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04-Oct-2020
  • Renovate Today
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Suppose you’re dreaming about a garage addition, side addition, double or single-storey rear extension? There’s a lot to remember when you embark on a home expansion renovation project.

With tips on zoning codes, construction laws, managing neighbours and finding a contractor; we take it from the top to help get you started.

Here is a list homeowners should consider before starting their home extension plans.

 

Will your extension plans add value to your property?

It’s worth evaluating your plans before you move in like in any major home renovation project. If money is not an issue, it’s worth talking to a decent local real estate agent who can provide an insight into your ideas that will bring value to your house.

They might also be able to provide you with an estimate of how much it will raise the value by, which would further guide your project budgeting.

 

Building Regulations

No matter whether the planning permission is mandatory or not, any construction project must comply with building regulations. 

You will need to ensure that anybody doing the job will either self-certify the job they do or liaise with the council with your Building Control Officers to be approved for their jobs.

If the provisions are not met, you will be issued with a notice to revoke the extension and you may have trouble selling your home without the appropriate Building Regulations Certificates.

 

Permitted Development and Planning Permission

You can pursue specific expansion projects without planning permission, which is considered your “legal construction rights.” Under the rules, if it is a single-story building, a rear wall of a detached house can be extended to the rear by 8m, and if it is a double story, by 3m. 

In a semi or terraced home, it can be reduced to 6m. There are also height restrictions: a single floor addition not to the ridge and eaves reaching 4m in height, and ridge heights of the development, not to be higher than the current house. 

And double-storey additions shouldn’t be closer to the rear boundary than 7m. There are other essentials which need to be met. For instance, if the expansion is more than half the area of land surrounding the original building, planning approval would be required. 

Extensions of identical materials have to be added to the current house. Different planning laws will also apply if your house is in a Protected Area and you will need to seek the listed building permission for all renovations to a Listed Site.

 

Insurance Provider

It’s essential to contact your home and material insurance company and let them know about your plans before beginning the job. The expansion is likely to raise the house’s repair costs – which insurers take into consideration while charging rates – as any construction work might place the property at risk of harm.

If you don’t let the insurer know about it and at some stage there is a dispute with the property, you will find the insurance voided. Your insurer will let you know how the new expansion will be protected under the existing policy. 

You could see the premiums are going up. If they can’t protect the property for any reason, you will need to locate a new supplier before your insurance is revoked.

You should also ensure that there is technical indemnity protection on all contractors working on your property to cover the expenses, should anything go wrong.

 

Leaseholders

Suppose you own the leasehold on your land, rather than the freehold. In that case, you may want to review the terms of your contract to ensure that you have the freedom to make improvements, typically subject to freehold consent. 

Get in contact with your freeholder about your proposals earlier rather than later, as it can entail extra expenses to get their consent and sign-off.

 

Party Wall Act

The shared wall, usually within a terrace or semi-detached building, is a party wall which separates the residences of two different owners. 

It also includes garden walls constructed around a fence, and excavations on the land of a neighbour. Party Wall Agreements are most typically required for loft renovations and extensions that require steel supports to be added, a damp proof course and new foundations to be dug.

 

Designing an Extension

The following process requires specific steps, and they are:

  • Finding an Architect
  • Briefing an Architect
  • Receiving Structural Engineering Calculations

Finding an Architect

You will want to include an architect, depending on the size of the project. There is no rule stating you have to employ an architect except for big projects and houses, but some people find it better to get the works done by a designer.

Having an architect would typically mean you’re going to have a decent end product, but their expenses generally are about 15%, so you’re going to have to add it into your budget.

Briefing an Architect

When you consult the planner, it’s essential to provide as much information as possible on what you expect from the job, the timings, how and what you plan to pay them and what sanctions will be in place if deadlines are met. 

Then the builder will give you a detailed letter of appointment, along with a signed document.

Receiving Structural Engineering Calculations

A structural engineer may also provide detailed sketches and measurements that can be used to obtain approval of the Construction Law that can also be used during the reconstruction process by the building contractor and architect.

 

Choosing a Builder

Skilled, competent, and trustworthy tradesmen are crucial to every good home improvement project. Online comparison sites offer a good starting point for evaluating builders and other contractors.

 

Costs and Expenses

Under costs and expenses, there are two factors a homeowner might want to consider before undergoing a home extension. They are:

  • Getting Quotes
  • Setting a Budget for the Plan

Getting Quotes

As for any business browsing around is still a smart idea. For the home extension plan, consider having at least three offers from three separate companies. Usually, you would need to contact at least five businesses to get three quotes.

Setting a Budget for the Plan

Start your extension by making a list of ideas you would like to consider when preparing a budget for your plan. Compare the quotations item by item and always ensure the VAT is included in the expense while purchasing services and supplies.

 

Neighbours

Construct programs can be a significant source of community conflicts. If planning consent is required, the neighbours may be consulted by the local planning authority. 

Hence, it’s a good idea to inform your neighbours know about the plans well in advance, notably if the works will cause damage until a letter lands on their table.

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