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.