So You Want To Build An Extension…But Where Do You Start?

You’ve made the decision to extend your home…congratulations! It’s a big step to take but we can guarantee once it’s completed, you won’t regret it!

Bringing your vision to a reality is an exciting time, but, if this is the first time you’ve undertaken any significant building work, it can be a bit of a puzzle knowing what pieces need to be in place.

Enlisting the support of a good and reputable building company can undoubtedly help navigate you through the process. So, if you’re ready to get started, here are our suggestions to help you on your way.

 

  • Find (and secure) the right builder

Contracting the right builder for your build is the first thing you should get into place. Reputable companies can be booked up months in advance and it will take time to meet with them, check references and agree what’s to be done. The firm you choose should be able to provide you with a detailed timeline of activity and guide you through the process. Your contractor is also likely to be able to put you in touch with their preferred architect and structural engineer. If they have worked together before, it will help the build move smoothly ahead.

 

  • Do you need planning permission?

Some extension projects do not require planning permission. This is known as ‘permitted development’. However, if your proposed build exceeds permitted development conditions, you’ll need to apply for planning permission. If you do need permission, depending on the plans you’re seeking permission for, this can be a lengthy, and sometimes frustrating, process.  Again, an experienced builder is likely to know your local Council’s planning requirements and advise you on what you may need to consider and what to expect. You may also want to consider speaking with any neighbours who have undertaken similar work to see what advice they may be able to offer.

Don’t forget, different rules are likely to apply if your home is in a Conservation area or is a Listed Property.

 

  • Know what it’s going to cost you

It’s likely you’ll be spending money before even the first brick has been laid. Architects and engineers are likely to need payment to undertake the work you are asking of them. Similarly, you may also need to pay for plans to be reviewed by your Council. Work with your builder to make sure you have a detailed and agreed list of costs so there are no hidden surprises. Don’t forget, estimates are unlikely to include the cost of fixtures and fitting such as tiling, sanitary ware and decorating – so you’ll need to factor these in as well.

 

 

 

  • Get ready

During the time your build is underway, home life may be a little disrupted! Plan for the disruption to help you mitigate any unnecessary stress later. For example, if you’re undertaking a loft conversion, make sure the space is clear and empty ready for your builders. Years and years of things you ‘need to keep’ can build up and this can take much longer to sort than you had anticipated. For larger builds, if you’re going to need to move out for a period, you may need to have somewhere lined up early on. You may also need to arrange for help to move valuable items which may be affected by the build or in the way of work being done to be put into a secure storage facility.

 

  • Speak to your insurers

It’s something which is often overlooked, but it’s important that you contact your home and contents provider to let them know of your plans. Not only could your home be vulnerable, but the extension is likely to increase the rebuild cost of your home, which can affect your premium. Make sure your policy covers you for your new build and that you are covered for any issues which may arise in the future.

 

  • Speak to your neighbours

Building projects not only disrupt your home life but can also affect those of your neighbours. If you’re working on a large build, the last thing you would want is to cause any dispute with the community around you.

Before work begins, speak to your neighbours to explain your plans and reassure them that you are taking the precautions necessary to minimise any disruption. if planning permission is required, your neighbours will be consulted by the local planning authority, but it is advisable to speak with them before they are approached.

 

Empire Building Solutions has over 25 years’ experience specialising in loft extensions, home extensions and refurbishments as well as carrying out all aspects of general building and renovations.

Covering all parts of London and Surrey, our highly skilled and professional team can provide every aspect of the building process from initial conception and design through to building and finishing. Contact us today for your free consultation.

 

 

Top 5 Things To Consider When Choosing A Loft Conversion Company

Loft conversions are a fantastic way of extending your home to create another multipurpose room without the hassle of moving. With the options that a conversion presents, it’s no surprise more and more homeowners are converting their roof space.

With much of the work taking place from the outside, loft conversions are one of the least intrusive building projects to take on. Once the ‘big day’ comes and you have break through from your existing ceiling and stairs installed into the bright new airy space, you’ll be surprised by how natural it feels to have the extra floor.

Finding the right builders to design and construct your extension is a crucial part of making sure the project is as successful as possible. But, as with any significant investment, it can be a scary and somewhat overwhelming process to find the right building contractor for the job. There’s a lot of money at stake so you need to find the right partner.

With many building contractors offering loft conversion services, it can be hard to know where to start to find the perfect partner. So, if you’re ready to commit to a loft conversion, how do you know what to look for in a reputable loft conversion company? These are our five tips to help ensure that your investment is well protected.

 

  1. Value for money: Make sure you know exactly what you’re paying for by comparing quotes from 2-3 companies. Compare what’s included and what isn’t on a like-for-like basis. Check what materials and services they include and whether VAT is to be added on too.  The cheapest quote is never necessarily the best option to go for. They may be cutting corners on the type of materials they’re using, outsourcing to lesser experienced tradesmen or have many hidden costs which you haven’t budgeted for. Note that finishings such as tiling and bathroom furniture are rarely included in a quote to allow for the customer to choose materials and items which suit their personal tastes.

