Extending your home? – points to consider

At present the housing market is undergoing a period of stagnation and the result has been a marked increase in the number of homeowners considering extending their homes rather than moving.

Extensions require careful consideration; however the following are some of the more important aspects to be investigated when considering an extension.

Planning permission and building regulations

The first and perhaps most important factor to consider is whether planning position will be attainable. There are several rules regarding planning permission, and the basic rule as applied in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is that permission will be required for any extension that will be in excess of 15% of the original size of the property or 70 cubic metres for a detached property, whichever happens to be greater. In addition, adding to a listed property may be illegal so it is vital to investigate with the local authority as to what the restrictions are regarding the property concerned.

In addition to planning permission any extension must comply with relevant building regulations which may differ from location to location. Failure to comply could lead to a large fine and problems in the future should the house be put up for sale.

Get the right man for the job

Attempting an extension to a property, whether it be an external or internal addition, a loft conversion or otherwise, without the necessary expertise can be a dangerous and ultimately very expensive affair.

It is vital to engage the right workmen for the job and this means those that are expert and qualified in their given role.

Unworthy DIY costs people in the UK hundreds of millions of pounds each year; any work that s not carried out to the required standards may result in your home and buildings insurance being invalidated.

One of the best ways to find a competent and able workman for a particular job is by word of mouth; if a friend recommends a builder, plumber or electrician it is because they have done a good job. Making sure the individual is correctly qualified and certified particularly in respect of gas and electricity work is vital.

Extending and efficiency

Adding an extension is a prime opportunity to invest in more up to the minute technology, particularly in respect of advanced and modern energy efficiency devices.

Solar water heating systems are becoming more popular as the technology advances, and the increase in individual wind turbines is leading to homes becoming much more energy efficient.

While an already existing property may be expensive to convert the advantage of an extension is that the technology can be incorporated as it is built, especially in the case of solar panels, wind turbines and the increasingly popular ground source heat pumps.

In addition, there are a number of grant schemes available for those wishing to incorporate renewable energy systems into extensions and new build homes; unfortunately they can be dependent on where one lives.

Extending for profit

In terms of value for money the loft extension and any additional bedrooms re the most likely to add value to a property, while an additional bathroom is also a recommended consideration. Building upwards into dead space, in particular the loft, is the most efficient manner of increasing the efficiency and use of space.

The trend for extending downwards, by way of converting a cellar, is also becoming more popular particularly in older properties, although this is an expensive method that is intrusive to daily life.

The considerations that are listed above are only a few of the many that must be brought to the fore when looking to extend a home; we hope they go some way to helping one see how the process must be very carefully thought through and carried out.

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