Creating new space for your home sounds like a very exciting and appealing idea. But we think there are a few things you should know about home extensions before you go ahead.

The past year has seen us all stuck in our home a lot more than we used to be. This extra time spent in the house may have raised some questions about space. This may have got you imaging ways you could change things up and create a ‘change of scenery’ without the need to go outside.

Maybe you are thinking about extending the kitchen to create a larger living space where you could put a dining table?

Perhaps you want to add an extra bedroom to use for guests?

No matter what it is you are thinking, any house extension requires careful planning and a lot of thinking things through. This includes things such as budget, contractors, planning permission and extension size.

Below I have answered 5 questions to help you when you’re thinking about your new project:

Do I need planning permission for a home extension?

One of the biggest questions most people tend to start with is “do I need planning permission?”. In short, planning permission isn’t needed for every single change you want to make to your home. Some changes can be carried out with implied consent, which is also known as permitted development. Permitted development allows you the right to undertake certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. It’s not guaranteed that your project will be covered by Permitted Development though. There are certain factors that can decide this, including if any previous owners of the home made any changes to the property.

You can read more about permitted development rights here.

Will an extension add value to my home?

This is quite a subjective question as this depends on the current value of your property and the type of home extensions being planned. For a project to make economic sense, the value it adds needs to be more than the overall cost of the home extension itself. A way to assess this would be to look at similar local properties. It will also depend on the quality of work completed. If it is completed to a high standard by a contractor who knows what they are doing, then it will be more likely to add value.

What is the Party Wall Act?

Just to clarify, a Party Wall is defined as a wall that stands on the land of 2 or more owners. This could be part of a building (terraced or semi-detached homes) or a garden wall. The aim of the Party Wall Act is to ensure that all work carried out is fair and won’t affect the structural integrity of neighbouring properties. If you do intend on carrying out work that may affect a neighbour, you should notify them of your proposed project.

This is an important thing to keep in mind when planning your home extension project.

You can find out more about the Act on the Government’s website.

Can I extend above an existing single storey?

Put simply, yes extensions can be built on top of a single-storey. However, before you start planning out what you might build up there are few things that you need to think about. First, a proper examination will need to be carried out. The storey you want to convert into a two-storey extension will need to be checked. This is to make sure that it is structurally capable of supporting the extra load. There are some options if the old part of the building isn’t up to it. These include strengthening the current frame or bypass it completely. We can also underpin existing foundations that may be shallow, or we could demolish the original building and replace with a new two-storey extension. This latter option tends to be the most cost-effective.

How big should home extensions be?

When planning a project, it can be easy to get caught up in how many square meters it will add to your home. But you need to think about what it will actually be adding to your house. Bigger home extensions don’t always mean better and will more often than not be more expensive. Think about what to achieve with your home extensions and go from there. Work with what’s already there and work from the inside out. Think about what you want the extra space for. If you’re thinking of extending your kitchen, ask yourself why. What do you need that extension to fit? More worktop space? A dining area? The function of the room is more important than just going for the largest amount of space that you can.

These are just a few questions that I get asked about home extensions. There are so many more things to consider before choosing whether to extend your home and if so, in what way.
If you need help with any part of your project, myself and my team have over 40 years’ of experience within the industry and would be happy to answer your questions.

If you’d like to find out more about our Extension Services, you can read more about us throughout our website.