 

  1. Check references: It sounds obvious but if you’re supplied with references, check them out. You’d be surprised by how infrequently genuine referees are called upon by potential customers. A reputable builder will have several previous clients who will be happy to act as referees. You may even be invited (or ask!) to go an inspect their work in person. The type of questions you might want to ask are: how were they to work with? Any surprises? How would they rate the workmanship? Whether any of the work sub contracted?

 

  1. Accreditations: Membership of any trade associations or accreditation schemes is also a good indication that a tradesman is competent and works to specific standards. Some of these associations are The Federation of Master Builders, British Woodworking Federation, Fair Trades Association and Guild of Master Craftsmen. Although it is advisable that they belong to a certain body, note that there is no obligation to sign up.

 

  1. Meet the team: Your chosen contractor will be working in your home for several weeks. Make sure that you meet and feel comfortable with whoever will oversee your build. Issue may arise which will need to be addressed so it’s important to have confidence in the team and are able to openly address any questions you may have. Similarly, if your contractor tends to outsource some of the work, understand what is outsourced and seek assurances on how the company will ensure the quality of their work is completed to a high standard.

 

  1. Ensure you and your home is protected: Hopefully there won’t be any issues, but if there are, you want to make sure that the company you select has appropriate cover in place to guarantee their work after completion. Ask to see a copy, or at least check that they have suitable insurances in place such as Contractors’ All Risk Insurance. In doing so, you can make sure your home is covered for any damage which may occur to your property as well as covering any injuries sustained by those working on the build.

 

Empire Building Solutions has over 25 years’ experience specialising in loft extensions, home extensions and refurbishments as well as carrying out all aspects of general building and renovations.

Covering all parts of London and Surrey, our highly skilled and professional team can provide every aspect of the building process from initial conception and design through to building and finishing. Contact us today for your free consultation.

 

3 Compelling Reasons To Extend Your House

For many, no matter how happy you have been in your home, there comes a time where space becomes a bit tight or tired. It may be that your children need more space, an elderly relative is going to move in with you or you just want to live in a more modernised space. Whatever it is, the chances are you will be asking yourself whether its time to move, or, whether it’s time to build an extension and invest in the place you’ve called home for so many years.

According to a report published by AMA Research in 2017, UK homeowners are increasingly adopting a ‘don’t move, improve’ mindset. The number of home extensions is on the rise across the country and homeowners are increasingly choosing to extend their homes rather than sell. People are spending more on improving their kitchens and bathrooms and there has also been a gradual rise in homeowners extending their properties with single storey extensions.

Although it can be tempting to move, with too many unknowns about the state of the property market post-Brexit, many people are choosing to stay put until the current economic uncertainty we are experiencing has eased.

Of course, in some circumstances extending your home may not be an option, for example, if you want a garden but currently live in an apartment block, but where it is, the opportunities are endless.

If you are thinking about extending your home, here are our three compelling reasons why you should give it some serious thought:

  1. Stay in a home that you love: Many of us would have lived in our homes for many years. The kids may have been born there, taken their first steps in the hallway or you live in an enviable location which would be hard to beat. But, if you have a house with garden or loft with enough headroom, a home extension is a real possibility. In the space of weeks, a loft can be converted into a separate living space for teenagers or a master bedroom with an en-suite. Whatever your needs are, the chances are your existing home can be tailored to meet your specific needs.

 

  1. Avoid the cost and stress of moving: Moving home is undoubtedly one of life’s most stressful events. The average cost of moving to a new house in 2018 is currently £10,210 based on a house which costs £224,000. This number is easily doubled based on the average property price in London. The cost of estate agents, surveyors, removals, stamp duty and mortgage fees, easily add up leaving you short of thousands of pounds before you’ve even picked up the keys. Not only is it expensive, but the process alone is enough to put many people off. Home extensions provide you with a way of giving you the space that you need without needing to pay more than you need to.

 

  1. Increase the value of your home and reduce the costs: If you’re smart about the type of extension you’re looking to build, the cost of doing so can add thousands more to the value of your property. For example, generally four-bedroom properties are worth significantly more than three bedrooms and additional bathrooms can pay back what you spend too.

If you do decide to extend your house, consider working with your contractors to understand what type of materials they are likely to be using. Underfloor heating, double glazing and LED lighting can also contribute to a reduction in the running costs of your home.

You can find out what the return on investment cost may be on your proposed extension by asking a friendly estate agent to value your property based on the completed works.

If you’ve never undertaken building work before, deciding to extend your home can be a complicated and stressful decision to make. Finding the right builders to design and construct your extension is a crucial part of making sure the project is as successful as possible.

Empire Building Solutions has over 25 years’ experience specialising in loft extensions, home extensions and refurbishments as well as carrying out all aspects of general building and renovations.

Covering all parts of London and Surrey, our highly skilled and professional team can provide every aspect of the building process from initial conception and design through to building and finishing. Contact us today for your free consultation.