Tuesday, 10 July 2012 12:49 PM
With the cost of homes rising, more and more people are choosing to improve rather than move. If the reason you're considering leaving your current house is due to size, an extension can be the answer, but what should you think about before starting the project?
Not to dishearten you, but there is a lot to consider when it comes to building an extension, whether it's a conservatory, loft conversion, or a new utility room. The key to getting it right is planning, so here are a few things to think about before you start.
Can you really do it yourself?
You might think knocking up a conservatory isn't that difficult and that you'll save lots of money by doing a DIY job - but just take a step back for a moment and consider whether you actually have the know-how to do it yourself.
If you're not certain you'll be able to dig deep foundations, install the windows or wire in the electrics, you might have to concede that using professionals is the right call. You may be in a position to do some of the work yourself and just call in tradesmen for part of the job; the important thing here is to be honest with yourself about your abilities, otherwise you could face a big repair bill if things go wrong.
Do you need planning permission?
While you might feel converting your loft into new bedrooms isn't a big deal, your local planning department may feel differently! Check the planning rules on your council's website and, if you can't find the answers you need, get in touch with the planning office directly.
You could find making small modifications to your proposals can mean you don't need to apply for permission, although with larger jobs that significantly alter your home you should be prepared to put in an application. Never start building any extension without checking this out - or you could find yourself in deep trouble further down the line.
Don't forget, any construction work you undertake on your property will need to comply with the UK's building regulations. Throughout the course of the project, a surveyor will visit your home and check the work adheres to these standards, so it's important to know exactly what they are and what your responsibilities are before you get started.
Get the right tools and equipment
Even if you're a keen DIY enthusiast, it's unlikely you'll have all the equipment necessary to build an extension on your home. Make sure you factor the expense of things like machinery and scaffold hire into your budget, as well as accounting for the materials you'll need to complete the construction work.
While you might have the time to do the whole job yourself, you'll find it's a much quicker and smoother process if you can get someone in to assist with the larger jobs. In fact, there are many instances where you'll need more than one pair of hands in order to get the building work done properly.
With careful planning and enlisting help at certain stages of your project, there is no reason why you can't carry out the majority of the work on a home extension yourself. Just remember that this type of project is time consuming and challenging, so make sure you are up to the task before you fully commit.