighbours
    Schmoozing your fellow residents will help you enormously when it comes to obtaining planning permissions later on. Try getting them on board and discussing your plans at an early stage – who knows? You could come away with some friends, as well as the green light for your home renovation.
     
  3. Get the background on your property
    It’s always worth calling your local planning department to find out if your property is in a conservation area, an area of outstanding natural beauty or is a listed building. The constraints of your building will have an impact on what is achievable within your home design project.
     
  4. Get inspired
    Look at home magazines and websites such as Pinterest and Houzz to get ideas for the type of renovation you are planning. Tear these out or save them to your ‘favourites’, and keep them to show your architect or designer, as this will help him or her understand what you are hoping to achieve and the sort of styles you admire.

Back of the house garden extension

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